As 2014 comes to a close, Los Angeles Times critics and writers consider the best and the aberrant of entertainment and culture in a more than usually weird time span. Explore our critics' lists and their more in-depth reflections here.
Crushed by December's film releases
Times film critic Kenneth Turan notes the problematic consequences of Hollywood's year-end flood of "best" pictures hopefuls, which cheats worthy films out of finding an audience and hurts audiences' chances of seeing worthy films.
'Frozen Hunger Left Behind Girl'
Marvel and DC Comics have unveiled their release schedules through 2020, sparking Times columnist Glenn Whipp to look ahead with his own suggestions for sequels.
Singular film voices reach critical mass
With daring filmmakers like Ava DuVernay, Alejandro G. Iñarritu and Wes Anderson, 2014 was the year of the auteurs, says Times film critic Betsy Sharkey.
'The year of the follow-through'
According to Times staff writer Mark Olsen, this isn't so much the year of the breakthrough as it is the year of the follow-through. In films such as "Listen Up Philip" and "Inherent Vice," artists and filmmakers deliver new achievements, building on the talents and skills they've already revealed.
TV's best? The choices, oh my
Times television critic Mary McNamara says she'll give you her "Top 10" list, but adds that small-screen shows have moved past legitimate rankability.
Web's prime time
This year, Times television critic Robert Lloyd has found himself excited by the small things. Little shows, he says, are making a mighty impression on the Internet.
Video game diversity may get a boost
While much of the past year in gaming was marred by the mostly violent, social-media-driven movement "gamergate," games like "The Wolf Among Us" and "Monument Valley" prove that diversity only makes the medium stronger, The Times' Todd Martens writes.
Discs hold their own
This year, DVD and Blu-ray customers stayed loyal to their formats as the big media companies continued to try to figure out their markets.
In this culture, expect change
Arts and culture in the news in 2014: Times staff writer David Ng's list includes LACMA's coming makeover, the San Diego Opera's resurrection and more.
Old is now new again
Times architecture critic Christopher Hawthorne says that technology has pushed most mediums forward, but this year's digital upheaval has turned architects' attention towards basics and fundamentals.
A big payoff to dropping fees
In Los Angeles, free entry to a museum is an uncommon experience. Only two prominent art museums in the city offer complimentary admission: UCLA's Hammer Museum and the Getty. Times art critic Christopher Knight says it's time for more art institutions to open their doors, sans entry fee.
Praising a strong year for drama
On the stage, 2014 was one in which tough questions were addressed, complexity was welcomed and the desire to understand occasionally trumped the need to condemn. Times theater critic Charles McNulty reflects on the productions that stood out.
Female classical music pioneers: An L.A. story
Los Angeles celebrated the 50th birthday of the Music Center in 2014, and also its benefactress, Dorothy Chandler. But she's not the only woman in this tale. Times music critic Mark Swed says that long before other American cities, Los Angeles had women at the head of music organizations.
Songs become political art
As Times pop music critic Randall Roberts notes, music in 2014 by Rappers and hip-hop artists such as ASAP Ferg, T.I., the Game, Run the Jewels, Tef Poe and Turk underscored the calcified nature of relations between black communities and the police across America in 2014.
Raising spirits through jazz
At the end of a year seemingly marked by more tragedy and loss than usual, Times jazz critic Chris Barton rounds up 10 of the best jazz albums in 2014.
The daring to the dazzling
Garth Fagan's "Discipline Is Freedom" stands out in a season of same-sex duets and solid-gold works. But no dedicated dance theater? Lewis Segal explores.
Life is lived by moments
Times book critic David Ulin reminds us of a prominent plot point this year: the significance of the everyday.