Conventional wisdom says that people won’t read lengthy magazine stories online, but you guys regularly prove otherwise. Many of our top traffic-generating stories have been deeply researched investigations and reported narratives—and we find that plenty of readers stick with them to the bitter end. So here, for your New Year’s pleasure, is a selection of 10 of our best-loved longreads from 2013.
We only know the titles of 2013’s 72 top unproduced scripts, so let’s imagine the plots.
57. Frisco, Simon Stephenson
Beautiful, smart Jessica is from New Jersey, but she really wants to fit in here in her new home of San Francisco so she calls it Frisco all the time. The mystery at the heart of this film: why can’t Jessica make friends?
Special ops: ”I cannot think of too many worse environments to infiltrate and then exfiltrate from than the North Pole,” says Andrew Exum, a former special adviser for Middle East policy at the Department of Defense who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan. “I have no idea how many elves would remain loyal to Santa Claus, but given the open terrain, you would probably want to surround Santa’s workshop with at least a company of Army Rangers before sending in a team from one of our special missions units to capture or kill Santa himself. That’s 150 to 200 men right there that would have to make their way to one of the most remote locations on Earth, carry out a very difficult mission in low visibility and freezing temperatures, and then march back out. As much as I love and admire our special operations forces, that’s a huge ask.”