We are the youth apologise for another day.
We are the youth and politicians are so sure.
We are the youth and we are knocking on death's door.
Never knew we were living in a world with a mind that could be so sure.
Never knew we were living in a world with a mind that could be so small.
Never knew we were living in a world where the world is an open court.
Maybe we don't want to live in a world where innocence is sold short.
We'll make it up to you, in the year 2000."
The Year 2000. Flying cars, androids, faster-than-light space travel... oh wait, we don't have any of that yet. On the plus side, our computers didn't explode, after all. While New Year's 2000 came in with a bang, attitudes from The '90s lingered for the first year. For the United States (and arguably, to a lesser extent, the world), the decade politically started on September 11th, 2001 with the terrorist attacks on New York City and Washington, D.C., which not only launched the United States into two wars, but continues to be a lingering specter in global politics. It is possible this decade may have ended politically in late 2008, which saw the start of the worst economic crisis since The Great Depression, followed two months later by the election of Barack Obama as President. Culturally, the decade started kicking off somewhere around 1998-2002 with the continued rise of the internet, online music downloads, and reality shows, and ended somewhere around 2008-2010 with the rising prominence of the smartphone and social media sites like Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook becoming very popular. Depending on who you ask, may have officially ended around 2012, when "memes" made their way to solid popular culture status. Either way, the transitional period in was about 1998-2003 and the transitional period out was around 2009-2013.
See The War on Terror for the major wars of this decade. Note that, since The War on Terror has defined American and NATO-sphere foreign policy for almost all of this time, this decade has marked the arrival of Middle Eastern civilizations as societies to know about. For example, the Persian Gulf city of Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates, went through its boom during this decade.
To say that this decade was a hard one for the United States is an understatement, whose population suffered from, in quick succession: the dot com bubble burst which affected many online-focused businesses (including websites); a controversial presidential election where the winner didn't win the popular vote, but did win in the electoral college; the worst terrorist attack in recorded history with a death toll of 2,977 (excluding the 19 perpetrators of the attack); the Patriot Act undermining civil liberties; two somewhat unpopular wars (one of which was started on what turned out to be Blatant Lies); the worst electrical blackout in American history; the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster, the second in American history and the beginning of the end of the country's manned space program; another controversial presidential election; the catastrophic flooding of New Orleans thanks to Hurricane Katrina and the failure of the federal government to properly respond to said flooding; a surge in both aforementioned wars as it became very clear that things were not going as planned; the gradual transformation from the largest government budget surplus in American history, to the largest government budget deficit in American history; and the start of the worst economic crisis since The Great Depression, with millions of Americans unemployed and many more struggling at the decade's end. This resulted in the rise of Neo-Conservative interventionist politics, which led to those two somewhat unpopular foreign wars, and the strengthening of 'The Special Relationship' with Britain - where Clinton and British PM John Major had disliked each other, first Clinton, then Bush, got on very well with the charming Tony Blair, who despite being leader of the traditionally left wing Labour party, shared a similarly interventionist outlook, one only bolstered by a successful intervention in Sierra Leone in 1999.
There were also issues which stretched out for roughly the entire decade, such as the worst gas crisis since The '70s, with gas prices quadrupling from 2000 to 2008; skyrocketing income inequality; a crisis over the increasingly large wave of illegal immigrants crossing the border; a continued trend of worse education performances compared to much of the rest of the developed world; the dollar losing value compared to other currencies along with other signs of the US losing its global economic power; and widespread polarization over issues such as global warming, gay rights, religion, health and obesity, and other issues. This naturally lead to growing feelings of cynicism and insecurity, which is reflected in the growing trend towards Darker and Edgier entertainment.
Of course, on the other side of the coin, a lot of the decade's entertainment instead went in the direction of escapism. Much of the decade's culture can roughly be described as a retread of either The '80s or The '50s, depending on who you asknote . As if overcompensating for the insecurity they now felt, the American public took comfort in materialism and conspicuous consumption. The "McMansion" became the dominant paradigm for new homes, and enormous SUVs, after getting their start in the late '90s, came to rule over the car market, despite oil concerns, and forget electric cars. Seriously, forget they ever existed and buy an SUV. In fact, the car companies were so eager to make the consumer forget about electric cars that those produced in The '90s were not only canceled, they were repossessed by car companies and crushed, lest one get away to make the rest of their cars look bad.note It wasn't until 2011 and the debut of the Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Leaf that electric cars would return to the roads. The tax breaks that, under Clinton, would've gone to electrics, now under Bush went to the heaviest cars, and the SUVs of this decade were certainly heavy cars.
Darker and Edgier became the norm in entertainment aimed at teens, as music and culture took a turn for the gothic and macabre with a shift from squeaky-clean teen idols to Pop punk, emo, and Post-Hardcore bands such as Good Charlotte, Simple Plan and Jimmy Eat World in the early part of the decade. This genre exploded in 2005 with the rise of Fall Out Boy, My Chemical Romance, AFI and similar acts, all of whom shared a focus on lyrics about serious topics such as mental and physical illness, sexual infidelity, and America's unhealthy obsession with tabloid stars. The subculture associated with the genre, known as emo, took high schools by storm with its sideswept bangs, skinny jeans, and heavy eye makeup. Ultimately it became one of the defining alternative rock genres of the decade with literally everyone having memories of listening to those bands in middle and high school. However just as the genre was reaching the peak of its popularity in 2008, Fall Out Boy's Folie à Deux showed a drastic shift in the band's sound and was met with mediocre commercial success, which started a chain reaction. By 2009, pop-punk and emo began its fall from the mainstream thanks to several factors: bands either were drastically changing their sound, breaking up, or going on hiatus; oversaturation by an endless string of one-hit wonders; creation and heavy promotion of manufactured bands like The Jonas Brothers by Disney and Nickelodeon as wholesome substitutes for authentic emo bands (resulting in the genre as a whole being branded as immature tween fodder); and the replacement of "emo" as popular music with electronic pop and as a culture with the "scene" trend - basically emo with lots of '80s-inspired big hair, makeup, neon, and Hello Kitty accessories.
In terms of the mainstream fashions, the early years had elements of 90's fashion. With 2004-05 being the transitioning years, the 90's was officially out of style musically and culturally with skinny jeans and tighter clothes rapidly displacing bagginess. In contrast to the grungy look of 90's fashion, 2000's fashion was more aestheticised, with beards replaced by clean shaven looks and darker make up on everyone (including some guys due to the rising influence of emo and skate culture).
Media technology continued to evolve. CD gave way to MP 3 in the music sphere. DVD put VHS out of business early in the decade, only to have Blu-ray and HD-DVD, in a re-enactment of The '80s VHS vs Betamax debate, battle it out over who got to replace DVD at the end of the decade. Blu-Ray won, but instead of replacing DVD the two instead co-existed, perhaps due to the economic downturn.
Thanks in part by 9/11, escapism became big in movie entertainment and The Blockbuster Age of Hollywood reached previously inconceivable heights - every year had at least two movies that would gross over $750 million and, by the end of the decade, at least one each year would surpass the billion dollar mark. In 2002, for the first time, a movie made more than $100 million just on its opening weekend. Thanks to new computer technology, most of these were incredibly expensive, CGI-packed extravaganzas, with superhero movies (like Spider-Man and The Dark Knight) and fantasy epics (such as theThe Lord of the Rings trilogy, the Harry Potter series and the Pirates of the Caribbean series) being the dominant genres in terms of box office success. Much of the reason why studios began to concentrate so hard on these types of movies was to keep drawing in an audience despite the advent of digital piracy during this decade; if there was so much stuff on screen, the experience would be lost if it wasn't seen on a big screen. Pretty similar to how studios in The '50s tried to keep audiences away from television with 3-D and widescreen, really. Thanks to the size and scope of these films, smaller-scale movies like comedies and romances lost their box office power, with some major figures in the movie world wondering if soon cinema would be entirely dominated by these colossal spectacles and people would lose interest in more down-to-earth movies. However, digital piracy, Netflix, and movie websites such as Rotten Tomatoes have brought attention to indie movies and foreign films which many people wouldn't have previously discovered, even if this didn't help these movies make a profit in theaters. Well, with one major exception - the martial arts film Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon became the first foreign-language movie to gross over $100 million in the United States.
Reality took over TV, with Survivor and American Idol in the US and Big Brother and Pop Idol/The X Factor in Britain launching hundreds of imitators across an ocean of reality TV subgenres, helped along by the explosion of cable and satellite television as a major outlet for original programming. Celebrity came to be defined not by an entertainer's accomplishments as a musician, actor, athlete, etc., but by the number of paparazzi following his or her every move and the amount of tabloid press that he or she had. It was something that could be achieved for seemingly nebulous reasons, as shown by the inexplicable rise to superstardom of such people as Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian, who built media empires on their status as socialites and reality TV stars. The societal implications of this were not lost on the world, with Charlie Brooker in Britain, The Chaser's War on Everything in Australia, and The Soup and The Daily Show in the US leading a wave of shows and blogs that satirized and parodied the decade's culture.
Speaking of blogs, this was also the time in which the internet really became a part of society at large, instead of being limited to computer geeks and Usenet groups. Everyone got connected, with many people owning media storage devices, having access to the internet, etc. If you didn't have a computer with internet access, you were left behind. Technology was always getting better and less expensive via Moore's law, and you could walk into a department store and buy a computer which was at least a million times more powerful than the ones that put man on the moon. Video games finally started to gain mainstream recognition, especially near the end of the decade, with the release of the Wii. Games became Darker and Edgier, with much more mature storylines and realistic plots, although how mature and realistic they are is subject to debate (some see it as a repeat of The Dark Age of Comic Books). Meanwhile, the sports gaming industry was effectively monopolized by Electronic Arts.
Gaming's turn towards realism was reflected in speculative fiction. There was a great demand for more "realistic" depictions of what happens if we were to actually meet aliens or fight robots. If we are higher tech, there is a good chance that Humans Are the Real Monsters, and when we have the inferior tech, don't expect to come out of the situation alive or overcoming bad odds. This shift is perhaps best exemplified by Lost and Battlestar Galactica, two of the defining sci-fi shows of the decade, which were both heavily focused on character-driven drama, philosophy, and gritty realism (the latter especially in BSG's case).
A lot of humor consisted of Crossing the Line Twice, and things which would have caused the Moral Guardians to have strokes just a few years earlier were seen as just mildly offensive. As such, an obsession with Japan and awareness of East Asian affairs (especially with China's rapid rise as a world power) became popular in the US once more. Movies tended to be more about adventure and self discovery than action and blowing things up. Of course, when you consider what started the decade off, it's kind of understandable why.
Conversely, the September 11 attacks served as a horrifically crippling blow to America's psyche, causing one of the longest (and most infamous) Too Soon periods. People had become highly sensitive to concepts such as pyrotechnical violence, the destruction of skyscrapers, and terrorism, leading to the censoring and/or banning of a lot of past media that fell in bad taste in the wake of the attacks. The live action TV drama Fringe can be credited with ending this period via a twist-ending season finale where one of the main characters winds up in a parallel universe, in which the White House was destroyed on 9/11 instead of the World Trade Center. September 11 still remains a sensitive subject in media today, with most references to it being for serious or dramatic purposes.
Note that this was only named as such because few can decide on what to call the 2000-2009 period. In Britain and Australia, this decade is often called the Noughties, as the word "nought" is another word for "zero" (which some Brits might sourly note was roughly how much of what Tony Blair said was true). However, the word "nought" has faded from American English, which means that, to American ears, the term "Noughties" sounds like the more snicker-inducing "Naughties." note As a result, Americans are more likely to refer to this decade as "The early two-thousands" or "The double-o's", or more rarely, "The Aughts".
Now has a Useful Notes page.
Tropes associated with the time period:
- '70s Hair: Redux. Long male hair made a significant comeback among the decade's youth, thanks in no small part to the booming skate culture and The Lord of the Rings.
- The '80s: The decade of choice for much of this decade's nostalgia.
- All-CGI Cartoon: Disney and other animation companies abandoned traditional animation during this decade, though towards the end of the decade there was some hope that the two might coexist. Of course, anime is stronger than ever before and still averts this trope for the most part. Furthermore, this form finally began to break down the All Animation Is Disney stereotype beginning with Dreamworks Animation hitting the big time with their 2001 smash hit CGI feature, Shrek, becoming the first real feature animation company to challenge Disney over the long term, although it would have a period of artistic decline until it came roaring back in 2008 with a new quality commitment in 2008 with Kung Fu Panda.
- Interestingly, Stop-Motion animation has also received a re-invigoration, as it's become apparent that some aesthetics are better suited to Stop-motion than CG (one of the best examples being Flushed Away, which had the character designs of an Aardman Animations character, but were CG - audiences generally said the animation looked weird because of it. It also may have something to do with genre, as darker, spookier family movies are often stop-motion - Tim Burton has had mainstream success with Corpse Bride, and 2008's Coraline was also stop-motion.
- The Alleged Car: The SUV of this decade got this reputation for much the same reason as cars from The '70s did, because they were overweight gas guzzlers being sold during a Gas Crisis. One example that stands out is the Ford Excursion. The combination of its curb weight of 7230 lbs and its 6.8 L V-10 engine make for the ultimate gas guzzler, getting only 9.6 mpg.
- Ambiguous Ending: The decade's over, and yet many trends still persist through The New '10s, like The War on Terror.
- Animation Age Ghetto: Became less powerful due to the success of adult-oriented animated TV shows like South Park and Family Guy, and a large wave of adult oriented anime, but the mentality still exists to some extent.
- While the early 2000s are often considered a fine continuation of the previous decade, animation is widely considered to have suffered around the late 2000s due to live-action tweencoms threatening to replace cartoons in popularity.
- Auto-Tune: Existed before this decade with songs like Cher's 1999 song "Believe", but grew in popularity around the mid-2000s thanks to rappers like T-Pain, and soon spread to other artists like Rihanna and Snoop Dogg, as well as genres like pop and R&B.
- Bare Your Midriff: Continued on from the nineties in fashion and especially in pop music, with midriff-baring made even more extreme by the early-00s fashion for very low waistlines.
- Blue Orange Contrast: Began to spread like wildfire across the movie world with the advent of post-production digital coloring.
- Boy Band: Boy bands like *NSYNC and the Backstreet Boys remained a 90's holdover, but generally faded away by around 2002 - at least in America.
- But Not Too White: Despite increased awareness of skin cancer, tanned skin returned from the The '70s in full swing as a beauty standard in this decade, as demonstrated by the likes of Carmen Electra, Jessica Alba and Paris Hilton, among others.
"[Where were you when Michael Jackson died?] Texting a joke about Michael Jackson."
- George W. Bush was frequently mocked in the media.
- Michael Jackson was the butt of many jokes until his 2009 death. Mock the Week lampshaded this with one of the jokes...
- Britney Spears and her public meltdown led to many jokes and parodies, prompting the famous "Leave Britney Alone!" video.
- Cash Cow Franchise: Every TV series or movie or video game that was successful during this decade.
- Cheese-Eating Surrender Monkeys: In 2003, American-French relations became frosty when France criticized America's decision to wage war in Iraq, leading to an American boycott of French products, the country of France becoming something of a Butt-Monkey in popular media, and the renaming of French fries into "freedom fries".
- Chekhov's Gunman: Donald Trump, that rich guy from The Apprentice, ends up becoming one of the most controversial Presidents in U.S. history in the following decade.
- The Action Girl was briefly enjoying popularity at the start of the decade, where shows like Buffy and Charmed were still airing, and the likes of Kate Beckinsale, Milla Jovovich, Jennifer Garner and Angelina Jolie were enjoying careers as action heroines in Hollywood. Then the failures of Catwoman and Elektra as well as non-action films like The Invasion and The Brave One convinced studio execs that female-led films outside the Girl-Show Ghetto were non-viable. The Marvel Cinematic Universe started up in the later years of this decade and notably, Black Widow was the only Avenger to not debut in her own movie, but rather Iron Man 2, precisely for this reason. It wouldn't be until the successes of Snow White and the Huntsman, The Hunger Games and Divergent that Hollywood began greenlighting female-led action films again. Likewise the Wonder Woman movie was in Development Hell during this decade.
- In WWE the women's division was slowly gaining respect in the early 2000s. But around 2004, WWE introduced the concept of a Diva Search - where models without experience would compete for a WWE contract. This saw the division reduced to T&A and little else. While there would still be some women's wrestling around, the division did not regain the heights it had enjoyed until the mid 2010s.
- China Takes Over the World: Popular in fiction now that Japan doesn't have the cash to take over the world anymore and Russia is still a complete clusterfuck, even after 20 years.
- Cerebus Syndrome: The year 2000 and the early part of 2001 was basically a continuation of the previous decade until the 9/11 attacks, which brought on an era of fear and paranoia for national safety, coupled in with the rapid rise of new technologies and the turn towards darker entertainment.
- Color Wash: A grey-blue filter, often Deliberately Monochrome, was often used in either serious science fiction films or young adult movies such as the first Twilight film and the later installments of the Harry Potter movies to imply a Darker and Edgier tone.
- Conspicuous Consumption: Until the 2007-08 recession, this was the decade of the SUV and the McMansion.
- Conspiracy Theorist: Conspiracy websites began to get huge in this decade, and the 9/11 attacks brought about the "Truthers" who believed the attacks were a False Flag Operation.
- Darker and Edgier: Compared to the previous decade, with fears of terrorism, war and security concerns hanging over the atmosphere, and this was reflected in much of the entertainment of this decade. Music for teens took a turn for the gothic and macabre with a shift from squeaky-clean teen idols to Pop punk, emo, and Post-Hardcore bands such as Good Charlotte, Simple Plan and Jimmy Eat World in the early part of the decade. Movies, video games and TV shows followed suit, with a heavier emphasis on gritty and serious plotlines.
- Defective Detective: Started in 2000 with Monk, the trope namer, and spread with Psych, Life and Bored to Death. The Good Guys and Terriers seem to be continuing this trend.
- Digital Piracy Is Evil: Or is it? But as with the aforementioned Digital Distribution, this decade is when piracy became mainstream and super-easy.
- Digital Piracy Is Okay: Some artists in the later parts of this decade began softening their stances on digital piracy, finding ways to circumvent their losses by appealing to their fans with digitally distributed releases that were more easily affordable.
- Dork Age: Similar to The '70s, this is not exactly America's most fondly remembered decade for many reasons as listed above.
- Western animation went through this both on the big and small screen through the 2000s. While the early years were marked with critically acclaimed plot-driven, high-action shows on TV, several of these shows came to an end in the second half of the 2000s, with kid-centered networks putting more emphasis on live action sitcoms. Even Cartoon Network notoriously tried to expand into live action programming, to the derision of all. Disney also didn't have it good here either as several expensive cel-animated flopped and CGI efforts received mixed responses, with Pixar and Dreamworks building up as strong rival studios. They would recover by the next decade by going back to their roots.
- Dude, Where's My Respect?: In the late 90s and early 2000s, the Hispanic population of America had been campaigning for better representation on television - and for more outside the usual stereotypes of criminals and gang members. Put it this way - The Brothers Garcia was the first English-speaking sitcom to have a majority Hispanic cast, and it premiered in 2000. Another sitcom Taina followed suit, and eventually The George Lopez Show in 2007. Wizards of Waverly Place also appeared in this decade (originally the family was planned to be Irish, but got changed to Hispanic when Selena Gomez gave the best audition as Alex).
- Dumb Is Good: It was something of a fad in the 2000s to act dumb. People usually point to Jessica Simpson and her infamous "is this chicken or fish I'm eating?" line from her reality show, Paris Hilton cultivating an entire public image for herself as a Dumb Blonde through Obfuscating Stupidity, Malcolm in the Middle has an episode where he turns off his brain to become happier, and Cady in Mean Girls pretends to be bad at math so Aaron will tutor her. Overall, works in the 2000s perpetuated the belief that smart people were unhappy. The majority of examples of Academic Alpha Bitch come from the 2000s. There was a backlash against this, most notably P!nk's 2006 song "Stupid Girls".
- Early Installment Weirdness: Some 90s influences and holdovers lingered in pop culture until 2004 to 2006, giving the early part of the decade a distinct feel from the later part. In the United States particularly, the period between the 2000 elections and 9/11 was notable for how completely unremarkable it was compared to the tumultuous rest of the decade. There's a reason why, culturally, this era was said to have started with 9/11.
- End of an Age: 9/11 was essentially a quick and hard stomp on everything that everyone had previously known, bringing on a new reality (and not necessarily for the better).
- Emo Music: The music movement had been slowly building in popularity throughout the 90s thanks to bands like Weezer and Get Up Kids, but in the 2000s it really broke through into the mainstream after it mixed in with goth and metal music thanks to bands like AFI, Thursday, My Chemical Romance, and Taking Back Sunday. It then sustained its popularity through the end of the decade thanks to Emo-Pop bands like Fall Out Boy, Panic! at the Disco, and Paramore. It evolved into the alternative rock genre of choice for most teens of the era along with Indie Pop and Nu Metal.
- The End of the World as We Know It: Predicted. Multiple times. It did not happen... yet...
- Everyone Loves Blondes: For a while, yes, they really did. A disproportionately high number of sex symbols in the early-to-mid 2000s were blonde women, with Paris Hilton, Jessica Simpson, Jessica Alba (a natural brunette) and Christina Aguilera being a few of the more famous ones.
- Everything Is An I Pod In The Future: The iPod came out in the middle of this decade, and with it, a simple and smooth aesthetic for our handheld devices.
- Foreign Culture Fetish: Japanese pop culture, fashions and cuisine were all the rage with young Americans, and the anime boom really began to take hold in this decade, with western animated shows even taking artistic cues from anime.
- Fountain of Memes: Most children's media of this decade in The New '10s (especially animated movies like Shrek), mostly out of combined Irony and nostalgia.
- Gag Series: A few examples such as Family Guy, South Park (which started in the 90s), Ed, Edd n Eddy, The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy, Spongebob Squarepants and The Fairly OddParents! had their heydays in this decade.
- Girl Group: Following the influence of the Spice Girls in the 90s, the Girl Group had their heyday in the early 2000s. Especially in Britain. Notably a few such as Atomic Kitten, Sugababes, and Mis Teeq were formed in the 90s but had their success in the 2000s. Girls Aloud and the Pussycat Dolls were also formed during this decade. The Saturdays came along a little later (2007) after the craze had died down.
- Girl-on-Girl Is Hot: Homosexuality lost just enough taboo for pop culture to start shamelessly, abundantly mining this for fanservice. Especially on reality shows (as the first episode of reality TV parody Drawn Together demonstrated). This is when the Sweeps Week Lesbian Kiss really took off.
- Girliness Upgrade: After the previous decade was dressed in muted grunge, dark gangsta rap/hip-hop, hard punk, neon, snarky comedies, and androgynous/unisex looks, this decade became saturated with pink, glitter, romantic comedies, pop stars, teen idols, socialites, bohemian-chic clothing, lip smackers, and so on.
- Guy-on-Guy Is Hot: Yaoi Fangirls first came to widespread public attention in this decade, leading to an increase in male Faux Yay, especially within the emo subculture, and deliberate Homoerotic Subtext in fictional works aimed at a young female demographic.
- Hard-Drinking Party Girl: Hard partying socialites became a hot fixture in celebrity culture.
- Hip-Hop: Became one of the most popular music genres after pop music during this decade. Offshoots such as Crunk, snap and Dirty Southern dominated the earlier to middle parts of the decade, though crunk and snap would eventually wear out their welcome by the time the 10s rolled around.
- History Repeats: There were many similarities between this decade and The Roaring '20s (rampant hedonism and consumerism), The '50s (new media and entertainment from the Internet taking on the mainstream), The '70s (politically, especially in the late 2000s with the worst economic recession, the gas crisis, and the fact that the cartoons had a very steep decline in quality, especially compared to the 1990s cartoons), and, in the entertainment industry, The '80s (with more music genres and technology than ever before).
- Hotter and Sexier: The music videos and advertising of the era saw new extremes of Fanservice, mainly to a male audience but occasionally women got to indulge in the fun too.
- Hummer Dinger: Most of the giant SUVs sold during this decade.
- Instant Humiliation: Just Add YouTube!: YouTube itself first launched in 2005, followed by most forms of modern social media and, almost immediately after, the potential to abuse it.
- Jukebox Musical: Codified in this decade. Both the stage version of Mamma Mia! and S Club 7's TV show premiered in 1999 but the popularity took off in the 2000s. The latter was a definite influence on the likes of Glee, which premiered just at the end of the decade.
- Jump Scare: Pretty much any movie in this decade that wanted to get a cheap fright out of their audience was very reliant on this. Eli Roth and Rob Zombie averted this hard.
- Kid Com: As the rivalry between kid-aimed cable networks Disney Channel and Nickelodeon heated up, both networks shifted their strategies to focus on "Tweencoms" and building franchises around the stars of their shows.
- Live-Action Adaptation: Scooby-Doo, Garfield, Alvin and the Chipmunks, Josie and the Pussycats, Transformers, Fat Albert, How the Grinch Stole Christmas! and The Cat in the Hat, among many more.
- Long Title: Everywhere in music in the middle of the decade, regardless of genre (but especially prominent with emo songs).
- Memetic Mutation: Internet memes existed well before the '00s, but became a huge part of the series of tubes in this decade.
- Middle Eastern Terrorists: Thanks to 9/11, these became a go-to antagonist for many an action flick in this decade.
- Moe: This is the decade where anime execs really started mining this trope for big payoffs. This caused a lot of contention in the fanbase over the entire decade.
- Money Song: Many songs like that in this decade especially from rappers but occasionally singers would make a song like this.
- Movie Superheroes Wear Black: Superhero movies darkened the wardrobes of the characters not just for gritiness, but also for aesthetic and practical reasons in response to the campiness of superhero flicks of the previous decade. The succeeding decade went more in the middle, with some more muted colors to contrast.
- Mood Whiplash: After the relative peace and prosperity of the previous decade and the early days of this one, it all came to a screeching halt with 9/11 and the paranoia that followed afterward.
- Moral Guardians: Post-9/11, everything became more conservative. See the Useful Notes page for more info.
- Network Decay: Started in The '90s with MTV, now it's moved on to many different networks (with some working and others not so). And then there was Cartoon Network's CN Real situation....
- New Media Are Evil: The old media's reaction to the Internet.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Hooray, Saddam's evil empire is dea—wait; what's this about them being a huge supplier of oil, and our economy being based on oil?!
- And all those violent groups who were kept in check by Saddam but are more able to bomb the streets now that he's gone?
- Noughties Drama Series: Named so after this decade's drama series, with shows such as Lost, Heroes and the reimagined Battlestar Galactica popularizing themes such as big ensemble casts, ongoing myth arcs, character studies, and strange cryptic mysteries in the background.
- Nu Metal: Similar to the aforementioned Boy Band craze, it carried over from the late '90s with some of the biggest acts such as Linkin Park and Evanescence emerging from that decade. Much like the boy band craze, nu metal's place in the mainstream died around the early-middle part of the decade.
- Post-Grunge: Most of the mainstream rock music of this decade falls into this category. In fact, it was one of the few genres that wasn't Rap, Hip-Hop, R&B, or a derivative thereof that saw major airplay on mainstream radio (not counting oldies or classic rock stations of course). Though by The New '10s, this genre had definitely worn out its welcome.
- Post-9/11 Terrorism Movie: Exactly What It Says on the Tin - These movies owe their existence to the September 11 attacks.
- Pretty Boy: The dominant standard of male beauty in this decade, with the term "metrosexual" entering the lexicons. A reaction against this led to many Western men in the '10s growing out their beards.
- Raven Hair, Ivory Skin: Many subcultures in this decade focused on this look, as a continuation from goth and punk, and to go against the Dark-Skinned Blonde look that was popular in the mainstream at the time. This is the reverse but quite similar to the Ganguro fashion trend in Japan in the '90s, in which focused on tanned skin and bleached hair to rebel against the traditional Japanese beauty standard of white skin, black hair and modest beauty. Ganguro died out in this decade because in Japan, pale skin became even more desired with the influence of its pop singers and the rise of alternative fashion that focused on cuteness and innocence.
- Reality TV: Not invented in this period, but it exploded in popularity thanks to shows like Survivor, American Idol, and Big Brother.
- The Remake: There were a lot of these, often of the Darker and Edgier variety.
- Rhythm Game: Spearheaded by the rivalry of Guitar Hero and Rock Band, music games had a massive burst of popularity from around 2005 through 2009 before suddenly dying off due to market stagnation, and the 2008 Recession souring interest in games with expensive peripherals. Most rhythm games have now reverted to their status pre-Guitar Hero, being smaller, more niche games revolving around using regular controls rather than emulating it with peripherals.
- Red-and-White Comedy Poster: Used a lot for adult and romantic comedies during this decade. It was overused so much that using it these days indicates the film will probably be a Guilty Pleasure at best.
- Shaking the Rump: This was quite common in many hip hop music videos at that time.
- Shallow Parody: Setzer and Friedberg had their parody films in their heyday at this time, and even then the criticisms of their shallowness was around.
- Spiky Hair: This kind of style really became popular among males, particularly those in the Pop Punk subculture. In The New '10s, these got replaced by flatter styles.
- Stable Time Loop: Reached an all-time peak of popularity among depictions of time travel in fantasy and science fiction, before theoretical physics marched on.
- Stripperiffic: Just about every female pop star was expected to do at least one video in a bikini's worth of clothing or even less, and street fashion in real life sometimes imitated this.
- Stuffy Old Songs About the Buttocks: This was very common in many hip hop songs at that time.
- Tsundere: The concept existed before this point, of course, but really seemed to take off in this decade, becoming a prominent character type even in Western media.
- Uncanceled: Increased during this decade, especially after Family Guy was brought back thanks to strong DVD sales and solid ratings from re-runs on Adult Swim.
- The War on Terror: Started around September 11 2001, and had continued since.
- Wham Episode: Three words: September 11, 2001.
- When the Planets Align: May 5, 2000 was the date of a rather famous planetary alignment which included from Mercury all the way through Saturn; naturally, this figured into many Conspiracy Theories. Eternal Darkness even worked this alignment into the plot.
- Who Forgot the Lights?: The Great Northeast Blackout of 2003, the largest in North American history, left millions in the Northeastern and Midwestern United States and the Ontario providence of Canada without electricity for days, which happened during the US war with Iraq, and caused many to believe that America was under attack.
- Wide Open Sandbox: Was one of the main genres of The Sixth Generation of Console Video Games thanks to the popularity of Grand Theft Auto III and its sequels.
- Wolverine Publicity: Most of the biggest celebrities in the 2000s like Paris Hilton, who was probably the greatest example of being "famous for being famous".
- Younger and Hipper: Fantasy films with child protagonists became the norm, following the leader of Harry Potter. Thus came The Chronicles of Narnia, The Golden Compass, The Spiderwick Chronicles, City Of Ember, Stormbreaker and many more. A lot of these didn't take, and the inverse happened with adaptations of Young Adult literature featuring teen protagonists (Twilight, The Hunger Games, Divergent etc).
- Zeerust: All those science fiction movies taking place in 2000 look so old now.
Works that were made in this time period:
- Animation of the 2000s
- Anime and Manga of the 2000s
- Comic Books of the 2000s
- Fanfics of the 2000s
- Films of the 2000s
- Hanguk Manhwa Aenimeisyeon of the 2000s
- Literature of the 2000s
- Music of the 2000s
- Newspaper Comics of the 2000s
- Pinball of the 2000s
- Professional Wrestling of the 2000s
- Radio of the 2000s
- Series of the 2000s
- Tabletop Games of the 2000s
- Theatre of the 2000s
- Theme Parks of the 2000s
- Toys of the 2000s
- Video Games of the 2000s
- Web Animation of the 2000s
- Webcomics of the 2000s
- Web Originals of the 2000s
- Western Animation of the 2000s
Works set, but not made in the decade:
- 127 Hours: Takes place in 2003.
- 7 Days in Hell: Takes place in the time leading up to the 2001 Wimbeldon.
- The Adjustment Bureau: Takes place in 2006.
- American Sniper: Most of the movie takes place in this decade during the Third Iraq War.
- Bicentennial Man: The film's prologue takes place in a futuristic 2005.
- The Big Short: Takes place in the time leading up to the 2008 Great Recession.
- The Bling Ring: Made in 2013, takes place during the eponymous group's heists from October 2008-August 2009.
- The Bourne Legacy: Takes place in 2005, shortly after the events of The Bourne Supremacy.
- Boyhood: Most of the film takes place from 2002-2009.
- Buried: Made in 2010, set in 2006.
- The Butler: Made in 2013, the final part of the film is set during Barack Obama's first term campaign and victory in the 2008 U.S. Presidential Elections.
- Captain Phillips: Made in 2013, set in 2009.
- Charlie St Cloud: Made in 2010, prologue set in 2005.
- Concussion: Takes place in 2002.
- Deadpool 2: The eponymous protagonist time travels to 2009 in The Stinger during the casting of his actor as the titular Green Lantern to "prevent him" from starring in the film.
- The Disaster Artist: The film takes place in the time leading up to the premiere of The Room in 2003.
- Easy A: Flashbacks take place mostly around the middle of the decade.
- Entrapment: The film's climax is during the eve of Year 2000, thus making the epilogue set in this decade.
- The Fifth Estate: Made in 2013, flashbacks to 2007 occasionally happens.
- Final Destination 5: The film is ultimately revealed to be a prequel to the entire franchise, with its Cruel Twist Ending even being the inaugural film's Downer Beginning.
- The Impossible: Takes place during the 2004 Tsunami in Thailand.
- Incredibles 2: Made in 2018 but is an Immediate Sequel to the 2004 film of the same name. The absence of prominent 2010s technology such as smartphones and tablets is also notable.
- Iron Man 3: Flashbacks to the events during the eve of Year 2000 is integral to the plot.
- I, Tonya: The film's epilogue is set somewhere in 2003-2004 during the eponymous protagonist's boxing career.
- Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit: Takes place during the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks.
- Jobs: The final arc of the film is the lead-up to the iPod's introduction in 2001.
- Lady Bird: Set in 2002-2003.
- Lone Survivor: Takes place in 2005.
- Mama: The film's prologue takes place during the 2008 Great Recession.
- Molly's Game: The story starts off with the eponymous protagonist getting injured during the 2002 Winter Olympics.
- Moneyball: Takes place from 2001-2002.
- The Night Before: Flashbacks take place from 2001-2006 plus some in 2008.
- Oculus: Half of the film takes place in 2002.
- Okja: Prologue set in 2007.
- Remember Me: Most of the film takes place 2001, leading up to the September 11 attacks.
- Snowden: Has a How We Got Here format that shows what happened from 2004 up to the film's present day in 2013.
- Soul Surfer: Set in 2003-2004.
- Spotlight: Takes place in 2001.
- Sully: Dramatizes the US Airways Flight 1549 emergency in 2009 and its aftermath.
- Toy Story 3: While the year the film takes place in is never mentioned, it's supposedly set around the middle of the decade.
- Truth 2015: Takes place during the 2004 U.S. elections.
- The Wall (2017): Takes place in 2007.
- Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps: Takes place during the 2008 recession.
- War Dogs: The film kicks off in 2005.
- Woman In Gold: Takes place in 2004.
- You Again: Made in 2010, prologue set in 2002.
- Zero Dark Thirty: Largely all about the The War on Terror, specifically the hunt for Osama Bin Laden. Because of this, the film largely takes place during this decade.
- Game Change: Takes place during John McCain and Sarah Palin's campaign in the 2008 U.S elections.
- The Disaster Artist: Takes place in the time leading up to the premiere of The Room in 2003.
- Oksa Pollock takes place in 2009.
- One Day: The third act takes place from 2001-2004.
- The Red And The Rest constantly calls attention to the technology and culture of the pre-9/11 noughties while hinting at the awful event to come.
- Arrowverse: Majority of its characters' backstories and the most important flashbacks happened in this decade.
- From Arrow: Oliver and Sara were shipwrecked in 2007 and were forced to survive for the next five years doing things unimaginable. Oliver was marooned in an island, meeting people along the way who will factor to his superhero career in The Present Day. Sara, on the other hand, was recovered by a group of mercenaries before crossing paths with Oliver for a brief period of time the following year. After that, she was rescued and recruited by a world-renowned Murder, Inc.. Meanwhile, Diggle and his wife were veterans during The War on Terror, with the former serving the U.S. Army until 2008.
- From The Flash (2014): Barry's mother was killed at the very beginning of the decade and his father was framed by the killer. Barry traveled back to this fateful night a few times using his Time Travel capabilities. Speaking of the killer, he immediately searched for the man responsible for Barry gaining his Super Speed to Kill and Replace him in order to accelerate Barry's Superhero Origin as as he needs Barry's speed to return home to the future. Nine years later, the killer now impersonating the Big Good frees a certain Killer Gorilla named Grodd in case he needs a contingency for his Evil Plan.
- From Supergirl: Kara landed on Earth around late 2003 to early 2004. In 2005, her adoptive father was forced by a certain government official to participate in a manhunt mission for a certain alien refugee. Both men disappeared for months, until the alien refugee returns impersonating said government official to take over his life.
- From Legends of Tomorrow: The eponymous team traveled back to 2007 months before the aforementioned shipwreck in order to rescue Sara from being Ret Gone'd by the Villain of the Week.
- Better Call Saul: A prequel series of a TV show whose story began in 2008, the story of this one begins in 2002.
- Black Lightning: Flashbacks to the to the eponymous protagonist's retirement from his original superhero run takes place during the middle of the decade.
- Daredevil: The first season flashes back to 2009 during The Hero and his best friend's first meeting in college.
- The first season of Fargo is set in 2006, as well as 2007 after the Time Skip.
- The Flash (1990) travels to a Bad Future set in the very beginning of the decade. Cue Zeerust.
- How I Met Your Mother is a weird case since the story is being told by The Hero from 2030. The first four and a half seasons were set from September 2005 to December 2009, though occasional flashbacks to the earlier parts of the decade happens (usually involving either their first meeting with their Token Evil Teammate or the time when The Hero just moved in to the apartment he's staying at for much of the series), along with both The '90s (The Hero and his True Companions' high school and college years plus one of them's Teen Idol days) and The '80s (their childhood).
- Ikaw Lamang: The second book takes place in 2005.
- Jane the Virgin had a flashback to the eponymous protagonist's Quinceaera in 2006.
- The Punisher: The first season occasionally flashes back to The Hero's time in the U.S. Military during The War on Terror .
- True Detective: Half of the story takes place from 1995-2002, while the main story takes place in 2012.
- Dead Island: Set in 2006.
- Dead Island 2: Sequel of the previous game set only months after.
- Dino Crisis: Set in alternate 2009 where dinosaurs still exist/are revived.
- Emily Is Away: Takes place in a five year span, from 2002 to 2006.
- Far Cry 3 is set in a dystopian 2007.
- The prologue to Grand Theft Auto V takes place in 2004, complete with a pre-smartphone mobile phone.
- Metal Gear Solid takes place in 2005.
- Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty: The prologue starring Solid Snake is set on both 2007, while the main Story Arc starring Raiden is set on 2009.
- Outcast: Made in 1999, set in an alternate 2007.
- Resident Evil: Revelations: Made in 2012, set in 2005.
- The Room: The Game: 2010 video game adaptation of the 2003 movie of the same name.
- Twisted Metal: The very first game is set in 2005, the second in 2006, and the third in 2008. All games were made in The '90s.
- A few WWE Video Games have story modes that takes place during the Attitude, Invasion, and Ruthless Aggression eras.
- Butterfly Soup is set in 2008—specifically, the fall of 2008; the characters encounter Prop 8 rallies on their way to school, and later on in the game, Diya and Akarsha talk about Barack Obama having been elected president the day before. Akarsha in particular is a fountain of mid-/late-2000s memes.
- While Crow Cillers is set in the modern day, it's still very concerned with the media of the of the late 90s and early 2000s. In the artist's own words, there's a boombox playing Mambo no. 5 just off screen on every page.