Growing up, I learned about the glorious Renaissance and the Dark Ages that preceded them. If you learned something similar, here are two articles to set you straight. The first one argues that the Middle Ages (not the Dark Ages, thank you very much!) were pretty interesting, actually. After you read it, I think you will agree. The second one argues not only were the Middle Ages good, but the Renaissance was not all that great. I had to agree after reading it.
I will still have a fondness and a preference for the Renaissance, but I found these two pieces were good correctives for my bias against the Middle Ages.
(Image from the first piece in currentaffairs.org)