They’re ba-ack: The top comebacks of 2014

From Lisa Kudrow to fanny packs, we chart the year’s top revivals

  • Ben Nelms/CP

    Ben Nelms/CP

  • MARC EMERY: The 56-year-old Canadian, who has been dubbed “the Prince of Pot” for his crusade to legalize marijuana, got out of a U.S. prison this year after serving five years for selling cannabis seeds over the border. Though banned from entering the U.S., he’s been partly vindicated as pot legalization became more common there during the years he was in jail. In Canada, he and his wife Jodie are so pleased by the Liberals’ new support for decriminalization that she’s announced her intention to join the party and run for public office.
  • Nikhilesh Haval/Getty Images

    Nikhilesh Haval/Getty Images

  • PLUTO: Demoted to the status of “dwarf planet” in 2006, this little ball is starting to get renewed support for becoming a full-fledged planet again. In September, a debate at the Harvard-Smithsonian Centre for Astrophysics concluded that Pluto is a planet after all, even if it is tinier than the others. A NASA probe, New Horizons, is on its way to Pluto, scheduled to arrive in July 2015 for what NASA calls “a dramatic flight past the icy dwarf planet and its moons.” There are bigger, more established planets getting less attention. Like Earth.
  • Michael Tran/FilmMagic/Getty Images

    Michael Tran/FilmMagic/Getty Images

  • ‘WEIRD AL’ YANKOVIC: The 1980s maestro of musical parody returned as a master of promotion in the digital era. Yankovic, 55, is still cranking out the knock-offs—his 2014 release Word Crimes let the air out of Robin Thicke’s queasily misogynistic Blurred Lines. But he’s also been playing the Internet like an accordion. Yankovic’s decision to release eight songs and videos from his album Mandatory Fun over consecutive days created a viral buzz that took the record to No. 1 on the Billboard charts the week of its full release—making it the first comedy album to do so in more than 50 years.
  • Patrick Kovarik/AFP/Getty Images

    Patrick Kovarik/AFP/Getty Images

  • THE FANNY PACK: Also known as the bum bag, this used to be a common sight on the posteriors of people who wanted to walk around a city while keeping their hands free. Because it’s so useful, fashion designers are trying to bring it back in a less hideous form. Chanel, Alexander Wang and Rebecca Minkoff all unveiled fanny packs in 2014, stylish looking and without the velcro that they’re usually associated with. Celebrities like Matthew McConaughey, Fergie and the Rock have been seen wearing these “belt bags,” as they would prefer you call them. You’ll probably still just call them fanny packs.
  • Julian Torres/Everett Collection/CP

    Julian Torres/Everett Collection/CP

  • KEVIN COSTNER: 2012’s TV miniseries Hatfields & McCoys may have marked his return to stardom, but 2014 made him a full-fledged movie star again. The man from Waterworld starred or co-starred in three major films in this one year, 3 Days to Kill, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit and Ivan Reitman’s Draft Day. Though the latter failed, the other two did well, and now Costner is bankable even though he’s nearly 60. He must be happy enough to dance with wolves.
  • 2013 Ford Expedition
  • GAS GUZZLERS: Remember when people were worried about global warming? Well, the people who buy cars certainly don’t. Sales of big, energy-inefficient cars were way up this fall, with a drop in gas prices fuelling (no pun intended) a rush to buy SUVs, pickup trucks, and used Hummers. Automobile companies are once again trying to appeal to drivers who want macho action, not environmental friendliness; 600-horsepower engines are becoming more common, and Chrysler this year introduced a Dodge variant known as the “Hellcat,” which it advertised as “the most powerful muscle car ever.” If the world is going to end, we might as well make our cars look impressive while we’re waiting.
  • CBS/Getty Images

    CBS/Getty Images

  • ‘WKRP IN CINCINATTI’: A U.S. cult TV show that has always been more popular in Canada than the States, this radio-station sitcom was unavailable for many years due to the cost of licensing the hundreds of rock songs it used. This year, Shout! Factory finally cleared 80 per cent of the music for a DVD release of the complete series, returning the show to circulation—at a cost of $1 million in music clearance fees.
  • Bullit Marquez/AP

    Bullit Marquez/AP

  • MEASLES: This disease, the inspiration for countless drawings of kids with red spots on their face, had been in decline in North America for a long time. But in 2014, the New England Journal of Medicine reported the U.S. had more cases of measles than any time in 20 years. One reason for the increased number of infections, the authors said, is that more parents are refusing to have their children vaccinated. Thanks a lot, Jenny McCarthy.
  • Ken McKay/REX/CP

    Ken McKay/REX/CP

  • KATE BUSH: After one tour 35 years ago, the English chanteuse gave up performing and became a star through recordings only. This year she finally returned to the stage for a series of 22 concerts at the Hammersmith Apollo theatre in London. Reaction to the 56-year-old singer was everything she could have hoped for: the concerts sold out almost instantly, and she got standing ovations for the first-ever live performances of some of her recorded hits. Reaction was so positive that Bush set up cameras at two of the concerts so she could release a DVD, and the Guardian proclaimed a wave of “Bushmania” in the U.K.
  • Jon Nazca/Reuters

    Jon Nazca/Reuters

  • VINYL (AGAIN): The comeback of big discs with short playing times has been going on for a long time, but this year it really went mainstream, even as the rest of recorded music continued to collapse. Record companies now routinely release new vinyl versions of albums, and they’re even being sold in non-music stores with a hipster clientele, like Whole Foods. And United Record Pressing, a vinyl-pressing company in Tennessee, announced plans this year to expand operations and open a second warehouse, because it doesn’t have enough machines to meet the ever-increasing demand for pops and scratches.
  • Jeffrey Mayer/WireImage/Getty Images

    Jeffrey Mayer/WireImage/Getty Images

  • ‘THE COMEBACK’: Now, there’s an appropriate title. This TV comedy, starring Lisa Kudrow as a washed-up sitcom star making a reality show about her career, was cancelled by HBO after only one season in 2005. After the show gained a cult following for its bitter portrayal of show business, HBO and Kudrow revived it in 2014— one of the longest-ever hiatuses between the first and second seasons. Some things have changed since then: this time, a satirical target is the modern serious TV drama. But the show still hates reality TV. Some things don’t change.

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