Entertainment of the Decade

2020 is a brand new year, bringing with it the highs and lows of brand new entertainment. Through the past 10 years, together everyone has experienced global sensations such as Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, the new Star Wars trilogy, an awfully large amount of Marvel media and brand new musical artists springing out the woodwork every chance they get.

I’ve decided, rather than writing my top 10 movies or bottom 10 television shows, or such like, of the decade, I will simply speak about some of the movies/television shows/music that has truly struck a chord with me in these last 10 years. Not everything will have been released this decade, some will be things I only got the chance to experience during this decade (being 13 at the start of this decade, I was only just getting out of my High School Musical and Disney phase long enough to enjoy a much broader spectrum of entertainment).

Game of Thrones
2011 – 2019
8/10

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Game of Thrones would make this list. This was a truly phenomenal television show, between the talent of the actors, film crew, costume crew and everybody involved it was an incredibly gut-wrenching, heart-pulling, beautiful creation. Of course, this television show stems from the magnificent books written by George R. R. Martin, and without him we wouldn’t have had this masterpiece so I cannot help be completely grateful to him (especially as I am currently reading the books right now and they truly are the stories that you can’t put down).
I didn’t begin watching Game of Thrones when it first came on TV. I didn’t watch it until Season 6 was roughly two months away from airing and my brother begged me for the 1000th time to watch the show he was adamant I would love. I’ll be honest, it took me three times over the course of a year and a half. Every tale needs to set up a story, the characters, the passions and drives of everybody involved and for me I found it very hard to get through those episodes that were mostly devoted to this. Eventually, I was on holiday from college and decided to try again, for my third time. And that was me, I became hooked.
As slow as season 1 was at times, I truly did want to know what would happen to the Stark’s, how far the Lannister’s would go, whether the Baratheon’s would be remotely successful, and honestly I just fell in love with Robb Stark so of course I had to continue watching. (I know, I grew to regret that).
Overall, every season of this show brought the viewer joy, and love and happiness. Whilst, at the same time, tearing apart your heart and walking all over it. Eventually it did fall in to a pattern, everyone knew to keep an eye on episode 9 of each season for example. Whilst the pattern’s existence was not an issue with the show, it did create expectations and when the show was unable to succeed these expectations fans were left annoyed or upset and some were just left empty.
I won’t lie, I did enjoy the final two seasons. Yes, I agree, they were not done to the best of their abilities and some of the writing was sloppy and rushed so for that I am annoyed and frustrated at the writers. However, did I get the ending I wanted? Yes, mostly. Therefore, I have less to complain about than some others. I’m not planning on reviewing the entire season 8 (God knows there are many more out there, many likely better than mine could ever been as well). But for an ending to a television show that was so beloved I do believe there was much that could have been done better, the season was too short, not enough made sense and things were rushed. However, none of this takes away the utter brilliance of the show as a whole, the raw emotion it created in viewers, the visceral hurt and almost tangible love. Take the Red Wedding episode for example, every fan is tied together with a bond of heartbreak and shock after experiencing this one and for that I appreciate this show so fully. I began watching this show at a very lonely time in my life, and suddenly as I watched the Arya Stark kicking some serious ass and Jon Snow falling in love with a wildling woman, as Theon Greyjoy suffered and clambered out of that pit of misery and pain and torture in to a person I could have love and appreciation and respect for, I realised I wasn’t alone. And that is a feeling I truly believe only incredible shows can create.

Shelter
2007 (watched in 2011)
7/10

Had i been asked to review this movie at a younger age I would have given it a 10/10 in a heartbeat, however I have grown from that 14 year old girl who was lost and confused and feeling her own confusion with sexuality growing within her. At this age I had figured that I was bisexual, but I didn’t understand it, I didn’t completely accept it. I would tell friends with an air of confidence around me (or at least, I figured I was coming across as confident) but inside was just a very scared and confused little girl.
Then I watched this movie. It didn’t cure all my fear, didn’t make my own life make complete sense, but as anybody who has had these moments could tell you – a movie like this, it makes you feel so much less alone. Not in the same sense as Game of Thrones did, but in the sense of ‘I’m not the only person having these thoughts’ or ‘so it is normal to have these feelings then?’ and that is a type of relief I could never describe.
Shelter is in fact a directorial debut (Jonah Markowitz), and what an incredible one it was. Young artist Zach sacrifices a lot for his family, his main focus being his sister’s young son who he cares for like an older brother or sometimes even a Father. Outwith his family he has an on/off girlfriend and a best friend, and that is his life. Small, difficult but fairly basic. Until he falls in love with his best friends brother. It sounds like a generic plot, and maybe it is (especially to all those people out there who have read even maybe one fanfiction in their lifetime) but the story itself is beautiful. This is a coming of age movie that completely slotted my entire decade in to place. Watching the struggles of such a gentle and loving boy as Zach trying to juggle between what is expected of him and what he truly wants, watching Shaun love and cherish him throughout everything, seeing the humane turmoils and relationships struggles the pair have. Everything feels so natural and human, the ending wraps up so beautifully that the hairs on your arm are tickling each other as they stand on edge and your eyes are watering slowly whilst your heart hurts in your chest. And it’s sheerly out of pure joy and an overwhelming wave of being content.
Being from 2007, when this movie is watched now it is quite clearly a slightly older indie movie and whether you enjoy that or it irritates you completely depends on the person. I generally don’t like watching older movies with slightly off quality or muted tones (mostly because of my bad eyesight and I get headaches, however, it also just reminds me that this is a movie and I like to be dragged in to the world of what I’m watching instead of constantly reminded by gritty screens or slightly stilted acting and strange camera movements that this is fiction.) This movie, however, makes it worth sitting through the more muted screen of a movie from over a decade ago.
If there was one movie I would recommend to anybody it is Shelter, especially for those who are going through/have went through the struggles of coming to terms with your sexuality. The story you are taken through, the love you feel for the characters is something fresh and real.

Avengers: Endgame
2019
9½/10

If I had the time (and effort) to write up a review and express my feelings on every single marvel movie created then I would. However, I don’t sadly so I’ll go for the most recent and the tie up of my entire decade. The excitement this movie created before it had even came out was something that couldn’t have been faked, the second that Infinity War ended people across the entire world were begging for part 2. Each trailer release, every sneak peek, even a slight rumour, would get the fanbase whispering and murmuring to each other about all the possibilities. The movie itself lived up to the hype. Before going in to the movie itself, I just have to give kudos to the actors that dedicated over ten years to this franchise. Robert Downey Jr and Chris Evans, I couldn’t thank them even if I had all the time in the world to try. Scarlett Johansson was one of the first women on screen that truly made me feel women could be badass too, I had always believed it (after all, I was brought up watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer) but watching as Black Widow kicked and fought and won alongside her equal counterparts brought me a feeling of belonging and joy I wasn’t experiencing on mainstream movie and television entertainment.
Therefore, Endgame was an utterly heartwrenching, beautiful, painful and bittersweet moment for me and I’m sure many other viewers. From watching the struggles of the remaining Avengers, back down to such a small number, helpless and lost, to that iconic scene of everyone walking through the portals and Captain America’s long-awaited “Avengers… Assemble.” I don’t think I stopped crying throughout the entire film, clutching my boyfriends hand at every twist and turn, my leg shaking with anticipation. And when I left, I felt nothing but completely whole. I had gotten the story I so desperately wanted, I lost characters that had been there for me longer than most of the people in my life, I had been fully immersed in this world and when the lights came on in the cinema and it was time to go home I was momentarily surprised to be back in reality. Watching this film for the first time will be a memory I will forever cherish.
It was a long movie, and whilst there were some scenes here or there that may have ‘dragged’ had it not been for the fact I would willingly watch each of these characters paint a wall in silence, and also Sebastian Stan did not get nearly enough screen time, the movie itself as a whole was a cinematic masterpiece.

Twenty One Pilots
2009 – present
Ratings not relevant to a band

Probably the only band I will actually review in this decade rundown, the band that changed my life and saved it all at the same time. A band that isn’t afraid to approach dark topics, speak their mind and scream their feelings from the rooftop (quite literally in Tyler Joseph’s case). Finding this band in the middle of the decade absolutely broke me and put me back together again. And the hilarious part is I hated them at first. I heard a song or two and wanted nothing to do with them, not because they were bad but because it hit too close to home that I didn’t want to even entertain the idea of enjoying their music. Then, on a late night scroll through Youtube, I was recommended a song. ‘Migraine’ it was called, and having a chronic migraine condition myself I figured it would be funny to listen to the song and the metaphors relating to a migraine. I didn’t pay much attention to the name of the band, I didn’t care I just wanted a good chuckle. A chuckle is not what I got, at the end of the song I was silent and confused because I did get my fantastic migraine metaphors but not at all in the way I was expecting. I was left feeling open and exposed, and I wanted more. So I went digging and stumbled across some familiar songs that I had expressed hatred for in the past. I listened to them again and that was me, up until 4am listening to Twenty One Pilots, watching interviews, digging about online for any information I could find on this band who could put my own feelings and pain and climb to recovery into a whole bunch of three minute songs. From that day on Twenty One Pilots were an every day part of my life, too much of my money went on them, I got to see them live and cry my heart out as even live (especially live in fact) the emotions from them struck straight in to me, I listened to them every day and on the bad days they are all I listen to in order to help remind me I’m not alone, I can get through this, and that there is never reason for me to give up. Twenty One Pilots have been vital to this decade for me, and to so many other people out there, that I don’t know if anybody could ever make them see just truly how incredible and beautiful and talented and needed these two guys are.

Others worth mentioning:
I don’t want to fully review everything, but the next selection are certain pieces of media entertainment that have resonated with me sometime over the past ten years.

Stranger Things
2016 – present
8/10
A coming of age show with elements of Stephen King sprinkled throughout it, of course I’m going to love this. Every character has loveable parts to them as well as annoying or offensive or just bad, and due to this each character is human. It’s a cult show for a reason, I am praying that during this next decade this show is not drawn out and overdone because if done right this could be one of the most legendary and memorable shows to ever grace our televisions.

Umbrella Academy
2019 – present
7/10
A magical show, funny and sad and camp and serious. Gerard Way’s creations come to life in this show that I truly believe has been incredibly undervalued since its release last year. Some characters a little difficult to like, which is what takes the rating down slightly, but each one has a story that you want to hear. The entire show is a tale of love and heartbreak and family, and as always Robert Sheehan is an absolute scene stealer. Klaus and Ben are two characters that could take this show beyond just a fun Netflix show, and I can’t wait to see what happens next. I’m hoping the other characters, especially Allison, get some fantastic scenes in the next season because we got a taste at how incredible their stories could be so to watch them come to life will be incredible.

You
2018 – present
8½/10
A gripping story of a delusional, twisted and terrifying man dressed up in the body of a gentleman. I want to do a proper review on only this, so I won’t be saying much here. However, it is an incredible show with the potential to just get better and better. It also has the potential to become repetitive, so my fingers are crossed for season three doing well. With plot twists, murder, love and genuine moral questions being thrown at you left, right and centre, this show is one for the record books.

Mindhunter
2017 – present
8½/10
Another show I want to do a review on at a different time. As a student of criminology this show screamed and hollered at me to watch it and eventually, with a helpful nudge from one of my closest friends, I decided to watch it and I was hooked instantly. Some of the show drags slightly, but the acting and the story and the lessons learnt throughout make it worthwhile. An outstanding piece of art, and I am desperate to read the book (which if I ever do read I will likely also review).

Sherlock
2010 – ?
5½/10
I’ll be honest, when this show first came out I was downright obsessed. Benedict Cumberbatch was fantastic as Sherlock Holmes, and the entire story of Sherlock Holmes has always been a favourite of mine (I named my cat Moriarty after all, the obsession ran deep). However, as fantastic as Sherlock’s story always is, as incredible as the acting was from majority of the cast and the beautiful scripts, this show started to die for me before it even ended. Has it ended? I don’t know anymore, the writers themselves don’t even know. Between the ridiculously long waits between seasons, the writing going slightly downhill and the actors being constantly booked on other shows and movies, I have to admit I gave up on this show before the (current) final season.

The Walking Dead
2010-present
6/10
I can’t currently review this to my best ability as I haven’t finished it. This is because I gave up during the middle seasons, I’ve heard talk that it is getting better again, that storylines and characters are suddenly enjoyable again and that gives me hope. Although, a part of me wants to hold off until it (finally) ends to decide whether or not it’s worth putting myself through again. (BIG SPOILER AHEAD) The death of Carl will never be forgiven in my eyes, and therefore whether I watch this show again is still up for questioning. The show I watched at the start, the characters I fell in love with during that time, are what I like to remember when I think of this show. The fight and determination and the message they gave was what this show stood for in my eyes.

Some honourable mentions;

IT: I already have a full review of IT 2, and in it I also speak of IT Chapter One. It deserves a mention in here though as these movies sparked my love for horror and Stephen King again, and I’ll forever be grateful of that. Incredible movies about children growing up too fast, and brilliant acting. 9/10
Saving Private Ryan: I watched this movie at school, so yes I’m aware this movie came out in the 90’s however having only watched it in this decade I decided to include it. One of the most gripping movies I have ever watched, absolutely devastating tale of heroes and humanity and war. I will never get over the first 20 minutes of this movie, a piece of my heart will always be broken after watching this. 9/10
Teen Wolf: a hilarious, emotional and slightly camp show that was my guilty pleasure to watch when each new episode came out. It very evidently queerbaited, however, and didn’t treat all the characters to the same degree as others which was unfortunate. But overall, a very fun and silly show to watch, with emotional moments sprinkled in and the occasional heart-wrenching scene (if you do fall in love with any of the characters). It also had a fantastic soundtrack. 7/10
Brooklyn 99: Hilarious, silly, woke but not in a cringey or forced way. A great watch for everyone, the characters are fun and loveable, the writing is brilliant, the comedy is actually genuinely funny and it’s a very easy watch. Captain Holt is the stand-out for me, he will always be my favourite and if he leaves I’ll riot. 8/10
Shameless US: I never could watch the British version of Shameless, perhaps because I am British so I cringed too much, but the American version was always a little bit of a guilty pleasure of mine. It’s a fun show to watch, with sometimes irredeemable characters that ruin the episodes and confusing scripts it is maybe not a masterpiece but it’s fun and goofy and does tackle some very real problems (and also some very not real problems that are just kind of entertaining to watch). Plus, Mickey and Ian will always be one of the best television couples to ever exist, try change my mind. 7/10
Criminal Minds: This show has been around for nearly two decades now and sadly it shows. The concept of the entire show is a favourite of mine, one of the only ‘cop show’ type shows I would ever truly enjoy, NCIS and such always felt a little too cheesy for me. Criminal Minds had some interesting characters, even more interesting cases and the main characters were mostly loveable and relatable. Episodes became repetitive sadly, and characters came and went so fast and suddenly that stories and relationships became messy or confusing. 7/10
Harry Potter franchise coming to an end: a devastating moment for me as Harry Potter is my entire childhood. The ending was bittersweet, I loved every second of it but I hated that it was ending. My heart will always belong to the wizarding world, and whilst I am one of those who preferred the books that ended before the decade, the ending of the movies was truly like a door shutting on my childhood. A beautiful end to a beautiful story, but I will one day do a review on both the movie franchise and the book franchise because I have a lot of feelings about Harry Potter.
My Chemical Romance breakup/reunion: I never thought I’d be writing about both of these occurring in the same decade. But My Chemical Romance have been such a memorable part of my entire decade, from my emo teenage days to my hidden emo adult days, the reunion was one of the best days of my 2019 and I’m so excited to see what’s in store for these guys in the upcoming decade.

If you made it this far then thank you for reading. I’m honestly just spilling words and some feelings about things I enjoy, but this was some of my entertainment highlights of the decade. Some things I will have forgotten for sure, and my opinion on some if not all of these things will probably change one day. For now, however, this is how I feel in regards to the decade that enveloped my teenage years and growing into an adult. Some of the hardest things to ever happen to me have happened in the last ten years, and these are what got me through those moments (along with family and friends of course), so I just wanted to have all of this in writing.

– Becky

Photo Cred: https://www.impactbnd.com/blog/digital-marketing-in-2020-what-to-expect-in-the-new-decade

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