A Look at Pop Culture Highlights of the 2010s
It’s hard to believe that the 2010s are almost over, and what a crazy decade it’s been. On a global scale, we saw the deaths of dictators and terrorist, major elections, and I might add, an apocalypse that never happened! That’s not what this blog is for, though! It’s about pop culture, and pop culture saw a lot of big things happen.
As the 2010s draw to a close, we look back on what I consider to be the biggest moments in pop culture. It can be a movie, a franchise, or a phenomenon. All that matters is that it involves pop culture.
Anime Goes Mainstream
The 2010s are the decade when the entire Millennial Generation came of age. Thanks to the likes of Toonami and (to a lesser extent) Kids WB, we were also the generation that grew up watching anime. Now that we were all of age, we were to use our powers as fans to make anime a part of the mainstream culture.
As a result, what was once a niche interest is now widely accepted. It’s progressed to the point where western cartoons are taking influence from their Japanese counterparts. However, I think the best example is the fact that Goku has his own balloon at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. You don’t get more mainstream than that.
Cartoons Depict Same-Sex Couples
Before the finale of The Legend of Korra, I never heard of a kids cartoon showing a same-sex couple. The fact that Nickelodeon was willing to do it seemed revolutionary, and I approved of it. Then a show by the name of Steven Universe took the portayal of the LGBT Community even further, and the floodgates were opened. As a result, more and more kids shows are willing to have depictions of LGBT individuals.
What makes this awesome is that all these cartoons are teaching kids that it’s alright to be LGBT. Those kids will grow up and be more accepting of others, and then the LGBT will be more accepted by others. Also, it’s good TV.
In hindsight, this may be more of a con than a pro. While Disney’s been prevalent in American Culture for decades, the 2010s saw them reach new heights of success. While they’ve made several popular cartoons, I’d chalk it up to their acquisition of large businesses like Lucasfilm and Fox. As a result, they now have ownership of some of the best franchises and films ever made.
While this does seem good at first, I can’t help but feel concerned about how powerful the mouse’s become. They already own a large portion of the entertainment industry. If it’s decided that they’ve become a monopoly, there could be calls to break up their company. Hopefully, that won’t happen.
Game of Thrones Shakes Up TV
Few shows in the world have been as big or as influential as Game of Thrones was. When HBO first premiered this adaptation of George R.R. Martin’s popular novel series in 2011, few could have imagined how big the show would get. However, the show became a runaway hit that only grew bigger with each season. With a cast, story, and budget that rivaled that of big-budget films, Game of Thrones redefined what could be done with television.
The show’s final season may not have been as good as some fans wanted it to be. However, the fact remains that Game of Thrones rewrote what could be done with TV shows. Thanks to the number of actors whose careers got kickstarted or revitalized by the show, it’s safe to say that Game of Thrones’ legacy will be felt for years to come.
The Rise of Streaming
Ten years ago, I never even heard of companies like Netflix, Crunchyroll, or streaming services. Now we’ve got Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney+, and who knows how many others. In other words, the 2010s were the decade when streaming came into their own.
As we stand on the cusp of a new decade, streaming’s bigger than ever. If I’m not mistaken, they’re poised to become the way most people watch their shows, leaving Cable TV in the dust. For better or for worse, streaming is here to stay.
Superheroes Dominate Entertainment
There’s no denying it: the 2010s were a decade dominated by superheroes. While there had been plenty of great superhero movies in the past, they seemed few and far between. However, all that changed with the success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Pushing the boundaries of what could be done with superheroes, films like The Avengers brought the shared universe concept to life in a way that had never been done on the big screen before.
The success of Marvel prompted superheroes to reach dizzying heights of popularity, and now others are trying to join in. Even the world of Anime and Manga’s taken with superheroes, giving us hits like My Hero Academia. As we close out the decade, superheroes stand near the summit of entertainment. By the looks of things, Marvel and DC show no sign of letting that fade away. Here’s hoping we keep getting good content!
Star Wars Returns to the Big Screen
Star Wars remains one of the popular franchises in the history of entertainment, with millions of fans across the world. Thus, when Disney bought Lucasfilm and announced more Star Wars movies, a lot of fans got excited. With the release of The Force Awakens in 2015, the franchise returned to the big screen for the first time since 2008.
The Sequel Trilogy may have ruffled feathers for fans. However, there’s no denying how they helped lead to a resurgence in Star Wars. That, and Disney reset the canon so they can create a more tight-knit universe for the franchise. Given the Expanded Universe spanned thousands of years, Disney’s got a long way to go.
The millennials are now all grown up and able to contribute to our economy. More importantly, though, we’ve reached the point where our childhoods are now nostalgically profitable. As a result, the entertainment industry seeks to profit off that nostalgia as much as possible. Which is how we’ve ended up in a culture filled with nostalgia bait.
I could explain how important nostalgia bait is to the entertainment industry these days. However, I think How it Should Have Ended on YouTube does it a lot better in their “Detective Pikachu Hero Cafe” short.
“Because if you remind people of something they liked when they were younger, they will get excited and want to watch it!”Detective Pikachu
That the whole premise, really, and with the millennials now of age, our childhoods are fair game. Hence why we’re seeing specials and reboots of the shows we watched growing up. Heck, the return of Star Wars qualifies as nostalgia bait! For better or for worse, our childhoods are coming back.
Happy New Year!
Agree with my choices? What were some major highlights of the decade for you? Let me know down in the comments!
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