We loved these things that didn't get much attention, and we think you might, too -- if you give them a chance.
2018 was a busy year, and with more media being shoved in our face than ever, you're never gonna be able to consume it all.
But there were some legitimately incredible gems that flew under the radar of popular culture, and we feel compelled to share them with you, even if this entire article disappears in the internet's avalanche of year-end content.
So please, if we have your attention, hear us out as we plug these 11 hidden treasures from three entertainment mediums we love to write about: TV, film and music.
'Sorry for Your Loss'
Where to Find: Facebook Watch
Facebook's streaming service hit the ground running in original programming for 2018, and yet it seems that so few people are watching and even fewer in the media are talking about its programming, save Jada Pinkett Smith’s brilliant "Red Table Talk."
Take "Sorry for Your Loss," for example. Starring indie film darling Elizabeth Olsen as a woman grappling with the sudden death of her husband across ten episodes, this exploration of loss takes us deeper into grief and the long-term effects of death than anything we’ve seen before.
It’s not just about Olsen picking up the pieces and moving on, as the series expands beyond just her narrative and into the stories of all the other people whose lives have been impacted by his abrupt end. Tack on “Last Jedi” breakout star Kelly Marie Tran as her recovering-alcoholic sister and a cast of complex characters, and this is easily one of the best streaming shows you’re probably not watching.
Where to Find: Showtime
Even after the premiere of Showtime’s "Kidding," Jim Carrey is still getting more attention for his political cartoons than for his big return to television. Perhaps that’s because "Kidding" is a challenging show. It asks you to care about its protagonist, but then it makes him and all those around him deeply flawed.
Carrey's Jeff Pickles may be the most sympathetic of them, but it doesn’t make you want to slap him any less. As a beloved Mr. Rogers archetype, Mr. Pickles is beloved worldwide and genuinely tries to be a decent guy, but it’s what’s lurking beneath that’s really spooky.
The show also deals with the grief and loss of a child as well as the pitfalls and dangers of working with family. At points surreal and sad and melancholy and funny and anxiety-inducing, “Kidding” puts you through the emotional wringer. But it also wrings the most complicated and understated performance out of Jim Carrey since "The Truman Show." This can be a deeply uncomfortable series, but even in your discomfort you are completely invested in the journeys of these characters.
Give it a shot right here, right now, because we embedded the first episode in its entirety above.
Where to Find: Lifetime
A risky show at any time, but even more so in the #MeToo era, Lifetime's "YOU" puts the viewer directly into the mind of a stalker, played to the hilt by "Gossip Girl" alum Penn Badgley. His ongoing narrative is both deeply disturbing and compellingly logical, as he justifies his growing obsession with a girl who made the mistake of simply walking into his bookstore.
Everything he does is in pursuit of his own selfish desires and as viewers, we knew more than his innocent target, played beautifully by Elizabeth Lail. Here’s the thing, though. This is on Lifetime, so there’s a certain expectation of cheese-tastic girl power. But this may be the most nuanced program the network has ever aired.
Don’t get us wrong, it can easily fall into the category of guilty pleasure, but it’s the kind of guilty pleasure you probably want to enjoy after drawing all the curtains and making sure the doors and windows are locked. And while it might make you understand the deranged mind of a stalker better, it certainly doesn't try to make them sympathetic in any way, which is both difficult at times and absolutely the right call.
'Roll with Me'
Where to Find: Netflix
You won’t hear much about this excellent documentary, so it's up to us to let you know that you'd be doing yourself a disservice if you didn’t watch this Netflix gem before it disappears from the streaming service. The low-budget, scrappy film isn’t very polished and looks like it was edited on iMovie, but it’s got a huge heart that mirrors its subject: paraplegic man Gabriel Cordell, who rolls himself across the country, from Los Angeles to New York, just because he wants to inspire people.
And he does. Not only do ordinary people line up on the road just to catch a glimpse of him once they hear about his mission, the rag-tag crew of recovering addicts trailing him in an RV get their act together while watching a man push his body to the limit to pull off the impossible. If you need some #MondayMotivation, look no further than this incredible true story.
Where to Find: DVD/Blu-Ray
We get it, people love Angelina Jolie as Lara Croft. But have you watched those movies recently? They’re not actually all that good. While Jolie herself killed it as a charismatic adventurer already in full-Indiana Jones mode, Alicia Vikader explored the video game character’s origin story in this year's reboot, which sadly failed to connect with U.S. audiences.
Yeah, we could have done without the daddy drama that slowed down the film, but Vikander was a worthy, more grounded Croft and one we would have loved to see developed even more in a sequel we'll likely never get.
'Teen Mom: Young and Pregnant'
Where to Find: MTV
The newest franchise of the Teen Mom saga just wrapped its first season on MTV, but you probably haven’t heard of it. With all the original Teen Moms settling down into their happily ever afters, there’s been an obvious lack of drama in the "OG" and "TM2" series. "Young and Pregnant" is MTV’s answer to that.
The babies are fresh, the moms are fresh, and most importantly, the drama is fresh. From custody battles and domestic violence claims to evil mothers-in-law and restraining orders, every episode is a jam-packed with good, old-fashioned baby daddy drama. Binge what you can for now, because we're still waiting to hear if there will be a Season 2.
Gary Janetti's Prince George Parody
Where to Find: Instagram
Brad Goreski's husband truly created something really special with his pseudo-Prince George parody account, which is similar to our favorite Kardashian parody on Instagram, Nori's Black Book. Prince William & Kate Middleton's 5-year-old son is the subject of Janetti's entire Instagram account, posting hilarious photos of the future king throwing shade at his royal family members. Let's just say we will be super disappointed if Prince George's personality doesn't live up to Janetti's version.
Where to Find: FOX, Hulu
You’re probably thinking, "Do I really need to watch another medical show?" But we promise you, "The Resident" isn’t your average hospital drama. The FOX drama, currently in its second season, concentrates more on the corrupt side of the health care system rather than hospital relationships -- but obviously, there's a few of those storylines, too. It's a network TV hospital drama, after all. Still, the show highlights the difficult, yet risky decisions doctors and nurses make in order to save lives, while also pointing out the shady medical practitioners that will go to great lengths to make more money, even if it endangers the life of a patient. Season 2 will continue in 2019, but you can binge the first season and first half of the second now on Hulu.
'The Last Movie Star'
Where to Find: Amazon Prime
The world lost a cinematic icon this year when Burt Reynolds died at the age of 82, but fortunately, the Bandit blessed us with one last incredible performance before driving off into the sunset for good. Although he has a few more movies in the posthumous pipeline, we don't think Reynolds could have asked for a better sendoff than this one.
Writer-director Adam Rifkin's indie drama stars the former leading man as, well, a former leading man reflecting on a lifetime of success and regret while being honored at a tiny film festival he was basically tricked into attending. After years out of the spotlight, Reynolds turned in a soulful performance that proved he was as sharp as ever in his old age. It's really something special to watch Reynolds interact with his younger self when spliced into scenes from his classic films ("Smokey and the Bandit," "Deliverance") and an absolute joy to see him interact with his younger co-stars, including Ariel Winter and Clark Duke.
If you're a fan of Reynolds filmography, this "The Last Movie Star" is an absolute must-see movie.
Where to Find: YouTube Premium
One would think a battle rap movie produced by Eminem would have made a bigger splash after winning audience awards at pretty much every major film festival it competed in earlier this fall, but alas, "Bodied" barely made a dent in pop culture. However, we saw it during its limited theatrical run and loved it so much, we invited producer Adi Shankar and star (and real-life battle rapper) Dizaster into our studio to talk about it. In the process, the latter made waves online for calling out James Corden's "Drop the Mic" for cultural appropriation. You can enjoy that wild interview below, too, but we highly recommend seeking out "Bodied."
The R-rated comedy follows a white Berkley graduate student as he rises in the ranks of the underground battle rap scene, and pisses off his liberal college peers in the process. We talked about cultural appropriation with Dizaster because it's one of the many social taboos the brilliant film skewers while also tackling other hot topics, including race, free speech, white privilege, political correctness and tribalism. Not only did we want to go watch battle rap IRL after watching this gem, it made us think pretty hard about all of commentary layered underneath the laughs.
TooGood Artists of the Year
Where to Find: Right here on TooFab
We have been giving emerging independent musicians a platform all year through our TooGood Artist of the Month series, which introduced our readers to indie rock band The 131ers, alt pop trio The Habits, Chainsmokers songwriter Emily Warren, pop singer Dominique and most recently, charming French singer Laure Z, to name a few. And we wouldn't have invited them in to chat and perform if we weren't blown away by their music, so we're proud to endorse these stars of tomorrow.
With more noise than ever on the internet, it's getting harder and harder for true talent to get the attention it deserves, so we hope you'll consider lending your ear to some of these artists. They're worth your time, we promise, and there's no shortage of genre diversity in our picks below.