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What Has Nerd Culture Given Us Over the Last 10 Years?

rick and morty

Over the last ten years, nerd culture has exploded.  Please don’t take that the wrong way if you’re a nerd yourself.  Or if you like any of the things on this list.  I am using the word nerd in an endearing way.  But that doesn’t change that this has exploded over the years.  Think about it, we get a new Star Wars movie every year.  We can watch shows with zombies and dragons and it’s all perfectly normal.  In this post, I am going to go over some really great achievements of the last ten years.

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DC Comics Moves to California

In October of 2013, DC Entertainment president Diane Nelson sent a memo to the New York City-based staff of DC Comics, telling them to get their butts to California. How did this affect the industry?  That’s hard to say, but it certainly had one major impact: once one of the “big two” publishers left town, New York City lost its title as the comic book capital of America, which it had held since the industry began. Thumbs down on that one. Am I right?

The X-Men Return to Television

Who doesn’t love The X-Men?  I mean honestly.  And they have always been one of Marvel’s most popular properties.  But they seemed to reach new heights during the 90s, thanks to the Fox animated X-Men series.  Which, I still watch today.  After that X-Men sort of disappeared from television for the most part.  But FX’s Legion and Fox’s The Gifted have brought Marvel’s mutants back to television, telling novel, innovative stories that represent the still-untapped potential within the X-Men franchise. At a time when TV shows based on comic books are all too comfortable skewing toward the utterly fantastical, both have zeroed in on what really makes genre series like these work: Humanity and compelling characters.

Rick and Morty’s Szechuan Sauce Debacle

Rick and Morty have always had some very devoted fans.  Of course, they do, the show is hilarious, smart and original. But being devoted doesn’t necessarily make you mature.  After a recurring joke in a 2017 episode showered praise on McDonald’s Szechuan sauce, the fast-food chain decided it would bring back the long-gone condiment for a limited time. What was meant to be a fun publicity stunt ended up being anything but fun when demand far exceeded supply. Not only that but social media exploded with an outcry from furious fans.  Poor McDonalds!

The Lost Finale

Lost was the first modern genre show that had the ability to turn almost anyone who watched it into a fan. People of every age, gender, race, and level of nerdiness could be heard talking together about smoke monsters, time travel, and frozen donkey wheels over the course of its 2004-2010 broadcast.  When the finale aired, people all over the world were waiting for the answers that they had been hoping for all along.  But, that didn’t happen. Instead, there was a collective discourse which included frustration, confusion, anger and even enjoyment.  This was a singular moment that saw the expansion of nerd culture in a mainstream way.  One that wasn’t replaced until Game of Thrones more recently.

Doctor Who’s 50th Anniversary Celebration

When Doctor Who turned 50 years old in 2013, it became the longest-running sci-fi TV show in the world.  “The Day of the Doctor” saw then-incumbent star Matt Smith team up with former Doctor David Tennant, alongside a new, secret incarnation of the Doctor played by John Hurt. It’s since been revealed by former showrunner Steven Moffat that the production process on the special was so stressful he almost attempted to pitch a script that didn’t feature the Doctor at all. To be fair, though, had that happened, it would also have probably ended up somewhere on this list.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Becomes Two Movies

The last installment in the Harry Potter franchise was a whopping 759 pages long.  I’m getting tired just thinking about it.  This is one reason they decided to make an extra movie based on the franchise.  That, and the fact that it’s a hugely successful franchise.  Certainly, fans weren’t disappointed in either part of the Deathly Hollows. But once Warner Bros. did this, the floodgates were open. Suddenly any book could be drawn out into two movies, especially the final volumes of series like Twilight and The Hunger Games.

The Handmaid’s Tale Gives Streaming Services its First Major Award

If you haven’t seen this show, it’s based on Margaret Atwood’s chilling and eerily timely novel. Which is set in a transformed America where women are enslaved and repressed.  The fact that this show ended up on Hulu rubbed people the wrong way for some reason.  All of that changed, however, when the show debuted in 2017.  It was a top-quality project with an outstanding cast and production values to rival anything on a major network.  Which is why it became the first streaming show to win an Emmy for Best Drama.  The first of what is likely to be many.

The Hobbit Turns into a Trilogy

Although some Tolkien purists will inevitably disagree, the Lord of the Rings movie trilogy was, basically, perfect. So when director Peter Jackson announced he was returning to Middle-earth to make its prequel, The Hobbit, everyone was incredibly excited. The Hobbit is shorter than each of the books in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, but you could argue—and people did—that two movies made sense with Jackson’ epic filmmaking. But then… it became three.  Was that really necessary?

batgirl

Barbara Gordon Becomes Batgirl Again

In 2011, DC Comics made some bold moves to invigorate its publishing lineup with the New 52. No change was as controversial as returning its genius, wheelchair-using badass Oracle to her previous moniker—Batgirl. It wasn’t just a name change; Barbara Gordon would also be leaving her wheelchair behind 20 years after having been paralyzed by the Joker. It was a disheartening move from DC, which already had very little disability representation in its comics. But just as important, Oracle held her own special place in the DC universe. After all, there have been several other heroes that have gone by the Batgirl moniker, but there’s only ever been one Oracle—and her loss has been felt keenly by fans.

Big Bang Theory Boob Joke

The February 5, 2016, episode of The Big Bang Theory had 15.7 million viewers.  To sidetrack for a moment, hopefully, you’re all familiar with the comic Saga. It’s an unbelievably great sci-fi-fantasy drama about family, war, sex, parenting and more. To be more precise, it’s the type of comic that when the cover of its first issue—which included a woman breastfeeding her baby—was seen as controversial.  Where am I going with this one?  Well, the comic is part of this particular episode where Raj makes a joke about the fact that the cover is a woman breastfeeding her baby.  I do recommend that you read Saga, regardless of this episode of the Big Bang Theory.