Well Nerds and Nerdettes it is time to finish up Nerdin in The New Millennium. Now this is part two of N2K, yes, but what we have been basically doing is a run of Nerdstalgia and talking about the shift. The shift began in 99, which we discussed, and the shift kind of moved and the wave began to build through the decade and it brought us to where we are currently. Some would consider this the crest or pinnacle of Nerd Culture. Maybe it is…maybe the crash comes soon…maybe it doesn't we will see, but let's talk about what made this decade the moment it all changed for Nerd Culture.
During the 2001-2009 era of Nerd Culture, we saw the birth of so many franchises that changed everything for Nerds; franchises that are still going or have at least spun off into other things. Here are some of the bigger franchises that came out of The 2000's.
(2001) Lord of The Rings: Finally we got to see one of the best epics in Nerd Culture, on the big screen. Meeting the live action versions of The Fellowship made every nerd's dreams come true. After the trilogy, we then got a trilogy for The Hobbit prequels. This franchise is one of the biggest things to come out of the 2000's for us and still one of the biggest fantasy genres of all time
(2001) Harry Potter Saga: 2001 also gave us the amazing Wizarding World of Harry Potter on the big screen. After years of reading J.K. Rowling's creation, we finally got to see "the boy who lived" brought to life. The Cast was perfect, the world was immersive, and the Nerdiverse wept as we got to see all our beloved characters' story's unfold.
(2001) Fast and The Furious: 2001 brought us Harry Potter and Lord of The Rings, and also this franchise…that honestly, is STILL going on, but shouldn't be. It's time to stop these movies. However, after saying that. I did enjoy the first 2 and still miss Paul Walker as an actor.
(2002) Spider-Man: After X-Men dropped in 2000, and before The MCU began, we say Toby McGuire's franchise of Spider-Man began. It was so easy to fall in love with, but looking back now, it was so cartoon campy. Don't get me wrong, I didn't hate it, but the 3rd installment sucked, we now know Toby WASN'T the best candidate, the graphics were not all they were cracked up to be, and some of the casting directors should be fired from Hollywood. However, like I said…I didn't hate it.
(2003) Pirates of The Caribbean: The Pirate's life is never spoken ill of. Not once has anyone thought hmmm something pirate; yuck. EVERYONE LOVES PIRATES. Maybe it's the flag, the sea, the sword, or maybe it's the rum; but in 2003, if you weren't a fan of the genre, by golly you were now. Johnny Depp hit the screen as Captain Jack Sparrow, and we still haven't seen the end of him or the franchise. This may have been based on a Disney ride, but could quite possibly be my favorite thing that MouseOpoly has ever released.
(2005) Batman Begins: Christopher Nolan's Batman series put DC back on the map, after the last BatFailure that was Batman and Robin in 1997. It gave us Heath Ledger's Joker, Michael Caine's Alfred, Gary Oldman's Detective Jim Gordon, and so many memorable performances as well as live action Batman characters.
(2008) The MCU: "I am Iron Man." With those three words, The Marvel Cinematic Universe was born. This one is still going strong today, and just saw the end of its Infinity Saga with Avengers Endgame. Where this franchise goes next, we have no idea; but everyone is patiently waiting for this pandemic to end so we can see Black Widow finally. This franchise might possibly be the biggest things to come out of the 2000's.
These are just some of the many big named franchises to come out of the decade. There are so many more that made impacts like Shrek, Cars, 300, Transformers, Saw, Twilight…Thor almighty it was the decade of the franchise. However I wanna move on to some other things.
The big screen in this decade was monumental, but lets talk about television shows for this particular decade. I want to talk about some of the impactful shows; no matter if it's cartoon or live action, nerdy or just that show that EVERYONE was watching.
(2001 - 2003) The Office EU: The British version of The Office. It's hard to picture what TV would be like without The Office in general, but Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant's version of the show paved the way for the American Version. If you have gone back and watched the show, it's easy to see where American's lost interest. After all, we have a short attention span for the humor and sometimes it was tough to understand when they got going in quick conversations. I enjoyed it though, and without it, we don't get one of the most binge watched shows ever.
(2005 - 2013) The Office US: The US version of the is perhaps one of the most binged shows during its time on streaming devices. It is still binged more than most newer shows to Netflix. The big news is that in 2021, it is being pulled from Netflix and will most like move to exclusively ABC stream app or could be a ploy to bring more people to either stream app. Some people believe it is because a reunion is being planned or a new DVD set is being released. It would be a brilliant Supply and Demand type move.
(2001 - 2010) 24: Jack Baur was a house hold name across America as he raced against the clock thwarting terrorist plots. Keifer Southerland has always been a favorite actor of mine and definitely delivers in the fast moving action pack series.
(2006 - 2013) Dexter: A mild mannered husband and father who doubles as a serial killer. What's not to love. My dear friend Logan AKA The Rev himself loved this show…well except the terrible finale. The Trinity Killer was an amazing story arch and the biggest jaw dropping end ever to an arch.
(2004 - 2010) Lost: We are currently binging this to show my Dad and sister during quarantine. This was a fantastic and deep show. You show up for the plot of survivors lost on an island, but you stay for the deep and intense mind blowing storylines. This was created by the same people who created Once Upon a Time so naturally it’s a bitt trippy with timelines.
I could go into detail about a lot of other titles; like Firefly, How I Met Your Mother, True Blood, CSI, House, Breaking Bad, my goodness the list is massive. Some could say that this was the decade of TV ratings. These shows were huge. These titles are so big that the following is outrageous. I mean The Office and How I Met Your Mother were two of the biggest names on television and are still binged and have people clamoring for reunions. Id be interested to know, what were your shows during the 2000's? Email me, let me know.
Now I bet some of you Nerd and Nerdettes are sitting there listening and thinking…wait… wait wait wait. What about what about. Well slow your hater tots there Nerdy Lou Who. I would never forget about the show that changed everything for us. The show that normalized Nerd Culture for us. Probably the singular IP that normalized our culture more than any DC, Marvel, or any IP can…
I, of course, am talking about The Big Bang Theory. That’s right, in 2007 a show hit the TV waves that would have the whole world saying things like Bazinga and Penny, Penny, Penny… This show opened so many eyes to not just our culture, but the Nerdiverse as a whole. Whether it be science, comic books, gaming…no matter what it was, this show made it not just cool to be a nerd, but…normal. The nerd got the girl, got their dreams, had their friends, succeeded. It showed us that without nerds, this world does not keep spinning. Thank to this show, people were buying Green Lantern shirts and learning things like who Adam West was. They are laughing, yes, but in that humor comes the subconscious lesson of Nerd Culture. It was intelligent comedy also. So sure, your average consumer was laughing but some jokes were just for us. So of course I'm gonna talk about this show. Fun fact, my Dad has seen almost every episode and I have not. I know. Weird, but it's his favorite show on television, and he is normally a SportsCenter guy. So cheers to you BBT…for changing the world for us.
Two generations of consoles dominated the 2000's with 6th generation consoles like Xbox and PS2 in the early years and about halfway through the birth of 7th generation consoles like Xbox 360, The Wii, and The PS3 came along.
The two big stories that came out of the early 2000's though, Sega was leaving the market war after two failed gaming systems and Microsoft was entering the war. Sega stated that the poor performance of the Sega Dreamcast and Sega Saturn lines contributed to their decision. The company returned to third party publishing for the remaining consoles. Microsoft officially debuted their Xbox console at the Game Developers Conference in 2000 after much speculation. After the release of the Xbox and PlayStation 2, a noticeable trend was to push video game consoles into media centers and offer more features than just playing games. Nintendo was slow to react and released the Gamecube in 2001 without many of the exotic features seen in other consoles. Instead, Nintendo was focusing on improving the gameplay experience, as well as preparing its new innovative controller to be released in 2006. Backward compatibility also became a staple feature to gaming in this decade. The PlayStation 2 was the first major system to allow for backward compatibility to a preceding console.
Copyright infringement became a big concern to game developers and many companies tried experimenting with ways to combat the growing problem, especially among PC games. Some companies required registration through the use of a product key. In one of the more notable events of the decade, Valve was hit particularly hard by a hacker and subsequently had much of their work on Half-Life 2 leaked onto the internet.
Sony and Microsoft released their PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 consoles in the mid-decade. As the decade progressed, more and more features were added to consoles. Internet connectivity became ubiquitous and some games integrated the use of webcam accessories. In the mid-decade, the industry was caught in the crossfire of the HD DVD and Blu-ray format war. Ultimately, the Blu-ray format won out, but that didn't help Microsoft after they have already made HD DVD compatibility a feature. Nintendo had still yet to release a system compatible for viewing films. Instead, Nintendo unveiled the Wii and revolutionized the industry with the interactive gameplay that its brand new controller provided. It would not be until the next decade that Sony or Microsoft would release a similar motion controller to the Wii as an accessory
PC video games remained popular throughout the decade, but was in an overall decline as consoles became more and more popular. Publishers also liked the standardization that consoles provided, whereas PC game performance was dependent on the graphic capabilities of a player's hardware. Nevertheless, the PC remained the device of choice for many popular strategy, simulation, and online games.
Blizzard was a company in the spotlight on numerous occasions throughout the 2000s and loyal to the PC. In 2000, it released the hack and slash game Diablo II which is frequently listed as one of the best games ever made. The game continues to have a wide following many years after its release and was listed on NPD Group's top ten PC games sales list as recently as 2010. Then in 2004, Blizzard wowed gamers with the release of World of Warcraft, which was the world's most-subscribed MMORPG at the time with over 10 million subscribers.
The Sims, a spin-off project of the popular Sim City franchise, also became a popular game of the era. Combining all of its sequels and expansions, The Sims easily becomes one of the best-selling PC game in history. The Sims also had an important role in bringing female and casual gamers into the often male-dominated and hardcore video game market.
As video games approached greater realism in their graphic capabilities, it was inevitable that controversy would result. The evidence was inconclusive, but debates continued throughout the decade about the level of profanity, violence, pornography, and whether or not video games had an addictive effect. One game series in particular that was no stranger to controversy in the 2000s was Grand Theft Auto. In the 2004 San Andreas installment of the series, the game received widespread criticism revolving around the Hot Coffee mod, a normally disabled mini-game that could be enabled. The drama and pressure forced the ESRB to re-rate the game as an AO (Adults Only) and to have it pulled from store shelves. The game was also criticized for being excessively violent. Another game that struck a nerve with many analysts and the general public was a game released in 2005 entitled Super Columbine Massacre RPG! in which a player actually carries out the events of the 1999 Columbine high school shooting. The game and its creator, Danny Ledonne, was both praised for the bold statement on free speech and criticized for being distasteful. It became the first finalist to ever be rejected at the 2007 Slamdance Film Festival's Guerrilla Games Competition. In protest of the rejection, many of the finalists withdrew from the competition and in the end no awards were handed out that year. The competition has not been held since the 2007 incident.
As video games diversified and became an ever-present part of pop culture, its influence began integrating with other media. The film industry in particular took notice and capitalized on how they could integrate video games into their storytelling. The Wachowskis, known for their Matrix series of films, developed Enter the Matrix to tie together the events of The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions motion pictures. Making films from video games is nothing new to Hollywood, but the transition from video game to film doesn't always succeed. The 2000s however began to show promise in the profitability and success of making video game-based films. Opening in 2001, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider became the highest-grossing video game adaptation with over a US$274 million box office performance. Tomb Raider held that title for nearly a decade. Other adaptations in the 2000s included the popular Resident Evil saga, Silent Hill, Max Payne, Hitman, Alone in the Dark, DOOM, House of the Dead, and Dungeon Siege.
The 2000s was also the first decade that the medium has significantly affected classical music. Tommy Tallarico and Jack Wall had a vision that a concert would be a way to show "how culturally significant video games and video game music is in the world today." The first Video Games Live concert was held at the Hollywood Bowl on July 6, 2005 to an audience of 11,000 people. Many of the events feature a live orchestra, synchronized lighting and effects, and gameplay projected onto a screen.
So I want to take the time to talk about some of the pardon the pun "GAME" changing titles to come out of this particular decade. Now let me tell you, there is a massive list of game franchises that began in this decade, and if you wanna take the time, you can find that list. So let's go through some of the big names.
Assassin's Creed (2007)
Batman: Arkham (2009)
Call of Duty (2003)
Dead Space (2008)
Dead Rising (2006)
Dragon Age (2009
Far Cry (2004)
Gears of War (2006)
God of War (2005)
Guitar Hero (2005)
Kingdom Hearts (2002)
Left 4 Dead (2008)
Mass Effect (2007)