The 2010s were a tumultuous decade for the entertainment business. For the consumer, things seem to better. There is more content that is easier to watch than ever before. Social media has allowed more insight into our favorite actors. Some of the best movies in years were released. The past ten years also saw ugly truths revealed, the decline of a venerated franchise, and a vocal minority that painted devoted fans in the worst light. Here are the biggest stories in movies and TV from last decade.
A streaming network for all seasons
Netflix had been changing the way people watch movies since the late 20th century. In 2007, the company began to move to a streaming model. It has almost completely eliminated DVD rentals, has made some question the need for movie theaters, and has been the home of critically acclaimed original content. Each year of the past decade also saw its international scope expand. The channel is by far the largest streaming network in the world.
It was not long before other companies wanted a piece of the expanding streaming universe. Hulu launched in 2007. What was once an inferior Netflix wannabe is now seen by some to be the better network. This past year, Disney entered the market with its Disney+ network. Along with many in house classics, the channel includes every episode of The Simpsons, every movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and a number of Star Wars properties. They have made it clear they are targeting Netflix directly with an impressive library and a bundle that includes Hulu and ESPN+.
The streaming network wars will only get more interesting. NBC and Warner Bros will soon be entering the medium. There are already genre specific channels like Shudder. For those who enjoy independent films, there is the Criterion Channel and MUBI. Cable companies have been feeling the effects of cord cutters and have also introduced streaming options. This has been the biggest story of the past decade and will dominate movie news the next few years.
#MeToo & a more inclusive climate – sorta
In late 2017, Harvey Weinstein was faced with allegations about sexual harassment. The claims were awful and spanned decades. Weinstein was expelled from Hollywood and though what he did was awful, it led to a movement in which victims felt safe speaking out. As more victims came forward and more celebrities were forced to confront their behavior, it became clear there would be changes in Hollywood.
Movies like Assassination Nation tackled subjects that Hollywood would not have touched a few short years before. Yet, it seems like there has been little change. Studios seem to save inclusive casts for movies with social commentary. When there is a blockbuster with diversity, it seems like it is more about PR than making a good movie. Moviegoers will accept more variety in genres than ever. But Captain Marvel should not be an outlier. Hopefully, there will be more Ripleys and T’Challas in the upcoming years.
The fall of Skywalker & rise of the MCU
There is no doubting the popularity of the Star Wars franchise, but it sure has taken a major hit this past decade. After a great if polarizing start with 2015’s The Force Awakens, the saga took a tremendous hit over the course of the next two films. The Last Jedi seem to bring out the worst of the vocal fanbase. The Rise of Skywalker was a disappointing end to the Skywalker saga. Star Wars is way to big and powerful a force to go away – even without the backing of Disney, Star Wars would continue to make news in the next ten years – but if fans would leap at the chance to redo the last decade.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe officially started in 2008, but the vast majority occurred in the 2010s. Previous B list superheroes like Iron Man and Thor became household names. Each entry of the franchise seemed to set a new box office record. Over the course of more than twenty movies and a the entire decade, the MCU had audiences enthralled with its shared universe. Avengers: Endgame brought The Infinity Saga to a satisfying close. It was the type of finale and fanfare TROS should have received.
Game of Thrones
Few television shows have captured the public conscious like HBO’s Game of Thrones. What first seemed like it would be another sword and board show just with a higher budget turned into a worldwide phenomenon. Fans eagerly awaited each episode and theories filled the internet. It was not long before the show had branched out into other mediums as there were video games and merchandise. Lots and lots of merchandise.
Game of Thrones has succeeded on multiple fronts. It set a record for the most Emmy awards for a scripted television show and has become a cultural institution. Terms like “Red Wedding” mean something even to those who do not watch the show. The show ran almost the entire decade and was a consistent source of discussion. Game of Thrones took fantasy to greater mainstream heights than anything before and will go down as one of the most culturally impactful shows of all time.
Big Brother may not be watching, but everyone else is
There is no denying the importance of social media. Whether it is used to check the news, see the latest scores, meet up with someone, reconnect with old friends, or just voice opinions, the way people exchange information has changed greatly over the past decade. If the topic or person is not being discussed on social media, then it is not very important.
Social media also lets people know who are the most important, controversial, hated, and funny celebrities and causes. The pros and cons of streaming networks can be found. The Me Too Movement became #MeToo. Star Wars and Game of Thrones saw the more toxic members of the their fandoms take to various platforms. Meanwhile, President of Marvel Studios Kevin Feige went to social media to demand silence. Streaming may be the biggest news of the decade, but social media is the biggest influencer.
Careers are made and broken, comments are examined and turned into memes or fodder for attack. Stars and companies advertise on Facebook and Instagram to stay relevant. YouTubers who review and play video games have become minor celebrities. The extensive use of social media has also led to a “Gotcha!” culture that leans into “what about” arguments instead of reasoning based on fact. For better and worse, things have changed drastically in the past decade.
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