Follow TV Tropes


Turn of the Millennium
aka: The Oughties

Go To
I Want My Jetpack or whatever.

"We are the youth, we'll take your fascism away.
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."
Silverchair, "Anthem for 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, the attitudes of The '90s mostly 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 America into two wars, but continues to be a lingering specter in global politics. It is possible this decade may have ended culturally and politically in 2008–09, 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, as well as Facebook surpassing MySpace in traffic, and "electropop era" music like Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber, and Katy Perry becoming popular. Alternatively, the political end of the decade may have been in 2011, the year of The Arab Spring, Occupy Wall Street, and the death of Osama bin Laden. Culturally, the decade began somewhere around 1998-2003 with the continued rise of the internet, online music downloads, and reality shows, and ended somewhere around 2008-2013 with the rising prominence of the smartphone and social media sites like Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook becoming very popular. Depending on who you ask, it may have officially ended around early 2007, 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 2008-2013. On a Bookend manner, the zeitgeist of the 2000s started and ended with crashes on a September day in New York; literally in 2001 with the destruction of the Twin Towers, and metaphorically in 2008 with the stock market crash and the collapse of the Lehman Brothers.

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 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 dotcom 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 (for the next decade and a half, at least); another controversial presidential election; the catastrophic flooding of New Orleans from 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 Bill Clinton and British PM John Major had disliked each other, first Clinton, then George W. 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 other issues. This naturally led to growing feelings of cynicism and insecurity, which was reflected in a 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 cancelled, 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 (e.g. Backstreet Boys and N Sync) to Pop punk, emo, Nu Metal, and Post-Hardcore bands such as blink-182, Good Charlotte, Green Day, Limp Bizkit, Linkin Park, Nine Inch Nails, Simple Plan, System of a Down, Rage Against the Machine, Jimmy Eat World, the dreaded and much mocked Nickelback, and many others in the early part of the decade, although teen idols on the Disney Channel and Nickelodeon were popular in music. Matchbox Twenty, Audioslave, and other bands were really popular. This genre exploded in 2005 with the rise of Fall Out Boy, Panic! at the Disco, My Chemical Romance, Thirty Seconds to Mars, Paramore), 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 opening years retained elements of '90s fashion, but with 2003-04 being the transitioning years, the '90s was officially out of style musically and culturally by 2005. In contrast to the grungy look of the '90s, 2000s fashion was more aestheticised, with beards replaced by clean shaven looks and darker makeup on everyone (including some guys due to the rising influence of emo and skate culture). By the very end of the decade, skinny jeans had displaced the baggier styles that had been popular before.

Media technology continued to evolve. The Compact Disc gave way to MP3 in the music sphere. DVD gradually replaced VHS throughout 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, Computer-Generated Images-packed extravaganzas, with superhero movies (like Spider-Man and The Dark Knight) and fantasy epics (such as the The 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 3D 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 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 their every move and the amount of tabloid press they 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.

This was 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 Neil Armstrong on The Moon. Blogs became a popular pastime, with ordinary people discovering their online journals could gain a significant following; this paved the way for the rise of larger centralized social media sites such as Facebook. 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 plots that were much more mature and realistic, although the extent to which 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 Science Fiction 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 that 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) periods in which works were Distanced from Current Events. 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 agree 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 two-thousands" or "The double-o's", or more rarely, "The Aughts".

See Also: The Gay '90s, The Edwardian Era, The Roaring '20s, The Great Depression, The '40s, The '50s, The '60s, The '70s, The '80s, The '90s, The New '10s and The New '20s.

Now has a Useful Notes page.

Tropes associated with the time period:

  • '60s Hair: From around 2005 until around 2011, pouf hairstyles, characterized by a half-up half-down centerpart hair with a wide range of volume and occasional sidebangs, had been adopted by celebrities ranging from actresses like Ashley Tisdale and Lindsay Lohan to reality show stars like Paris Hilton and Snooki to musicians like Beyoncé and Amy Winehouse. Through infomercials, "Bumpits" became an added hair accessory without the need for hairspray.
  • '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. Feathered hair also made a dramatic comeback with female popstars.
  • The '80s: The decade of choice for much of this decade's nostalgia, characterized among late Gen-Xers and early Millennials reminiscing 8-bit era video games and Merchandise-Driven cartoons like Transformers given a live action theatrical tretment, and by VH1 making three introspective videos for the 1980s.
  • Animation of the 2000s: With the Internet rising, a new medium, the Web Animation, brought fourth in Adobe Flash, paved way for a new avenue and discourse in animation, while traditional film and television put computer graphics in a new, zany path. Animation tropes and genres in this decade included:
    • Anime: Starting in 2004, anime, manga, video games, and penumbra products replaced physical goods like cars and electronics as Japan's highest monetary-value export.
    • Animated Shock Comedy: Athough the genre emerged in the late '90s, rude, crude, topical South Park-inspired adult cartoons became incredibly popular and culturally dominant during this period. Web animations done in Adobe Flash also provided its own crude form of comedy that was hosted in sites like Newgrounds and Albino Blacksheep.
    • All-CGI Cartoon: Disney and other feature animation companies began to abandon traditional animation for CGI during this decade, although there was some hope that the two might coexist towards the end of the decade. 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 Shrek and becoming the first real animation studio to challenge Disney over the long term, although it would have a period of artistic decline until it came roaring back with a new quality commitment with Kung Fu Panda in 2008.
    • 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 existed 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 them in popularity.
      • Interestingly, Stop-Motion animation also received a reinvigoration, as it became 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 2009's Coraline was also stop-motion.
    • 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.
    • 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.
  • 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: Human affairs tend not to follow neat calendar divisions, so many decade-defining trends persisted into The New '10s, like The War on Terror.
  • Audience-Alienating Era: Similar to The '70s, this is not exactly America's most fondly-remembered decade for many reasons 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 during the middle of the decade, 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 2D features flopped and CGI efforts received mixed responses, with Pixar and DreamWorks (the former of which Disney would later acquire) building up as strong rival studios. Disney would recover by the next decade by going back to their roots.
  • Big Blackout: The Great Northeast Blackout of 2003, the largest in North American history, left millions in the Northeastern and Midwestern United States and the Ontario province of Canada without electricity for days (which happened during the US war with Iraq), and caused many to believe that America was under attack.
  • Boy Band: Boy bands like *NSYNC and the Backstreet Boys remained a 90s 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.
  • Cash-Cow Franchise: Every TV series or movie or video game that was successful during this decade.
  • Cerebus Syndrome: The year 2000 and the first two-thirds of 2001 were 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.
  • Chickification:
    • 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 (2004) 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 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 & 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 the WWE, the women's division was slowly gaining respect in the early 2000s. But around 2004, the WWE introduced the concept of a Diva Search, where models without experience would compete for a 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 didn't have the cash to take over the world anymore and Russia after 20 years is still not able to dig itself out.
  • 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.
  • Curly Hair Is Ugly: Hair straighteners were the rage back in the day of the 2000s. Everyone was addicted to straightening their hair as it was considered hip at that time. This would decline by 2009 with the emergence of curlier hair styles and "Bieber"-style side sweep which overtook the trend by the early 2010s.
  • Defective Detective: Started in 2000 with Monk, the trope namer, and spread with Psych, Life and Bored to Death. Media like The Good Guys and Terriers continued this trend into The New '10s.
  • Digital Piracy Is Evil: Or is it? But as with the aforementioned Digital Distribution, this decade was 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.
  • 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 García was the first English-language sitcom to have a majority Hispanic cast, and it premiered in 2000. Taina followed suit, and eventually The George Lopez Show in 2002. Wizards of Waverly Place also premiered 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). For small children, Dora the Explorer, Dragon Tales, Maya & Miguel, and Handy Manny were cartoons that provided representation.
  • Dumb Is Good: It was something of a fad during this decade 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, and Paris Hilton cultivating an entire public image for herself as a Dumb Blonde through Obfuscating Stupidity. Fictional media took to parodying this fad, such as Malcolm in the Middle in one episode where he turns off his brain to become happier only for it to land him in trouble, and Cady in Mean Girls pretends to be bad at math so Aaron will tutor her, only for him to question why she would ever need to. Overall, works in the 2000s perpetuated the belief that smart people were unhappy. The majority of examples of Academic Alpha Bitch come from this decade. There was a backlash against this, most notably in P!nk's song "Stupid Girls".
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: Some late '90s influences and holdovers lingered in pop culture until 2003-04, giving the early part of the decade a distinct and weirder feel from the rest of the decade. Particularly in America, the period between January 1, 2000 and September 10, 2001 was notable for how peaceful it was compared to the tumultuous rest of the decade. There's a reason why this era was said to have culturally 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 forth a new reality (and not necessarily for the better).
  • The End of the World as We Know It: Predicted. Multiple times. It didn't happen... yet...
  • Everyone Loves Blondes: For a while, 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 towards the beginning of this decade, and with it, a simple and smooth aesthetic for our handheld devices.
    • Following the all-metallic and futuristic motifs of the Y2K aesthetics that started of the late 1990s and ending in 2003, the tech aesthetics of the second half of the 2000s, characterized by skeuphormism, glassy and translucent textures, environmental motifs that involve blue skies, marine life, and green landscapes, and clear typefaces was retroactively called "Frutiger Aero", named after a combination of the designer Adrian Frutiger and the Windows Aero interface used in Vista and 7.
  • Films of the 2000s: For a decade filled with a celebration for the new millennium and anxious thoughts of terrorism, films were made to provide escapism and thrills to the anxious minds, all the while making big hits. Film genres in this decade are:
  • 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. The "Cool Britannia" movement of the '90s continued into the decade with renewed interest in British culture, mainly taking the form of British television, especially with the Doctor Who revival.
  • Fountain of Memes: Most children's media from this decade came to be viewed this way in The New '10s (especially cartoons like SpongeBob SquarePants and animated movies like Shrek), mostly out of combined Irony and nostalgia.
  • 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 was 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, rhinestones, romantic comedies, pop stars, teen idols, socialites, bohemian-chic clothing, Pretty Boys, 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.
  • History Repeats: There were many similarities between this decade and The Roaring '20s (rampant hedonism and consumerism resulting in a credit crisis at the end of the decade), The '50s (new media and entertainment from the Internet taking on the mainstream; 3D and epic movies become popular), 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), and even The '90s in a sociopolitical sense (A Bush waging war against Saddam Hussein)
  • Hotter and Sexier: 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.
  • 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", building franchises around the stars of their shows.
  • Live-Action Adaptation: How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, Josie and the Pussycats, Scooby-Doo, The Cat in the Hat, Fat Albert, Garfield, Alvin and the Chipmunks, and Transformers, among many more.
  • Memetic Mutation: Internet memes existed well before the '00s, but became a huge part of the series of tubes in this decade.
  • 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.
  • Music of the 2000s: Harnessing the the power of relatively new technology such as the CD and the internet as MTV fell into a massive Network Decay, music became more diverse and more expressive during this decade, though it wasn't without drawbacks, as the music industry competed on who is the loudest.
    • 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.
    • 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 genre of choice for most teens of the era, along with Indie Rock and Nu Metal.
    • 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 Destiny's Child, 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 in 2007, after the craze had died down.
    • 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.
    • Money Song: Many songs like that in this decade, especially from rappers but occasionally singers would make a song like this.
    • 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 pop, hip-hop, R&B, or a derivative thereof that saw major airplay on mainstream radio (not counting oldies or classic rock stations. of course). But by The New '10s, this genre had definitely worn out its welcome.
    • Protest Song: A staple in the early half of the decade (2003-2004 in particular), concerning the Bush administration and the Iraq War, such as American Idiot by Green Day .
    • Shaking the Rump: Be it a Filipino novelty song, Shakira's belly dancing, or the shawties twerking or griding on many hip hop music videos, hip gyration was becoming common at the time.
    • Stuffy Old Songs About the Buttocks: This was very common in many hip hop songs at that time, complemented with the Shaking the Rump in music videos.
  • Network Decay: Started in The '90s with MTV, but 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.
  • 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.
  • Pretty Boy: The dominant standard of male beauty in this decade (at least once Nu Metal died out) with the term "metrosexual" entering the lexicons as it jumped from subculture to mainstream. Notable trends for men included skinny jeans, tight vests, flippy long hair, clean-shaven faces and Guyliner, a noticeable contrast from the baggy jeans, T-shirts, flannel, and scruffy beards commonly seen on men in the decades before and after.
  • 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 look that was popular in the mainstream at the time. This is the reverse but quite similar to the Ganguro subculture in Japan during the '90s, which focused on tanned skin, bleached hair and garish heavy makeup 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 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.
  • Sadist Show: There are several examples of this trope in play during this decade; all mediums had at least one show that counts as this.
  • Spiky Hair: This kind of style really became popular among males, particularly those in the Pop Punk subculture, and among anime fans imitating their Shounen heroes. In the later part of the decade and 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 'Verse: This is the decade where works with a Shared Universe really started to take off. The X-Men Film Series officially began in 2000, while the Marvel Cinematic Universe officially began in 2008. On the TV side of things, the Law & Order franchise officially became a franchise with the release of Law & Order: Criminal Intent in 2001. The BuffyVerse peaked during the first half of the decade, and both Super Sentai and Power Rangers made their first canonical multi-team Crisis Crossover.
  • Video Games of the 2000s: As computer graphics became more advanced to smooth down the polygons and improved the lightings and palettes with "realistic" colors, and The Internet became faster and more widesrpead through broadband, videogames started to become more interconnected and more engaging:
  • 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. Eternal Darkness even worked this alignment into the plot.
  • 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".
  • Zeerust: All those science fiction movies taking place in 2000 look so old now.

Works that were made in this time period:


    Alternate Reality Games 

    Eastern European Animation 


Works set, but not made in the decade:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 

     Comic Books 
  • Armageddon 2001: Made in 1991, set in 2001.
  • Assassin's Creed: Subject Four: Made from 2010-2011, modern day portion from the latter portion of The Chain to The Fall is set from 2000-2002. In terms of the former, the Assassins are backing Al Gore in the 2000 US presidential election, while the Templars are backing George W. Bush. Daniel murdering the Mentor due to his programming and being forced to divulge his knowledge of the Assassin bases he's visited is what allows the Templars to enact the Great Purge on the Assassins and rig the election so that Bush ends up winning.
  • Fantastic Four: Life Story: The fifth part of the 2021 mini-series is set mostly in 2002.
  • The fifth and penultimate part of the 2019 mini-series Spider-Man: Life Story is set in 2006, plus a flashback to 9/11.




     Live-Action TV 
  • 18 Again: Made and set in 2020, majority of the flashbacks to the two protagonists' backstory take place during much of the decade (particularly from 2000-2002).
  • The Act: Made in 2019, but roughly covers the period between 2005 and 2015; Mel watches Desperate Housewives, Dee Dee and Gypsy leave because of Hurricane Katrina, and Lacey wears spaghetti strap tops. Their house was built in 2008.
  • 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 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.
    • Flash vs. Arrow: The Arrow part of the inaugural yearly Crossover features flashbacks to Oliver Queen's time in Hong Kong during 2009.
    • From Supergirl (2015): 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 in Season 1. Season 5 then sees them travelling to 2004.
    • The Batwoman (2019) prologue is set in 2003 in which the titular protagonist's mother gets killed.
    • Superman & Lois: Flashbacks to the eponymous couple's backstory take place during the first half of the decade.
  • 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 (2018): Flashbacks to the eponymous protagonist's retirement from his original superhero run takes place during the middle of the decade.
  • A Season 2 episode (released in 1999) of Charmed (1998) is set in a Bad Future 2009.
  • The penultimate Season 4 episode (released in 2013) of Community is mostly set in 2008, a year before the series premiere.
  • The Crown (2016): The final season (6) aired in 2023 but begins in the mid-1990s and ends in 2005, with Charles and Camilla's wedding.
  • Cruel Summer: The final time period of Season 2 is summer 2000.
  • Daredevil (2015): The first season flashes back to 2009 during The Hero and his best friend's first meeting in college.
  • Dopesick was made in 2021, but having started in the 1990s, the second half takes place from 2000 to the late 2000s.
  • The Dropout: 2022 Elizabeth Holmes Bio Pic set mostly on her 2017 trial but also has flashbacks from her college years in the early 2000s.
  • Empire: Made in 2015, flashbacks to the creation of the titular company and the elder Lyon children's early adulthood/late teens (as well as the youngest's childhood) happened in this decade.
  • The first season of Fargo is set in 2006, as well as 2007 after the Time Skip.
  • The First Lady: 2022 Eleanor Roosevelt, Betty Ford, and Michelle Obama Bio Pic.
  • Five Days at Memorial is released in 2022, but set during Hurricane Katrina in summer 2005.
  • The Flash (1990) travels to a Bad Future set in the very beginning of the decade. Cue Zeerust.
  • Fresh Off the Boat: 2015-2020 series set from 1995-2000.
  • Girl from Nowhere: Made and set in 2018 onwards, the flashback scenes are set somewhere in the decade.
  • Girlboss: 2017 Sophia Marlowe Bio Pic series set in 2006.
  • The penultimate episode of Glee (released in 2015) is aptly titled 2009 and is set during the events leading up to the pilot.
  • The Glory: 2022 web-series set mostly in the present, but the Past Arc takes place from 2004-2006.
  • Gotham: Made in 2014, the show is mostly set from 2005 to 2009.
  • Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha: Made in 2021, flashbacks to the two protagonists' teen aged and college years respectively set in 2001 and 2007.
  • 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 are 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).
  • I Hear Your Voice: Made in 2013, flashbacks set in 2003.
  • Ikaw Lamang: The second book takes place in 2005.
  • Jane the Virgin had a flashback to the eponymous protagonist's Quinceanera in 2006.
  • Jessica Jones (2015): Made in 2015, a Season 2 episode flashes back to Patsy Walker's failed Idol Singer career around the earlier part of the decade.
  • Kambal, Karibal: Occasionally has flashbacks to the very beginning of the decade as well as the latter parts of it.
  • Looking for Alaska: 2019 mini-series set in 2005.
  • My Husband's Lover: Prologue takes place during the decade, specifically the middle to latter parts.
  • PEN15: Made in 2019, set in August through November 2000.
  • Ang Probinsyano (2015): Much of the flashbacks to Cardo's teenage years is set in the first half of the decade.
  • The Punisher (2017): The first season occasionally flashes back to The Hero's time in the U.S. Military during The War on Terror.
  • Revenge: Made and set in 2012 onwards, flashback to the supposed Death by Origin Story of the protagonist's father happened in 2002.
  • Swamp Thing (2019): Made in 2019, flashbacks to Abby Arcane's time with the Sunderlands are set around 2005.
  • This Is Us: Made in 2016, flashbacks to the three protagonists' twenties are set throughout the decade (they were all born in 1980).
  • Titans (2018): Made in 2018, flashbacks to the death of Dick Grayson's parents and his adoption by Bruce Wayne is set from 2002-2003. Flashbacks to the backstory of Hawk and Dove, meanwhile, is set in 2009.
  • Treme: Made in 2010, set during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
  • True Detective: Half of the story takes place from 1995-2002, while the main story takes place in 2012.
  • Unbelievable: 2019 miniseries about the 2008-2011 Washington and Colorado serial rape cases.


     Video Games 

    Visual Novels 
  • 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.
  • Class of '09 is set from 2007-2009, and you step into the shoes of Nicole, a sociopathic girl who has to deal with all the crap that is happening around her, especially in her new high school.

  • While Crow Cillers is set in the modern day, it's still very concerned with the media 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.
  • Joe vs. Elan School: Joe's college years take place in the early-to-mid 2000s; following that there's a Time Skip ahead to approximately 2009 based on the date seen on an online article that Joe reads.
  • My Impossible Soulmate is set in 2000.
  • Strong Female Protagonist: The flashback where Alison first discovers her powers takes place around 2005-2006, as George W. Bush is the President who first announces the existence of those with superpowers.

    Web Original 
  • Hunter: The Parenting is set in 2006, with its characters often speaking of media of the era and looking forwards towards games like Team Fortress 2 which were released shortly afterwards.
  • Imigrantes Road Released in 2022, takes place in 2007.
  • Pokémon: Path to the Peak: Released in 2023 and presumably set during the 2020s, but during Ava's mom's flashback to their childhood, they lose to a Shining Pikachu from EX Holon Phantoms, implying that the game took place during 2006 at minimum as that was when the cards were released.

    Western Animation 
  • Twelve Forever does, in fact, take place in the early 2000s (possibly either set in 2000, 2001, 2002 or 2003) where Reggie is 12 (she might be born in between late 1987 through early 1991) as well as her friends, Todd and Esther (who are born in between 1988 through 1991).

Alternative Title(s): The2000s, The Two Thousands, The Noughties, Noughties, The Oughties, The Aughts, The Early2000s