A Decade in Review: The 2010’s

There are only three weeks left in this decade. It makes me think about the movies that will turn 100 during the “new 20’s” and the images from those films that still inhabit our popular imagination, like the vampire walking up the staircase in Nosferatu (1922), the birth of the machine-man in Metropolis (1927), or the tramp befriending a youngster in The Kid (1921). The 1920’s forever changed the art form of the motion picture with the invention of sound, and with due respect to Roger Ebert, it was the last decade that film could be described as an entirely visual medium.

What about the 2010’s? The decade’s most important picture from a commercial standpoint was certainly 2019’s Avengers: Endgame, which wrapped up a story told across almost two-dozen previous films, and made more money than any movie before it. Endgame will not win any Oscars in February, except maybe for Visual Effects. It won’t make many critics lists of “movie of the decade” either. And, if I’m perfectly honest, I didn’t love Endgame. However, it demonstrates a triumph of serialized filmmaking beyond the “trilogy” model pioneered by Star Wars.

And what about Star Wars? The Sequel Trilogy has made money hand over fist, and the films so far have certainly surpassed the…ahem…quality of the Prequel Trilogy. Overall, I cannot judge the Sequel Trilogy until next Friday. Stay tuned.

Speaking of Star Wars, I’m currently very much enjoying watching The Mandalorian and Rebels on Disney Plus. That brings me to television in the 2010’s. I cannot understate what television achieved this decade in terms of art and technology. In the 2010’s, shows like The Americans, Stranger Things, and Game of Thrones (for better or worse) demonstrated that television may be a better place to tell certain stories that the cinema.

Has the explosion of television options during this time of the “Streaming Wars” watered down the cultural impact of the medium? Yes, and no. A mere six months after the end of Game of Thrones was supposed to end appointment television, we can’t stop talking about Baby Yoda. It has become harder for television series to capture the attention of a distracted public, but certainly not impossible.

That brings me to lists. Top ten movies and television shows of the 2010’s:


1. Gravity (2013)

2. Black Panther (2018)

3. Get Out (2017)

4. Toy Story 3 (2010)

5. Inside Llewyn Davis (2013)

6. Lincoln (2012)

7. Nebraska (2013)

8. Twelve Years a Slave (2013)

9. Roma (2018)

10. Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015)


1. The Americans (FX)

2. Mad Men (AMC)

3. Breaking Bad (AMC)

4. Parks and Recreation (NBC)

5. Game of Thrones (HBO)

6. Fargo (FX)

7. Stranger Things (Netflix)

8. Better Call Saul (AMC)

9. The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Amazon)

10. New Girl (Fox)

(C) 2019 D.G. McCabe

By D.G. McCabe

I write fantasy/science fiction, plays, and commentary on popular culture.