Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Graphic: Natalie Peeples

Winding down our coverage of the best pop culture of the decade, we’re turning our retrospective inward with a look back at some of the articles, essays, reviews, and interviews we’re most proud of from this past decade.


2010

Photo: Silver Screen Collection/Hulton Archive (Getty Images)

January 11, 2010: “Oh, I’m chasing this guy? No, he’s chasing me.” 34 essential uses of voiceover in film

June 22, 2010: Nobody’s watching: The strange genius of the fourth season of ’Til Death | “Imagine for a second that you’ve been handed a TV show. It’s a long-running show, coming up on 100 episodes, yet it’s been off the air for almost a year. You have almost complete assurance that when this show gets on the air, no one will be watching it.”—by Emily VanDerWerff

September 15, 2010: Tasha Robinson interviews Philip Seymour Hoffman


2011

Photo: The CW

January 26, 2011: The very first For Our Consideration: 10 reasons you should be watching The Vampire Diaries | “Week in and week out, The Vampire Diaries is one of the most consistently entertaining shows on television”—by Carrie Raisler

April 19, 2011: Wendell Pierce stops by for a Random Roles “The seasoning I brought to the stew of [The Wire] was the same I bring in real life, which is that I’m such a soulful, funny motherfucker.”

May 18, 2011: Pop Pilgrims visits the church from The Graduate

May 24, 2011: The last action heroine: Why tough actions don’t always equal strong women | “It’d be easier to attach more significance to the increase in destructive dames if more of them seemed like they were written as women. But for the most part, these characters are engaged in a complicated act of ventriloquism.”—by Alison Willmore

July 13, 2011: Opryland confidential: Amusement parks, outside and in | “Just about anybody who’s ever been to an amusement park savors that moment when the family car comes around a curve on the interstate or crests a hill on the highway, and there, peeking through the trees a half-mile away, sits the top slope of a roller coaster, looking much taller and more imposing than it had been in the memory. That little peek is an essential part of the theme-park experience. It’s part of the show.”—Noel Murray

December 21, 2011: “Accept the mystery”: Notes on a quietly great year for movies | “2011 was an embarrassment of riches, full of lively, diverse, form-busting visions across all genres and around the world. And the best of them ask something of the viewer, offering rewards in exchange for an active engagement.”—by Scott Tobias


2012

January 5, 2012: Naughty By Nature discusses and performs “O.P.P.”

April 2012: Paul Feig walks us through Freaks And Geeks—parts one, two, three, four, and five 

May 17, 2012: The all-time A.V. Club commenting record is set on Community’s third season finale recap (as of this writing, it stands at 223,051 comments)

Photo: NBC

September 12, 2012: Doug Ellin says he’s almost done with the Entourage movie script that we went ahead and wrote for him | There is an awkward silence. Vincent continues to half-smile vaguely at nothing to convey that he is alive.—by Sean O’Neal

November 28, 2012: We attempt the unpossible: summarizing The Simpsons in 10 episodes | “As it was with Saturday Night Live, choosing the 10 most ‘representative’ episodes of The Simpsons is a fool’s errand. How can one of history’s most acclaimed and feverishly adored TV shows—and the longest-running American scripted primetime series ever—be distilled into five hours?”—by Kyle Ryan


2013

Photo: HBO

February 22, 2013: Daniel Knauf tells us his plan for the end of Carnivàle

April 18, 2013: Why white critics’ fear of engaging Tyler Perry is stifling honest debate | Temptation isn’t the first of Perry’s films with a jaw-droppingly offensive subtext, it just has a specific jaw-droppingly offensive subtext that makes white critics feel like they’re on solid enough ground to read Perry the riot act.”—by Joshua Alston

August 12, 2013: What happens when you win The Price Is Right? | “Everyone, at some point in life, has watched The Price Is Right and wondered, ‘What would I do if I won the Showcase?’ Andrea Schwartz actually knows.”—by Marah Eakin

September 29, 2013: Donna Bowman recaps the finale of the best show of the decade | “When Walt pounded the window of that stolen car with his fist, causing the snow to fall away, it was like the Fonz thumping the jukebox: a moment of supreme efficacy, endorsed by the universe. That’s what I wanted, one last time. And there it is. I’m grateful. Now I can say goodbye.”—by Donna Bowman

October 7, 2013: Christopher Plummer tells Will Harris about the greatest piece of direction he ever received


2014

Photo: ABC/Mark Selinger

January 27, 2014: My So-Called Life set the path all teen shows would follow |My So-Called Life felt utterly and completely unique when it aired, and it feels utterly and completely unique now; if this show somehow found its way onto the schedule in the fall of 2014, it would almost certainly be just as hailed as it was in 1994, and it would almost certainly feel as fresh as it did then.”—by Emily VanDerWerff

March 10, 2014: Praise Helix: The strange mythology of a crowdsourced Pokémon game | “For those who remain uninitiated in the cult of the Helix, Twitch Plays Pokémon is a crowdsourced approach to Nintendo’s classic monster-collecting role-playing game.”—by Sam Barsanti

April 20, 2014: Rape of Thrones | “It’s hard to shake the idea that Game Of Thrones, the show, doesn’t see a problem with pushing a scene from complicated, consensual sex to outright rape.”—by Sonia Saraiya

Screenshot: Star Trek Into Darkness

October 20, 2014: Fake deaths, cheap resurrections, and dealing with real grief | “The point of the Orpheus myth is that Orpheus fails. He does everything he can, moves heaven and Earth, and in the end Eurydice stays dead. So when a man in fiction (and it is almost always a man, because there’s nothing as good for motivating a male character like killing off the woman he loves) earns his beloved’s resurrection through hard work or good deeds, it’s a slap in the face to all of us in the real world who would give anything and everything to have the people we need back.”—by William Hughes

November 12, 2014: Sesame Street is the perfect TV show | “Entertainment and education are forces that should seemingly pull in opposite directions, yet the show makes them work in concert, moving toward a common goal. Sesame Street’s longevity and enduring appeal speak less to what television wasn’t doing in 1961 and more to what TV could do in 1968, 1983, and today.”—by Erik Adams


2015

Illustration: Tiffany Adams

January 15, 2015: We run down the best sitcom episodes of the last 25 years, parts one and two

March 12, 2015: Terry Pratchett was fantasy fiction’s Kurt Vonnegut, not its Douglas Adams | “To be fair, Pratchett’s first few Discworld novels, The Colour Of Magic and The Light Fantastic, show their Hitchhiker’s influences proudly, especially in their amoral, cowardly hero, the failed wizard Rincewind.”—by William Hughes

May 3, 2015: The 28-hour Marvel Marathon nearly cost our writer his sanity | “When you’re dealing with a room full of people who have all paid about $70 for the privilege of sitting through over a day’s worth of superhero movies, one after the other, with only Junior Mints and 40 oz. Coca-Colas to sustain them, the idea of “sane people” has to be recalibrated. We are not sane people. We are Marvel people.”—by Alex McLevy

June 24, 2015: The good, the bad, and the decadent: Behind the scenes of our weirdest E3 meetings | “The experience of covering gaming’s annual spectacle is rarely that straightforward.”—by Matt Gerardi and Ryan Smith

Photo: Nailed

July 27, 2015: Dear Mongrel Media: No, I didn’t call your shitty movie a “comedic masterstroke” | “You owe me an apology. Sorry to just come right out and say it, but I really don’t know how else to proceed. You know what you’ve done. Isn’t it time to come clean and make amends?”—by A.A. Dowd

October 15, 2015: Nathan For You’s star confronts the A.V. Club mom who scorned him | “Rather than a typical interview, Fielder wanted me to moderate a conversation between him and my mom. His goal: convince Mom to like him.”—by John Teti


2016

Screenshot: Bullitt

January 29, 2016: A History Of Violence begins with one incredible car chase | “Even though Bullitt’s famous car chase only arrives two thirds of the way through and doesn’t have that much of an impact on its plot, it’s the part of the movie that everyone remembers. That’s no accident. It seems like McQueen had that scene in mind when he started putting it together.”—by Tom Breihan

February 12, 2016: The best love stories on TV are between two women | “As women started to run their own shows and gained a foothold in the writers’ room, television shows stopped seeing their female characters as wives and mothers, and started portraying them as fully fledged characters, with their own inner lives that needed to be fleshed out and made whole. A best friend, not necessarily a man, is what made these women complete.”—by Molly Eichel

Screenshot: YouTube

April 28, 2016: Beyoncé’s Lemonade isn’t a breakup album, it’s a black album | “While many of Beyoncé’s earlier feminist anthems walked right up to the line of a specifically black experience—‘7/11,’ ‘Feeling Myself,’ ‘Flawless’—Lemonade wants you to know the line has been crossed and you’ve been offered a rare glimpse to the other side.”—by Ashley Ray-Harris

July 8, 2016: Stop jizzing all over journalism | “Ladies, what the fuck. National female voices like Hillary Clinton and Elizabeth Warren and Ruth Bader Ginsburg appear stronger than ever. At the same time, personality journalism appears to be gazing longingly backwards toward an era full of Playboy bunnies and Stepford wives.”—The A.V. Club

October 5, 2016: Elvira on her date with Elvis and the fish recipe she got from Vincent Price. | “At this point, Elvira, Mistress Of The Dark needs no introduction… But not as many people know Cassandra Peterson, the former Las Vegas showgirl who co-created the punk-influenced, pun-loving vampire Valley girl for a local Los Angeles TV station and grew the character into a multi-decade, worldwide media empire.”—by Katie Rife

Screenshot: Twitter

November 9, 2016: The internet is not funny | “There is mourning to do. There is a reckoning to be had, for the media, for voters, for our government, and for our education system. The next four years, like the previous 25, will be incredibly ugly on the internet. But with luck, and effort, they can also be productive.”—by Clayton Purdom

November 28, 2016: My Girl delivered death in an unbearably precocious package | “A more realistic depiction of illness, death, and change might have been too much for its young audience—though only the most innocuous of films would settle for as rosy an ending as My Girl does.”—by Laura Adamczyk


2017

March 30, 2017: America’s gangland: How Chicago became a cultural capital of crime | “The city with a fiery creation myth grew into a blue-collar metropolis with the help of oily, feudal political machines and assorted local species of crook, leaving a deep, ugly legacy.”—by Ignatiy Vishnevetsky

Photo: Mark Peterman/WireImage (Getty Images)

March 31, 2017: “A great time to be alive and own a guitar”: Chicago’s 1990s alt-rock explosion | “For a brief period in the mid-’90s, the city famous for blues but not much in the way of rock was swarmed by A&R reps looking for talent to sign.”—by Gwen Ihnat

July 18, 2017: George Romero didn’t just invent the zombie movie, he changed filmmaking forever | “To merely call Romero the father of the modern zombie, as immense of a contribution as that is, is to underestimate his influence. In fact, Romero himself would tell any interviewer who asked throughout his career that he was capable of more than undead mayhem.”—by Katie Rife

August 15, 2017: You can’t take a picture of this, it’s already gone | “There’s a therapeutic quality to pop culture that’s often glossed over, but is very real. It can be escapist, obviously, but it’s also cathartic, allowing us to confront our fears by watching made-up people deal with them instead.”—by Sean O’Neal

August 21, 2017: Joss Whedon was never a feminist | “A lot of us trusted Whedon and his characters and, yes, even his performative feminism. His work has plenty of male gaze and women in refrigerators and some narratively pointless rape scenes—it’s all right there, in hundreds of hours of television and film—but boy, it sure is a lot more comfortable to listen to a guy tell you he’s a feminist than listen to a lot of women telling you he’s not.”—by Laura M. Browning

September 21, 2017: The good places: The uncommonly decent TV worlds of Michael Schur | “The good places in the Michael Schur catalogue aren’t impenetrable fortresses, and the shows that are set there aren’t guaranteed escapes from the demons, the cranks, or the racist cops that populate our world. But even at the bottom of the deepest, darkest pit, there’s bound to be sincerity, emotion, and honesty.”—by Erik Adams

October 5, 2017: We rank the 35 best science-fiction movies since Blade Runner

October 23, 2017: Exploring the legacy of Chicago’s Robert Taylor Homes with Open Mike Eagle


2018

Screenshot: Something Borrowed trailer

April 13, 2018: Something Borrowed and the phenomenon of rom-coms that hate women | “Like a lot of rom-coms made between 2000 and 2012, there’s a soulless, factory-produced quality to Something Borrowed.”—by Caroline Siede

April 13, 2018: Here’s a look at the Chicago city block that Hollywood loves to destroy

June 9, 2018: For the women of Claws, time’s been up | “Studies continue to show that there’s a disproportionately low number of well-rounded women characters on TV, which is why Claws five female leads and their distinct personalities are groundbreaking.”—by Danette Chavez

July 26, 2018: Our picks for the 50 greatest special effects movies of all time

Illustration: Karl Gustafson

October 8, 2018: Another Star Is Born: Why Hollywood keeps returning to this tragic Cinderella story | “[A Star Is Born is] a classic story with many elements of myth, but Cooper improved on the preceding 1976 version with vulnerable performances and dialogue that seems almost improvisational, and more intimate.”—by Gwen Ihnat

October 10, 2018: Beyond the joint, past the pipe: The fanciest new ways to get high in the year 2018 | “Welcome to the world of smoking pot in 2018.”—by Alex McLevy

October 31, 2018: The 35 greatest horror games of all time | The A.V. Club’s trip through the history of horror games found endless tensions to unpack: playability versus difficulty, spooky-fun versus truly terrifying, historical importance versus modern appeal.”


2019

March 7, 2019: The Passion Of The Christ was the blunt-force weapon evangelicals were looking for | “It’s true, especially in hindsight, that The Passion wasn’t a recruitment tool so much as it was a weapon of reaffirmation, one that tapped into wells of emotion that many Christians weren’t finding at church.”—by Randall Colburn

April 7, 2019: A beginner’s guide to 40 years of robots, rivals, and sci-fi pacifism from Mobile Suit Gundam | “Since the original show launched, the Gundam brand has raked in money from video games and model kits, all while Japanese animation studio Sunrise has continued to crank out over a dozen sequels and spin-off shows.—by Sam Barsanti

Photo: Dia Dipasupil (Getty Images), Graphic: Karl Gustafson

May 14, 2019: An all-time 11 Questions from director Werner Herzog, who never looks at himself in the mirror, but can catch a trout with his bare hands

June 3, 2019: Kick off Pride Month with The A.V. Club’s queer country playlist | “There is no singular ‘queer country’ movement, but rather a robust, sonically (if not racially) diverse group of artists pursuing paths that either directly align or occasionally intersect with country-western sounds.”—by Kelsey J. Waite

July 25, 2019: Niecy Nash on DMing her way to an Emmy-nominated role and why her Reno baby hairs were vital | “Before becoming Florida’s premier manicurist-slash-crime boss on TNT’s Claws, Niecy Nash was a mainstay within the comedy landscape.”—by Shannon Miller

August 6, 2019: 1999 was Cash Money’s turn to shine | “With all due respect to Death Row, no rap record label has ever consolidated and celebrated its power the way Cash Money Records did in the final year of the 20th century.”—by Marty Sartini Garner

Graphic: Libby McGuire

September 5, 2019: Re-reading Stephen King’s It and confronting my own personal Derry | “What the book understood is that childhood can be a nightmare even if you’re not being stalked by an immortal fear monster.”—by A.A. Dowd

October 16, 2019: From Selena to Undone, Constance Marie has been the matriarch of many an American Family | “Constance Marie couldn’t have anticipated it when she first made the move from dancing to acting, but she helped raise a generation of American film and TV fans through her many memorable depictions of motherhood.”—by Danette Chavez

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