The new year is shaping up to be filled with many happy returns. Hot in their time, they faded from the spotlight only to bounce back just in time for 2014.
Taking center stage once more are former favorites — actors who made us laugh, singers who entertained us, monsters who scared us and cars that made our engines rev. They shone bright before and are ready to do it again.
Their entwined voices helped define the girl group movement of the ’90s.
SWV — or Sisters With Voices — had just the right, hormonally charged, and reedy, sound for teen R&B. Small wonder they took their place with En Vogue and TLC as the R&B-pop “it” girls of their era.
The trio’s string of hits — including the No. 1 “Weak” and the top 10 “I’m So Into You” — ended in 1998, after six strong years.
Now, there’s a second chance for these three New York-born women — Cheryl (Coko) Clemons, Tamara (Taj) Johnson-George, and Leanne (Lelee) Lyons. Starting Jan. 16, We TV will air “SWV Reunited,” six episodes chronicling the group’s try for a comeback. It’s guaranteed to pour on the drama, since SWV has been struggling with their return for quite some time now.
The trio first tested the waters of a comeback in 2005. Following several false starts, they released an album in 2011, “I Missed Us.” The CD didn’t click. But the We show gives the women a frisson of intimacy and tension that may just do the trick. Jim Farber
At 51, Wesley Snipes has been an actor more than half his life. He made his film debut in ’86 doing funny business opposite Goldie Hawn in the comedy “Wildcats” but turned to more serious cinema — “Jungle Fever,” “New Jack City” and “One Night Stand.”
Bryan Cranston and Aaron Taylor-Johnson in “Godzilla”
His biggest success found him playing a bloodsucker in “Blade,” which has grossed $150 million internationally and become a big-screen franchise.
Five years ago Snipes’ career got sidelined due to tax problems. He served nearly two years in jail for tax evasion and was released into house arrest in April.
Snipes is now set to appear in the third chapter of his pal Sylvester Stallone’s film series “The Expendables,” due out this summer. The lesson: Good friends aren’t expendable. Joe Dziemianowicz
HARRY CONNICK JR.
Harry Connick Jr. will step from several smaller spotlights into a very big one on Jan. 15, joining Jennifer Lopez and Keith Urban as judges on Fox’s “American Idol.”
It’s a prime-time profile boost for the crooner and actor who last popped up on Broadway in “The Pajama Game” in 2006, a big hit, and “On a Clear Day You Can See Forever,” a big miss.
Connick’s popularity exploded after he provided the soundtrack for “When Harry Met Sally …” (1989), and appeared in films like "Independence Day" (1996). In 2012 he did a guest spot on “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” and in 2013 he released a new CD.
But Connick’s always had a fondness for “Idol,” he says. He has been a guest there and almost became a judge in 2010. “We talked,” he says, “and it fizzled out.”
Not this time. “I like doing this stuff,” says Connick. “It’s fun talking to young people about singing. I just had a blast.” David Hinckley
The Chevy Camaro Z/28 is back on track with a racy revival.
Jaleel White in a scene from "Dumbbells"
The sports car originally introduced in 1967 is dusting off its racing stripes for the first time since 2002 when the brand halted production.
The new two-door Z/28 features 505 horsepower to satisfy the ultimate need for speed.
The Camaro reached its peak in 1978 with 260,201 models sold. Hot shots like Sean Penn’s character Jeff Spicoli whipped around in a 1979 cherry Camaro Z/28 in “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” (1982).
“The fifth generation is really a modern interpretation of what the first Camaro looked like so it’s instantly recognizable,” Chevrolet spokesman Monte Doran says of the updated muscle car.
The new Z/28 will be available this spring. — Jeanette Settembre o
Kare Bear is staging a comeback. “Will & Grace” star Megan Mullally wraps her tongue around Miss Adelaide’s New Yawk accent in Carnegie Hall’s one-night-only “Guys and Dolls” concert on April 3.
The all-star adaptation of the beloved Broadway musical about gamblers and their gals running amok in the Big Apple also features Nathan Lane. Mullally’s nasally delivery was tailor-made for songbook faves like “A Bushel and a Peck.”
“It’s amazing she’s never done it before, because she’s perfect for it,” says director Jack O’Brien. “Nathan [Lane] and I both said ‘Megan’ literally at the same time.”
Mullally’s last New York stage appearance went belly-up before it began. In 2010, the actress left a production of the play “Lips Together, Teeth Apart,” and the whole show got canceled.
But 2014 is all systems go for the 55-year-old actress, whose short-lived 2007 talk show was canceled in just four months. She’s set to appear on the big screen in comedies “Date and Switch” and “Trouble Dolls.”
The Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 is being revived with a new model.
Best of all, Mullally reunites with herformer “Will & Grace” co-star Sean Hayes on NBC’s “Sean Saves the World” in February. Her cameo brings the dynamic duo together on TV again for the first time in almost 10 years. Nicole Lyn Pesce
There’s no monster like an old monster, and for 2014, Hollywood is dressing up some of its classic creeps in new — or no — clothes.
First up on Jan. 24 is “I, Frankenstein.” Set 200 years after the creature — here called Adam and played by Aaron Eckhart — sparked to life, director Stuart Beattie’s horror-drama plunks the now-hunky hulk into the middle of an apocalyptic battle.
Forget the scars and tattered sport coat Boris Karloff made popular in 1931. The fiend Eckhart most resembles is Peter Hinwood’s creature in “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” (1975).
Then on May 16, “Godzilla” does the time warp again in another eponymous film for the giant lizard. The new movie stars Elizabeth Olsen, Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Bryan Cranston.
Finally, if you ever wondered what Dracula was like before he sucked blood, “Dracula Untold,” due in October, promises to answer all. Luke Evans (“Fast & Furious 6”) stars as Prince Vlad, a Romanian warrior who has a date with destiny. And eventually, with a wooden stake. Joe Neumaier
He was the ’80s and ’90s mane man — an Italian model with the hair of Samson and no last name.
His surname is Lanzoni, but he was known simply as Fabio. But when it’s your chiseled face and physique on hundreds of romance novels, who needs names?
In 1994, Fabio appeared in a memorable TV commercial in which a woman chips away at a David-like statue as the voiceover declares: “She wanted to remember the love they shared for butter until cholesterol took away their passion until … ”
Aaron Eckhart as Adam in “I, Frankenstein”
Then, Fabio, in snug jeans and a vest, emerges from the rock and says, “I can’t believe it’s not butter!” He parlayed the ad into small parts on TV and films, appearing mostly as himself. In recent years he has been behind the scenes, with a clothing line and nutritional supplements.
But on Jan. 10, Fabio returns to the big screen in “Dumbbells,” a comedy about sports, comebacks and reality TV set at a run-down Los Angeles gym. The movie is available on several on-demand channels as well as iTunes.
“Listen, life is fun,” he told the Daily News. “I never take myself too seriously. You have to have fun with life.
“I never put myself on a pedestal. You have to live every day to the fullest. If you don’t have a present you don’t have a future.” Joe Dziemianowicz
Jaleel White’s life changed in 1989 when a one-time guest spot on “Family Matters” became a full-time gig.
And a defining career move. People still think of the 37-year-old actor as the supersmart, supergeeky, lovably annoying Steve Urkel.
Other series, like “Grown Ups,” followed. And college at UCLA, where he studied film and television and graduated in 2001. And there was that “Dancing With the Stars” stint, where he boogied but didn’t go home with the trophy.
White’s back on the big screen in “Dumbbells,” which he describes as “really insane. I have a meaningful cameo. There’s a cult — and I’m associated with it.”
Then again, he knows from cults. He’s got his own loyal legions who still see him as Urkel.
He has moved on, but he doesn’t mind.
Neil Patrick Harris takes the lead role in the Broadway production of “Hedwig and the Angry Inch.”
“People know me how they know me,” says White. “If that’s a problem, it’s a high-class problem. I’ll take it.” Joe Dziemianowicz
‘HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH’
“Hedwig and the Angry Inch” premiered at the now-defunct Jane Street Theatre on Valentine’s Day, 1998, and the Off-Broadway show quickly became a downtown phenomenon. Songs like “Wig in a Box” and “Wicked Little Town” were catchy enough to keep audiences humming their way out of the theater, and lyrically powerful enough to break a few hearts.
It was about a transsexual from East Germany who wanted to become a rock star. Her name was Hedwig, and she was haunted by a botched sex change operation.
Now, Neil Patrick Harris will star in the Broadway version (previews begin March 29) at the Belasco Theatre.
“Broadway audiences weren’t ready for us back then,” says John Cameron Mitchell, who co-wrote and starred in the original show. “The rock music was too real, the drag too dangerous. … But now drag is old hat. Or old wig.” Molly Friedman
Her career started with a show-stopper.
But Jennifer Holliday’s raw and pain-racked rendition on “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going” in 1981 in “Dreamgirls” was enough to catapult her to musical-theater heaven — and a Tony Award.
Holliday was 21 at the time. More stage and TV roles followed — like “Ally McBeal” — along with a respectable recording career spanning R&B, pop and gospel. But she never had the same level of success she had in the 1980s.
“I had that one moment in history,” she says. “And then I got caught in a time warp.”
This year brings time for a change for Holliday, 53, who lives in Atlanta. On Jan. 21, “The Song Is You” drops — her first solo album in 23 years. The album offers her take on standards like “At Last” and “The Look of Love.”
“I’m feeling good now,” says Holliday, who’s battled with her weight and multiple sclerosis. “Even though it’s been a long time for me to do an album, it’s the right time.”