87) My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic is genuinely magic

My Little Pony, a 1980s TV series based on a line of Hasbro toys, could be a contender for the most girl-targeted franchise in the universe. However, the 2011 reboot called My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic found an audience no one was expecting: men aged 13 to 35. Calling themselves Bronies, these men flocked to the “tails” of Twilight Sparkle and her pony pals after clips of the show started circulating on online forums. They’ve been responsible for Brony conventions and fan sites that feature art and music inspired by the series. The show may have been intended for young girls and their moms to bond over, but it exploded with this surprising male audience. The creators have embraced this unconventional fanbase, adding nods to Bronies in both the show and its merchandise.


86) The Hobbit turns into a trilogy

Although some Tolkien purists will inevitably disagree, the Lord of the Rings movie trilogy was, basically, perfect. So when director Peter Jackson announced he was returning to Middle-earth to make its prequel, The Hobbit, everyone was incredibly excited. Flush with the success of the splitting of Deathly Hallows, and Warner Bros. announced it would be two movies. The Hobbit is shorter than each of the books in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, but you could argue—and people did—that two movies made sense with Jackson’ epic filmmaking. But then... it became three. It was such an obvious cash grab that almost instantly all excitement and anticipation for the film(s) cooled off. And instead of getting the perfect movie adaptation of The Hobbit the world wanted, we got a bloated, boring mess in three installments.


85) Anime director Satoshi Kon dies

If the name Satoshi Kon doesn’t ring as many bells as Hayao Miyazaki does, well, that’s the problem. The anime director died on August 25, 2010, at the age of 46, after being diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer. He had completed only four films and one TV series, a first foray in what should have been the life’s work of one of the world’s best directors, period. Instead, we got the wonderful, Hitchcockian suspense film Perfect Blue; Millennium Actress, the frenetically visual examination of the thin boundaries between art and reality; Tokyo Godfathers, a heart-warming Capra-esque drama-comedy about three homeless people who discover an abandoned baby; and Paprika, which is essentially a dream turned into a film, in a way animation could be capable of. With every film, his prowess and prestige grew, and it would have kept on growing, too. When we lost Kon, we lost masterpieces.


84) The revival of Squirrel Girl

There is only one truly unbeatable superhero, and it’s not Superman, Wonder Woman, or Spider-Man. It’s Doreen Green, a.k.a. Squirrel Girl, a young woman blessed with the power to talk to squirrels and do computer coding. She was created as a silly character, with her power to actually beat toughies like Doctor Doom being part of the joke. But when Ryan North and Erica Henderson grabbed her in 2015 and rechristened her The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, they made that rarest of all comics: One that people of all ages can enjoy. Like its title character, Unbeatable Squirrel Girl is a fun, positive comic that teaches the importance of tolerance, diversity, and the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields, too. It’s led to a huge renaissance for the nut-eater/butt-kicker, who made her animated debut on the recent Ultimate Spider-Man cartoon, and is due to be the lead in the upcoming New Warriors TV series.


83) Twilight fan fic becomes the bestselling erotica 50 Shades of Grey

Fan fiction—especially erotic fan fiction—is a bit of an odd duck. But when E.L. James wrote her tale of Twilight’s Bella and Edward taking their relationship to a more… arduous level, she wasn’t alone. In fact, we bet there were hundreds of erotic Twilight fan fics that made Edward (or Jacob, or both) and Bella specifically into BDSM. Things only took a turn for the unusual when James removed the Twilight part of her story, renamed her characters, released the result as an ebook from a no-budget publisher—and then sailed from the virtual bargain bin to a series with 125 million copies sold. The only change this may have wrought on the industry is publishers forcing their employees to constantly parse through erotic fan fic sites, but that doesn’t change the fact that what happened is bizarre.

82) The Big Bang Theory mentions a fantastic, acclaimed, progressive non-Marvel/DC comic book… to make a boob joke

The February 5, 2016 episode of The Big Bang Theory had 15.7 million viewers. Interestingly, that’s the same number of people who should be buying and reading every issue of Saga, Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples’ just unbelievably great scifi-fantasy drama about family, war, sex, parenting, and more. To be more precise, it’s the type of comic that when the cover of its first issue—which included a woman breastfeeding her baby—was seen as controversial, Vaughan and Staples responded by making the cover of the first Saga anthology a close-up of that same baby, suckling on that same breast. It’s a comic that’s smart and progressive, and 15+ million people should know this. Instead, it was used for TBBT’s presumably 15 zillionth “nerds sure do like to masturbate to comics!” joke. You can hear it in the video above, although god knows why you’d want to.


81) Barbara Gordon becomes Batgirl again, but Oracle is no more

In 2011, DC Comics made some bold moves to invigorate its publishing lineup with the New 52. No change was as controversial as returning its genius, wheelchair-using badass Oracle to her previous moniker—Batgirl. It wasn’t just a name change; Barbara Gordon would also be leaving her wheelchair behind 20 years after having been paralyzed by the Joker. It was a disheartening move from DC, which already had very little disability representation in its comics. But just as importantly, Oracle held her own special place in the DC universe. After all, there have been several other heroes that have gone by the Batgirl moniker, but there’s only ever been one Oracle—and her loss has been felt keenly by fans.