Flavorwire Staffers’ Most Underrated Cultural Items of 2013

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With the end of every calendar year comes the customary influx of “Best Of” lists, definitively ranking the créme de la cultural créme of the last 365 days. But sometimes “best” doesn’t accurately describe the things that stick with us most, or that we irrationally love out of personal preference. So to cap off 2013, Flavorwire staffers listed their favorite cultural items of the year — the books, movies, and experiences we’ll be taking into 2014. Click through for the films, bands, and shows from the past year Flavorwire writers felt deserved a lot more love.

Enlightened

Considering Enlightened‘s unfortunate cancellation after two brief seasons, I’m counting it as underrated. At times both tragic and hilarious, Laura Dern’s Amy Jellicoe was a manic hero for the underdog, a woman who had been tossed off and shit on enough that she decided she had to do something about it. “Doing something” became her M.O., even though the execution and the motives were fuzzy. Amy was one of the most fully realized characters on television, and I’m sad to say that we failed her. — Tyler Coates, Deputy Editor

Definitely Enlightened, whose demise I’m still recovering from months later. It wasn’t the lack of critical acclaim, to be clear, just the lack of a popular audience for this weird little show that was the best prestige cable product to arrive in ages. — Michelle Dean, Editor-at-Large

Treme

It’s spinning into its fourth, abbreviated, final season, and still you people aren’t watching Treme. Did we all learn nothing from The Wire? Guess we’ll talk about it in a few years when everyone “discovers” it. — Jason Bailey, Film Editor

I’m So Excited! (dir. Pedro Almodovar)

Rarely full-on panned, I’m So Excited was pretty roundly dismissed as minor Almodovar. And listen, it’s no All About My Mother, but it’s a smart dark comedy that mixes broad satire with moments of full-on physical hilarity. — Judy Berman, Editor-in-Chief

The Drones

This is a homer choice, perhaps, but The Drones. They’re the best rock ‘n’ roll band in the world, and have been for a decade — and on the strength of I See Seaweed, they’re still getting better. They’re reasonably well known in Australia, but they’re still largely unknown here, so I think they qualify as underrated. — Tom Hawking, Music Editor

Stoker (dir. Park Chan-wook)

Park Chan-wook’s genre-bending English-language debut, Stoker, is utterly baroque, obsessive, and features plotting that often feels like an afterthought — but the director’s Hitchcockian dollhouse fable is intoxicating. Sleight of hand effects; the heady trinity of eroticism, violence, and repulsion; improvisational zaniness; and trilling insects signal a parallel world that is masterfully composed and swells with tension. But the film isn’t just gorgeous melancholia. Stoker’s sulking family is all twisted parlor games, cloak-and-dagger melodrama, and psychosexual flirtation. It’s deliciously mad. — Alison Nastasi, Weekend Editor

Don’t Trust the B—— in Apartment 23

I really wish we’d have been ready for a show as unapologetically weird as Nahnatchka Khan’s brilliant but cancelled Don’t Trust the B—— in Apartment 23. This modern-day Odd Couple presented a bizarre cartoon version of New York, with strange, ambitious writing and a uniformly incredible cast, most notably the irresistible Krysten Ritter and James van der Beek as himself. This was an uproariously funny show that was as brave and unconventional as any episode of Community, and it should’ve stuck around for a lot longer than it did. — Sarah Fonder, Editorial Apprentice

American Horror Story: Asylum

Everyone loves Coven, but two-thirds of the way through the season, I still prefer American Horror Story‘s darker, even more over-the-top second installment. From the hilariously campy Adam Levine cameo to Ian McShane’s turn as Murder Santa to the surprisingly beautiful closing chapters, Asylum put American Horror Story on the map as a show capable of transcending its own absurdity. Asylum may get a lot of hate for its overstuffed approach, but I’ll take Sister Jude over Fiona Goode any day of the week. — Alison Herman, Editorial Assistant