The 2010s just ended and now is a good time to reflect on my favorite entertainment from that decade spanning video games, television and film.
There were many TV shows that actually premiered before the 2010s, but some of my favorite episodes of those shows actually aired in the last decade, including Breaking Bad, Supernatural, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Family Guy, American Dad! and Archer, but for the sake of simplicity, I will not include those.
Here are all my personal favorite things from the 2010s.
Disney’s 50th animated film was a welcome throwback to the classic fairy tale musicals that Disney seemed to stop making in the 2000s, and it set the stage for other princess movies like Frozen, Moana and Raya and the Last Dragon as well as signified a return to glory for Walt Disney Animation that continues to this day.
The Walking Dead
This is the TV show of the 2010s that I was the most hooked on. A zombie thriller that focuses on character drama helps make the horror caused by the zombies (and the humans) all the more terrifying.
Red Dead Redemption
The western is a genre that has been long forgotten by Hollywood but it came back in a big way in this open-world video game from Rockstar Games (Grand Theft Auto) and I have never had more fun getting immersed in the old west.
This PlayStation 3 game offered multiple choices that effected the story in different ways which made for a fun interactive experience, but the well-written story was also absorbing whether it was interactive or not.
One of my favorite movies of the decade was this silent film that felt like an homage to classic Hollywood but more importantly told a timeless story regardless of which decade you watched it in.
Game of Thrones
Who would win the Iron Throne? That is a question that I have been asking for ten years and I enjoyed visiting and revisiting Westeros over eight seasons to find out the answer. Of course I would never wanna live there.
A dark political satire that was not only an accurate portrayal of Washington but a hilarious comedy with an outstanding lead performance from Julia Louis-Dreyfus as a narcissistic Vice President. The more unlikable the characters were, the funnier it was.
If anyone needed proof that video games are art, it was this beautiful game that was going to do it. No dialogue is spoken, but the game is emotional nonetheless.
Orange Is the New Black
The thing I loved about this Netflix prison drama was that there were dozens of characters in the cast, and every single one of them from the prisoners to the guards to the prison warden was interesting. Especially when the show dove into their back stories via flashback.
Rick & Morty
The Adult Swim sci-fi comedy Rick & Morty was so outrageous and unafraid to do or say anything that the writing was free to be as funny and as intelligent as possible, often making for a show that was more than just a dumb comedy. Although it never forgot that it was a dumb comedy.
The Last of Us
I don’t normally like gritty shooters but like the Metal Gear Solid games, the zombie game The Last of Us pulled me in with characters that I cared about and a story that was dramatic and totally eerie.
The Lego Movie
The Lego Movie seemed like little more than a toy commercial when I first saw the trailers but Phil Lord and Chris Miller made it much more and ended up telling a story that was more of an imaginative and heartfelt fable than a cynical cash grab.
Jane the Virgin
Television at its most addictive. Nothing drove me more crazy than the love triangle at the center of this CW telenovela. The soapy drama was high-stakes and it featured everything from murder to amnesia and even evil twins, but the acting was so good that the characters were all grounded in reality, which kept me invested.
No comedy duo made me laugh more than Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer in the New York-set Comedy Central series Broad City, which was the first show I’ve ever watched that featured girls talking the way I heard girls talk in real life.
Starts out as a commentary on being a washed up Hollywood celebrity and soon turns into something much darker and more depressing.
One of the best films of the decade was this movie that took place inside the mind of a little girl. It was one of the most creative in Pixar’s filmography as it tackled themes of growing up and the importance of expressing emotion.
Better Call Saul
This spin-off of Breaking Bad that told the origin story of sleazy lawyer Saul Goodman is just as absorbing as Breaking Bad and in some ways more intriguing since you know where the story is going. You just don’t know how it’s going to get there. And that’s part of the fun.
This RPG that took place in a strange underworld full of monsters was more like a parody of an RPG but it was very funny and fun to play. It was like a cross between Earthbound and Grim Fandango but even more weird than both of those games.
I had been waiting for Marvel superhero Deadpool to hit the big screen for years and when Ryan Reynolds finally headed a movie starring the Merc with a Mouth, it was everything I hoped it would be, R-rated humor intact.
La La Land
I fell in love with this musical from the first scene, and it only got better from there. Words can’t describe how much I loved it. Just watch it.
The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story
I binged right through this miniseries and was never bored a single minute. Even if it wasn’t based on one of the most famous cases in modern history, it would still be a brilliant and intriguing drama.
It was about time Wonder Woman got her own movie and it largely succeeded on the likability of Gal Gadot and director Patty Jenkins’ focus on the character’s heart and humanity.
The rubberhose animation-inspired art style of the action-packed side-scrolling game Cuphead was only half the game’s appeal. The other half was how relentlessly challenging it was. It tested the mettle of players like few other games have.
Super Mario Odyssey
There were a lot of great Mario games from this decade but none as fun as this one which allowed you to use Mario’s hat to possess everything from Goombas and Chain Chomps to ghosts and dinosaurs.
What Remains of Edith Finch
Exploring the long-abandoned mansion of your ancestors to learn about a family curse offered a video game experience that was both riveting and unforgettable.
Nothing made me weep the way I did watching a superhero movie that not only featured black characters in the lead but told a story that only could have been told through the black POV, making the cast’s race essential to the film’s themes. For the first time I heard my voice in a Marvel film.
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
One of the best films of the decade was this fresh and fun animated sci-fi tale about a group of different versions of Spider-Man teaming up to bring order to the multiverse. The look and feel is different from most American animated films but the humor and heart are what really make this film a home run.
God of War
A father-son drama that doubled as interactive entertainment, this PS4 game gave an added level of depth to Kratos following the largely action-focused God of War trilogy that spanned PS2 and PS3.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
A Super Smash Bros. game that features every playable character from every previous Super Smash Bros. game. Enough said.
Marvel Cinematic Universe
Marvel made creating a decade of interconnected movies and bringing them together in an intergalactic crossover look easy, but the fact that they pulled it off and still managed to make the majority of their films completely entertaining in their own right is a cinematic achievement like no other.
Star Wars Sequel Trilogy
When Star Wars: The Force Awakens was released, I fell in love with Star Wars all over again. Characters like Rey, Finn and Poe Dameron were easy to root for and Kylo Ren was a villain who was easy to hate. By the time The Rise of Skywalker came out in 2019, the sequel trilogy had taken its place as my second-favorite sci-fi trilogy of all time.
Toy Story 4
I would have put Toy Story 3 on this list but its significance got overshadowed by the fourth entry. TS3 was seemingly the perfect ending for the series, but it was not the perfect ending for Woody. That wouldn’t come until Toy Story 4, which featured a much more satisfying ending to Woody’s story.
The Mandalorian was not the first TV series based on Star Wars that I liked, but it is the best.
Kingdom Hearts III
This decade featured Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep for the PlayStation Portable and Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance for the Nintendo 3DS, but nothing could compare to seeing the saga conclude in the long-awaited sequel to Kingdom Hearts II.
Untitled Goose Game
A game where you played as a goose whose goal was basically to ruin everyone’s day was as silly as it was entertaining.