2014 was full of important moments in arts and entertainment, from the second season of “Orange is the New Black” to Facebook-phenomenon-turned-bestseller “Humans of New York” to the implantation of U2′s “Song of Innocence” onto unsuspecting iPhones everywhere.
But here are 10 moments you may have missed:
1. You’ve definitely jammed to Beyonce’s “Flawless***,” and you may know the novelist Queen Bey sampled for the song, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. But have you heard her 30-minute TED talk, “We Should All Be Feminists”?
2. When Jon Oliver left “The Daily Show” for a weekly HBO stint, I was convinced he was doomed. But “Last Week Tonight” has some of the most poignant commentary about topics from the death penalty to militarized police to pumpkin spice lattes.
3. What happens when “the new king of the West Coast” meets the most successful popstar of the year? A great remix, dubbed “Backseat Shake Off.”
4. In “High Maintenance,” a Brooklyn-based web series created by husband and wife Ben Sinclair and Katja Blichfield, who have links to “30 Rock,” the same nameless pot dealer serves kooky, lovable customers around the borough.
5. “The Empathy Exams” by Leslie Jamison is a critically acclaimed, award-winning book, but that’s not why it’s a must-read. Jamison, who was born in D.C., writes about the skepticism with which we often meet invisible problems, like depression or anxiety, and our hesitation when it comes to simply being kind.
6. Telenovela-loving Jane Villanueva is “Jane the Virgin,” a 23-year-old who is accidentally impregnated during a routine check up. The plot sounds silly, but the comedy series is cleverly written and a charming must-see starring Gina Rodriguez.
7. EMA, Erika M. Anderson, is a South Dakota native who released two albums, “Beyond the Void” and “Future’s Void,” with Matador Records this year. From the soulful mockery of “Neuromancer” to the dreamy “So Blonde,” EMA spikes each of her songs with an unique edge.
8. In “How to Build a Girl: a Novel,” author Caitlin Moran introduces readers to 14-year-old Johanna Morrigan, a child of bohemian poverty and an aspiring rock n’ roll critic. Her journey to girlhood, which starts in 1990, is built by booze, boys and writing for a music mag – and it’s some of the funniest fiction of the year.
9. Outkast reunited a few times this year, but the group’s hometown performance at ATLast in Centennial Olympic Park was epic. The October weekend featured artists like Kid Cudi, Janelle Monae and 2 Chainz, but many of them recognized that the crowd was there to see “the youngest living legends on the planet.”
10. Jenny Slate, who has worked on “The Kroll Show,” “Bob’s Burgers” and “Girls,” stars in “Obvious Child” as a struggling comedian with a twisted sense of humor. The film nabbed 12 nominations and seven wins on the indie awards circuit for a reason: “Obvious” strips themes from “Juno” of their cute simplicity and takes a truly funny, raw look at the impact of an unplanned pregnancy.
Bonus: French Toast Crunch may not be back on the shelves until 2015, but General Mills announced that it would bring back the discontinued cereal last month. The company is playing into ’90s nostalgia via social media, but nobody is complaining about the return of the maple-flavored bites.