As we look back on 2013, it’s easy to round up the best and worst of XYZ. But what about those things that surprised us? It’s so easy to make a snap judgement on a TV show or album before anyone has had a chance to watch or hear it. The same goes for everything on this list. From the onset, things like Pacific Rim and Sound of Music Live, sounded like awful ideas but the execution, the spectacle, even the live-tweeting somehow made it better. It turns out these things weren’t such disasters after all. In fact, they were the biggest surprises of 2013.
Even The Gossip Table weighs in on what the found surprisingly delightful this year. Cronuts? Yum! North West? Cutest name ever!
Now, back to the list at hand:
America’s Next Top Model Cycle 20
In the 20th cycle of the show, Tyra Banks added guys to the modeling competition. What should have been a total disaster turned out to be the shot in the arm America’s Next Top Model needed. Sure the show is a shell of what it once was, but the guys brought in a new element of drama making Friday nights worth staying in again.
Britney Spears’ “Everytime” in Spring Breakers
This movie was so wrong on so many levels but some how it came together as a wild cautionary tale of pop culture-obsessed youth spiraling out of control. However, the moment that brought the film together in a montage of the girls and James Franco enjoying a crime spree set to Spears’ love-lost ballad.
Emma Watson’s Post-Hermione Film Career
Following the last Harry Potter film, fans quickly hedged bets on who was going to have a career after all the magic had worn off. Daniel Radcliffe emerged as a frontrunner until Watson put out The Perks of Being a Wallflower. Suddenly, everyone was rethinking the starlet’s potential. In 2013, she escaped the life of a child star by taking on adult roles in two successful films, The Bling Ring and This Is The End. Not to mention, she showed stunning poise and grace in interview after red carpet after talk show appearance. If there was a breakout year for any star, it was hers.
Godzilla Teaser Trailer
If there’s one remake we don’t need is Godzilla. Seriously, after the Matthew Broderick disaster, the legendary monster’s legacy was tainted for good. However, the 2-minute teaser promises to give lizard new life on the big screen. It was dark, chilling and kept the monster at bay, only teasing fans with shots of (hottie) Aaron Johnson, Bryan Cranston and Elizabeth Olsen.
As soon as it was announced in late 2012 that Kim Kardashian was pregnant with Kanye West’s baby, the Internet was in an uproar. The rapping genius was now forever associated with the reality star and Blue Ivy’s kid “cousin” was going to be a Kardashian. However, as the pregnancy went on, fans (and naysayers) were greeted with Kardashian’s Met Gala floral couch dress (a meme that keeps on giving), West on Keeping Up With The Kardashians (awkward yet delightful) and a pregnant Kim who actually grounded Kanye’s craziness. Ultimately, the best gift was Baby North. There’s no denying that North is the cutest, (second) most powerful baby in the U.S. and the only baby we cared about this year, aside from Prince George.
Lady Gaga and R. Kelly, “Do What You Want”
Lady Gaga and R. Kelly on the same song sounds like a recipe for disaster but the track turned out to be one of the sexiest throwbacks to ‘90s R&B. The song brought out the best of Kelly giving Gaga the best track on Artpop.
The year started off poorly for the actor, he was snubbed by the Academy Awards yet again for Django Unchained and lost the Golden Globe award. If that wasn’t enough, his first film following a poor showing during award season was the disastrous 3-D epic, The Great Gatsby. Luckily for DiCaprio, he was the film’s only shining star. The walking meme then spent the summer doing what he does best: being a meme. When it felt like we hit our wall with the actor, the first teaser for Wolf Of Wall Street was released, giving us the DiCaprio we loved: a mover, a shaker and one hell of an actor. The film upended what was looking to be a poor showing. Welcome back, Leo.
Netflix Original Programming/Arrested Development Season 4
There’s something about bringing a cult classic back to life that is both exciting and nerve-wracking. On one hand, it’s like, “yes! All my favorites are coming back.” Then the fear settles in, “what if they destroy the very thing I loved?” While reviews of AD 4 were mixed, fans were largely happy with the results and rightfully so. The show managed to build upon its DNA, creating something unique for the streaming service.
Netflix paired the rebirth of AD with stellar original programming, House of Cards and Orange is the New Black. If there are any doubters remaining, they only have to look at all the Emmy noms the online network racked up.
If there was one movie that quickly earned the wrath of fans and critics alike, it was Pacific Rim, which was labeled DOA after the first trailer debuted. Was it Godzilla? Transformers? Battleship? And what was Idris Elba canceling? Well it turned out the film was just an epic battle of monsters and robots directed by the fantastic Guillermo del Toro. Seriously, it was the perfect popcorn experience.
After news broke that Cory Monteith died of a drug overdose, fans wondered how his death would affect Glee. Knowing that Ryan Murphy would eventually have to address the actor’s departure, the debate quickly turned to how to handle it. Does the show turn the episode into a PSA (something it has done terribly wrong in the past)? Should it just focus on Cory? Or should it skate by it and just honor Cory the human? Ultimately, the show delivered a heartfelt episode filled with the actors’ honest feelings over losing their cast mate and friend. It was a touching tribute that gave closure to fans and the show alike.
A supernatural procedural cop drama about The Legend of Sleepy Hollow?! What? Well leave it to FOX to run with it and turn it into one of the best new shows of 2013 and the highest rated drama of the series. By focusing more on the fun rather than scary, Sleepy Hollow was able to keep fans tuning in week after week.
Sound of Music Live/Live TV Events
Yes, the Sound of Music Live had its flaws (Carrie Underwood couldn’t act, all those Nazi signs) but it excelled in being a live TV event that everyone had to watch. Whether you were a detractor on Twitter, or sitting down with your family, it was an experience that was delightful for all. Thanks to social media, live TV events are suddenly fun again: Inauguration, Super Bowl and the Oscars appreciated new life thanks to the power of Twitter and real-time chatter.
True Blood Season 6
After sparking a vampire craze, True Blood dropped off the pop culture meter until this past season. The addition of Anna Camp brought back the campiness and an intensity missing since her character disappeared after season 2. Camp gave new meaning to the phrase “bitch on heels” and proved how vital she is to the series.