The last five weeks of every decade generally bring a frenzy of media list-making. However, in this first decade of the blogging era, the cataloging of best and worsts should approach H1N1 emergency levels.
Today, with Avatar and Carrie Underwood's Christmas Special still unseen, the first lists are in. Time Out New York gets ahead of the pack with a Top 50 Movies of the Decade list and the Hollywood Reporter is calling it a wrap on the ten best TV series of the past ten years.
What early conclusions can we draw about our decade based on the first two lists? Well, we may not have liked to see entertainment about the Iraq War, but it would seem our entertainment was a lot like the Iraq War: long, drawn out and very dark. And for the listers of Time Out, not filled with two many words.
On both the film and TV lists, big, heavy, bleak slow-moving dramas dominate: There Will Be Blood, Dogville, The New World, Zodiac, The Sopranos, The Shield, 24, Damages. A lot of fine works in that list but the citizens of tomorrow will certainly look back on the artists of the 00's and say, boy, that must've been a fun crowd to hang around with.
On the other end of the pendulum however, when the decade tried to lighten up the results were almost more depressing. The lists are heavy on the affected zaniness that passed for free-spirited in the past decade; movies and shows which were distinguished by their uses of trippy twists and free-floating design and characterization. Mulholland Drive, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, I'm Not There, I Heart Huckabees, Inglorious Bastards, Modern Family. Again, some fine works in that list but the collective sense our outer space visitors will take away when they find them is, these people really were trying to hard to be "special" weren't they?