Here are 10 movies and TV shows I’m looking forward to as a new entertainment year begins:
“Riverdale” (TV show, Jan. 26, The CW, pictured above) – “Archie” – as in Betty, Veronica, Jughead, et al, from the comics – isn’t the hippest idea for a TV adaptation, but throw in some murders and this could be a fun romp that launches new stars. Camila Mendes, as Veronica, particularly looks like a breakout, and it’ll be nice to see “Beverly Hills, 90210’s” Luke Perry return to the tube as Archie’s dad.
“Powerless” (TV show, Feb. 2, NBC) – An insurance company deals with the collateral damage of superheroes in the DC universe such as Batman and Superman. That’s a good premise, but not enough to sustain a series. Still, creator Ben Queen showed promise with 2007’s “Drive,” and Vanessa Hudgens (“High School Musical”), Danny Pudi (“Community”) and Alan Tudyk (“Firefly”) will be easy to watch, so I’m hoping for hidden depths in this high-concept sitcom.
“Legion” (TV show, Feb. 8, FX) – When “X-Men” hit theaters in 2000, I longed for the mutants of this world to be explored on TV. So as much as I’ve enjoyed the films, I’m even more excited about this long-overdue first live-action “X-Men” TV series, which will feature Dan Stevens as David, a mutant with multiple personalities. It’s helmed by “Fargo’s” Noah Hawley, so there’s a good chance this will also be of high quality.
“David Brent: Life on the Road” (movie, Feb. 10) — I figured we were long done with the U.K. “Office,” so it’s a pleasant surprise to find Ricky Gervais returning to his breakout character from the 2001-03 BBC sitcom, the paper sales boss whose self-image doesn’t remotely line up with how others see him. Bizarrely, David launches a music career in this spinoff movie that will likely feature bucketloads of awkward pauses.
“Logan” (movie, March 3) – “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” (2008) was the comic-booky entry, “The Wolverine” (2013) was the grittier entry, and this one is the REALLY gritty entry. Just check out that photo of Hugh Jackman in his final turn in the role. Coming full circle with 2000’s “X-Men,” he again must protect a young mutant girl in this 10th “X-Men” movie that – judging by the title’s use of Wolverine’s non-codename – is aimed at serious fans.
“Fargo” Season 3 (TV show, Spring, FX) – This season takes place closer to present day, a bit after the events of the first season. But it features a mostly new cast, and a stellar one at that, including Ewan McGregor and Mary Elizabeth Winstead. I don’t know what Noah Hawley and company have in mind this time around, but after two brilliant seasons, I’m fully on board.
“Alien: Covenant” (movie, May 19) – In terms of plot, this prequel doesn’t look that much different from 1979’s “Alien,” but director Ridley Scott aims to deliver new spectacles, including pushing “Psycho” from the top spot in the annals of horror-movie shower scenes, to judge by the preview. In terms of the overall mythology, it should be fun to see how “Prometheus” – whose android David (Michael Fassbender) returns here — links up with “Alien.”
“Ascendant” (TV movie, June 9, TBD) – It’s been an enjoyable journey through three “Divergent” films so far (yes, I know that’s a minority opinion), but I’d like to see the fourth installment in this Shailene Woodley sci-fi franchise tie up the mythology’s loose ends and wrap up the saga. Oddly, with the announcement that it’s been downgraded from a theatrical film to a TV movie, there are rumors that it might not get made at all; here’s hoping that it does.
“War for the Planet of the Apes” (movie, July 14) – In the third entry of the prequel series leading up to the events of 1968’s “Planet of the Apes,” it looks like we’ll be rooting for the apes more than ever as the “conquest of an inferior race” parable becomes more overt. But, as always, there will be some likable humans, including the first chronological appearance of Nova, the astronaut’s mute companion in the ’68 film.
“Blade Runner 2049” (movie, Oct. 6) – Although I’ve read (and enjoyed, and forgotten) the three K.W. Jeter novel continuations, as well as 1998’s “Soldier” – set in the “Blade Runner” universe – I’m interested in the style of this long-awaited sequel as much as the substance. The 1982 original has among the most influential design palettes in sci-fi history; for example, the 2013-14 TV series “Almost Human” brazenly copied it. With Harrison Ford, Ridley Scott (as a producer), writer Hampton Fancher and the electronic strains of composer Vangelis returning, the pieces are certainly in place.
What TV shows and movies are you most looking forward to in 2017? Share your comments below.