1. New scripted network shows in January! Intelligence, Jan. 7 (CBS); Killer Women, Jan. 7 (ABC); Chicago PD, Jan. 8 (NBC); Enlisted, Jan. 10 (Fox); Rake, Jan. 23 (Fox)
Who knows with any of these! Josh Holloway plays a $6 billion cyberman on Intelligence (regular time slot will be Mondays at 10 p.m.); Tricia Helfer is a Texas Ranger on the kind of fun Killer Women (Tuesdays at 10 p.m.); Chicago PD is NBC’s Chicago Fire spin-off (Wednesdays at 10 p.m.); the charming Enlisted goes into a Friday night at 9:30 death slot on Fox; and Greg Kinnear stars on Fox’s Rake (Thursdays at 9 p.m.).
2. The Spoils of Babylon, Jan. 9 (10 p.m. on IFC)
From Will Ferrell and Funny or Die, this all-star spoof miniseries would appear to be targeting an audience that probably doesn’t remember these sorts of miniseries. It’s six half-hour episodes.
3. Helix, Jan. 10 (10 p.m. on Syfy)
Cameron Porsandeh wrote the Helix pilot, Steven Maeda is the showrunner, and Battlestar Galactica god Ronald D. Moore is an executive producer: and it seems like it could be Syfy’s best show in many years. Billy Campbell plays a CDC investigator called to help an outbreak at a drug company’s lab in the Arctic Circle — all hell breaks loose. The first episode feels like (and borrows from) Alien, with the same anticipatory dread around every corner. I made the mistake of watching it before I went to bed, and had nightmares. It’s a compliment! Helix will be 13 episodes; I’m not sure what Season 2 would be, but don’t care yet.
4. True Detective, Jan. 12 (9 p.m. on HBO); Looking, Jan. 19 (10:30 p.m. on HBO)
I’ve watched three of the eight episodes of True Detective, and I can’t remember a recent show that’s excited me more. (And there are a lot of good shows, so that is saying something!) That former goofballs Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey have evolved into two of the most interesting American actors is enough to marvel at; factor in Nic Pizzolatto’s absorbing murder mystery, which flashes between 1995 and 2012, and you’ve got a stunner. It’s moody, funny, creepy, smart, well-acted, and Pizzolatto’s writing is like the best crime novel you’ve ever read. True Detective is an anthology show (like American Horror Story), so Season 1 will be Harrelson/McConaughey, and if there’s a second season (there will be), it will be a new story and new cast. Looking is good too! It’s a light half-hour series in the Girls school of dramatic comedy (or comedic drama) about gay male friends in San Francisco. If lead actor Jonathan Groff is a bit unbelievable as a serial committer of faux pas who keeps screwing up hookups, the show makes up for it with its light charm. Also, let’s hear it for the second-ever show about a group of gay men! It’s been too long since Queer As Folk.
5. Chozen, Jan. 13 (10:30 p.m. on FX)
Is Chozen — a designed-to-shock animated comedy about a white gay rapper fresh from prison — the political and cultural opposite of the Looking aesthetic? Maybe!
6. Flowers in the Attic Jan. 18 (8 p.m. on Lifetime)
V.C. Andrews’ campy best-selling story of child abuse, attics, and incest gets the Lifetime treatment. THIS WILL BE AMAZING. (Here’s the trailer.)
7. Klondike, Jan. 20 (9 p.m. on Discovery)
Discovery is getting into the scripted world with its first miniseries. Klondike is set in the 1895 Gold Rush and based on the book Gold Diggers: Striking It Rich in the Klondike. Most important, look at Richard Madden (Robb Stark of Game of Thrones) in that picture! All recovered from the Red Wedding.
8. Black Sails, Jan. 25 (9 p.m. on Starz)
This pirate adventure from the Michael Bay factory wasn’t as fun as I hoped it would be (Neil Marshall, who directed the “Blackwater” episode of Game of Thrones, directed the pilot). But it looks great. Maybe fun is around the corner.
9. The Red Road, Feb. TBA (Sundance Channel)
There’s neat stuff happening over at Sundance these days. In 2013, the channel broadcast the wonderful miniseries Top of the Lake, the excellent first season of its drama Rectify, and the obsession-worthy French import The Returned. The Red Road was created by Aaron Guzikowski, the Prisoners screenwriter, and as with Rectify, it is six hour-long episodes. It’s a crime thriller about a cop (Martin Henderson), his wife (Julianne Nicholson), and a charismatic, scary guy from a local Native American tribe (Jason Momoa, pictured above, better known as Khal Drogo from Game of Thrones). Tom Sizemore and Tamara Tunie also star.
10. The Lego Movie, Feb. 7
Legos are so huge now that a movie was inevitable. Yet as a franchise, Legos just aren’t evil, which is sometimes all you ask for as a parent. Chris Pratt voices the hero, Will Ferrell is the villain. Looks cute!
11. NBC’s Olympics & Midseason Schedule
Lots going on over at NBC in February! Jay Leno’s last Tonight Show is Feb. 6, the Sochi Olympics opening ceremony is Feb. 7, Jimmy Fallon takes over Tonight on Feb. 17, and Seth Meyers starts Late Night on Feb. 24.
12. The Monuments Men, Feb. 7
This George Clooney movie moved from Oscar season to February, which is not a good sign. And then Clooney used Deadline to try to get the message across that everything’s fine with it. Maybe it is. Clooney stars, directed, and co-wrote the screenplay with Grant Heslov. Cate Blanchett, Matt Damon, John Goodman, and a slew of others also appear in this World War II art heist movie.
13. Robocop, Feb. 12
I feel like the Robocop remake has been in the making for 17 years, don’t you? But this trailer looks awesome, Joel Kinnaman (The Killing) is great, and the politics of drones are resonant right now. José Padilha directed it, and Gary Oldman, Michael Keaton, Abbie Cornish, and Samuel L. Jackson star.
14. Winter’s Tale, Feb. 14
It’s been a long time since I’ve read Mark Helprin’s 1983 novel, but the word “unfilmable” comes to mind. Akiva Goldsman adapted the screenplay and is directing; Colin Farrell, Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, and Will Smith co-star. And Jessica Brown Findlay: Lady Sybil of Downton Abbey lives!
15. About Last Night, Feb. 14
Kevin Hart, Michael Ealy, Regina Hall, and Joy Bryant star in the remake of 1986’s About Last Night, which was based on David Mamet’s play Sexual Perversity in Chicago. Sounds charming.
16. Cosmos, March TBA (Fox)
Seth MacFarlane’s sequel to the iconic Carl Sagan/Ann Druyan PBS series is surely one of the oddest, most intriguing projects coming our way. Neil deGrasse Tyson will be the presenter.
17. Those Who Kill, Early March TBA (A&E)
I really loved the chilling pilot for this new A&E crime drama, which is based on a Danish series (Den som dræber). Chloë Sevigny plays a damaged Pittsburgh homicide detective who enlists an intense academic serial killer expert (James D’Arcy) in her ambitious efforts to find murderers. It’s a pretty standard procedural format. But with Sevigny as the lead, there’s — as always with her — a weirdness and originality here. As her character, Catherine, begins to delve into her own past, which the pilot hints is as dark as it gets, I’ll be there watching.
18. Nymphomaniac: Part One is on demand as of March 6 and in theaters on March 21. Nymphomaniac: Part Two is on demand as of April 3 and in theaters on April 18.
I don’t even know what to say about this latest Lars Von Trier provocation. And since it was four hours long, it’s now divided into two halves of crazy. (There’s also an uncut five-and-a-half-hour version.) The story revolves around Charlotte Gainsbourg’s character recalling her sexual past. Stellan Skarsgård, Stacy Martin, Shia LaBeouf, and Uma Thurman also star.
19. Sirens, March 6 (USA) and Playing House (TBA)
Denis Leary and Bob Fisher have created USA’s first half-hour comedy, Sirens, which seems Rescue Me-like in its setting (except they’re EMTs, not firefighters); it’s based on a U.K. series. As part of USA’s expansion into comedy — its acquisition of Modern Family reruns being another part — USA will also schedule Jessica St. Clair and Lennon Parham’s Playing House sometime in the first half of the year.
20. 300: Rise of an Empire, March 7
The prequel to 2006’s 300 has taken a long time — and several titles — to arrive in theaters. Zack Snyder didn’t direct it, and few of the original cast (Rodrigo Santoro excepted) will be back.
21. The Grand Budapest Hotel, March 7
Wes Anderson’s latest will feature a number of Andersonian regulars: Bill Murray, Owen Wilson, Jason Schwartzman… You get it. Ralph Fiennes and a bunch of other people are in it too. They will be quirky!
22. New ABC shows! Resurrection, March 9 (9 p.m. on ABC); Mind Games, March 11 (10 p.m. on ABC)
I liked the pilot for Resurrection — in which the dead begin to return home — when I watched it over the summer, and am curious to see where it goes. Omar Epps, Frances Fisher, and Kurtwood Smith star, and it’s based on a novel by Jason Mott called The Returned. On Mind Games, which I haven’t seen, Steve Zahn and Christian Slater play brothers who run an agency that solves clients’ problems by influencing people in their lives’ behavior. I have no idea what that means. But should mention now that Kyle Killen created the show, and he loves a complicated premise for a TV show: He created Lone Star and Awake, both of which had good pilots and died quickly.
23. Veronica Mars, March 14
You paid for it! Will you pay for it at the box office too? The fascinating Veronica Mars/Kickstarter experiment will either be a giant leap into the future or a sad wilting. As a fan of the show, I just want it to be a good movie.
24. Divergent, March 21
Since last year, several YA franchises that aspired to be the next Twilight or the next Hunger Games have died horrible deaths, proving that teen audiences (and their age-inappropriate brethren) won’t flock to see just anything. So what will happen with Veronica Roth’s Divergent, which might have Hunger Games potential? It certainly has a great cast, from Shailene Woodley as ass-kicking Tris to Kate Winslet as the villain Jeanine Matthews.
25. Muppets Most Wanted, March 21
The cuteness — and the cameos — continue!
26. Bad Words, March 21
Tough release date here! But Jason Bateman’s directorial debut, in which he also stars as a 40-year-old who crashes children’s spelling bees, made noise at the Toronto International Film Festival — it’s an R-rated comedy that is definitely not Divergent nor Muppets.
27. Noah, March 28
Yes, that Noah. Russell Crowe will be building a bigger boat in Darren Aronofsky’s large-scale retelling of the Bible story.
28. Friends with Better Lives, March 31 (9 p.m. on CBS; regular time slot at 8:30 beginning on April 7)
I laughed several times during this pilot! Particularly at things said by Zoe Lister Jones’ looks-ist character, Kate, and James Van Der Beek’s bitter, jilted Will. Brooklyn Decker, Kevin Connolly, and Majandra Delfino fill out the cast. This show will be a hit, I think.
29. Turn, Spring TBA (AMC)
With the Breaking Bad era over, and the Mad Men years soon to come to a close, AMC is continuing its ambitious efforts elsewhere. Turn is set in 1778 and tells the story of a group of spies during the Revolutionary War. Jamie Bell stars.
30. Fargo, Spring TBA (FX)
Billy Bob Thornton, Martin Freeman, Colin Hanks, Oliver Platt, Kate Walsh, and Bob Odenkirk will star in the Coen brothers’ 10-episode miniseries of Fargo. There will be a new crime, and no Marge Gunderson character!
31. 24: Live Another Day, April TBA (Fox)
By the time 24 died in May 2010, it really was past time. The show had often struggled with its self-imposed narrative structure, and though it had achieved great heights — Season 5! — it was time to go. Nevertheless, I’m hopeful about this restructured return: It will be a 12-hour “limited series” for Fox, meaning that it’s a more cable-like season, and designed to be contained. Kiefer Sutherland, Mary Lynn Rajskub, and Kim Raver will all return.
32. So many sequels in the spring and summer!
So, so many: Captain America: The Winter Soldier (April 4), The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (May 2), X-Men: Days of Future Past (May 23), 22 Jump Street (June 13), How to Train Your Dragon 2 (June 14), Transformers: Age of Extinction (June 27), Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (July 18), and The Expendables 3 (Aug. 15). Fast & Furious 7 was also to come out in the summer, but since production shut down in the wake of Paul Walker’s death, it will now be released in April 2015.
33. Transcendence, April 18
Transcendence is the directing debut of Christopher Nolan’s cinematographer, Wally Pfister, and Nolan is an executive producer here. Johnny Depp stars as a TED Talk-y genius who is shot by an anti-technology group and then his consciousness becomes an evil AI… I have no idea. Here’s the trailer.
34. Penny Dreadful, Spring TBA (Showtime)
John Logan, the writer of the play Red and the movies Any Given Sunday, Gladiator, The Aviator, and Skyfall (among others), has created Penny Dreadful. Sam Mendes is an executive producer; Josh Hartnett, Timothy Dalton, Eva Green, and Billie Piper lead the cast. It’s set in Victorian London and (somehow) entwines the stories of Dr. Frankenstein, Dorian Gray, and Dracula. The recent teaser embedded here wasn’t what I thought this show would look like? But that’s OK! High hopes for this one.
35. Godzilla, May 16
I don’t know when I’ve seen a more thrilling trailer for a big action movie; I hadn’t been particularly excited before I watched it. Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Bryan Cranston, Elizabeth Olsen, and Sally Hawkins (?!?) star in this Gareth Edwards movie.
36. The Normal Heart, Spring TBA (HBO)
That’s Taylor Kitsch on the right there! With Mark Ruffalo! After the successful 2011 revival of Larry Kramer’s play about the early days of HIV/AIDS, HBO decided to adapt it into the sort of movie the channel excels at. Ryan Murphy directs Julia Roberts, Matt Bomer, and Jim Parsons. Tears will shed. (And Emmys will be won.)
37. Malificent, May 30
This Disney project — Sleeping Beauty as told from the villain’s point of view — has been a while in the making. And the Disney fiends I know are all very excited about it. Angelina Jolie plays Maleficent, and Elle Fanning is Sleeping Beauty. Robert Stromberg, who won Oscars for art direction for Alice in Wonderland and Avatar, makes his directorial debut here.
38. A Million Ways to Die in the West, May 30
Seth MacFarlane directs, co-writes (with Alec Sulkin and Wellesley Wild of Dads), and stars in his second live-action movie. (Ted being his first.) He plays a sheep farmer in the late 1800s America. Charlize Theron, Liam Neeson, Amanda Seyfried, Sarah Silverman, Giovanni Ribisi, and Neil Patrick Harris also star.
39. The Fault in Our Stars, June 6
BuzzFeed unveiled the poster for The Fault in Our Stars this month, and beyond all the crying, some fans of John Green’s novel did not love the tagline: “One Sick Love Story.” (On Tumblr, Green said he likes it fine. And the movie’s male lead, Ansel Elgort, tweeted, “I have no problem with the tagline. It’s cheeky.”) Anyway, back to the crying. There will be crying on June 6! Shailene Woodley is the other lead. (She and Elgort play brother and sister in Divergent.)
40. Edge of Tomorrow, June 6
Like Groundhog Day but with aliens and Tom Cruise. His Edge of Tomorrow character keeps reliving an alien invasion of Earth in which he dies quickly. (Until he doesn’t, I imagine.) Doug Liman directs, Emily Blunt co-stars.
41. Jersey Boys, June 20
The long-in-the-making Jersey Boys movie finally got going for real when Clint Eastwood signed up to direct it. John Lloyd Young will reprise his Tony-winning role as Frankie Valli.
42. The Leftovers, Summer TBA (HBO)
Justin Theroux will play the lead in Damon Lindelof and HBO’s adaptation of Tom Perrotta’s 2011 novel about those who are left behind after a rapture. (Not to be confused with Left Behind, the religious novel series that tackled a similar topic.) There are smaller HBO shows (Hello Ladies, Getting On), and there are bigger ones. The Leftovers is a bigger one!
43. Power, Summer TBA (Starz)
Omari Hardwick plays Ghost, a New York club owner and drug lord who wants to leave crime behind. Curtis Jackson, Sir 50 Cent to you, is an executive producer of Power, and will play a side character too.
44. New TNT shows! Legends, The Last Ship, Murder in the First : Summer TBA
Lots of new dramas coming to TNT. On Legends (far left photo), Sean Bean plays a spy; on The Last Ship, Eric Dane and Rhona Mitra (pictured at center) lead Michael Bay’s series about survivors of an apocalypse; and on Steven Bochco’s Murder in the First, Taye Diggs and Kathleen Robertson play homicide detectives trying to solve two separate murder cases.
45. Halt & Catch Fire, Summer TBA (AMC)
Lee Pace (pictured above), Scoot McNairy, and Kerry Bishé star in AMC’s early-1980s set drama about the personal computer revolution.
46. The Strain, July TBA (FX)
Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan created FX’s new vampire series, The Strain, based on their novel of the same name. House of Cards standout Corey Stoll (pictured) plays an epidemiologist from the CDC (perhaps he and Billy Campbell’s character from Helix can duel at some point). Carlton Cuse of Lost is The Strain’s showrunner.
47. Tammy, July 2
Since shooting into the public consciousness with Bridesmaids in 2011, Melissa McCarthy has seen only success with Identity Thief, The Heat, and Mike & Molly. It’s pretty impressive! With Tammy, McCarthy and her husband, Ben Falcone, co-wrote the screenplay, and Falcone is its director.
48. Jupiter Ascending, July 25
What do we know about the latest Wachowskis project? Mila Kunis, Sean Bean, and Channing Tatum star in it, and its visuals — as always with the Wachowskis — are amazing. I will not try to discern more from this trailer.
49. Guardians of the Galaxy, Aug. 1
For a while over the summer, there were so many fun and bizarre casting announcements about this movie that I lost track. We’ll see how it all shakes out on Aug. 1.
50. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Aug. 8
It’s still early, so the photo above is from Nickelodeon’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles show — a corporate sibling of Paramount, which will reboot this movie franchise this summer. As one who falls between TMNT generations, I have always found it to be an odd thing: turtles named after Renaissance artists trained in martial arts by a rat. Writing that out made me feel insane, actually. But it’s kind of funny!
51. Gracepoint, 2014 TBA (Fox)
Those who were riveted by ITV’s Broadchurch are either excited or confused by Fox’s decision to remake the original with David Tennant once again starring in this sad, atmospheric murder mystery about the death of a young boy in a seaside resort town. I am both! (And it will be called Gracepoint here.)
52. Death Comes to Pemberley and Breathless, 2014 TBA (PBS)
In the press release for Masterpiece’s acquisition of the BBC’s Death Comes to Pemberley, executive producer Rebecca Eaton is quoted saying, “With its combination of Jane Austen, P.D. James, and this great cast, Death Comes to Pemberley hits the jackpot for Masterpiece fans.” She said it: It’s like Masterpiece porn! Matthew Rhys (The Americans) plays Mr. Darcy, and Anna Maxwell Martin (The Bletchley Circle) is Elizabeth in this mystery continuation of Pride and Prejudice. As for Breathless, Jack Davenport (he of Smash!) plays a gynecologist surgeon in a London hospital in 1961.
53. Outlander, 2014 TBA (Starz)
Shepherded by Ronald D. Moore (who also has Helix going), Outlander is based on Diana Gabaldon’s hybrid series that…well, that I have not read, but has a huge fan base. There is time travel. Caitriona Balfe stars as Claire Randall.
54. The Maze Runner, Sept. 19
Based on James Dashner’s YA novel from 2009, The Maze Runner follows the post-apocalyptic (of course) travails of Thomas (played by Dylan O’Brien of MTV’s Teen Wolf).
55. The Boxtrolls, Sept. 26
According to the site Laika, the animation company behind The Boxtrolls, the movie is “a comedic fable that unfolds in Cheesebridge, a posh Victorian-era town obsessed with wealth, class and the stinkiest of fine cheeses. Beneath its charming cobblestone streets dwell the Boxtrolls, foul monsters who crawl out of the sewers at night and steal what the townspeople hold most dear: their children and their cheeses. At least that’s the legend residents have always believed…” This looks so cute!
56. Gone Girl, Oct. 3
I loved this book so much that I’m going to just put my trust in director David Fincher and know that he has created a great cast for these roles (even Tyler Perry). Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike are the leads. Not who I pictured! But here I am, trusting!
57. The Interview, Oct. 10
From the Seth Rogen/Evan Goldberg factory. (I don’t think they have an actual factory.) James Franco plays a talk show host who gets caught up in a plot to assassinate the leader of North Korea. Rogen plays his producer.
58. Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, Oct. 10
A live-action version of the classic children’s book starring Steve Carell, Jennifer Garner, Bella Thorne, and Ed Oxenbould as Alexander. It’s very art house-y behind the scenes! Miguel Arteta (The Good Girl) directs, and Lisa Cholodenko (The Kids Are All Right) adapted the screenplay.
59. Interstellar, Nov. 7
GEEK SIREN: NEW CHRISTOPHER NOLAN MOVIE. With an all-star cast.
60. Fury, Nov. 14
David Ayer wrote and directed the great End of Watch, wrote Training Day, and directed Sabotage, the Arnold Schwarzenegger movie that will come out in April. With Fury, which stars Brad Pitt, Shia LaBeouf, Logan Lerman, and others, he enters the World War II era. Ayers has been posting great photos on his Twitter feed.
61. Dumb and Dumber To, Nov. 14
Ha, how in the WORLD is this happening? Well…it is.
62. Mockingjay, Nov. 21
The first of the two halves of Suzanne Collins’ Mockingjay will come out in 2014. Let’s see how they do this! Mockingjay is known for its sadness.
63. Exodus, Dec. 12
Christian Bale will play Moses in Ridley Scott’s Exodus. Both Bale and Russell Crowe are in biblical movies this year! Sort of funny. (Because they’re famous for screaming at people in addition to being good actors.)
64. The Hobbit: There and Back Again, Dec. 17
I’m tempted to say the long national nightmare of The Hobbit will soon be over. But I know there are people who love this franchise. Also, it’s not that soon.
65. Annie, Dec. 19
Do you have little kids — particularly girls — in your life? They’re so obsessed with Annie already, I have found. Wait until the Quvenzhané Wallis version a year from now! Cute people.
66. Into the Woods, Dec. 25
A Christmas gift for us all! Rob Marshall directs Johnny Depp (the Wolf), Emily Blunt (the Baker’s Wife), Anna Kendrick (Cinderella), Chris Pine (Cinderella’s prince), and Meryl Streep (the Witch, of course) in the Stephen Sondheim musical.
Note: There will be even more to 2014 than this list, of course. For instance, the Sundance Film Festival isn’t until mid-January, and some great movies will come out of there. Netflix’s offerings are still to be determined (or were at press time). Also, the fall television season isn’t even close to being formed yet. And lots of other movies and TV shows here and there!