Many things have contributed to the rise in popularity of angels in the past half century. The fact that we have seen an increase in popularity of angels as the subject matter for television shows, movies and popular songs only gives us more evidence that angels are a popular topic, not that television and movies and making them more popular. If they were not popular, the television series and movies would not succeed as well as they have.
According to Baby Names Boy Girl (http://bnbg.net) web site, the popularity of the name ‘Angel’ has been steadily increasing as a given name for children born in the last 20 years for both boys and girls. In the 1950s Angel ranked as the 792nd most popular name for girls and the 146th most popular name for boys. By 2003, the numbers are 121 for girls and 43 for boys. As you can see, it increased tremendously in popularity.
Just because we know that angels are popular does not explain why they are popular, however. A lot of theories have been proposed to explain the rise in popularity. Some believe that the rise in popularity of science fiction has led to the belief that angels are beings from a higher plain of existence and somehow we can learn from them if we can learn to communicate with them.
Another theory states that with the increase of stress and crisis in the world, people are looking for something to ease and comfort their worries. What could be more comforting than a powerful, loving guardian angel who is always by our side, ready to comfort and protect? The special popularity of angels at Christmas suggests that they function as a kind of Santa Claus for grownups. Perhaps celebrating a Christmas without religious meaning leaves non-Christians feeling empty, and angels fill that void, suggesting the mystery, warmth and magic that reindeer, elves and St. Nick hold for children. And they are just as easily sentimentalized.
The rise in New Age religions and relativist ethics has also allowed people to embrace angels. Because angels exist in the ‘spirit realm’ they can easily play into beliefs surrounding mysticism. It is easier to believe in angels who are beneficent spirits, devoted to our growth and welfare without believing in a God who requires our devotion and adherence to His laws and absolute commandments.