The Forecast for 2014

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2013 has been a year of opposites attracting. Consider some of the year’s collaborations in pop music: the rapper LL Cool J and the country singer Brad Paisley, Daft Punk and Pharrell, Jay-Z and Coldplay. Alfonso Cuarón, director of exquisite small movies like Children of Men and Y Tu Mamá También, made the acclaimed, state-of-the-art sci-fi thriller, Gravity; while Joss Whedon, who directed the blockbusters Thor and The Avengers, released Much Ado About Nothing, filmed in black-and-white at his house.

Like it or not, 2013 belonged to Miley Cyrus, and “her world domination is only just begun,” says Salon’s Mary Elizabeth Williams. But playwright and screenwriter Paul Rudnick contends Beyoncé got the last word this year. Just last week she broke records with the digital-only release of her new album — a move that may sound the death knell of the CD. Rudnick crowned Beyonce, older and wiser than her Disney-reared competition, “the Meryl Streep of music.”

Shakespeare ruled New York stages in 2013, with productions of Romeo and Juliet (starring Orlando Bloom), Richard III and Twelfth Night (both starring Mark Rylance), and Julie Taymor’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream (profiled in this week’s episode). Ethan Hawke and Alan Cumming headlined two different productions of Macbeth in 2013; Kenneth Branagh will take on the play in 2014. Rudnick jokes that producing Shakespeare means you don’t have to pay the playwright; but more seriously, he points out that the classic plays are “star bait” needed to lure big-name actors (who are needed to lure ticket-buying crowds).

Kurt Andersen wonders what will fill the void of Breaking Bad, which ended in the fall. Williams assures him that with Game of Thrones, Orange Is The New Black, Doctor Who, and Sherlock, no one should go crying for good TV. But will the Mad Men series finale live up to the final chapter of Breaking Bad? Only 2014 will tell.

Music Playlist

  1. Get Lucky

    Artist: Daft Punk
    Album: Random Access Memories
    Label: Columbia
  2. Spiegel im Spiegel

    Artist: Arvo Pärt
    Album: Alina
    Label: ECM Records
  3. We Can't Stop

    Artist: Miley Cyrus
    Album: Bangerz
    Label: RCA
  4. XO

    Artist: Beyoncé
    Album: Beyoncé
    Label: Columbia Records
  5. I Knew You Were Trouble

    Artist: Taylor Swift
    Album: Red
    Label: Big Machine Records, LLC
  6. Maybe Next Year

    Artist: Milow
    Album: Maybe Next Year
    Label: Universal Import