2021 was mostly a year to finish what we couldn't have in 2020, between delayed sports events (football – the one actually involving feet and a ball, although gridiron also shows up thanks to a dominating quarterback – and the Olympics) and movies (broadly construed, there are twelve superhero media entries on this list, not counting future supervillain Dwayne Johnson; though there is also a place for the most famous fictional spy and giant monsters, plus a science fiction adaptation and a science fiction actor). We are not fully rid of COVID-19, but thankfully only the pandemic's overall article entered the list, as vaccination and conscious actions seem to finally slow down the disease (variants and irresponsible people aside). The political landscape saw the expected change in Donald Trump's exit, and the unexpected regression in Taliban's return and US states trying to block racial discussion in schools. Reflecting three subjects that are constantly on the news, there are entries for the two richest men in the world (who are also in their new space race), the British monarchy (which had a bad year between exposés and death), and the recently deceased. Completing it all are plenty of Netflix-related subjects (including Squid Game and Bridgerton), the three English-speaking countries that shape Wikipedia views the most, and two singers, a young one filling in for Billie Eilish's absence, and a dead one that somehow keeps himself alive.
|1||Deaths in 2021||45,385,914||After being robbed of the top spot the last two years by both a fictional and real endgame, the list of deaths returns as the most-viewed article this year.||Apr. 9 (DMX and Prince Philip die)|
|2||Elizabeth II||26,680,332||If 1992 was her first annus horribilis, then 2021 is a good contender for her second. While a certain Netflix series that helped secure the Royal Family's position on this list did not air a new season this year, several notable events have occurred this year to secure Her Majesty's position this high in the Top 50. The biggest of them is the death of her husband Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, after 73.5 years of marriage. She also reigns over one less nation than she did last year, as Barbados abolished its monarchy to become a republic.||Apr. 9 (husband died)|
|3||Elon Musk||25,569,324||After volunteering to once again write about this South African kajillionaire after doing so on last year's list, I realized far too late that I have no real interest in discussing Elon Musk anymore. I don't want to talk about him, I don't want to hear about him, and I most definitely don't want to hear him say that someone "took a major L" or wear a Wario costume in an SNL skit ever again. Even Elon Musk is tired of reading about Elon Musk on Wikipedia, hence why he railed on this website for not being "curated" enough after hearing about his appearance on this list. Maybe he would prefer to read something like CNN, where it was revealed that he owes billions of dollars in taxes, or The Guardian, who wrote that critics considered his pick as Time Person of the Year the "worst choice ever". Is that curated enough for you?
I must be alone in not wanting to hear as much as humanly possible about the man, though, if you couldn't tell from the fact that his is the third most-viewed article this year on the seventh most-visited website on the whole Internet. I mean, the guy is nestled in between the queen of England and the most popular Netflix series of all time. If Oprah was somewhere on the list (and considering her interview with the royals, I'm kind of surprised she's not) he would literally be the song "Billionaire" by Travie McCoy.
Yet what more is there to say about him? I could talk about his recent breakup from Grimes, a relationship that lasted far too long for anyone's tastes and amounted to a year's worth of her embarrassing herself with passionate defenses of her hot hubby. I could talk about his endorsement of Dogecoin, which gave every straight man on the planet carte blanche to mansplain cryptocurrency to everyone else, and rapidly fluctuated in response to Musk's every move (because, sure, let’s give him one more thing to control for his own benefit while convincing his impoverished fans it's for theirs). I could even talk about all of the stupid, immature things he thinks it's okay to tweet, like responding to Bernie Sanders's very reasonable request that "the extremely wealthy pay their fair share" by being a hit dog and hollering, "I keep forgetting that you're still alive," as if anyone was ever convinced Elon Musk cared about whether or not anyone outside of the 1% was alive and well, let alone his own workers.
And unfortunately for Elon, this uncurated "dumpster fire" of a Wikipedia article will surely continue to get clicks since, unlike the robots and robot-makers that came before him, he revels in the attention that comes with being the wealthiest man on Earth, and won't stop getting it until the bitter end. What did that one space guy say? Oh, yeah. To infinity and beyond.
|May 9 (hosted Saturday Night Live)|
|4||Squid Game||23,129,704||"Mugunghwa-kkochi pieot-seumnida."
If people last year thought Tiger King would be the biggest Netflix hit in the 2020s, they've seen nothing yet as this South Korean series not only beat Tiger King's viewership, but has become the most popular Netflix show of all time. It focuses on broke people playing children's games such as Red Light Green Light, Tug of war and marbles for an enormous cash prize, with the horrifying twist of elimination meaning their deaths.
Following its release on Netflix in September, Squid Game became a worldwide phenomenon, gaining critical acclaim and bringing worldwide media attention to the majority of its cast, including Lee Jung-jae, HoYeon Jung and Wi Ha-joon. It's also become the top-viewed Netflix program in 94 countries, and has surpassed Bridgerton as the most-watched show in Netflix history.
It's also had a huge impact on internet culture, notably inspiring an SNL country music video starring
|Oct. 3 (breaks Netflix records)|
|5||Spider-Man: No Way Home||20,730,883||The most-anticipated movie of the year was undoubtedly the final film in Jon Watts' Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) Spider-Man trilogy, which wraps up the character arc for Tom Holland's Peter Parker that began with Captain America: Civil War back in 2016. No Way Home sees Spider-Man accidentally break the Marvel Multiverse wide open when trying to erase the world's knowledge of his identity (which was made public in the previous film), causing villains from Sam Raimi's Spider-Man trilogy and Marc Webb's The Amazing Spider-Man duology to show up in the MCU and wreak havoc.
No Way Home is one of the darkest and most violent films to come out of the relatively light and upbeat MCU, but it's also a massive celebration of Spider-Man's cinematic history, filled with fan service and appearances ranging from Willem Dafoe's Green Goblin to Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield's incarnations of the Wall-Crawler. When rumors emerged that Marvel and Sony were bringing back old Spider-Man actors for No Way Home, fans were driven into a frenzy, and only got more excited as the studios and actors scrambled to deny it. Fans got so ravenous that in late August they leaked the film's first trailer. Marvel/Sony's attempts at secrecy were also for naught as numerous set photos leaked showing things they didn't want shown ahead of release.
After months of intense anticipation, No Way Home was released in the U.S. on December 17. In addition to scoring some of the best reviews of any MCU film (which was good news for Marvel after Eternals released to a massive thud critically), it was the first post-COVID blockbuster to pass the $1 billion mark at the global box office. A sequel is already in development, though whether Holland will return is still unclear (as he's said he's unsure if he wants to continue playing Spider-Man).
|Dec. 17 (theatrical release)|
|6||Cristiano Ronaldo||19,563,673||Without COVID interrupting the season like in 2020, CR7 had good views all year long and returns to the Annual Report in a very high position. At the age of 36, he's still one of the Beautiful Game's best, breaking many records regarding goals scored and games played, and made headlines upon his signing with Manchester United, marking a return to the team of his breakthrough nearly 20 years ago. 2022 has another important landmark for Ronaldo to seek, namely qualify his Portugal to the World Cup and put him among the select few who appeared in five tournaments.||Aug. 27 (announcement of Man U deal)|
|7||Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh||18,985,364||In Wiki, as in life, he followed his wife. The grand old Duke of Edinburgh (and, according to him, the world's most experienced plaque unveiler) died this April. As Queen Elizabeth II's consort for 69 years, he was entitled to a state funeral but in typical no-nonsense style, he said he "did not want a fuss". Throughout his life, Philip was the definition of duty; he put aside his naval career to become what one could term the world's most professional house-husband. He worked to make his wife's job as fruitful as possible while standing in her shadow for longer than most people are alive. Besides standing loyal to the crown, he was a keen pilot, equestrian, and patron of around 800 charities. He founded an award to encourage young people's personal development, completed by millions world-round. He was also known for his verbal gaffes (including telling a photographer to "take the fucking picture!"), and even inspired a cargo cult!||Apr. 9 (died)|
|8||UEFA Euro 2020||18,077,325||The England men's national football team (a.k.a "England") made it to the final, not having gone that far in competition since they won the World Cup in 1966. With a bit of national pride from having decent vaccine rollout, little else to care about, and a brain on sports in anticipation of the Olympics, Football Fever took over the nation. They thought it was coming home! But it instead went to Rome, in the first of Italy's perhaps-surprising sporting victories this year (see: men's 100m sprint). And it was again the dreaded penalties that spelt England's fall.||June 21 (final round of groups B and C)|
|9||Joe Biden||17,661,839||Joe Biden has been commander-in-chief for almost a year. Compared to the scandals of his predecessor, Biden began his presidency with a high approval rating due to his success with the vaccine rollout in the United States. However, he has since faced controversy over his handling of the Fall of Kabul, resulting in a dip in his approval ratings.||Jan. 20 (inaugurated as President)|
|10||Donald Trump||17,069,058||After four years of scandals and fake news, the presidency of The Donald came to an end this year. His claims of election fraud did not turn out well for him, as they led to the United States Capitol attack and Trump's subsequent second impeachment and being banned from almost every social media platform, including (sadly for him) Twitter. Trump skipped Biden's inauguration, becoming the first president since Andrew Johnson not to attend their successor's inauguration. Since leaving office, Trump has frequently teased a presidential run in 2024.||Jan. 20 (forgoes Biden's inauguration)|
|11||United States||16,838,160||Make America Democratic Again (see above)||Jan. 20 (Joe Biden's inauguration)|
|12||WandaVision||16,738,895||Upon watching the first two episodes, I enjoyed the "clip-show of sitcoms" style it had. I did wonder how they were going to keep that up once they got to the 2010s. Then a mystery emerged, and all the main characters (as well as the viewers) are invited to work out why those episodes were fake sitcoms. Each of the characters has different bits of information, and, yes, did it get a bit stringy as they finally reveal the villain? Sure. Did that undermine how cool the show was? Not really, especially with the villain being the highlight among a whole cast of fan favorites. Oh, and it gave us the first look at an all grown up Monica Rambeau ready for her real superhero debut in The Marvels at some point in the near-ish future!||Jan. 14 (two episode debut)|
|13||2020 Summer Olympics||15,012,232||*clears throat*
Caeleb Dressel, Ma Long, Marcell Jacobs, Ingebrigtsen
Covid tests, Sifan Hassan, Jasmine Camacho-Quinn
Faith Kipyegon, Galal Yafai, Who's that boxing?, Lauren Price
North Korea, Fake Russia, Kellie Harrington
Record-breaking, Rojas, Warholm-and, McLaughlin
Warner, Nowicki, and The Guys who split the prize
Lonely flags, Stay with your team, England's got a new queen
Worthington, Cheptegei, El Bakkali, goodbye
We didn't win the medals
But they've been regarded, since the Olympics started
We didn't win the medals
But all of these did win and we celebrate it
Lorenzo Patta, Desalu, Filippo Tortu
Thompson-Herah, Fraser-Pryce, Williams and Jackson
Lee Yang, Wang Chi-lin, Kiesenhofer, Irie
Prim-ož Rog-lič, He beat the clock
Tom Daley, Matty Lee, The USA's the winning team
Logan Martin, Liu Yang, Russian gym teams, Shin Jea-hwan
Kirpu, I. Embrich, Beljajeva, Lehis
Lee Kiefer, Sun Yiwen, Three fen-cing "Russian" wins
Daniel Ståhl, Pichardo, Neeraj Chopra, he can throw
Stano, Duplantis, boy, he's gone very high
Axelsen, Jalolov, Japanese baseball
Jean van der Westhuyzen, Julio César La Cruz
Arlen López, Roniel, Andy Cruz, Conceição
Sürmeneli, Savšek, How do you say Prskavec?
Gazoz, Jang Min-hee, South Korea archery
Romashina, and, er, Svetlana Kolesnichenko
Gardiner, Crouser, Selemon Barega
De Grasse, Jess Fox, Isaquias Queiroz
Annemiek van Vleuten, Lasse Norman Hansen
Matt Walls, Kimmann, Harrie Lavreysen
Jason Kenny, Laura Kenny, British cycling victor-ny
Shi Tingmao, Xie Siyi, double golds in div-ing
We didn't win the medals
But they've been regarded, since the Olympics started
We didn't win the medals
But all of these did win and we celebrate it
Krajewski, Ben Maher, Jessica von Bredow-Werndl
Sweden, GB, Germany, horse teams
Cannone, Kano, Cheung Ka Long, swords and suits don't go wrong
Netherlands win field hockey, and Belgium in the men's game
Nelly Korda, Xander Schauffele, golfing goes to USA
Dolgopyat, Max Whitlock, Daiki Hashimoto
China get some more, and USA on the floor
France win twice playing handball, and we've barely touched the new sports!
We didn't win the medals
But they've been regarded, since the Olympics started
We didn't win the medals
But all of these did win and we celebrate it
|July 24 (first day of competition)|
|14||Afghanistan||14,093,839||The Taliban are back in power following the Fall of Kabul on August 15, 2021.||Aug. 16 (Fall of Kabul)|
|15||Dune (2021 film)||13,968,158||This movie – but none of its promotional material – touts itself as Part One. I mean, it did very well so I doubt that Part Two won't come, but you never know. It begs disaster, especially as this movie itself is the fourth attempt to adapt the 1965 novel Dune (no "part" subtitle).
Besides #5's star Zendaya, this movie has an ensemble cast of, er, everyone? Like, there are a dozen main characters. Lots of sand. And that isn't a stray observation: the hero comes from a water planet, so the sand is a lot of the story.
|Oct. 23 (after US release)|
|16||Lionel Messi||13,528,664||Messi's year didn't get off to the best of starts, after he received his first red card in his club career, on Jan 17. Then his team suffered their worst UEFA Champions League performance in 14 years, getting knocked out in the last 16. However, Messi's fortunes improved, as he took a host of records: first player to score at least 20 (as well as 30) goals across 13 consecutive seasons in the top leagues, most appearances for F.C. Barcelona, most decorated player at a single club (with 35 trophies) and most times as top scorer in La Liga (8).
Messi then went forth to compete in the 2021 Copa América, competing for his country, Argentina. At the tournament he would win the Golden boot, break the record for most appearances on the Argentine team (150), and, most significantly, Argentina won the tournament, Messi's first major international title, and the countries first since 1993. Messi would later also take the record for highest South American international goal scorer, beating the record set by (possibly) the greatest and most famous player of all time, Pelé.
After coming back from his victory in the Copa América, Messi was forced to leave Barcelona, with whom he had been contracted to for over 21 years, leading to a highly emotional press conference. Messi would move to Paris Saint-Germain F.C. for the next chapter of his career, where his team (currently) comfortable lead the league. Messi's year ended with a record seventh Ballon d'Or.
|Aug. 10 (PSG deal)|
|17||Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings||13,478,214||It was the busiest year for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, who had to compensate for pandemic-related delays by issuing four movies in six months (and that's not counting five Disney+ shows: #12, #44, Captain America's friends, a cartoon and Hawkeye finally being given his due). In-between the two with returning Avengers (#5, #32), there were two films highlighting mostly obscure characters and offering new story paths to explore, while also facing opposition of China in spite of Asian influence in front of and behind the cameras. Audiences and reviewers were very pleased with the mystical martial arts of Shang-Chi, the Master of Kung Fu, and very split on whether the ancient astronauts Eternals fully delivered on their sci-fi epic ambitions. In any case, each made $400 million worldwide to remind us that people are happy to go back to theaters.||Sep. 3 (US release)|
|18||List of Marvel Cinematic Universe films||13,457,662||Dec. 19 (Spider-Man is released)|
|19||Eternals (film)||13,292,272||Nov. 5 (US release)|
|20||No Time to Die||13,014,321||The most recent Bond film came out this year, with Daniel Craig uttering the iconic "The name's Bond, James Bond" for the last time. The next big question is: who will replace him?||Sep. 29 (UK release)|
|21||India||12,675,518||Is that Bollywood scandal still going on? I know they rounded up more presenters than anywhere else for Global Citizen this year. Bad weather. Pakistan. Modi. Sorry, I'm just listing again.||Aug. 16 (day after Independence Day)|
|22||Tom Brady||12,634,826||Could the quarterback's legendary NFL tenure continue without the New England Patriots? We got a definitive answer on February 7, when Brady led the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to victory over the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LV. Brady was named Super Bowl MVP for a record fifth time, making him the first player to win the award for more than one franchise. He shows no signs of slowing down; during the 2021–2022 season, he became the fourth quarterback in NFL history to record a win against all 32 current teams, the sixth quarterback to have a victory against every incumbent NFL franchise, and the first quarterback in NFL history to record 600 regular season touchdown passes.||Feb. 8 (wins Super Bowl)|
|23||Diana, Princess of Wales||12,197,873||24 years after the fatal car crash of the "Princess of the People", her article earned three view spikes, two by association (when her son and his wife went on Oprah, and when Prince Philip died) and one by cause (Martin Bashir, already unpopular with Michael Jackson fans for obvious reasons, was found guilty of deceit for what he had done to get an interview with Diana in 1995). Somehow, there weren't so many visits with the release of Spencer, a movie with Kristen Stewart as Lady Di during the divorce from Prince Charles. In any case, 2022 had the return of The Crown, where an enormous woman will take over as Diana.||Apr. 9 (former father-in-law died)|
|24||Godzilla vs. Kong||12,103,168||Is there plot? Apparently. Did people just want to see and hear CGI spectacle and Dolby sound in a cinema after a year out? Absolutely.||Apr. 1 (US release)|
|25||Charles, Prince of Wales||12,005,184||Charles inherited the title of Duke of Edinburgh following the death of his father, Prince Philip.||Apr. 9 (father died)|
|26||COVID-19 pandemic||11,828,906||Even after 2020 ended, it's still the end of the world as we know it as this pandemic shows no sign of stopping just yet. This year saw the arrival of several variants of concern, most notably the Delta and Omicron variants, which have contributed to rising cases and caused confusion via the World Health Organization's usage of letters of the Greek alphabet.||Mar. 10 (anniversary of being classified as a pandemic)|
|27||Taliban||11,446,997||This Islamist organisation was thrown out of power in 2001, but came back to power this August following the end of the War in Afghanistan and subsequent Fall of Kabul.||Aug. 16 (took over Kabul)|
|28||Marvel Cinematic Universe: Phase Four||11,280,489||Post-Endgame MCU. Disney had claimed several dates for future releases and were happy to swap them all around in light of the pandemic, being one of the best-prepared failures-to-launch of the whole thing. It still felt like far too many came out this year. And every sign in town will tell you when the next one is out.||July 14 (Loki season finale)|
|29||Critical race theory||11,222,132||The core anxiety goes back as far as the Scopes Monkey Trial: public schools have been co-opted by the liberal elites that want to corrupt your children. A few months ago, Fox News and Republican strategists decided to start blaming a niche legal academic movement. This has been an unparalleled success, leading many states to ban discussion of race from classrooms. The controversy is probably also responsible for Democrats losing Virginia's off-year gubernatorial election this November.||June 18 (joint statement opposing ban)|
|30||Zack Snyder's Justice League||11,222,407||After years of fan rallying, protesting, and/or bullying, HBO Max finally #ReleasedTheSnyderCut on March 18. The do-over of 2017's Justice League presents the DC Extended Universe (DCEU) crossover event exactly as director Zack Snyder had intended before he'd left the production due to a personal tragedy. The 2017 theatrical version had been completed under the supervision of former MCU architect Joss Whedon, whose attempts to add humor and levity to Snyder's trademark darkness resulted in a jumbled, unsatisfying mess of a film that bombed with critics and audiences. (Allegations that Whedon's on-set behavior was abusive and unprofessional certainly didn't help matters.)
HBO Max gave Snyder an estimated $70 million to restore his vision, and a portion of that budget went to filming a new scene featuring Jared Leto reprising his role as the Joker from 2016's Suicide Squad. And yes, Snyder made him say "We Live In a Society" for the hell of it. While some aspects of Zack Snyder's Justice League were mocked, like its excessive use of slo-mo, a ridiculous four hour runtime, and its 4:3 aspect ratio, critics largely agreed it was Snyder's best DCEU film and vastly superior to Whedon's version. The film was intended to mark the end of Snyder's association with the DCEU, but fans immediately began lobbying for a sequel, even if that's probably never going to happen.
|Mar. 18 (released on HBO Max)|
|31||Bridgerton||11,179,080||A really popular Netflix show that was set in period costume days but was raunchy and modern. Some people didn't like that there were fictional black members of the aristocracy, I didn't like that (besides the raunchiness) I found it didn't meet my expectations. To be fair, it was sold to me as a great critique on aristocracy and race, and it isn't, it's a soap opera with petticoats. Many people absolutely loved it, I think it's based on some books, and it's obviously getting another season.||Jan. 3|
|32||Black Widow (2021 film)||11,175,925||Probably my favorite of the seemingly-endless MCU movies that this year spit up.
Sure, most people wanted one of: an actual Red Room Natasha origin story; Natasha and Clint in SHIELD adventure; What Happened In Budapest; Dark and Moody adventure with the Winter Soldier. And in that sense it didn't deliver at all. Would it have perhaps been better with less post-GOTG comedy, like Iron Man 2 level of comedy? Almost certainly. Was it the best standalone the MCU has done since Avengers came out? Well, ditto.
Also, star Scarlett Johansson brought a lawsuit against Disney for breach of contract regarding the multiplatform release, in a move possibly defining 2021 in its three core aspects: MCU movie; directly caused by the pandemic; and female empowerment, especially against a corporation.
|July 9 (US premiere)|
|33||Kamala Harris||11,091,273||US Vice President Harris's article got the most views right after her momentous inauguration, but failed to attract even a sliver of the same amount of attention in the following months. Sure, Kamala Harris became the first woman with presidential powers and duties (for 85 minutes) after President Biden underwent anesthesia for a colonoscopy – although I'm not sure why he couldn’t have kept his powers & duties while that was happening, seeing as how he would barely be the first US president to be asleep at the wheel – but that only happened for about an hour and a half.
Critics have complained that Kamala Harris's historic role as the first female vice president, African-American vice president, and Asian-American vice president has overshadowed her subpar performance as all of those things, and it's not hard to see why. Some of her staff either hated working for her or left after growing to hate her – a trend that only worsened as the year came to a close – her approval rates were alarmingly low among American citizens, and she apparently spent most of her time in office being sidelined by the only individual with more political power than her.
As far as events that truly shook the nation, though, Harris was involved in very few, regardless of how busy her first year as VP may have been. She visited Southeast Asia to address US–China tensions, met with Narendra Modi, told Guatemalan migrants not to enter the US, led a push for voting rights, and did a bunch of other stuff that failed to grab the nation's attention. Keeping an eye on leadership is always helpful, but it's doubtful that Harris made it onto this list because people were as tuned into what she was doing as they were with Biden. Her nondescript reputation is a step up from her predecessor's, I suppose, seeing as how his became defined by his comments advocating for conversion therapy. Then again, only one of them ever ended up in a Top 50 list, and it wasn't the one with the fly in his hair. Maybe Harris will do something groundbreaking in 2022, but until then, all we have is this video. We did it, Joe!
|Jan. 20 (inaugurated as VP)|
|34||QAnon||10,983,896||We are more than a year out from the last post by Q (the author). While Q's theories—that Donald Trump was planning a righteous coup against the conspiring elites—have probably proven to be false (QAnon proponents believe in deep states and secret executions, after all), QAnon still has an outsized influence on American culture. 15% of Americans believe in the theory, and they are represented in Congress—and I'm not just talking about the guys who visited on January 6.||Jan. 7 (day after Capitol attack)|
|35||The Suicide Squad (film)||10,864,812||The Justice League wasn't the only DCEU property that saw redemption this year. In 2016, David Ayer made Suicide Squad, and it was terrible. Jump to 2021, when James Gunn (director of Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy who jumped ship to DC after Disney temporarily fired him for some unsavory old tweets) made The Suicide Squad, a sequel/reboot/some weird combination of the two... and it was amazing! The Suicide Squad retains some Suicide Squad members from Suicide Squad (of course, Warner Bros. would never get rid of Margot Robbie's Harley Quinn) but mostly follows a new set of characters including Idris Elba's Bloodsport, Sylvester Stallone's King Shark, and Daniela Melchior's Ratcatcher as they attempt to destroy Starro the Conquerer, a giant alien starfish.
Despite critical acclaim, the film underperformed in theaters thanks to a simultaneous HBO Max release, a release coinciding with the emergence of the Delta variant, the poor reception of the first film, and confusion over whether it was a sequel, spin-off, or reboot. Nonetheless, HBO Max has greenlit a spin-off series starring John Cena as Peacemaker, set to premiere next year.
|Aug. 7 (after US release)|
|36||DMX||10,768,416||A Ruff Ryding, record-breaking East Coast emcee who forced us to question where the hood was really at, reminded us that there was always a party somewhere, but mostly up in here, and promised to give it to ya, no matter who ya may be, DMX passed away at only 50 years old this year due to complications brought on by a cocaine overdose. In his half-century here on Earth with us, the Dark Man pioneered a certain, self-explanatory kind of rap known as hardcore hip hop, replete with shouting, growling, and even a few barks here and there. It started with his widely revered, multi-platinum debut record It's Dark and Hell is Hot in 1999, and was expanded upon in four more consecutive number-one albums that cemented him as one of the most important rappers to ever live.
Despite mostly being known for his impeccable rap skills, a good chunk of DMX's life was consumed by the oft-violent crime, both streetwise and otherwise, that he depicted in his own lyrics, making him a complicated and unpredictable figure. Also, remember that cocaine that I mentioned a few sentences ago? Both that and the crime tie into DMX's untimely passing, as his mentor, Ready Ron, got him hooked on crack cocaine at only 14 years old after secretly giving him a blunt laced with it. DMX's pageviews actually spiked twice this year, the first time being around April 4, when news that he had been rushed to White Plains Hospital after a heart attack began to spread. The following week was a tense one for fans, as his state only worsened, going from losing oxygen in his brain to going into a coma, until finally, on April 9, his multiple organ failures led to the death that put him on this list.
Most recently, it was discovered that DMX, unbeknownst to the rest of the world, recorded a gospel album in the late 2000s. With all of the gloomy, semi-Satanic imagery in his songs and videos, one wouldn’t be mistaken for forgetting that X considered himself a devout Christian. It begs the question: If there is a (Christian) God, what will He (or She or They or It) choose to do with someone as complicated as DMX?
|Apr. 9 (died)|
|37||Richard Ramirez||10,550,849||Netflix has been a boon for true crime shows, which is reflected in how viewers use the "second screen" nature of Wikipedia for further research – Ted Bundy even managed to be the third most viewed article of 2019. And in the January release Night Stalker: The Hunt For a Serial Killer, the subject was this utterly terrible human being – as listed on the article, "serial killer, serial rapist, kidnapper, child molester, and burglar" – that terrorized California in 1985, killing at least 15 people before being subdued by a mob and subsequently arrested, leading to decades in the death row before Ramirez died in 2013 of lymphoma.||Jan. 16 (after Netflix show)|
|38||United Kingdom||10.375.194||Rule, Britannia, as the year managed to push the UK into the Annual Report alongside its two former colonies that always get in (#11, #21). There were notable British things in culture with the return of James Bond (#20), and in sports with among others, the English team that got to the continental finals (#8), 65 Olympic medals (#21), and a tennis player that on September 11 had more views than the tragedy completing 20 years. And of course, views came in thanks to the monarchy that is spread all over this list.||Apr. 9 (royal consort died)|
|39||Dwayne Johnson||10,159,288||The WWE superstar turned box-office superstar had a big year, pandemic notwithstanding. A sitcom based on his life, Young Rock, premiered in February, and his long-gestating passion project, the DC Comics adaptation Black Adam, finally started filming in April after spending over a decade in development hell. He starred in the film adaptation of Disney's Jungle Cruise ride, which topped the box office in July, and Netflix's Red Notice, which broke streaming records in November. He was also added to Fortnite Battle Royale in December.
And yes, I am now calling him "The Rock from Fortnite" just to piss people off.
|Feb. 17 (after Young Rock premiere)|
|40||List of James Bond films||10,028,697||Only this year the Marvel Cinematic Universe managed to surpass James Bond in the number of movies (although if you include that parody and that remake, it's a tie until May), specially as the British spy managed to return for the 25th time around in No Time to Die, after a six year absence caused by both production problems and a pandemic. Daniel Craig's tenure is over, making him the one who lasted longer, even with less movies than Sean Connery and Roger Moore, and the producers have stated that 2022, the 60th anniversary of the film series, will be the one where they will announce the 007th actor (and no, it won't be an actress!) to play agent 007.||Oct. 9 (No Time to Die premieres in the US)|
|41||George VI||10,018,254||Another royal everyone decided to check in when Philip died. Spoiler: George is also dead. In fact, it was his death that made Philip consort. George's appearance is one of the more understandable ones; he and Philip got on very well, and worked closely both in military and royal life before George's death. It is strange to think about Philip being a senior statesman alongside a man that died so long ago – Philip got old, George didn't – but that was the strength of their manly bond.
I imagine a lot of the pageviews came from people wanting to learn more about said friendship after it was mentioned in all the documentaries of Philip's life that took over television following his death. The BBC never seem to get it right when royals die, either too much or too little coverage. Maybe they will have found the happy medium before the Queen goes (I had a weird dream, it has been on my mind), though I don't think anyone could claim even wall-to-wall Rule, Britannia! would be too much then.
So, to another Navy man:
|Apr. 9 (son-in-law died)|
|42||Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon||9,973,291||Why is [insert member of the royal family] on the list? Well, people are still catching up on The Crown on Netflix as it spins into more modern times; Meghan and Andrew have been the subject of scandals and those clickthroughs are cheap; and Philip died.||Apr. 17 (brother-in-law's funeral)|
|43||Zendaya||9,875,760||It was quite the busy year for this former Disney star. She had/heard many monologues in Malcolm & Marie, voiced a rabbit returning to the hardwood, appeared briefly in a two and a half hour movie (#15), and filmed the next season of the show which gave her an Emmy, Euphoria. What else... ah, that movie she made with boyfriend Tom Holland (#5).||Dec. 17 (release of No Way Home)|
|44||Loki (TV series)||9,860,570||2021 gave us more Marvel TV originals than strains of COVID. And while the first Disney+ show being here is no surprise (#12), the second, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, barely missed the list, unlike this third – which started around the same time the MCU returned to theaters (#32). After all, bringing back Tom Hiddleston as the the petulant Asgardian God that has endeared fans for a decade was a winner, and his show even opens up the Multiverse that led to #5's massive success, also with variants on the protagonist. Albeit Loki's were quite different, including a woman and an alligator. And the complex story was full of cliffhangers, only we didn't expect one in the season finale that also announced a season 2 – considering how tight the MCU scheduling is, maybe don't expect a return until at least the show's overarching villain makes his film debut in 2023?||July 14 (season finale)|
|45||Jeff Bezos||9,759,385||He sent Captain Kirk (pictured) to space this year. And also flew to orbit and stepped down as Amazon CEO, but better celebrate destiny being fulfilled in the final frontier.||July 20 (flew to space in Blue Origin NS-16)|
|46||Olivia Rodrigo||9,673,015||This year, the star of High School Musical: The Musical: The Series made her breakthrough into mainstream pop music with the album SOUR. Most of the songs are about breakups, or possibly one breakup, or allegedly her splitting up with HSMTMTS co-star Joshua Bassett. Musically, the album ranges from slow piano pop (like "drivers license," which hit #1 in many countries) to punk-infused pop so similar to Paramore that it accidentally plagiarized ("good 4 u", which went #1 in fewer countries). In July, she visited the White House to advertise COVID vaccinations; hopefully, she's the reason why some TikTok sadgirls aren't dying of Omicron.||May 16 (2 days after "good 4 u")|
|47||Keanu Reeves||9,475,319||The Internet's Boyfriend returned as computer hacker Neo, one of the roles that made him famous, in the long-awaited Matrix sequel The Matrix Resurrections. The film has proven divisive and was steamrollered by a certain Marvel flick (#5) in its opening weekend, but Reeves still managed to delight the internet by laughing at NFTs in an interview with The Verge.||Dec. 12 (Verge interview with memetic laugh)|
|48||Ted Lasso||9,394,740||Apple TV+ is far from the heights of Netflix, Prime Video or Disney+, but has already scored an award-winning show in Ted Lasso, which further strains the line of what is "football": the title character is an American college football coach (played by Jason Sudeikis), who is hired to manage the sport he knows as "soccer" in the English Premier League, in a move carried entirely out of spite but that somehow actually improves the team. Ted Lasso won many Emmys for its first season, including Outstanding Comedy Series, has released its second season and is already renewed for a third. Maybe I should give it a shot – it can't be any worse than the Emmy winner of 2019.||Sep. 20 (wins Emmys)|
|49||Freddie Mercury||9,399,769||]||Get your party gown, get your pigtail down, get your heart beating baby! Yes, the iconic frontman of Queen managed to slide back here, no matter if unlike the rest of this list he wasn't much in the news, aside from three landmark anniversaries: 75 years of his birth, 50 years of his band, and 30 of his death. And yet Freddie's fans kept on returning to his page for various reasons, such as Queen's YouTube issuing videos on their history and a seal named after him dying. We might've expected the death that closed the year, the singer who fought for her freedom, another one of those serial killers on Netflix and the event that started the 21st century. But even decades after he's taken his bows and his curtain calls, Freddie is still the champion, my friends.||Feb. 7 (Super Bowl ad?)|
|50||Scarlett Johansson||9,389,888||Despite a literally action-packed year for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, only one of its lead stars – #43 isn't the heroine of her movie – actually made it onto the list this year thanks to the one-two punch of her starring role in this year's Black Widow (#32), released in July, followed almost immediately in August by the birth of her son, Cosmo, with Weekend Update anchor Colin Jost. Hopefully Wanda is on the way.
The last time she was on this list was back in 2019, due to similar circumstances (a starring role in a Marvel film and an engagement to Jost), because if there are two things we as a society love about actresses, it's their ability to do cool tricks in impractical, skin-tight clothing and our ability to creepily pry into their private lives.
|Aug. 18 (gives birth to son)|