Fanboy in Cowtown: For 10 years, it's been good to be a geek

What was the best Geek moment of the 2000s?
Posted 11:12am on Wednesday, Jan. 05, 2011

Every smarty-pants knows that the millennium wasn't over until 2001, which means our new millennium, new century and new decade started then as well. As we look back at the past 10 years, it's amazing how the usurpation of data power, the refining of fringe media and interactive technology has changed our lives -- and the world -- forever. That's why we're calling it now: the aughts were quite simply the Decade of the Geek. Listed are just a few of the notable events and beginnings that prove secret knowledge, techno-savvy-hood and flat-out nerdy behavior has not only paid social dividends, but is now in vogue.

2001

iPod released. We came from the pod. The tiny pack of electronics that stored all of our music finalized the complete digitization of the music industry and became the triumphant hallmark of our new information revolution.

Wikipedia launched. While we were playing with our new iPods, Jimmy Wales and Larry Sanger made their "general reference work" viewable and editable by the general public online.

Grand Theft Auto 3 released. The controversial video game sent more than 14 million players into an actualized, virtual space called Liberty City to satisfy our itch for ultra-violence.

2002

Spider-Man in theaters. Long live the nerd-turned-superhero Peter Parker! These days, the movie might be viewed as hokey by some, but Sam Raimi's first web-slinging masterpiece won over the world and the box office, and established the current wave of powerful protagonists.

Firefly on the air (2002-2003). Joss Whedon, the mastermind of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, created the most realistic, dystopian and fun sci-fi series savvy TV viewers had ever seen.

2003

LinkedIn launched. Yes, before the almighty Facebook, LinkedIn established itself as the social network for the hirable but not quite humble.

Adam Brody and Michael Cera ... Nerd Kings ruled. Fox TV's The O.C. and Arrested Development spawned two of the decade's most awesome geek characters: Seth Cohen (Brody) and George Michael Bluth (Cera). Brody was the It Boy for a while, but Cera, post- Arrested Development, sailed on to geeker stardom in flicks like Juno , Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World.

Human Genome Project completed. Scientists began by thinking that we had about 100,000 genes, then it dropped to 35K and now it sits at approximately 20,000. That's slightly higher than a chicken and much lower than a grape (plants have been evolving quite a bit longer than animals).

The Walking Dead No. 1 published. What would later be dubbed the best horror comic series of all time, Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard's black-and-white epic of a family doing their best to survive a zombie apocalypse continues today with a recently expanded audience, thanks to a 2010 TV series.

MySpace founded. We began "friending" and posting on each others' pages thanks to "Tom" Anderson's innovative website, which originally focused on (and later returned to) networking for musicians.

2004

Facebook founded. Mark Zuckerberg created Facebook when he was 20, and changed the way we connect and communicate.

'Battlestar Galactica' on the air (2004-2009). Fans that were able to test the waters and get past the ridiculous legacy series' reputation discovered one of the best-written, best-portrayed and best-shot TV shows on the air.

World of Warcraft released. The computer game to end all computer games … because it never ends. Instead of making a game that is meant to be experienced and then followed by a sequel, ‘WoW’ offered a portal to an infinitely immersible dimension that charged by the month and sold expansions to keep the addicted 11 million warriors online.

'Wanted' No. 1, the comic book, hit shelves (2004). A pushy, dark story that asked "What happens if the bad guys win?" was cherished by the comic audience and starred Eminem look-alike Wesley "The Killer" Gibson and his mentor/lover (the spitting image of Halle Berry) "The Fox."

'Lost' crash-landed into our living rooms (2004-2010). Science fiction slaps the public sideways, and a curious core audience of around 12 million took to the Internet and water coolers to bask in being baffled.

2005

YouTube launched. User-generated content takes a leap beyond blogging with the video clips site that changed entertainment. No wonder Google bought it in 2006 for $1.65 billion.

'Twilight' is published. The vampire-zeitgeist peppering the landscape explodes as Stephenie Meyer combines geek-chic paranormal-romance with just enough schlock for Harry Potter girls hungry for more prose.

Google Earth launched. Just as Wikipedia made the encyclopedia endangered, along comes Google Earth, and atlases everywhere become nervous.

2006

Nintendo released Wii. Nintendo's state-of-the-art motion-control technology makes gaming with Granny a swinging good time.

Twitter launched. Pithiness in 140 characters reigns in the infinite information landscape, thanks to the public tweets of more than 190 million users.

2007

iPhone released. The product of the decade took elements of its older iPod brother, added elements of personal computing, and (oh yeah) it's a phone, too.

'Big Bang Theory' premiered on CBS. Leonard and Sheldon have become the nerds everyone is geeking out about.

Rock Band released. Spawn of Guitar Hero, Rock Band adds drums and a microphone to create an outstandingly visceral experience that turns you and your friends into a kick-ass band of rockers (sex and drugs not included).

Pandora launched. Another potential coffin nail for traditional radio is forged on the Internet and distributed primarily as an application on mobile devices for users who like their music-listening customized, convenient and free.

2008

'Wanted,' starring Angelina Jolie hit theaters. Hollywood takes a gamble by adapting a new comic-book hit. While the flick is nothing like the comic, it maintained its outrageous attitude and expanded the role of geek culture and its refined tastes.

'Kick-Ass,' the comic arrived in comic shops. Hot off the heels from the success of Wanted, writer Mark Millar teamed up with artist John Romita Jr. to create a brutal and realistic journey into vigilante justice in the age YouTube self-promotion.

2009

'Avatar' in theaters. As digital projectors increase in percentage in U.S. movie theaters, studios explore new ways to take advantage of the technology. Mix in a James Cameron precisely sculpted fantastical romp, and another era of 3-D movies is born.

2010

'Scott Pilgrim vs. the World' in theaters. Ripped from the pages of an indie comic, Scott Pilgrim's caffeinated heartache and geeky charisma expanded, thanks in part to the decade's most-beloved nerd, Michael Cera.

iPad released. The iPod Touch with a thyroid condition made tablets fashionable and may alter computing as we know it.

The Walking Dead pilot aired on AMC. In a world getting over its obsession with vampires, the dead rise. Director Frank Darabont (Shawshank Redemption) makes all the right moves in his adaptation of the now long-running comic series.


Scott Hinze is the host of Fanboy Radio: The Voice of Comics & Gaming heard 6 p.m. Sundays on KTCU/88.7 FM or at www.fanboyradio.com.

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