1. The New Celebrity Apprentice, Jan. 2 (8 p.m. on NBC)
Arnold Schwarzenegger takes over for PEOTUS Donald Trump. (That is an insane sentence to write!) Boy George, Snooki, Kyle Richards, and Ricky Williams are among the notable names competing this time. This show was in the news recently because it was revealed that Trump will continue to get an executive producer credit. Not everyone in the cast is happy about it!
2. Beyond, Jan. 2 (9 p.m. on Freeform)
After being comatose for 12 years, Holden Matthews (Burkely Duffield) wakes up as a grown adult, and also with supernatural powers. Adam Nussdorf created this show, and David Eick (Battlestar Galactica) and Tim Kring (Heroes) are also executive producers. Freeform is trying something new here with its delivery of Beyond: All 10 episodes will go up on the channel’s app, its website, and on Hulu on Jan. 2.
3. Star, Jan. 4 (9 p.m. on Fox)
If you watched the sneak preview of the Star pilot earlier this month, then you know it’s not campy the way Empire — the other Fox show by creator Lee Daniels — can be. In fact, it’s dark AF! Star is the origin story of a girl group destined for celebrity and all of its trappings. Jude Demorest plays Star, straight out of foster care; Brittany O’Grady is Star’s sister, Simone, whom Star breaks out of a foster home by nearly murdering Simone’s rapist foster father; and Ryan Destiny is Alexandra, a rich girl dying to break away from her famous musician father (Lenny Kravitz). The threesome head down to Atlanta to find Queen Latifah’s Carlotta, who was in a group with Star and Simone’s mother. It’s kind of messy, and the relationships move too quickly. But as with Empire, the original music is impressive, and so is the mostly unknown talent leading the show.
4. One Day at a Time, Jan. 6 (Netflix)
As with all of Norman Lear’s sitcoms, the original One Day at a Time was political — though more quietly than All in the Family was. A TV show simply featuring a single mother was a statement in itself back in 1975 when the show began. In this Netflix update, Justina Machado (Six Feet Under) is the single mom, and she’s a Cuban-American war vet with two kids and her own live-in mother (Rita Moreno).
5. Emerald City, Jan. 6 (9 p.m. on NBC)
One-third intriguing, one-third visually impressive, one-third laughable, this retelling of The Wizard of Oz has been a few years in the making for NBC. Dorothy Gale (Adria Arjona), a 20-year-old Latina nurse, is swept up in a tornado just as she tries to reconnect with her biological mother, who left her as a baby. She’s taken to Oz, where she meets…well, you know. The Wizard is played by Vincent D’Onofrio, so you get some scenery chewing, and the whole thing is pretty over the top (but also a bit slow). I didn’t get far enough in the screeners to fairly adjudicate whether it was entirely fun, but it is worth checking out to see whether it’s to your taste. Tarsem Singh Dhandwar, the feature director behind The Cell and Mirror Mirror, directed all 10 episodes in Emerald City’s first season.
6. Taboo, Jan. 10 (10 p.m. on FX)
In this eight-episode limited series, Tom Hardy plays James Keziah Delaney, who has returned from working in Africa to the Gnarly Olde England of 1814. Delaney, who had been presumed dead, is back to claim an inheritance from his late father: a plot of land invaluable to the East India Company for reasons that become clear as the first episode unfolds. No one is happy to see him, least of all his sister (Oona Chaplin, who played Talisa Stark on Game of Thrones, RIP) and her husband (Jefferson Hall), who had made a deal to sell the land. Delaney is insane, it seems, and has a reputation for having performed unspeakable acts. Hardy and his father, Chips Hardy, created the show with Steven Knight, the writer and director of Locke (a movie set nearly entirely in a car with Tom Hardy talking on the phone as he drives — it’s riveting). Though The Revenant indicated that Tom Hardy might be starting to overact, he is more restrained here, albeit no less threatening. (And the production design on this show is superlative.)
7. A Series of Unfortunate Events, Jan. 13 (Netflix)
The Baudelaire children! Their parents died, and they land in the clutches of Count Olaf (Neil Patrick Harris), a nefarious relative who wants to steal their inheritance from them. Daniel Handler (Lemony Snicket himself) and Barry Sonnenfeld have adapted the 13-book gothic children’s series, which will follow the Baudelaires’ search for information about their parents.
8. Sneaky Pete, Jan. 13 (Amazon)
Giovanni Ribisi plays Pete, a con man (and ex-con), in this show that was initially developed for CBS. (One critic compared the pilot to that network’s The Mentalist.) There’s been some behind-the-scenes shuffling on this show, with Graham Yost taking over showrunning duties from David Shore of House, who wrote the pilot with Bryan Cranston. Marin Ireland and Margo Martindale co-star.
9. The Young Pope, Jan. 15 (9 p.m. on HBO on Sundays and Mondays)
In The Young Pope, a 10-episode limited series, Jude Law plays Pope Pius XIII, formerly known as Lenny Belardo. He’s handsome, charming, and scary — and he drinks Cherry Coke Zero for breakfast. The feature film director Paolo Sorrentino (Youth) created the show and directed all 10 episodes.
10. Victoria, Jan. 15 (Masterpiece on PBS, check local listings)
The seven-part Victoria premiered to mixed reviews but solid ratings in the UK in late summer, so it’s a toss-up whether it will be the next Downton Abbey: The Brits never liked Downton as much as we did, anyway. Jenna Coleman of Doctor Who stars as Queen Victoria beginning at age 18 when she’s about to ascend to the throne. Rufus Sewell plays the prime minister Lord Melbourne (British critics carped about the show’s fictions about their relationship with each other).
11. Six, Jan. 18 (10 p.m. on History)
In the eight-episode first season of this series inspired by real missions by SEAL Team 6, the team will try to free their ex-leader (played by Walton Goggins of The Shield and Justified) from the extremist group Boko Haram. This show will also delve into the personal lives of the SEALs, and their attempts to have them during wartime.
12. Split, Jan. 20
A man (James McAvoy) kidnaps three teenage girls and takes them to a place that from the trailer looks like…where kidnappers take teenagers. He then reveals 23 other personalities — terrifying! — and says that someone (or something) called “the Beast” is coming for them. Given that M. Night Shyamalan directed it, I’m going to go out on a limb and theorize that there will be a twist. (Maybe the Beast is real?) Anya Taylor-Joy of The Witch leads the kidnappees.
13. xXx: Return of Xander Cage, Jan. 20
Does it feel to anyone else that there have been a million Xander Cage movies? Because to my surprise, there has been only one, the original xXx in 2002. (There was also xXx: State of the Union in 2005, but that had Ice Cube playing a different character to lead the movie.) Maybe it’s because of the Furious franchise that my brain has made this mistake. Anyway! Vin Diesel is back as Xander Cage, and this looks like dumb fun in that Vin Diesel way.
14. Beaches, Jan. 21 (8 p.m. on Lifetime)
In this remake of the 1988 classic weepie, Idina Menzel plays the Bette Midler part (CC) and Nia Long plays the Barbara Hershey part (Hillary). No matter who is in this, I will cry, and I teared up during the trailer to Menzel singing “Wind Beneath My Wings.” (Speaking of classics, Lifetime will also have Britney in February — and the photos from the Britney Spears biopic already caused a firestorm on the internet, so that’s exciting!)
15. The New Edition Story, Jan. 24 (9 p.m. on BET)
This six-hour miniseries runs for three consecutive nights to tell the story of Ronnie, Bobby, Ricky, Mike, Ralph, and Johnny from the Boston boy band that preceded that other Boston boy band. This effort is officially sanctioned by New Edition, so I’m curious how deep it will go. Regardless, the music will be fun. Bryshere Gray of Empire plays Michael Bivins. (BET will have another big miniseries this winter, Madiba, starring Laurence Fishburne as Nelson Mandela. It spans Mandela’s whole life and was shot in South Africa. It will air on Feb. 1, Feb. 8, and Feb. 15 for Black History Month.)
16. Riverdale, Jan. 26 (9 p.m. on The CW)
Archie Comics as a property is not something I hear The Kids talking about much these days, but perhaps that will soon change. Because this show is a damn delight! I devoured the first four episodes on The CW’s press site, and then wished there were more. As I labored through a ponderous screener on another network, I thought, Why can’t every show be Riverdale? It takes the wholesome premise of Archie and turns it on its head, but not in a way that feels crass. Archie (K.J. Apa), Betty (Lili Reinhart), and Veronica (Camila Mendes) are at the center of what turns out to be a mystery: Jason Blossom, star football player and rich kid, has gone missing over the summer and is presumably dead. There’s sort of a Twin Peaks/Veronica Mars vibe to the show, but not overly so: The kids — who also include gay BFF Kevin (Casey Cott), Jason’s twin sister Cheryl (Madelaine Petsch), and, of course, Jughead (Cole Sprouse, all grown up) — and their parents (Luke Perry as Archie’s dad, Mädchen Amick as Betty’s mom, and Marisol Nichols as Veronica’s mother) have lives to tend to, as well as mysteries to snoop around in. The high schoolers are, laughably, sophomores, but other than that implausible leap of faith, it’s all laid out with great care by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, who runs Archie Comics, and TV superproducer Greg Berlanti and his crew. All the acting is good, but Mendes is a particular standout as Veronica, who is trying to be a different, better person having landed in Riverdale after her father has gone to prison. She spits out her lines with Heathers precision, but also imbues Veronica with kindness.
17. Z: The Beginning of Everything, Jan. 27 (Amazon)
This pilot — starring Christina Ricci as Zelda Fitzgerald — garnered divided reviews when Amazon offered it up during its bake-off process. The New York Times wrote: “Maybe enough literary-love fans will support this show to earn it the chance to evolve. For now, it remains firmly this side of Paradise.” But James Wolcott in Vanity Fair called Z “an enveloping period piece, perfectly cast,” deeming Ricci “superb.” More than a year later, here’s the show, so let the debate continue!
18. The Quad, Feb. 1 (10 p.m. on BET)
Anika Noni Rose stars as Eva, the president of a fictional HBCU, Georgia A&M. New to the job, she must look for allies to shore up her power against the leader of the school’s famous marching band (Ruben Santiago-Hudson). A fun detail about this show: Nearly 30 years after A Different World, Jasmine Guy returns to the HBCU setting as a professor.
19. Powerless, Feb. 2 (8:30 p.m. on NBC)
DC Comics has excelled in its TV dramas — Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl, Legends of Tomorrow, Gotham — but Powerless will be its first comedy. Vanessa Hudgens’ Emily Locke begins a job at Wayne Security full of ideas, ones that reach much higher than her boss’s (Alan Tudyk) and co-workers’.
[NBC has a ton midseason, including dramas The Blacklist: Redemption, which is a Blacklist spinoff (obviously!), premiering Feb. 23 at 10 p.m.; Taken, which is the backstory of Bryan Mills from the Taken movies (obviously!), premiering Feb. 27 at 10 p.m.; and Chicago Justice, another Chicago spinoff (obviously!), starting March 5 at 9 p.m. Then there are the comedies: Trial & Error (March 14 at 10 p.m.), Great News (April 25, 9 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.), and Marlon, which doesn’t have a premiere date. Midnight, Texas, the supernatural drama adapted from the Charlaine Harris (True Blood) book series, also does not have a premiere date.]
20. Training Day, Feb. 2 (10 p.m. on CBS)
Training Day might be the last thing people want to see in this current climate of fraught relations between police and civilians, especially when it comes to race. But the show surprised me by turning what I imagined to be its premise (the 2001 movie with the races reversed) and what it is. Bill Paxton plays the cowboy cop Frank, who lawlessly disobeys civic morality, if not the law: But he does not appear to be evil, as Denzel Washington’s character, Alonzo Harris, was in the movie role that won him a Best Actor Oscar. Frank is murderous toward criminals, yes, and his team is reckless, but he has a soul. His trainee, Kyle (Justin Cornwell, who is very tall), is brought into Frank’s world, lured by the hope that they can work together to solve the murder of Kyle’s father. Whether anyone will watch this show, I don’t know. It might have benefited from a different title.
21. Santa Clarita Diet, Feb. 3 (Netflix)
Drew Barrymore and Timothy Olyphant play Sheila and Joel, a pair of married Santa Clarita realtors, in this half-hour horror comedy. I won’t spoil what the horror is, but I laughed as it became clear what was unfolding. Barrymore has never been on series television before, and this is Olyphant’s first regular role since Justified.
22. 24: Legacy, Feb. 5 (premieres after the Super Bowl; its regular time slot will be Mondays at 8 p.m on Fox starting Feb. 6)
Corey Hawkins from Straight Outta Compton (in which he played Dr. Dre) takes over for Kiefer Sutherland as Eric, the most endangered, exhausted man in America. Eric was part of a military team who took down an Osama bin Laden–like terrorist, and now the whole group is being hunted. Miranda Otto plays Rebecca, the former head of CTU, whose husband (Jimmy Smits) is running for president. And Dan Bucatinsky is Andy at CTU, though he should perhaps be named Chloe. Did 24 run its course because of the implausibility of Jack Bauer being at the center of all of these things? Is this reboot too soon? We will know in February!
23. APB, Feb. 6 (9 p.m. on Fox)
Justin Kirk plays a tech billionaire whose best friend is shot and killed in a crime-ridden Chicago neighborhood. He then insists on taking over law enforcement there, pouring in money and technology resources while facing skepticism. This premise is, of course, sinister (privatizing the police force), and I’m curious how it will play in the Trump era.
24. Detroiters, Feb. 7 (10:30 p.m. on Comedy Central)
Sam Richardson and Tim Robinson play Sam and Tim, best friends and Michiganders. They’re business partners in a small ad shop, but aspire to land Chrysler as a client — which is where Jason Sudeikis, also an executive producer of this show, comes in, playing a Chrysler marketing guy who the Detroiters harass.
25. Legion, Feb. 8 (10 p.m. on FX)
This X-Men comics sibling (adapted by Fargo’s Noah Hawley) revolves around David Haller (Dan Stevens), a mentally ill mutant with special abilities. While in a mental hospital, he meets Syd (Rachel Keller) and they begin a relationship (one that involves no touching, per her insistence). David is an unreliable narrator, due to his schizophrenia, but by the pilot’s end, the direction seem pretty straightforward (no spoilers). Jean Smart and Aubrey Plaza also star.
26. Fifty Shades Darker, Feb. 10
Since I’ve written about how the first movie was good fun — and fascinating to discuss — of course I am looking forward to this sequel! I am bummed, though, that Sam Taylor-Johnson isn’t directing this one (she’s been replaced by James Foley, who is doing the next sequel, too, Fifty Shades Freed). It’s also worrisome that the books’ novelist, E.L. James, seems to have gotten her husband, Niall Leonard, the job writing the screenplay. (Though he’s an experienced writer.) Less worrisome: Kim Basinger is playing Christian’s ex-lover who (if I remember this correctly) introduced him to BDSM. Brilliant!
27. The LEGO Batman Movie, Feb. 10
As a parent of Lego-obsessed children, I will tell you that the productions associated with Lego really vary in quality. Some of them are terrible, and at least one — LEGO Jurassic World: The Indominus Escape — is surreal. But it is obvious from the trailer of The LEGO Batman Movie that it’s in the spirit of The LEGO Movie (and it’s also produced by its directors, Phil Lord and Christopher Miller), and it may well be great. Will Arnett voices Batman, Ralph Fiennes is Alfred, Zach Galifianakis is the Joker, and there’s more great casting. (Mariah Carey!)
28. John Wick: Chapter 2, Feb. 10
After the sleeper success of John Wick in 2014 — especially on cable as people discovered its awesomeness on their TVs, though it made money at the box office, too — a sequel was inevitable. This franchise represents true synergy between actor (Keanu Reeves) and material (deadpan violence). Also, Ruby Rose worshippers, she is in this movie (she’s also in xXx). And I like calling the sequels chapters, as if it’s a book!
29. David Brent: Life on the Road, Feb. 10 (Netflix)
In this Netflix original film, David Brent (Ricky Gervais), of the original Office, goes on unpaid leave from his job to try to fulfill his rock fantasies. Gervais wrote and directed David Brent, as well as starring in it, and it’s shot mockumentary style, as The Office was.
30. Doubt, Feb. 15 (10 p.m. on CBS)
God knows I root for Katherine Heigl, and maybe this will be the show that works for her. But I can’t tell! It’s going for a tone of wackiness that’s difficult to achieve when coupled with serious legal cases, which David E. Kelley managed for a while on his procedurals until Boston Legal veered squarely into insanity. Heigl plays Sadie, a good lawyer who is defending Steven Pasquale’s character, to whom she is attracted, in an ongoing murder trial. (Didn’t these people see The Jagged Edge? Isn’t it very clear that suspected murderers shouldn’t be swimming in the dating pool?) Elliott Gould plays her boss and mentor; Dulé Hill is Albert, and Laverne Cox is Cameron, who are other lawyers at the firm. (Cox is the first transgender actor to be a series regular on a network show.) I did laugh hard once in the first few episodes, when Sadie tries to convince another lawyer to settle their case by telling him he looks exhausted, what with those bags under his eyes, and he counters, “I have lupus!” I wish you luck, Doubt and Heigl.
31. A Cure for Wellness, Feb. 17
This movie has a plot that reminds me of Ex Machina: A young executive (Dane DeHaan) goes to a spa in a beautiful, remote location (in the Swiss Alps) to bring his boss back. And then he gets sucked into whatever weirdness is going on there. Directed by Gore Verbinski — his first film since 2013’s Lone Ranger catastrophe — A Cure for Wellness looks so creepy. And he directed The Ring! [Weeps in terror thinking about The Ring.]
32. The Great Wall, Feb. 17
The big-budgeted Great Wall posits that the wall was built to keep out monsters, which is an exciting premise. But it’s been released in China already, and Variety’s critic was underwhelmed, writing that director Zhang Yimou’s “signature visual dazzle, his gift for depicting delicate relationships and throbbing passions are trampled by dead-serious epic aspirations.” This movie has been on cultural critics’ radar as a potential example of whitewashing, though star Matt Damon has vigorously defended the project. (For what it’s worth, Variety agrees with Damon, saying his character “spends the course of the film being humbled, out-smarted, and re-educated in Chinese virtues of bravery, selflessness, discipline, and invention.”)
34. Big Little Lies, Feb. 19 (9 p.m. on HBO)
Has Reese Witherspoon ever been better than she is in Big Little Lies? Admittedly, I’ve seen only the first two episodes of the seven-episode miniseries, but in her portrayal of Madeline, a stay-at-home mom in wealthy Monterey, she is knowing and weary and funny and frustrated. A real person, in other words. The whole cast is great: Shailene Woodley plays Jane, a single mother who has moved to Monterey to start over; Nicole Kidman is Celeste, a woman often told she is beautiful, who is in an abusive, bizarre psychosexual dynamic with her younger husband (Alexander Skarsgård); Adam Scott, as Madeline’s put-upon husband who doubts she loves him; and Laura Dern, a career-oriented mom who knows she’s not liked. The drama revolves around a class of first-graders but also, more importantly, a murder (we don’t know who yet), which frames the series. A Greek chorus of parents being interrogated by the police adds color and sometimes contradictory insights about who did what to whom. Based on a 2014 novel by Liane Moriarty, Big Little Lies skewers competitive parents and contemporary social mores, set to a score of crashing waves on beautiful beaches. But back to Reese! She’s always good, but not since Tracy Flick in Election has she been this perfectly cast. (She’s also an executive producer here, as is Kidman.)
35. The Good Fight, Feb. 19 (CBS All Access)
This is the spinoff of The Good Wife that will follow Diane Lockhart (Christine Baranski) one year after the (slightly disappointing) events of the Good Wife series finale. Diane is wiped out financially and kicked out of Lockhart & Lee, so she and her young associate Maia (played by Rose Leslie from Game of Thrones) go to join Lucca (Cush Jumbo) at her firm. As a Good Wife diehard, I am very into this, and I assume the show will continue its predecessor’s political relevance and prescient storylines. There are few things that could get me to subscribe to another streaming service, but yes, hi. (On Feb. 19, it will premiere at 8 p.m. ET on CBS All Access as well as on CBS itself. After that, it will be solely on All Access.)
36. Get Out, Feb. 24
Jordan Peele, Get Out’s writer and director, has compared it to Scream and The Stepford Wives. Daniel Kaluuya (of the Black Mirror episode “Fifteen Million Merits”) and Allison Williams (of Girls) play an interracial couple going to meet her parents (Bradley Whitford and Catherine Keener). Quickly, he notices that all of the white people surrounding him may be…evil? Sounds very timely!
37. When We Rise, Feb. 27 (ABC)
The idea of celebrating the LGBT civil rights movement on TV right now feels like something conceived in a pre-Trump era, so it will be interesting to see how When We Rise, an ambitious eight-hour historical drama miniseries from Dustin Lance Black, goes over. Luckily, it’s moving and wonderful. A recognizable — if not all-star — cast telling the movement’s history includes Guy Pearce (as Cleve Jones, whose unpublished memoir is partial source material here), Rachel Griffiths, Michael K. Williams, Mary-Louise Parker, and many more, with guest roles for Whoopi Goldberg, David Hyde Pierce, and Rosie O’Donnell. When We Rise seems to be very careful about its diverse casting, as opposed to the Stonewall catastrophe of 2015. There are white men, yes, but there are also people of color, plenty of women, and a trans activist (played by a trans actor, Ivory Aquino) at the center of the story. It will air in two-hour blocks over four nights.
38. National Treasure, March 1 (Hulu)
Robbie Coltrane plays Paul, a famous, beloved comedian accused of a decades-ago rape. Real life resonates aplenty in this four-part series, as Paul contends with his wrecked wife, his troubled daughter, and the media onslaught.
39. Logan, March 3
If you’re a fan of the X-Men franchise — and who isn’t (slowly raises hand) — here’s the newest entry from the Wolverine administration. Logan is interesting, though, in that it’s the first comic book movie to acknowledge the post-Deadpool world, where heroes can swear up a storm and the studio (Fox, in this case) is willing to risk an R rating. Looks broody!
40. Time After Time, March 5 (ABC)
Kevin Williamson (The Following, The Vampire Diaries) is turning the 1979 novel and movie of the same name into a weekly series, following the story of writer and inventor H.G. Wells (Freddie Stroma of Unreal) as he travels into the modern day to chase Jack the Ripper (Josh Bowman). I have an affection for this movie, and am curious how it will turn into a show.
[ABC also has Jenna Elfman’s Imaginary Mary coming on March 29, while Downward Dog and the Untitled ShondaLand Project (once known as Still Star-Crossed) will come later in the season. And Ten Days in the Valley and Marvel’s The Inhumans have not gone into production yet, though The Inhumans is for September, with the first two episodes being released in IMAX.]
41. Feud: Bette and Joan, March 5 (10 p.m. on FX)
Susan Sarandon plays Bette Davis and Jessica Lange plays Joan Crawford in what might end up being the greatest show of all time. It will certainly be the gayest! Feud, Ryan Murphy’s third anthology series for FX, will focus on legendary feuds, and it’s kicking off with Davis and Crawford during the filming of the camp classic Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? Alfred Molina plays Robert Aldrich, the movie’s director; Judy Davis plays Hedda Hopper, the gossip columnist; and Stanley Tucci plays Jack Warner, the head of the film’s studio.
42. T2: Trainspotting, March 10
I had to remind myself of the events of Trainspotting, and it’s even harrowing to read the Wikipedia summary. Oh yeah, rectal suppositories and dead babies no one noticed and AIDS! (That doesn’t even count the journey into the toilet and Spud shitting the bed.) But what a cast! Ewan McGregor in the role that made him a star, Jonny Lee Miller as Sick Boy, Robert Carlyle as Begbie, and Kelly Macdonald as Diane. And they’re all coming back to be directed by Danny Boyle again. Trainspotting screenwriter John Hodge adapted Irvine Welsh’s sequel novel. The gang is truly back together (except Kevin McKidd, of course).
43. Kong: Skull Island, March 10
In its many incarnations since 1933, King Kong has been a cautionary tale against greed and messing with nature, and this version looks like it continues those themes. Set in the 1970s, Skull Island stars Samuel L. Jackson, John Goodman, John C. Reilly, Brie Larson, and Tom Hiddleston. The movie is a massive undertaking by Legendary Pictures, with aspirations for a franchise in which giant monsters fight each other. Godzilla 2 will come out in 2019, and then Godzilla vs. Kong will be in 2020. (Other monsters, such as Mothra, may join the fun later.)
44. Beauty and the Beast, March 17
As Disney makes its way through its animated catalogue turning its classics into live-action movies, surely Beauty and the Beast is the most anticipated one. The main stars — Emma Watson as Belle, Dan Stevens as Prince Adam — are well-chosen, and the supporting cast (Ian McKellen as Cogsworth, Emma Thompson as Mrs. Potts, Ewan McGregor as Lumiere) is just so fun to imagine. And it looks stunningly beautiful. (Bill Condon directed.) I’m not a huge fan of 3D, but Beauty and the Beast feels like it’s not to be missed in that format.
45. Free Fire, March 17
Critics at the Toronto International Film Festival in September compared Free Fire to Reservoir Dogs, because of its high body count, graphic violence, and guns. Set in the 1970s during an arms deal gone awry, the movie takes place mostly in a warehouse. Ben Wheatley (of High-Rise) directs a cast that includes Armie Hammer, Brie Larson, and Sharlto Copley.
46. Marvel’s Iron Fist, March 17
Not being familiar with the Iron Fist comics, I think it sounds like Arrow, no? A young billionaire returns after having gone missing for years, and as he tries to reconnect with his old life, he fights the city’s criminals. Finn Jones plays Danny/Iron Fist, and it’s been a source of frustration for some that he is not Asian. Jessica Henwick and Jessica Stroup co-star, and Carrie-Anne Moss and Rosario Dawson appear as their Marvel series characters as well.
[Netflix just has so much coming! There’s 13 Reasons Why, in which Clay (Dylan Minnete) will try to figure out why his classmate Hannah (Katherine Langford) killed herself. That’s directed by Tom McCarthy (Spotlight), written by Brian Yorkey (the Pulitzer prizewinner for Next to Normal), and will arrive on March 31. Also in the spring will be Girlboss (April 21), starring Britt Robertson as Sophie Amoruso, the founder of the once successful, recently bankrupt Nasty Gal. And then on April 28 — yes, there’s more — will be Dear White People, which will continue the story of Justin Simien’s terrific 2014 movie. Logan Browning will take over the Tessa Thompson part from the film; Brandon P. Bell will continue as Troy, the son of the school’s dean. Later in the year will be Ozark, with Jason Bateman and Laura Linney, which is about a family and, according to the description, “capitalism.” There will also be GLOW, about the women’s wrestling league in the ’80s — Jenji Kohan is an executive producer, and Alison Brie stars. And, though they weren’t even on the list Netflix sent me, Friends From College and Gypsy!]
47. Daytime Divas, Spring TBD (VH1)
That this show is based on Star Jones’ roman à clef about The View — and stars Vanessa Williams as the Barbara Walters character — is pretty much all I need to know in order to watch this show.
48. The Wizard of Lies, Spring TBD (HBO)
Robert De Niro plays Bernie Madoff, but more important, Michelle Pfeiffer plays Ruth Madoff — we have missed you so much, Michelle Pfeiffer! Barry Levinson directs this adaptation of New York Times reporter Diana Henriques’ 2011 investigation into the Madoff thievery.
49. The Defiant Ones, Spring TBD (HBO)
The Defiant Ones is a four-part documentary by Allen Hughes about Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine’s pop culture–shaping partnership. Hughes filmed The Defiant Ones for three years. (Speaking of HBO: Jon Stewart’s animated show is supposed to be coming sometime in the first half of the year, but there is no date on it.)
50. Class, Spring TBD (BBC America)
While Class is a Doctor Who spinoff, it seems to count Buffy the Vampire Slayer as source material, too. And why shouldn’t it? It’s set in a high school beset by horrors — Coal Hill Academy, in a long-time Who reference — that has at least two aliens in exile from their doomed planet before they were saved by the Doctor (Peter Capaldi). (The show also features evil aliens.) Doctor Who writer/producer/showrunner Steven Moffat is an executive producer here, but all eight episodes were written by Class creator Patrick Ness.
51. Mary Kills People, Spring TBD (Lifetime)
Caroline Dhavernas (of Hannibal) plays an ER doctor who moonlights as an angel of death for terminally ill patients. This show will be paired with Season 3 of Unreal.
52. The Race Card, Spring TBD (TNT)
Charles Barkley’s politics have always been an interesting mix: He supported John Kasich for president, and he agreed with the verdict in the Trayvon Martin case; he’s also been an outspoken proponent for LGBT rights. So in The Race Card, Barkley will explore his interests and, no doubt, infuriate people.
53. War Machine, Spring/Summer TBD (Netflix)
After the publication of Michael Hastings’ story about Stanley McChrystal in Rolling Stone, the general, who had been in charge of the war in Afghanistan, had to resign. The story turned into a book, The Operators: The Wild and Terrifying Inside Story of America’s War in Afghanistan, and now a movie directed by David Michôd (Animal Kingdom and The Rover) and starring Brad Pitt. (Hastings, who died in 2013, was a BuzzFeed reporter).
54. Tangled: The Series, March 24 (Disney Channel)
In this series set between the 2010 movie and the 2012 short, Tangled Ever After, Rapunzel doesn’t stay in Corona for long. She sets off with Flynn Rider to see the world, along with some animal sidekicks and a new friend, Cassandra (Eden Espinosa). Mandy Moore and Zachary Levi are back, reprising their film roles as Rapunzel and Flynn, and Alan Menken and Glenn Slater will do the show’s music.
55. Life, March 24
The attempt to confirm that life exists on Mars seems to go horribly awry for a group of astronauts on the International Space Station (Jake Gyllenhaal, Rebecca Ferguson, Ryan Reynolds, and more). I will see this movie if only to understand how the teeny, tiny alien life form — so cute! — grabs the astronaut’s (Ariyon Bakare) hand and terrorizes him.
56. Power Rangers, March 24
This is a big-budget reboot (reportedly $120 million) of the Power Rangers franchise, starring a mostly unknown-ish group of young actors as the Rangers. (Becky G, the pop singer, is the most established of the five.) Bryan Cranston plays Zordon, and Elizabeth Banks, who appears to have been born for this, will appear as alien villain Rita Repulsa.
57. Ghost in the Shell, March 31
This movie roused accusations of whitewashing when Scarlett Johansson was cast as the lead — the cyborg The Major — in this live-action manga adaptation. Rupert Sanders, the movie’s director, stood by the decision in November, telling press at an event in Tokyo that Johansson is “the best actress of her generation,” and that he was “flattered and honored that she would be in this film.” And in June, BuzzFeed News’ Susan Cheng spoke with Steven Paul, one of the movie’s producers, who acknowledged the controversy, but said: “I think we’ve done the manga comic great honor. As I said, the fans will be very happy, because there’s a great respect that’s been paid to the manga.” We will see!
58. Brockmire, April TBD (IFC)
Hank Azaria apparently created the character of Jim Brockmire when he was a child, and it later evolved into a Funny or Die series, and now this comedy on IFC. Brockmire (Azaria) was a once-famous Major League Baseball announcer until he had a nervous breakdown on air in 2007 (upon discovering that his wife hosted sex parties with their neighbors). After self-propelled exile in Asia, Brockmire is lured back to the US by Jules (Amanda Peet), the owner of a down-and-out minor league team called the Frackers. He has no idea that his meltdowns went so viral at the time that his and his wife’s names have become words. “Drake started it,” explains Charles (Tyrel Jackson Williams) about the phrase “keeping it Brockmire.” (And to “Lucy” someone is when a woman penetrates a man, Charles tells an aghast Brockmire.)
59. Prison Break, April 4 (9 p.m. on Fox)
One interesting thing about the current reboot cycle we’re in is the remakes of things that could have benefited from time limitations: 24, The X-Files, and now Prison Break. (Fox is particularly good at experimenting with this format.) I didn’t watch to the end of Prison Break, but I understand that Michael (Wentworth Miller) died? And had a brain tumor before that? Nevertheless, he will be back, as will Lincoln (Dominic Purcell), Sara (Sarah Wayne Callies), Sucre (Amaury Nolasco), T-Bag (Robert Knepper), and C-Note (Rockmond Dunbar). (Fox will also have Making History on March 5 and Shots Fired on March 22.)
60. The Son, April 8 (AMC)
AMC found success on Saturday nights with Hell on Wheels, its Western that ran for six seasons. And it’s going for that again with The Son, which stars Pierce Brosnan as frontiersman Eli McCullough as he founds a Texan dynasty. The show is based on Philipp Meyer’s book, and is set for a 10-episode first season.
61. The Fate of the Furious, April 14
These glorious, dumb movies! How I love them. F. Gary Gray (Straight Outta Compton) takes over directing from James Wan, who did an admirable and tasteful job handling the death of Paul Walker during production of Furious 7. Vin Diesel again leads the crew, but it seems like Cipher (Charlize Theron) will test his loyalty. And Jason Statham’s Deckard Shaw, the villain in Furious 7, will be joining the team? Looks that way in the trailer.
62. Norman: The Moderate Rise and Fall of a New York Fixer, April 14
This movie, written and directed by the Israeli filmmaker Joseph Cedar (of the Oscar-nominated Footnote), received strong reviews out of the Telluride and Toronto film festivals earlier this year. It stars Richard Gere as a striving New York City operator, who manipulates his way into actual success before, inevitably, ruining it. (I am gathering this from the title! No spoilers.)
63. Sandy Wexler, April 14 (Netflix)
Could the newest Adam Sandler offering on Netflix be…interesting? Sandler plays Sandy, an LA manager who falls in love with a client — played by Jennifer Hudson!
64. Guerrilla, April 16 (9 p.m. on Showtime)
Babou Ceesay and Freida Pinto play a couple in 1970s London who become radical black activists. It’s a six-episode drama from John Ridley (American Crime, 12 Years a Slave) and executive producer Idris Elba (who also co-stars).
65. Famous in Love, April 18 (9 p.m. on Freeform)
Paige (Bella Thorne), a college student, is cast in a huge Hollywood movie, and becomes famous overnight as she tries to navigate normal student life at the same time. I. Marlene King, who developed and executive-produced Pretty Little Liars, is behind this show, which is based on a novel by Rebecca Serle. (I have to do a shoutout to the Who? Weekly podcast: Good form, Bella Thorne!)
66. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, April 22 (HBO)
Based on Rebecca Skloot’s 2010 nonfiction book of the same name, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks will feature Oprah Winfrey’s biggest acting role since The Butler. Winfrey first signed on to Henrietta Lacks as an executive producer in 2010, and six years later was cast as the project’s lead, Deborah Lacks. Henrietta Lacks, who died of cervical cancer in 1951, is famous in the medical and scientific worlds for her cells — without her consent, her cancerous cells were taken and used for medical research, which led to breakthroughs in chemotherapy, IVF, and more. She’s also a case study in medical ethics and its intersection with race. George C. Wolfe directs this project in which Winfrey’s Deborah tries to learn about her mother and how her cells changed the world of medicine. (Read this great New York Times review of the book for more background.)
67. The Handmaid’s Tale, April 26 (Hulu)
When Roe v. Wade is more imperiled than ever, it’s a good time for Margaret Atwood’s 1980s dystopian classic The Handmaid’s Tale finally to be adapted for the screen. Elisabeth Moss plays Offred, the Handmaid whose job it is to become pregnant by the Commander (Joseph Fiennes) who rapes her in a ritual that involves his wife, Serena Joy (Yvonne Strahovski). Birth rates have plummeted, you see, and so babies must be had at any cost in this fascist society in which female Handmaids are in a relatively privileged position. (Other options are even worse.) Samira Wiley plays Moira, Offred’s best friend from college, and a painful reminder to her of how life once was before the radical societal shift.
68. The Circle, April 28
Emma Watson’s Mae is hired by The Circle, a Facebook-like social media company led by a Steve Jobs-like leader (Tom Hanks). It turns out that sharing your whole life online leads to sinister consequences! James Ponsoldt (The Spectacular Now, The End of the Tour) directs, and adapted the Dave Eggers novel as well. Karen Gillan and John Boyega also star.
69. American Gods, April 30 (Starz)
Nearly 16 years after it was published, Neil Gaiman’s sprawling, ambitious, exciting novel is finally being made into a TV show. (HBO had first dibs, but then passed on the project.) Bryan Fuller (Hannibal, Pushing Daisies) and Michael Green (the screenwriter of Logan, the Blade Runner sequel, and the next Alien movie) are the showrunners and executive producers. American Gods follows recent ex-con Shadow Moon (Ricky Whittle) who, just as he is released from prison, learns that his wife has died. Shadow is then catapulted into a world of warring gods led by Mr. Wednesday (Ian McShane). Interestingly, according to an interview with Neil Gaiman, Season 1 will be only the first third of the book. (For those who have read it, the Lakeside stuff won’t happen until Season 2, he thinks!) Emily Browning, Pablo Schreiber, Orlando Jones, and a whole bunch of other people round out the cast.
70. Guardians of the Galaxy 2, May 5
The first Guardians movie — which had more in common with Star Wars than it did with Avengers — was the very best of the Marvel movies. (And that is a fact, no matter what my colleague — and friend! — Adam B. Vary wrote in his Marvel movies rankings. Sixth! Silly man.) Whether this second movie can capture the magic of the first depends (for me, anyway) on it having the same heart and warmth of the first, which set it apart from most superhero movies. The relationships felt real, as did Peter’s devotion to his dead mother, enacted through his embrace of the ’70s music she loved. (We still have Peter’s father to meet, of course.) In a recent Facebook post, director James Gunn indicated that the movie will take place shortly after the events of the first one, meaning Baby Groot becomes part of our lives. Which is all to say: BABY GROOT, PLEASE COME LIVE IN MY HOUSE.
71. I Love Dick, May 12 (Amazon)
Jill Soloway, the boundary-breaking creator of Transparent, now has a second show on Amazon, and it’s based on Chris Kraus’s 1997 epistolary novel. The pilot, co-written with playwright Sarah Gubbins, sets the story up: Sylvère (Griffin Dunne) is moving to Marfa, Texas, to work at its (fictional) highbrow institute under the charismatic, laconic Dick (Kevin Bacon). His wife, Chris (Kathryn Hahn), has nothing to do after her movie gets kicked out of the Venice Film Festival, so she decides to stay. She’s also compelled: by Marfa, but most of all by Dick, with whom she and her husband have a disastrous dinner that leaves her obsessed with him. It’s all territory ripe for Soloway, with her expert craftsmanship in dislikeable characters and transgressive sex.
(Amazon has a lot coming next year. There’s American Playboy: The Hugh Hefner Story, a 13-episode docuseries about the Playboy founder; Patriot, about an undercover intelligence officer; The Last Tycoon, an adaptation of the unfinished F. Scott Fitzgerald novel starring Matt Bomer as a 1930s filmmaker; and The Tick, a live-action remake by Tick’s original creator, Ben Edlund. There is also a ton of kids’ stuff — including Sigmund & the Sea Monsters and If You Give a Mouse a Cookie — which is arguably more consistently good than the adult shows. Whether we’ll see the David O. Russell or Matthew Weiner shows that are straight-to-series in 2017, I don’t know!)
72. Alien: Covenant, May 17
I hope one can go into Alien: Covenant having not remembered a single thing that happened in Prometheus, because I am that person. I do remember not loving it, nor did I understand it. I guess Ridley Scott is now saying that it was so confusing because he wanted it to be the first of a whole bunch of new Alien movies? Michael Fassbender will be back for this one, and considering the recent preview that journalists got of the trailer and first 15 minutes, it’s gory!
73. Baywatch, May 19
How exciting that The Rock and Alexandra Daddario have reunited post-San Andreas, which is the best oooh, I just came across this on HBO, and now I can’t stop watching it of its era. And Zac Efron certainly took his role seriously! My lord. Is there enough winking in the world for a Baywatch movie? The trailer gives off a 21 Jump Street vibe — but apparently there also is a plot, which is worrisome.
74. Dark Angel, May 21 (9 p.m. on Masterpiece on PBS)
Anna from Downton Abbey (Joanne Froggatt) goes dark as hell as Mary Ann Cotton, a poison master who would become Britain’s first female serial killer. Also coming from Masterpiece Mystery in 2017 is Prime Suspect: Tennison, the story of how Jane Tennison got her start in the crime-solving business at age 22. Stefanie Martini has to fill Helen Mirren’s shoes, playing the younger Jane. There’s no date on it, but I cannot wait.
75. Twin Peaks, May 21 (9 p.m. on Showtime)
There is a hilariously long cast list — 217 people — that Showtime released in 2016. Other than the premiere date, which was finally announced on Jan. 9, the project is still enshrouded in mystery. There will be a two-hour premiere, with Episodes 3 and 4 available on demand after. It will be 18 episodes total. At the TCA press tour, Showtime’s president and CEO David Nevins called Twin Peaks the “pure heroin” version of David Lynch. OK then!
76. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, May 26
I love the way the plots of these movies — this is the fifth one — have become impenetrable. I can imagine that no one involved cares whether they make sense! Why should they? This franchise has made billions! Maybe they sit around and think about nonsensical stories…and then they laugh. (Dead Men Tell No Tales will be the first one to come out after Amber Heard’s domestic violence accusations against Johnny Depp, and I imagine that will not affect its box office at all.)
77. Hood Adjacent With James Davis, June TBD (Comedy Central)
Comedian James Davis, who is the host of Swag-A-Saurus on Comedy Central’s Snapchat Discover channel, will host this topical show about race and politics.
78. Will, June TBD (TNT)
Young William Shakespeare (played by unknown actor Laurie Davidson) lives his life and writes his plays. According to the logline, it will be “played to a modern soundtrack that exposes all his recklessness, lustful temptations and brilliance.” (Later in the year, TNT will also bring the Caleb Carr novel The Alienist to the small screen after a film adaptation proved to be doomed; and Claws, an hour-long dramedy about a South Florida nail salon, from executive producer Rashida Jones, featuring a terrific cast that includes Niecy Nash, Carrie Preston, and Harold Perrineau.)
79. Wonder Woman, June 2
Diana, the Amazon princess, moves from her island home to stop World War I. Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman was first introduced in 2016’s Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, so let’s just lower our expectations now. I am kidding, DC fanboys! But seriously: More than 20 years after the idea for a Wonder Woman movie was born, it will finally be released. And though I wish it weren’t true, there is a significant amount of pressure on this movie. It’s not only the first huge comics movie to be directed by a woman (Patty Jenkins), it’s also the first one in the Marvel/DC conception of shared universes to have a female title character.
80. Lady Macbeth, June 2
This film, based on an 1865 novel by Nikolai Leskov called Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District, received good reviews out of the Toronto International Film Festival. It tells the story of Katherine (Florence Pugh, in what critics agreed was a breakout performance), who has been sold by her father to marry Alexander (Paul Hilton) but then falls for James (Cosmo Jarvis). Variety wrote, “Though the film’s austere outlook compromises its commercial appeal to the Masterpiece Theater crowd, it has the makings of a more rarefied arthouse conversation piece,” and that Pugh “impresses with precocious poise, sensuality and venom.”
81. I’m Dying Up Here, June 4 (10 p.m. on Showtime)
William Knoedelseder’s 2009 book on which this show is based is about the Los Angeles comedy scene in the 1970s, and featured real people such as Jay Leno, David Letterman, Andy Kaufman, and more comedians who worked at the Comedy Store on the Sunset Strip. And now Dave Flebotte, Michael Aguilar, and Jim Carrey are bringing it to television. Without having seen the show, my question is whether the characters will be thinly veiled versions of real people: Melissa Leo as Goldie is certainly playing Mitzi Shore, the mother hen to and exploiter of the young comedians and a main character in the book.
82. The Mummy, June 9
I’m all for reboots, shared cinematic universes, and Tom Cruise, but the trailer for The Mummy looked like a Cruise mashup from his other movies. He’s on a plane! He’s swimming underwater! He’s jumping away from an explosion! The Mummy is the first movie in Universal’s plan to produce a monster movie every year from its archive of characters (Frankenstein, the Wolf Man, etc.) and situate them, à la Avengers, in the same world. So a lot is riding on this first one!
83. Cars 3, June 16
The critical reception to Cars 3 will be interesting, considering that Cars 2 is the only Pixar film to be certified rotten on Rotten Tomatoes. The teaser didn’t reveal much, but according to a USA Today interview with Cars 3’s director, Brian Fee, Lightning McQueen — now a veteran racer — is facing challenges from younger cars. (Most notably, Jackson Storm, voiced by Armie Hammer.) He enlists the help of Latina race car Cruz Ramirez (Cristela Alonzo) to train him. Sally, Mater, and Ramone will all be back.
84. Rock That Body, June 16
This comedy script, co-written by Lucia Aniello and Paul W. Downs, was on the 2015 Black List and resulted in a bidding war (which Sony won). The movie will be directed by Aniello (Broad City), and it co-stars Scarlett Johansson, Kate McKinnon, and Zoë Kravitz as friends who accidentally kill a male stripper during a bachelorette party.
85. Okja, Summer TBD (Netflix)
Anecdotal evidence — which is all we have when it comes to Netflix — suggests that Bong Joon-Ho’s Snowpiercer was a huge hit on the streaming service. So it makes sense that Netflix produce his next feature, which tells the story of a girl (Ahn Seo-hyun) trying to stop a large corporation from taking her best friend, an animal named Okja. Jake Gyllenhaal, Tilda Swinton, Lily Collins, and Paul Dano also star.
86. Snowfall, Summer TBD (FX)
John Singleton, Dave Andron, and Eric Amadio have written this 10-episode series about the dawn of the crack epidemic in Los Angeles in the early 1980s. The characters range from a dealer (Damson Idris) to a CIA operative (Carter Hudson) to the daughter of a crime lord (Emily Rios).
87. DuckTales, Summer TBD (Disney XD)
This image was taken from a delightful promo for DuckTales that announced its excellent voice cast. I mean…David Tennant as Scrooge McDuck! And the return of Huey, Dewey, Louie, and Donald Duck himself! There is no company better than Disney at raiding its own past (more distant, in this case, but recent, too, in the case of Tangled and the upcoming Big Hero 6 series, which will debut late in the year).
88. Manifesto, Summer TBD (Discovery)
Manifesto is to be an anthology series about the legendary criminals that the FBI has caught, with the first season centering on the Unabomber. Paul Bettany will play Ted Kaczynski and Sam Worthington will appear as Jim “Fitz” Fitzgerald, the profiler who brought him down.
89. Blood Drive, Summer TBD (Syfy)
First announced in June 2015, Blood Drive is set in the post-apocalypse (aka maybe soon!). In the grindhouse model of stylized gore, Blood Drive is about a cop (Alan Ritchson) forced into a cross-country race featuring cars that run on blood.
90. Transformers: The Last Knight, June 23
I have seen all of the Transformers movies, but if you held a gun to my head and asked me what happened in the last few of them (or let’s face it: all of them), I’d have to say just pull the trigger and get it over with. They’re gibberish! But the past two made literally more than a billion dollars, so here we are at No. 5. Michael Bay is directing again, but it’s his last. (Not that the franchise is done — there will be a standalone movie about the Bumblebee character in 2018 and the sixth Transformers movie will arrive in 2019.) And the Transformers universe might expand to merge with other Hasbro properties!
91. Spider-Man: Homecoming, July 7
Sure, all things happen in threes, but we can probably all agree it’s strange that there have been three reboots of Spider-Man in the 2000s. This one will be the first to cross into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and stars Tom Holland (as opposed to Tobey Maguire or Andrew Garfield). We already saw Holland’s Spidey in Captain America: Civil War after he was recruited by Tony Stark to join the fight. Holland, who is now 20, seems convincingly young — which is good, because he’s supposed to be 15. As we also saw in Civil War, Marisa Tomei plays Aunt May, Zendaya is a classmate of Peter’s, Michael Keaton is the movie’s villain (Vulture), and Robert Downey Jr. will be back as Stark.
92. War for the Planet of the Apes, July 14
This is the third entry in the rebooted Planet of the Apes series. These movies are smart and good!
93. Dunkirk, July 21
This Christopher Nolan movie — led by a cast of unknowns (and Harry Styles, who is known, but not for acting) and bolstered by Kenneth Branagh and Tom Hardy — will surely be visually stunning. It tells the story of the evacuation of Dunkirk, France, in 1940 when French, Belgian, and British troops were surrounded by the Germans. I’m curious about the commercial prospects of a World War II movie about a time when the United States hadn’t even joined the war yet.
94. Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, July 21
Directed by Luc Besson — of The Professional, La Femme Nikita, The Fifth Element, Lucy, and many more — Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets promises to be a spectacle, if nothing else. It’s based on best-selling French comics series Valérian and Laureline, with Dane DeHaan playing the former and Cara Delevingne the latter. They patrol the galaxy, keeping order and flirting with each other. Clive Owen and Rihanna also star.
95. Girls Trip, July 21
A group of college friends get together to travel to the Essence music festival in New Orleans — and within that friend group is a Set It Off reunion for Queen Latifah and Jada Pinkett Smith! Regina Hall, Mike Colter, and Larenz Tate co-star, and Malcolm Lee of the Best Man movies directs.
96. The Dark Tower, July 28
Adapting Stephen King’s eight-book series has been a massive undertaking, and has been in the works for nearly 10 years. For a couple of years, J.J. Abrams was going to direct the first movie. Then, Ron Howard was going to take the lead, with a hugely ambitious idea to have the movies be released by Universal with a TV series filling in the gaps. That was scuttled. Then Sony took over, bringing us to an iteration that will actually exist, with Idris Elba as Roland, Matthew McConaughey as the Man in Black, and Nikolaj Arcel directing and co-writing.
97. Kathryn Bigelow’s “Untitled Detroit project,” Aug. 4
This movie about the 1967 Detroit riots, timed to their 50th anniversary, is Bigelow’s first directing project since Zero Dark Thirty in 2012. Mark Boal wrote this one, too (and he wrote Bigelow’s Best Picture winner, The Hurt Locker). John Boyega (Finn from The Force Awakens!), Jack Reynor (the funny brother from Sing Street!), Anthony Mackie (Falcon from the MCU movies!), and Hannah Murray (Gilly from Game of Thones!) star. We can nominate this movie for some Oscars now, I think.
98. Emoji Movie: Express Yourself, Aug. 4
Part of me is, like, Hello, end of the world! As if we need more evidence that things have come crashing down in recent times, here’s a movie about emojis. But then after the brilliance of The LEGO Movie, I sort of get this idea. T.J. Miller voices Gene, an emoji on a journey; James Corden and Ilana Glazer are also in the cast as emojis. (I just had to google, not for the first time, “plural of emoji.” There’s still no definitive answer.)
99. Baby Driver, Aug. 11
Ansel Elgort plays Baby, a getaway driver for criminals, in Edgar Wright’s latest genre comedy. Jon Hamm, Kevin Spacey, Jamie Foxx, and Eiza González are among the crime gang, and Lily James (Downton Abbey, Cinderella) co-stars Baby’s girlfriend, who doesn’t know what he does for a living
100. It, Sept. 8
I went down a half-hour internet rabbit hole to remind myself of It’s development, which has been tortuous. Cary Fukunaga was attached to the Stephen King project and planned to make two movies before he dropped out, and described the process with the studio as “quietly acrimonious.” And so Andrés Muschietti (Mama) was hired — and he’s been teasing the movie effectively on Instagram if you want to look. All I know is that, in a divided world, we can all definitely agree on one thing: Pennywise the clown is scary as hell! I have been unable to look at drains — those innocuous municipal links in the sewage system — since reading this book one million years ago.
101. Our Souls at Night, Fall TBD (Netflix)
A Colorado widow (Jane Fonda) and a widower (Robert Redford), neighbors who don’t know each other well, forge a romantic connection. Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber (The Fault in Our Stars) adapted this Kent Haruf novel; Ritesh Batra directs.
102. Mute, Fall TBD (Netflix)
In the near future, a mute bartender living in Berlin (Alexander Skarsgård) goes in search of his missing girlfriend, and has to deal with Paul Rudd and Justin Theroux as, per the logline, “wise-cracking American surgeons” who have something to do with the action. This movie is directed by Duncan Jones, and sounds (blessedly!) very different from Warcraft.
103. Blade Runner 2049, Oct. 6
Scary fact: The original Blade Runner is set in 2019. Seemed far away at the time! Thirty-five years after it was released, eventually achieving classic science fiction status and creating the visual archetype of what we imagine the future to look like, this sequel will find Deckard (Harrison Ford) not in the mood to host Ryan Gosling’s Officer K. Yes, Ford is back, and the two actors will be joined by Robin Wright and Jared Leto (surely those two will play replicants?), as well as Dave Bautista, Ana de Armas, and more. Denis Villeneuve (Prisoners, Sicario, Arrival) directs. (Also, could this be the movie that brings cinematographer Roger Deakins an Oscar? He’s been nominated 13 times without winning, for god’s sake!)
104. My Little Pony, Oct. 6
Oh bronies, what hath thou wrought? A feature film about your favorite cartoon fetish objects, that’s what! An all-star cast — Emily Blunt, Liev Schreiber, Kristin Chenoweth, and more — are among the cast of voices.
105. The Commuter, Oct. 13
Prediction: The Commuter will be one of the most fun movies of the year. How could it not be? Jaume Collet-Serra directed Liam Neeson in Non-Stop (pretty good), Run All Night (FUCKING AMAZING), and Unknown (disclosure: I didn’t see it, because apparently I hate joy). This is their fourth collaboration, and it sounds like the most Liam Neeson movie of all time. An insurance salesman heading home on a commuter train meets a mysterious woman (Vera Farmiga), and suddenly he’s caught up in some Liam Neeson-like thriller where he has to figure things out or people will die! Patrick Wilson, Elizabeth McGovern, Sam Neill, and Jonathan Banks co-star. Collet-Serra also directed 2016’s The Shallows, the best shark movie since Open Water.
106. Thor: Ragnarok, Nov. 3
If Thor: The Dark World was disappointing to some Marvel fans, it was to its director, Alan Taylor, too, who told Uproxx that the experience was “wrenching.” Perhaps Ragnarok will be a corrective for that. It certainly has a great cast, with Cate Blanchett as the villain, Hela, and Tessa Thompson as Valkyrie. (Natalie Portman won’t be returning as Jane.) Taika Waititi, of the Sundance breakout Hunt for the Wilderpeople, directs.
107. Justice League, Nov. 17
Does anyone else feel exhausted when faced with the news that Thor and Justice League are scheduled to come out a week apart? If these movies were guaranteed to be great, then perhaps it could be viewed as an embarrassment of riches, but…we will see. Justice League is Zack Snyder’s next entry as a director; and the whole gang will return — Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Gal Gadot, Ezra Miller, and Jason Momoa — for the DC answer to the Avengers.
108. Murder on the Orient Express, Nov. 22
Kenneth Branagh directs himself playing Agatha Christie’s detective Hercule Poirot. This movie, in a throwback to the original Murder on the Orient Express and other Christie adaptations from the ’70s and ’80s, has a wonderfully large all-star cast: Johnny Depp, Daisy Ridley, Michelle Pfeiffer, Leslie Odom Jr., Penélope Cruz, Judi Dench, and more. When Sidney Lumet made the original Orient Express in 1974, it was an Oscars movie, and led to the Christie film heyday. Albert Finney was nominated for Best Actor, Paul Dehn was nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay, and Ingrid Bergman won for Best Supporting Actress; it received six nominations in total. (There may be another Christie movie out next year, too: Julian Fellowes’ Crooked House.)
109. Coco, Nov. 22
Coco tells the story of Miguel, aged 12, a Mexican kid whose family has banned listening to music. Before Día de Muertos, he wants to change that, only to find himself invisible to his family, but able to see the ghosts all around him. (The voice cast includes Gael García Bernal, Benjamin Bratt, Renee Victor, and newcomer Anthony Gonzalez as Miguel.) The famously press-shy Pixar screened footage of Coco for journalists earlier in December — for a good account of what they saw, read Joanna Robinson’s impressions of it.
110. Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Dec. 15
At the end of The Force Awakens, Rey (Daisy Ridley) and Chewbacca have taken the Millennium Falcon to go find Luke (Mark Hamill). In a wordless scene, she climbs up a hill to see a shrouded figure standing on the edge of a cliff. He turns around — Luke! He looks at her, she looks at him, and then she takes his lightsaber out of her bag to hand it to him. They see each other with a new understanding. It’s a great scene! And according to The Last Jedi’s director, Rian Johnson, the new movie will pick up where The Force Awakens left off, breaking the franchise’s pattern of letting years pass. And there will be, of course, added poignance to the Leia scenes in the wake of Carrie Fisher’s death.
111. Pitch Perfect 3, Dec. 22
The Pitch Perfect phenomenon is fascinating: A small movie musical with a cast of mostly unknowns is released with no expectations, ends up being a sleeper hit, makes stars out of several of the actors, and yields a sequel that earns nearly $300 million worldwide. It would be entirely heartwarming if only the screenplays didn’t engage with cheap racist tropes and this third one didn’t seem like an overt cash grab. But maybe it will excise the racism and be entirely fun! That is, unless you’re a Skylar Astin fan: He tweeted recently that he and the Trebles won’t be in it as of now. Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson, Brittany Snow, Anna Camp, and Hailee Steinfeld are returning, though.
112. Jumanji, Dec. 22
When four teenagers get pulled into the Jumanji video game, they turn into avatars played by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Kevin Hart, Karen Gillan, and Jack Black. Sounds like a fun way to continue this series, the first of which was the huge 1995 hit starring Robin Williams. (Also, if The Rock wrote a book about time management, I would read it.)
113. Downsizing, Dec. 22
Alexander Payne’s first movie since 2013’s Nebraska sounds from its title like it’s going to be a topical movie about the economy — but it’s actually a topical movie about people shrinking themselves in order to use fewer environmental resources. Matt Damon and Kristen Wiig co-star, along with Christoph Waltz, Alec Baldwin, and Jason Sudeikis. Payne and co-writer Jim Taylor have been working on Downsizing for years; at one point, it was going to star Paul Giamatti and Reese Witherspoon. This is Payne’s first sci-fi-ish project as a director.
114. Bright, Winter TBD (Netflix)
In a parallel reality in which orcs and other fantastical beings are real, Will Smith plays a human cop and Joel Edgerton plays his partner, an orc. David Ayer (End of Watch, Suicide Squad) directs a script by Max Landis (Chronicle, being a troll on Twitter).
115. Wonderstruck, 2017 TBD
Set in 1927 and 1977, and based on Brian Selznick’s 2011 YA novel, Wonderstruck is directed by Todd Haynes and stars Julianne Moore (who fruitfully worked with Haynes in Safe and Far From Heaven). The two main characters are both deaf, and when they meet in 1977 they will try to figure out whether they are connected. Millicent Simmonds, a 13-year-old, deaf newcomer, will lead the 1927 portion, which will be a silent film. All of Haynes’ movies are gorgeous and intelligent!
116. How to Talk to Girls at Parties, 2017 TBD
How to Talk to Girls at Parties is director John Cameron Mitchell’s first feature since 2010’s Rabbit Hole, which yielded Nicole Kidman an Oscar nomination. In this film, he adapts Neil Gaiman’s 2006 short story, in which two British teenaged boys in the 1970s go to a party and flirt with girls, only to find out they’re aliens. Alex Sharp, who won a Tony for The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, plays one of the boys; Abraham Lewis (also a theater actor) plays the other. Kidman appears in this film, too.
117. Molly’s Game, 2017 TBD
Aaron Sorkin makes his directorial debut in film with Molly’s Game, the true story about an illicit Hollywood poker game attended by Tobey Maguire, Leonardo DiCaprio, Ben Affleck, and a lot of other rich people. Molly Bloom (played by Jessica Chastain), a twentysomething from Colorado who once had Olympic skiing aspirations, ran the game until she was brought down by the FBI. She wrote a memoir in 2014 (which Sorkin has adapted). Idris Elba plays Bloom’s lawyer.
118. Untitled Whitney Houston documentary, 2017 TBD
Kevin Macdonald has directed both fiction (The Last King of Scotland) and nonfiction features (Touching the Void, Marley), and here will take on the tragic story of Whitney Houston. This documentary is officially sanctioned by the Houston estate.
119. The Deuce, 2017 TBD (HBO)
This eight-episode drama series, by David Simon and George Pelecanos of The Wire and Treme, is about the 1970s porn industry and its ancillary businesses in midtown Manhattan. James Franco plays seedy twins and Maggie Gyllenhaal plays a sex worker.
120. Liar, 2017 TBD (SundanceTV)
Joanne Froggatt looks to be busy post-Downton. In this six-episode thriller, she stars as a teacher who has a date with the father (Ioan Gruffudd) of one of her students — and then everything gets crazy?
121. Star Trek: Discovery, 2017 (CBS All Access)
Sonequa Martin-Green (The Walking Dead) has been cast as the show’s lead: This marks not only the first woman of color to get top billing in this franchise, but the first time someone other than a captain has been the center of a Trek story. (Her character is a lieutenant commander.) Other cast in this highly anticipated series are Michelle Yeoh, Anthony Rapp, and Doug Jones. Bryan Fuller had to step down as showrunner due to his American Gods duties; Gretchen J. Berg and Aaron Harberts (Ringer) have taken over.
122. Bye Bye Birdie Live, 2017 TBD (NBC)
For NBC’s next live musical, Jennifer Lopez will play Rosie in Bye Bye Birdie; the male lead has not been cast yet. Also, while thinking about Bye Bye Birdie, it reminded me of Mad Men because of the episode when they do the Patio commercial to the song, and that led me to find these two delightful videos: one of the cast and crew of Mad Men singing “Bye Bye Birdie,” and this one of just January Jones and Jon Hamm.
Note: This post will be continually updated with new images, trailers, release dates, and any other information that makes it better and more helpful, not to mention accurate.
In Power Rangers, Bryan Cranston will be playing Zordon, not the Red Ranger.
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