The Signal recalls our decade in entertainment

(Rachel Razza)
(Rachel Razza)

Just when you thought the ’oughts were over and done with, our Signal staff swiftly rounded the bases of pop culture to present you with a retrospective of some of the most memorable music, literature, film, television, theater and gaming of the past decade.

“Spamalot”

Smack in the middle of a decade afflicted with terrorism, wars and economic turmoil, something wonderful emerged. This was Monty Python’s “Spamalot” (2005). The musical comedy by Eric Idle comes complete with fish slapping, a look at the correlation between Judaism and Broadway, a murderous bunny and dancing knights, but most importantly — laughter. Definitely the best play of the ’00s. ~Brianna

“Alias”

The television show “Alias” (2001-2006) — as rich in suspense, romance and drama as it was in wardrobe changes — changed my life in middle school. Essentially, it made me a (not so) closet-geek and refueled my feminist aspirations, first instilled in me in a big way by the Spice Girls’ “Girls Rule!” campaign of the ’90s. Perhaps most importantly, the series inspired me to want to see the world, go after my dreams, and aim high. “Alias” told me that women have all the equipment and more to conquer the world; after all, a round-house kick to the world’s face is only more deadly in stiletto heels. ~Laura

“Stargate”

It was hard to pick one TV show to highlight, so I didn’t; I picked a franchise — the “Stargate” franchise. The main plot is that of an interplanetary (and intergalactic) ‘gate’ that transports civilians and military to other worlds to make first contact and try to defend Earth against the many menaces found. “Stargate SG-1” (1997) started the Sci-Fi powerhouse at the end of the 20th century, “Stargate: Atlantis” (2004) kept it going last decade and now “Stargate: Universe” (2009) will continue the epic saga. “Stargate” truly embodied and conquered 2000-2009. This is the best Sci-Fi franchise since “Star Trek,” no lie. ~Carrie

The “Harry Potter” films

The “Harry Potter” series may have come out in the ’90s, but the movies really helped the books to take off during the past decade. J.K. Rowling’s fictional alternative world of magic and good vs. evil came to life on the big screen, and there is no denying the fact that everyone fell in love with the actors playing everyone’s favorite characters. Harry, Ron and Hermoine’s adventures at Hogwarts and their quest to defeat Voldemort have captured our attention since the very first time a spell was used in the movie.  Knowing that the last and final movie is coming out this year, it is sad to think that this cultural obsession will be coming to an end. Nevertheless, the fantastic world of witches and wizards will live on for generations. ~Hilarey

“Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close”

Through the witty perspective of nine-year-old Oskar, Jonathan Safran Foer delivers a simultaneously tragic and hilarious journey surrounding the death of Oskar’s father. Foer’s brand of stream-of-consciousness vividly captures Oskar’s voice, while alternatively delving into the minds of the individuals he encounters. Released in 2005, this book both playfully and seriously explores what it means to be human, offering painful and compelling insight in the connections lost and made from destruction. ~Katie

“Cunt: a declaration of independence”

Inga Muscio’s “Cunt: a declaration of independence” was one of the decade’s must-read books. Published in 2002, it tackles all kinds of women-related issues such as whoredom, self-protection, rape, menstruation, masturbation and, of course, sex. If you are a woman, like women, know any women, or even plan to become a woman, you have to read this book, even if the only thing you take away from it is, “men who refuse to use condoms do not deserve to be fucked by anyone but other men who refuse to use condoms.” It’s vulgar, hilarious, inspirational and, besides its eye-catching title, the content will keep you talking after the final glance. ~Alyssa

“Rock Band”

In the past decade, no video game left a more lasting impact on me than the first installation of the “Rock Band” franchise (2007). “Rock Band” exposed me to an entirely new niche in gaming. It expanded on the rhythm game experience by popularizing a new level of cooperative multiplayer gameplay with the addition of the drum set and microphone peripherals. The experience of playing a song on “Rock Band” with three other people playing four different parts of the song was unmatched at the time. While there are a plethora of video games that I enjoyed more for the story and artistic expression, no video game in the last decade opened me up to a new gaming experience like Rock Band. ~Garrett

“Origin of Symmetry” (Muse)

Though in 2010, British rock trio Muse is bigger and louder than ever before, the band’s strain of eruptive elegance was never more pure than on 2001’s “Origin of Symmetry.”  Armed to the teeth with fuzzed-out guitars, subversive piano riffs, bombastic rhythms and ceiling-smashing vocal melodies, the “new-prog” group did more than meet frontman Matthew Bellamy’s aspiration to embody the British response to Rage Against the Machine. By splicing rock music with prog, electronic, classical and jazz and grounding the mixture in 52 seamless minutes, Muse set an early water mark for what eclectic rockers should accomplish in the new millennium. ~Matt

“Clear” (James Ferraro)

James Ferraro’s “Clear” (2008) is my favorite album of the past decade due to its experimental nature. He has invented a sound on this album that incorporates synth pop, drone, noise and ambience into a musical concoction unlike anything I’ve ever heard. This album has inspired me so much when creating music of my own and will go down as a piece of music I will always remember. ~Jeff

“Alive or Just Breathing” (Killswitch Engage)

Released in 2002, “Alive or Just Breathing,” recorded by heavy metal titans Killswitch Engage, undoubtedly shaped the melodic metalcore, as well as the American heavy metal genre for the duration of the decade. The album, unlike KsE’s mostly hardcore-based debut, fused driving metal riffs and screaming with clean vocals and uplifting lyrics by former vocalist Jesse Leach to create a musical combination that is now commonplace in modern American heavy metal. Three albums later, KsE has risen to the forefront of the genre, but “Alive or Just Breathing” was the beginning for its current style, as well as that of many other bands throughout the decade. ~Bobby