For a lot of shows, actors, musicians and fictional characters, it's time for a comeback.
Maybe they've been gone for too long (like Beck or "Veronica Mars"). Maybe they've just had a few rotten years (like Ryan Reynolds).
These are the people and things that have a good shot at a return to glory this year.
The first two episodes of this season of “Community” (which aired last Thursday) marked the triumphant return of showrunner and creator Dan Harmon, whom NBC fired and then rehired. After the disappointing, compromised fourth season, it's wonderful to see this show acting like its old self again.
The '00s cult series (which has been off the air since 2007) is getting its own movie this spring (March 14, limited release). The Kickstarter-funded film brings back its star (Kristen Bell), creator (Rob Thomas) and most of its original cast.
Remember this guy? A decade since Braff wrote, directed and starred in “Garden State,” he's making his follow-up: "Wish I Was Here," a Kickstarter-funded dramedy about a man who home-schools his children after some financial setbacks. The movie, which also stars Mandy Patinkin, Kate Hudson and Jim Parsons, is slated for a September release.
Maynard James Keenan says Tool's making new music! He's hinted that the band's fifth studio album (and first since 2006) could see the light of day this year.
YA movie adaptations
After several years of some pretty dire YA book-to-movie adaptations (“Beautiful Creatures,” “The Mortal Instruments: City of Bone,” “The Host,” “The Book Thief”), it looks like 2014 could be a decent year for the genre.
In addition to the first part of “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay,” (in theaters Nov. 21), there's “Divergent” (March 21) and “The Fault in Our Stars” (June 6), both starring Shailene Woodley, “The Maze Runner” (Sept. 19) and the long-awaited adaptation of Lois Lowry's “The Giver” (Aug. 15), which has the acting prowess of Jeff Bridges and Meryl Streep going for it. I'm also weirdly excited for “Vampire Academy” (Feb. 14), enjoyable-looking trash about high school vampires from the writer of “Heathers” and the director of “Mean Girls.”
The hero of one great movie, one bad sequel, one even worse second sequel and one even worser TV series is getting the reboot treatment. The first trailer for “RoboCop” (in theaters Feb 12) is promising, with “The Killing's” Joel Kinnaman playing the half-man/half-machine and Michael Keaton, Jay Baruchel, Jackie Earle Haley and Gary Oldman rounding out a solid cast.
The once-promising actor had a really, really bad 2013, plagued by both the critical and commercial failure of “R.I.P.D” and the underperforming animated movie “Turbo.” This came after a few years mixed with awful (“Green Lantern”) and so-so (“Safe House”) movie choices.
But he's made a very interesting choice with “The Voices,” a film in which he plays a bathroom fixture factory worker who accidentally kills the woman he likes and goes down an even darker path once his evil cat and kindly dog start talking to him. “The Voices,” directed by Marjane Satrapi (“Persepolis”), will play at Sundance this month and hit theaters sometime this fall.
Somewhere along the way, Depp went from being everyone's favorite actor to an insufferable parody of himself. Maybe it was around the fourth “Pirates” movie or the “Tourist” catastrophe. Or maybe his 17th collaboration with Tim Burton. His career hit another low with last year's colossal flop “The Lone Ranger” (which, to be fair, was actually OK). But this year looks a little better.
In “Transcendence” (April 18), Depp plays a terminally ill scientist who uploads his consciousness into an all-powerful artificial intelligence, with disastrous results. “Transcendence” marks the directorial debut of Wally Pfister, Christopher Nolan's longtime cinematographer. Depp's also the lead in the (possible) 2014 release “Mortdecai,” playing an art dealer searching for a stolen painting that's really a map to hidden Nazi gold. With these two, Depp at least seems to be trying something different.
Sixteen years since Roland Emmerich's “Godzilla” debacle, they're giving the giant lizard another shot at the big screen. If the first trailer's any indication, this “Godzilla” (in theaters May 16) could be pretty fantastic.
Beck hasn't had a proper album since 2008's “Modern Guilt” and hasn't had a great one since 2002's “Sea Change.” In February, he'll release “Morning Phase” on Capitol Records.”
Director Michael Mann's output in the last decade has ranged from meh (“Ali,” “Public Enemies”) to blah (“Miami Vice”). This year (or possibly early 2015), we'll get to see his first movie in five years, the computer hacker thriller “Cyber,” which stars Chris Hemsworth and Viola Davis. It would be great if the once can't-miss director of “Heat,” “Collateral” and “Thief” gave us another crime classic.
It's been four years since “Body Talk,” and we're getting antsy. But the dance-pop singer just might have an album out this year.
The space opera genre
The success of the rebooted “Star Trek” series has encouraged Hollywood to make more grand, exciting space adventures of phallic-looking ships shooting lasers at each other. This year we have three space opera blockbusters: Christopher Nolan's “Interstellar” (Nov. 7), which has something to do with a group of astronauts who travel through a wormhole; “Jupiter Ascending” (July 18), the Wachowskis' wacky-looking sci-fi pastiche; and, most exciting, “Guardians of the Galaxy” (Aug. 1), Marvel Studios' sci-fi comedy about a misfit group of aliens who come together to save the universe.
If these are a success, this long-unpopular genre could get some new life.