The end of the year naturally brings year-end lists (and I’m currently working on my year-end mix), but it also beckons us to look towards the future. And in the case of pop culture nerds like myself, that means looking forward to all of the music, movies, etc., that will be coming our way in the new year.
Looking back over my list, I noticed that many of my picks here are returning series. I am, of course, always thrilled to discover some new, previously unknown series. However, I’m just as eager (if not more so) to reconnect with some already beloved characters in the hopes that their stories get resolved in a satisfying way.
It’s been awhile since we last saw Hunter, Wrecker, and the rest of the Bad Batch. On the run from the Empire, eking out a living doing odd mercenary jobs, and betrayed by one of their own, the Batch keep on doing what they do best: completing the crazy missions that nobody else can while sticking it to the Empire.
The Mandalorian’s second season ended all the way back in 2020, though we did get to see Mando and Grogu in action in 2022’s Book of Boba Fett. Our favorite bounty hunter and his young protege are on their way to Mandalore, where Mando hopes to redeem himself — and risks landing in in the middle of the power struggle concerning the fate of the Mandalorian people.
I know basically nothing about the League of Legends video game. But that didn’t prevent me from thoroughly enjoying this Netflix animated series. Incredible artwork and design, a seamless blend of 2D and 3D animation, in-depth world-building, thrilling action, an affecting storyline… Arcane’s first season had it all, and then some. A second season was greenlit and went into production last year, so hopefully we’ll see the fallout of season one’s cliffhanger ending sometime in 2023.
The first season of Apple TV+‘s Foundation might have been a little too ambitious for its own good, but I’ll take ambition over mediocrity any day of the week. The second season will no doubt dig deeper into the ramifications of Hari Seldon’s ambitious plan to thwart humanity’s impending dark age even as the cloned emperors who rule humanity’s Galactic Empire wrestle with their own dark secret.
2021’s Godzilla vs. Kong had its moments, but it was also kind of underwhelming. So maybe a Godzilla title will do better on the smaller screen, focusing on a family trying to make its way through the wreckage of San Francisco. And even better, it stars Kurt Russell!
Loki’s first season was one of the MCU’s better television offerings, due in large part to the central cast of Tom Hiddleston as the trickster god we love to hate, Sophia Di Martino as one of his variants, and Owen Wilson as Mr. Mobius, an agent of the mysterious and seemingly all-powerful Time Variance Authority. The first season took us all over the place, even to the end of time itself, and left Loki — and the audience — on a true multiversal cliffhanger.
How’s this for a premise? A low-ranking FBI agent is told to keep watch over a phone that never rings, and then one night, it does, revealing a conspiracy that involves Russian moles and reaches all the way up to the Oval Office. Based on Matthew Quirk’s best-selling novel, The Night Agent was developed by Shawn Ryan, who previously created The Shield and S.W.A.T.
Sometimes, you just want to watch a beefy, stoic hero punch irredeemably bad guys in the face while dropping cheesy one-liners. It’s not high art, but Amazon’s Reacher more than ably filled that bill. A second season has been ordered, but no word on production has surfaced yet. Still, I have hopes for season two arriving in 2023, if only because it’s perfect late-night viewing material.
I highly doubt that we’ll get the second season of Amazon’s fantasy epic in 2023, especially given the amount of post-production required to create its stunning rendition of Middle-earth’s Second Age. Still, a nerd can always hope.
With its beautiful production design, solid performances across the board, and bizarre storyline that poked fun at corporate America while also delivering a bizarre religious analogy (and some killer dance moves), Severance shouldn’t have worked. But it did, and brilliantly so, deftly mixing dark humor, corporate intrigue, and existential drama. It’s a show that has “cult hit” written all over it, but it’s also too good to leave in that particular silo. Suffice to say, I can’t wait to return to Lumon Industries and unravel more of its mysteries.
Ted Lasso’s second season didn’t achieve the same comedic heights as season one, though it did delve deeper into the characters’ flaws, struggles, and traumas. And it featured a surprising (yet, in hindsight, inevitable) heel turn from the soft-spoken Nate the Great, whose growing bitterness finally sends him over to the dark side, to coach West Ham United for Rupert Mannion. Ted Lasso’s third and final season has some big questions to answer. Will AFC Richmond advance in the Premier League? Will Roy and Keeley survive? Will Nate be redeemed? Will Ted run out of nuggets of folksy wisdom?
Liu Cixin’s The Three Body Problem is one of the most acclaimed sci-fi novels of the last ten years, having won the 2015 Hugo Award for Best Novel. Ostensibly about first contact with aliens, the novel is an ambitious blend of (alternate) Chinese history, conspiracy theories, video games, advanced physics, and philosophical ruminations on humanity’s worthiness. A movie adaptation was filmed but never released, so now it turns to Netflix and producers David Benioff and D. B. Weiss (Game of Thrones). Given the story’s reliance on Chinese history and the Cultural Revolution, it’ll be interesting to see how an American production handles all of the details.
Written and directed by Terry Gilliam, 1981’s Time Bandits is an uproarious fantasy romp about a gang of thieves who pull off crazy heists across time while encountering various historical and mythical figures. It’s hilarious and poignant and twisted, as you might expect from Gilliam. So will I watch AppleTV+‘s remake by Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement? Do you even need to ask?