10 movies and TV shows John is looking forward to in 2018 (Commentary)

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Here are 10 TV shows and movies I have high hopes for in the new year:

“The X-Files” (TV show, 8 p.m. Eastern Wednesdays, starting Wednesday, Fox) – OK, so I’m not as big on the mythology episodes lately (Haven’t we seen it all before?), but I do love me some Monster of the Weeks. And I won’t say no to an occasional Darin Morgan comedy hour either. With 10 episodes this time around (compared to six in 2016), there’s bound to be a good variety.

“Annihilation” (movie, Feb. 23) – When my movie buff friend Shaune sends me links to trailers, I usually end up saying “Yeah, that could be OK.” “Annihilation’s” trailer, though, blew me away. This sci-fi world created by Alex Garland (definitely a director worth following after 2015’s “Ex Machina”) looks beautiful, featuring horror, mystery, Natalie Portman, and even dinosaurs. “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” opens on June 22, and that’s worth seeing in a “Well, of course” kind of way, but “Annihilation” looks even better.

“The Strangers: Prey at Night” (movie, March 9) – 2008’s “The Strangers” is the epitome of the home-invasion genre, and it has a dedicated following among armchair critics who see thematic meanings behind the on-the-outs couple who are targeted at their lowest point. It also works as a straight-up tale of psychopathy. With horror sequels being pumped out so fast nowadays, it’s weird that it has taken a decade for “The Strangers” to become a franchise, but writer Bryan Bertino (who also penned 2016’s “The Monster”) is on board, so I will be too.

“Tomb Raider” (movie, March 16) – I’m not a huge fan of the two Angelina Jolie entries (in fact, I don’t think I’ve seen the second one), but this one, starring “Ex Machina’s” Alicia Vikander in a decidedly more outgoing role, looks rougher, dirtier and downright better than the slick Jolie pictures. Is it too much to hope that this would become a modern adventure franchise like what “Indiana Jones” was for the ’80s? Probably, but I’ll give it a shot.

“Scream: The TV Series” Season 3 (TV show, March, MTV) – Although it didn’t quite stick the landing, 2016’s Season 2 delivered a gripping mystery, the heroes were refreshingly proactive, and “Scream” became cool again. Season 3 is said to feature an all-new cast of characters, which wasn’t strictly necessary, but if the quality remains high, “Scream” is the most popcorn-worthy show of 2018 that no one is talking about.

“The New Mutants” (movie, April 13) and “X-Men: Dark Phoenix” (movie, Nov. 2) – It’ll be a downright gluttonous year for “X-Men” fans, as – in addition to these two films — there’s also “Deadpool 2,” the continuing TV runs of “The Gifted” and “Legion,” and even a freaking “Deadpool” cartoon! “The New Mutants” is a horror movie set in the X-verse, so it already has novelty value, plus it stars talented fright-film actress Anya Taylor-Joy (“The Witch,” “Split”). “Dark Phoenix” is supposed to be a more robust portrayal of the classic Jean Grey arc that was touched upon in the previous timeline in “X-Men: The Last Stand” (2006). It’s unlikely to be worse.

“The Predator” (movie, Aug. 3) – With “Prometheus” and “Alien: Covenant” moving the “Alien” franchise into headier territory, it’s easy to forget we haven’t checked in with the xenomorphs’ rivals since 2010’s “Predators.” This fourth entry (or sixth if you count the “AvP” installments) seems to yet again throw a group of people into a jungle against one of the camouflaged ugly m—-f—–s, but the cast is an interesting mix, including Jake Busey, the son of Gary, who was in “Predator 2.”

“Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald” (movie, Nov. 16) – Admittedly, this is a better title for the sequel than my idea: “Fantastic Beasts and Where 2 Find Them.” 2016’s debut entry was a wonderful introduction to the wider Wizarding World of “Harry Potter” with a unique hero, the sweet and shy Newt Scamander. It’ll be cool to see the stakes raised as Grindelwald (the biggest villain pre-Voldemort) plays a bigger role, as does his rival, a young Albus Dumbledore.

“Marvel’s New Warriors” (TV show, TBD) – The date and channel for this comic adaptation is unknown after Freeform bailed on it, but various sources say it will premiere in 2018. I’m looking forward to it for two reasons: 1) Milana Vayntrub (Lily the AT&T girl, who could talk me into buying a dozen phones if she were a real AT&T girl) plays Squirrel Girl, a member of this group with unusual powers. And 2) We need a comedic reprieve from all the dire Marvel Cinematic Universe stuff. DC sort of figured it out with last year’s sitcom “Powerless” before it was canceled.

What movies and TV shows are you looking forward to in 2018? Share your thoughts in the comment thread below.

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