Best of 2016 – Thirty Twenty Ten’s Top Shows

When a show’s premise is as timely and ephemeral as Thirty Twenty Ten, it’s hard to guess which episodes would be the most listened to of the year. Every week has a notable game, movie or TV debut, but which ones leapt out and pulled in new listeners? Let’s find out!

Double Dare, Departed, South Parkcraft and That Thing You Do – This week 30, 20 and 10 years ago: Double Dare debuts on Nickelodeon as My Pet Monster tears up the toy aisle; Tom Hanks wrangles a group of one hit wonders; and South Park skewers Warcraft while DiCaprio faces off with Damon, Wahlberg and Nicholson.

So again, every single episode is loaded with fun topics and the art always makes each show seem like a nostalgia-fueled party. Why this is the fifth most popular episode is hard to pin down… but I’d imagine Chris’ years-long affinity for The Departed helped, plus one of South Park’s most popular episodes of all time probably pulled in a few folks too.

From the comments: I honestly can’t stand The Departed. Everything was so overwrought with ham-fisted, mafia tough-guy bullshit. The only thing more preposterous than the idea that DiCaprio was a remotely believable undercover cop was the fucking ridiculous rat at the very end. – watershipdownsyndrome

Crocodile Dundee arrives in NYC, the Nintendo 64 Hits America and NBC’s Heroes Doesn’t Yet Suck – Castlevania, Designing Women and Sledge Hammer debut alongside Crocodile Dundee, while this very week in 1996 marks the 20th anniversary of Weezer’s Pinkerton and the Nintendo 64! In 2006 we were all told to save the cheerleader, save the world while Tom Goes to the Mayor wraps up.

The N64’s 20th birthday was destined to turn some heads, but add the debut of Castlevania and one of 1986’s top-grossing films, Weezer’s cult hit and the 10th anniversary of “Save the Cheerleader, Save the World” and you’ve got a winner. Every decade’s got something cool to share!

From the comments: Oh, man, Heroes. I’m a fan of Dead Like Me and Pushing Daisies, but NOTHING showcases Bryan Fuller’s writing talents like seeing his effect on Heroes. To start off with, he was a writer on the (generally considered good) first season, and wrote “Company Man,” which is probably the best episode of the show. He’s not around for Season 2, wherein the show immediately falls of a cliff.

In the back nine of Season 3, Bryan fuller comes back and is promoted to executive producer. He writes ONE episode that features a compelling and tragic romance story, and also subtly changes the course of several plotlines in a way that basically fixes the show. In just ONE episode. From a storytelling standpoint, it’s amazing to watch. That momentum carries the show through the rest of the season, after which Bryan Fuller leaves once again. After that, the show took an immediate nosedive and was canceled the next year.

The truth is that Heroes was never good, it just lucked into landing a great writer who was between his own projects at the time. I can’t wait to see what he does while showrunning Star Trek. – sketchlayerjosh

Sid & Goblins, Clinton & Gore, Elite Beat Agents and Gears of War – This week in 86 brought us Sid & Nancy plus a trio of Capcom classics, then 1996 saw the Spice Girls hit it big, Ransom in theaters and Clinton elected for a second term. Flash to 2006 and Gears of War redefines shooters as good-vibe-police spring into action on the Nintendo DS.

The show gained momentum as the year wore on, and October-November in general were some of the hottest weeks. It’s not hard to see why – holiday hits spanning three decades, plus a huge election most of us remember make it a very relatable show. Also one of the few episodes where the 2006 segment really had a lot to contribute!

From the commentsThis show reminds me of how much I value Michael Grimm when he’s on a Lasertime show. Because when Antista makes some bizarre, don’t-think-just-speak statement like “Gears of War was the first time game stories started being good,” Grimm would pounce on it and pick it apart for the off-the-cuff unsourced nonsense that it is. He doesn’t stand for shit like that and I love that about him. – wittynickname

Fievel, First Contact and Tenacious Wii – An American Tail debuts this week in 1986, introducing us to adorable little Fievel, while 1996 brought us Jingle All The Way and Star Trek’s biggest hit in a decade. 2006 saw the launch of Nintendo’s Wii and the Pick of Destiny, plus the Burger King Trilogy.

Again with the holiday season! Jingle All The Way remains a huge hit with people 10 years younger than me, and Trek’s First Contact was the most popular film in the series for more than a decade. Add in the debut of the Wii – and Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess – and you’ve got plenty to discuss across all three decades.

From the comments: Man, I forgot Friday Night Videos even existed!
My older sister was so into Duran Duran, that she named our three cats after the band members. I think I’ve had enough Duran Duran to last me until I’m 60. – opusander

Beastie Boys, Space Jam, Mr Show and the Debut of the PS3 – This week in 1986 brought us Hoosiers and License to Ill, then 1996 saw Space Jam slam into theaters while Mr Show began its second season. In 2006, the PlayStation 3 launches in America and Daniel Craig reboots Bond in Casino Royale. Also the worst Sonic game came out this week.

To get the coveted number one most-downloaded-show of the year, you apparently need the irresistible combo of Space Jam, Mr Show and the launch of the PlayStation 3. This also included a lengthy discussion of the notoriously awful Sonic the Hedgehog 2006, the return of Bond in Casino Royale and the debut of Tomb Raider in 1996. Truly a stacked show!

It’s clear the show gained popularity towards the back half of the year, which is something of a shame given that earlier this year we discussed Flight of the Navigator, Aliens, Transformers: The Movie, Stand By Me, Short Circuit, Twister, Top Gun… tons of genuine hits OR things of particular relevance to Laser Time fans / hosts. Hopefully some folks dig into that backlog?

From the comments: And for Craig, he is my second favorite Bond. I’ve seen every Bond and a big fan of the series. Connery is the #1 and Craig is my #2. This isn’t a shot at Moore, Brosnan, or Dalton but I enjoy Craig’s take so damn much. What really hurts Brosnan is how rough his movies were outside of Goldeneye (which I don’t have ranking above anyone else’s best) – itchy sunburn

Like we’ve said throughout the year, this show simply wouldn’t exist without your support over at Pateron. This went from a basic concept for a show into one of our biggest breakaway hits, solely thanks to your donations, your word of mouth and overall emotional support. THANK YOU for making this possible and here’s to 1987, 1997 and 2007!

4 thoughts on “Best of 2016 – Thirty Twenty Ten’s Top Shows

  1. With the number of times the Challenger explosion gets name-checked in other shows, I’m surprised that one didn’t make the cut

  2. Thanks for doing the show guys (and gal!), it’s truly been one of my favorite new things this year. I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve begun an anecdote with “I was listening to the most recent episode of this podcast Thirty Twenty Ten, which talks about pop culture and media from 30 years ago, 20 years ago, and 10 years ago this week, and guess what is (blank) years old this week? (Insert completely random event or piece of media)!”

    It’s always a fun little ice-breaker and always leads to a fun conversation talking about whatever, like Space Jam or Twister. Also, events like Chernobyl and the Challenger are incredible moments in history that are forever worth remembering and discussing.

  3. This was an awesome first year of the podcast, and I’m happy it’s being received well (and seems to be fun for the hosts too). Can’t wait to discuss some of the big stuff from 87, 97 and 07 (particular Batman & Robin + The New Batman Adventures in 97).

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