The geeky moments of the past 15 years that rocked pop culture

Iron the man spawned two direct sequels, and star Robert Downey Jr. played Tony Stark in a total of 10 films, with each entry not only raising the stakes on screen, but also at the box office, with other studios now measuring their own blockbuster. success against that of Marvel Studios. The MCU story that began with Iron Man has now grown so sprawling that it can only be understood in “phases,” with each set of films all developing into gains on an ever-larger scale. It’s a whole new way to see serialized storytelling on the big screen, and a “shared universe” code that rivals Disney and Marvel have yet to crack. Iron Man may be gone, but his legacy is still going strong.

The Dark Knight does NOT receive a Best Picture nomination (2009)

It’s rare that something that didn’t happen deserves to be recorded in the annals of history, geek or otherwise. And yet when the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences omitted Christopher Nolan The black Knight from its short list of Best Picture nominees in 2009, the world of awards season has changed forever. Considered in retrospect by the industry as the culmination of a decade of abandoning populist entertainment (read: big box office earners), The black Knight The snub was all the more remarkable given that the brooding superhero epic had managed to gain recognition from most of the industry’s guilds, whose membership also spills over to the Academy.

But comes the time of the nomination, The black Knightthe presumed place was occupied by The reader, a relatively poorly rated Holocaust drama produced by Harvey Weinstein. The fallout from snobbery has been immense. The following year, the Academy resumed nominating 10 photos for the top prize for the first time since 1944. The black KnightThe cold reception of arguably paved the way for films such as District 9, Creation, Mad Max: Fury Road, get out, Black Pantherand Joker find space on the Oscars stage.

Minecraft is Coming (2009)

Minecraft started out as a technical/passion exercise project that probably would have been lost to history had it not been for its determined developer and dedicated group of fans. In 2014, it became the best-selling PC game of all time. In 2019, it became the best-selling game of all time. Sales aside, Minecraft changed the way games are promoted, discussed and played. Many people heard about it via YouTube, and many learned how to play it from one of the legions of digital influencers who can trace their careers back to Minecraft. Simply put, it’s the most socially impactful game of the past 15 years, and its current popularity suggests it’s going nowhere.

Prestige TV gives way to the TV franchise (2010)

October 31, 2010 is a date that takes on special significance: it is the first creation of AMC The Walking Dead. At first glance, the Frank Darabont-directed series looked like an attempt to bring the sensibility of “prestige television” such as Mad Men and The Sopranos in zombie drama format. Eleven seasons and several spin-offs later, however, it’s clear that what AMC wanted with Robert Kirkman’s comic adaptation was its own Marvel-esque franchise. Although prestige-quality television shows are still alive, the era of prestige has slowly given way to the era of franchise. Whether it’s the Arrowverse, Star Trek, or even Marvel itself on Disney+, franchises are the way to go for television.

Game of Thrones turns the world upside down (2011)

“Winter is coming.” A little over a decade ago, those harmless words took on a dark foreboding and unrelenting excitement. It’s because game of thrones came to HBO and changed television forever. The first long-running series with spectacle that could rival cinemas, and arguably the last of the “watercooler shows” where everyone seemed to treat it like a date, thrones defined the television landscape for nearly a decade. Despite the toxicity of the “speech” after its final season, for most of its run it was an elegantly crafted set that drew inspiration from the even richer novels of George RR Martin. Performances, twists, deaths, one-liners, and even those damn dragons stay with us, long after our watch is over.

James C. Tibbs