2017: Year Of Anticipation

It’s 2017.  Time to wash the stank off the old year and cycle in the new.  With the new comes a lot of stuff of the Geek Variety for us to consider.  What are we looking forward to?  Or even dreading?  Let’s take a look…

Yay! New stuff!

Film

Star Wars: Episode VIII

Does it have a subtitle yet? I don’t know.

What is it?  What have you been doing?  Living under a rock?  It’s freakin’ Star Wars.

Why we’re excited:  It’s still freakin’ Star Wars!  After the blast that was The Force Awakens and the rollicking fun second half of Rogue One, we know Star Wars is in good hands with Disney.

Why we’re wary:  Are we?  Personally, I’m concerned with how the franchise will handle the death of Carrie Fisher given the CGI Tarkin we saw in Rogue One.

Jimmy says:  What else is there to say?  It’s freakin’ Star Wars!

Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol 2

What is it?  A sequel to the surprise(?) Marvel hit about a thief, a literalist, an assassin, a raccoon, and a tree that protect the galaxy from space-based evil.

Why we’re excited:  James Gunn put his unique stamp on some characters barely known outside of comics and managed to make a hit out of them.  The trailers look to be more fun, and if Groot was a break-out character before, Baby Groot looks to be even more of one.

Why we’re wary:  Marvel doesn’t always do so well with sequels as it does with originals.  While Gunn staying is a good sign, and the trailers are fun, we could have said the same about Joss Whedon and Age of Ultron.

Jimmy says: Ugh, Tom, don’t make any comparisons here to Age of Ultron.  The original Guardians was the first of several Marvel movies that when announced I thought, “Well, that’s it for the MCU, they are scrapping bottom now.”  But boy was I wrong.  And this has become one of my most anticipated Marvel sequels.  Ooga-chalka indeed.

Fate of the Furious

What is it?  The continuation of the popular car-based action series The Fast and the Furious.

Why we’re excited:  These movies are almost always fun considering how far they’ve come from the original.  The trailer suggests that longtime cast member Vin Diesel’s character is going to turn on his friends for this one for reasons unknown.  Personally, I regret not getting into this series earlier.

Why we’re wary:  Is making Diesel’s Dom the bad guy a bridge too far for a movie where everything that’s on wheels has chased our heroes at one point in time or another?

Jimmy says:  I admit, I still get a little teary-eyed watching the end of Furious 7.  It’ll be interesting how they handle Paul Walker’s abscense going forward.  From the trailer we can see that the action will be over the top as usual, and it is hard to complain about added Charlize Theron, but the whole “Dom switches sides” thing seems a bit silly and he is obviously being blackmailed or undercover or some such.  It smells a bit of jumping the shark, but given the success of most of these films, I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt for now.

Thor: Ragnarok

What is it?  The third installment of the solo Thor series.

Why we’re excited:  The Thor films have always been passable, entertaining, nothing bad, but nothing truly memorable either in many ways despite the best efforts of Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston.  But this time around we’re adding the Hulk for some Planet Hulk-style action, Cate Blanchett is onboard as the villainous Hela, Karl Urban is doing his most Urbanous as the Executioner, Benedict Cumberbatch is reprising Dr. Strange for at least a cameo, Jeff Goldblum is playing the Grandmaster, Sam Neil is in the mix somewhere, and, perhaps best of all, the director is New Zealand comedy director Taika Waititi, who may yet put a distinctive stamp on the least distinctive Marvel franchise to date.  Waititi’s Hunt for the Wilderpeople from last summer was a pure gem of a movie, and it might be interesting to see what he can do with something as big as what may be the final Thor movie for the foreseeable future.

Why we’re wary:  Will the Marvel house style swallow up all of Waititi’s considerable cinematic gifts and make this movie look like all their others, or will he truly be allowed to express the movie his own way?

Jimmy says:  I think Tom covers things pretty well here.  This seems to really be shaping up to be a Civil War style “almost Avengers” movie, or at the very least a buddy cop movie with Thor and Hulk.  And people have long been calling for a Planet Hulk movie, so I think this will be close to getting their wish as I don’t see a solo Hulk film coming any time soon.  And if you’ve been wondering where Thor was during Civil War, I hope you caught this short film explanation.

The Dark Tower

What is it?  The long-awaited film adaptation of Stephen King’s epic fantasy-western hodgepodge.

Why we’re excited:  2016 was a good year for Idris Elba, but 2017 might be even better given he has the lead role here as Roland, the last gunslinger.  Adding to the fun is Matthew McConaughey as the villain, so at the least we should have two cool guys squaring off against one another.

Why we’re wary:  Speaking for myself, I couldn’t get into this, though to be fair, I read the first book long after my Stephen King period was over.  Should we be concerned it took this long to get this story to the big screen?  I don’t know.  We’ll find out, won’t we?

Jimmy says:  I’m a huge Dark Tower fan.  To the point of tracking down and reading King’s other novels with even the slightest inkling of being tied in.  And Tom, though The Gunslinger lays the groundwork, the real story of the Dark Tower begins in The Drawing of The Three, so I’d recommend at least given that a look.  While I think most over the last 35 years have pictured Roland as a Man With No Name, Eastwood style cowboy, I’ve no doubt Idris Elba can bring the right amount of kick-ass to the big screen.  And with a TV series in the works for 2018 to cover the fourth book Wizard and Glass, it’s a good time if you love King’s epic.

War for the Planet of the Apes

What is it?  The third installment on the modernized and updated “prequel” series to the original Planet of the Apes.

Why we’re excited:  These films have been surprisingly good.  I mean, who expected  Planet of the Apes remakes to be as good as they are?  Andy Serkis returns as one of the few reoccurring cast members as the Apes slowly but surely take the Earth from the human race, and not necessarily because they want to but because they are forced into it.  Caesar, despite being a chimp, is a remarkably human character doing the best he can to support and protect his own people, even as humans and other apes make that difficult.

Why we’re wary:  Well, so far I am not.  Actually, I’m personally sorry I missed the last one.  I really enjoyed the first and don’t know why I haven’t see the second yet, but it made Watson very happy since it had apes on horseback with machine guns.  How can that not make any Geek happy?

Logan

What is it?  A loose adaptation of the “Old Man Logan” story, and what is promised as Hugh Jackman’s last turn as Wolverine.

Why we’re excited:  Hugh Jackman has been Wolverine since the current superhero craze began, so this is the end of an era, and the movie also includes what is probably Patrick Stewart’s last turn as Professor X.  Jackman always gave a charismatic performance that more or less made Wolverine the big screen character that he is, so here’s hoping that sad-looking trailer leads to a fitting end to the character as played by Jackman.  As stated, this one is truly the end of an era.

Why we’re wary:  To be honest, I couldn’t bring myself to finish The Wolverine.  It was a little too quiet and seemed dull in places.  Maybe someday I will.  Fortunately, Logan doesn’t look like the sort of film that demands me to see the sequel before it comes out.

Jimmy says:  I’m really looking forward to this.  I agree with Tom that it looks like a very loose adaptation of “Old Man Logan”, to the point that I wonder will they incorporate any more than the fact that he is old?  Regardless, the trailer is really engaging; dark and different from any previous X-Men related movies.  There’s no doubt that Jackman (and Stewart) will be missed.  Let’s hope they go out with a bang as the solo Wolverine films have been a very mixed bag.

Blade Runner 2049

What is it?  The long-awaited sequel to 1982’s Blade Runner.

Why we’re excited:  Harrison Ford is back, and he brought Ryan Gosling with him for a return to the world of Replicants in a neo-noir setting.  Director Denis Villeneuve really wowed us with films like 2016’s intelligent science fiction film Arrival, which bodes well for this long-in-the-making movie.

Why we’re wary:  The last time we got a sequel to a classic bit of Ridley Scott sci-fi, we got Prometheus.  But more on that below…

Kingsman: The Golden Circle

What is it?  A sequel to the surprise hit Kingsman: The Secret Service

Why we’re excited:  The original was just plain nuts, a somewhat satirical film about a secret spy organization that protects the world from the people running it.  Maybe we shouldn’t think too hard about the politics of this series…

Why we’re wary:  Truthfully, I haven’t seen the first one from beginning to end, but this is based on Mark Millar’s work, and his over-the-top, borderline sociopathic protagonists might be too much in too many doses.  Then again, this series probably doesn’t take itself seriously enough for that sort of analysis.

Jimmy says:  WTF Tom?  Go watch Kingsman in its entirety right now!  I loved this film, but you know what was better?  Secret Service, the Mark Millar comic that it is based on.  They are very similar in many ways, but the comic just works that much better.  But both are recommended, so check them out.  As for this sequel, I haven’t seen anything about it yet outside of a few teaser images, but I’ll be there.

Cloverfield 3

What is it?  It’s another Cloverfield movie.

Why we’re excited:  Are we?  I mean, we know nothing about this movie except that it’s coming.  The first two were surprisingly good and fun, but it’s hard to say when everything is clouded in J.J. Abrams near-legendary secrecy.

Why we’re wary:  We know nothing about this movie.  Why should we be wary or excited when we’re mostly just curious at this point?

Jimmy says: Cloverfield was OK, putting a bit of a different spin on the Godzilla archetype and making good use of the rise of the shaky-cam era.  Mostly unrelated, 10 Cloverfield Lane was a surprise treat.  But it’s hard to get excited about a movie we know nothing about outside of the fact that it may have “Cloverfield” in it’s title.

John Wick: Chapter 2

What is it?  A sequel to the surprisingly cool John Wick.

Why we’re excited:  I’ll be honest: I did not expect John Wick to blow me away as much as it did given the presence of Keanu Reeves.  But then I watched it and was incredibly pleased with the result.  The movie was stylish, introduced an intriguing world of crime and criminals, and played to Reeves’ strengths as an actor.

Why we’re wary:  “Wary” may be the wrong word, but I would say I am more curious where they go from here.

Jimmy says:  I think Tom sums up my thoughts here pretty nicely already.  Looking forward to this and we get a Matrix reunion between Keanu and Laurence Fishburne to boot.

Wonder Woman

What is it?  The Amazing Amazon hits the big screen in her own solo film.

Why we’re excited:  This one looks rather unique, and not just because its the first solo female superhero film since the likes of Catwoman and Elektra.  Director Patty Jenkins may have delivered a real winner here.  Gal Gadot was one of the brighter spots in Batsoup, and the World War I setting certainly make for a different time and place for a superhero of any kind, especially Wonder Woman herself as she is a creation of the second World War.

Why we’re wary:  We saw Batsoup and Suicide Squad.  We have plenty of reason to be wary of the DC cinematic universe.

Jimmy says:  On the plus side, I think this is the first film that Geoff Johns will really have an influence on as he tries to become DC’s Kevin Fiege and get the franchise out of the hands of Zack Snyder.  The trailers look good and getting Gadot was a great job by the casting department.  The World War I time period is an interesting angle, but hey, WWII worked for Captain America: The First Avenger.

Justice League

What is it?  DC’s mightiest champions team up to take on a threat too powerful for any one of them to handle alone.

Why we’re excited:  The trailer already shows a more lighthearted approach than the incredibly dire Batsoup.  This thing had actual jokes in it!  Plus, what comic geek doesn’t want to see Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, the Flash, Aquaman, and Cyborg on the big screen together?  Yes, even Aquaman and Cyborg.

Why we’re wary:  See above comments on Wonder Woman and remember Zach Snyder is still in the director’s chair.

Jimmy says: The trailer has me a lot more excited to see this than I would have thought after walking out of Batsoup.  Will the movie follow through on that tone or will it be more grim and gritty Batman v Superman for leadership of the League shenanigans?  If Wonder Woman stumbles, Justice League may finally feel the backlash of fans at the box office…but will still make a boatload of money on opening weekend at the very least.

Power Rangers

What is it?  A modern reboot of the old kid’s show that mixed scenes from older Japanese martial arts shows for kids with stuff shot in the United States.

Why we’re excited:  Um…

Why we’re wary:  Who asked for a Power Rangers reboot?  I mean, yeah, this is probably being made for kids today instead of original fans so everyone has their own Power Rangers to hold onto, but seriously, why reboot this?

Alien: Covenant

What is it?  Ridley Scott returning to the world of Alien with another origin/prequel film.

Why we’re excited:  We were psyched when we heard Scott was returning to the world he helped create, and this time the xenomorphs won’t be confined to a simple cameo at the end of the movie.  We may have had to sit through Prometheus to get to this, but it could be worth it!

Why we’re wary:  One word:  Prometheus.

Jimmy says: Hey!  I liked Prometheus!  But based on the trailer, there doesn’t seem to be much of a tie to that film as to the others in the series that started in 1979.  This seems to be a straight up Alien movie.  On the plus side, it is an Alien prequel directed by Ridley Scott.  On the downside, after four films and two side-quels to fight Predators, is there much more left to say without being repetitive?

Spider-Man: Homecoming

What is it?  Another Spider-Man reboot, but this time Marvel is helping Sony out with it.

Why we’re excited:  The new Spider-Man was one of the highlights of Captain America: Civil War, and now we have Spidey firmly in the MCU where he belongs.  Cameos from Iron Man, the Vulture looks like a truly formidable foe, and the tone looks about right.

Why we’re wary:  Well, this is the third Spider-Man reboot in about fifteen years.  That should make us at least a little cautious.  Though Jimmy Impossible probably won’t stop bouncing around in his seat the entire movie.

Jimmy says: You got that right!  But I’m trying to keep my expectations in check.  I liked the first two Raimi films, but since then they’ve been one disappointment after another with Spider-Man 3 and Amazing Spider-Man 2 in the bad to awful range.  I’m liking what I’ve seen so far from the trailers.  I was concerned about the Vulture as the main baddie, but he looks impressive.  With ties to the MCU and a helping hand from Marvel, I have high hopes for this one.  Jimmy, keep those expectations realistic.  Oh, right.  Yeah, it’s like a Spiderman movie or whatever.

Kong:  Skull Island

What is it?  A group of soldiers and explorer types go to Skull Island and have problems with its most famous resident, a 50 foot tall ape named Kong.

Why we’re excited:  Look at that cast!  Tom Hiddleston, Brie Larson, John Goodman, Sam Jackson, John C. Reilly, and some rather stunning-looking special effects.  Can’t be any worse than what Peter Jackson did!

Why we’re wary:  Actually, it totally can be worse than what Peter Jackson did.  Did we need another King Kong?  Let’s wait and see…

Jimmy says:  The cast is great, the trailers are interesting, but I wonder do we need another Kong as well?

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

What is it?  Luc Besson adapts a popular graphic novel into this sci-fi opus.

Why we’re excited:  What the hell is this?  It looks trippy as all get-out, and quite frankly, this could be a lot of fun.

Why we’re wary:  I know absolutely nothing about the source material this movie is based on, and Luc Besson gave us The Fifth Element.  I know a lot of people dug that movie, but I just found it weird.  And this one also looks weird.

Side note:  why do women in movies like this wear armor with boob that look more well-endowed than the woman wearing it?  It just seems odd.

Jimmy says:  I have no idea what this is, but c’mon Tom!  The Fifth Element was awesome!

Jumanji

What is it?  A sequel or remake of the old Robin Williams movie about a board game that brings jungle animals to life or something.

Why we’re excited:  The cast includes Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, who’s always fun; Jack Black and Kevin Hart, who can be quite funny; and Karen Gillan, who gets around these days as an up-and-coming “it” girl.

Why we’re wary:  Did anyone really want a Jumanji remake?  I don’t recall the original being that good.

Jimmy says: I liked Jumanji.  And I like The Rock.  But I have zero desire to see this.  Don’t tell Jenny.

Cars 3

What is it?  Another sequel to the popular (for children) Cars series from Pixar.

Why we’re excited:  Normally, I’m not sure that we would be despite it coming from Pixar.  Cars is, for adults, the weakest of the various Pixar franchises, but the trailer that came out showed a potentially different, darker direction for the series as a whole.  Maybe it’s growing up.

Why we’re wary:  Cars is basically for kids and my one motorhead cousin.  I’ll probably skip it when it comes out just like I did the second one.  And I only saw the first because it was an option on a long flight across the Atlantic.

Jimmy says:  I’m not even sure I saw the second one.  But the ad campaign here has me worried.  The images and teaser trailer I’ve seen have been super, super dark.  Is this for kids?  I can’t see them connecting with it.  Adults?  Will talking CGI cars be that much of a draw besides Tom’s cousin?  Maybe things will be clearer with a full trailer, but there are a lot of mixed messages coming here currently.

Coco

What is it?  An original Pixar film about a young boy dealing with some things that occur around the Day of the Dead festival.

Why we’re excited:  We tend to love Pixar original stories a lot more than the sequels.  I’m not sure they’ve done anything this original before as it stands.

Why we’re wary:  I see no reason to be wary yet.  This could be another Inside Out.  Of course, it could also be another The Good Dinosaur.

Despicable Me 3

What is it?  Well, another sequel to the surprisingly charming Despicable Me.

Why we’re excited:  The first film was surprisingly charming, and my brother tells me the second wasn’t that bad.  He has kids, so he sees a lot of stuff like this these days, the poor guy.

Why we’re wary:  Did this story need three installments, and when does the Minions backlash truly begin?

Jimmy says:  I don’t have kids, but have seen the first two installments and enjoyed them.  (I haven’t seen Minions but I’ve heard it is dreadful.)  This will be more of a rental for me, but I’m sure I’ll see it eventually.

Lego Batman

What is it?  A spin-off from The Lego Movie featuring that movie’s version of Batman, as played by Will Arnett.

Why we’re excited:  The Lego Movie was actually good, which was surprising enough.  Will Arnett is about the perfect choice for a more comedic take on Batman, and the trailers show a movie that doesn’t take Batman all that seriously.

Why we’re wary:  Not so much wary as disappointed…isn’t it sad this might be the best DC movie for the foreseeable future?

Jimmy says:  Indeed it is, Tom.  The trailers look great, but I do fear a case of the trailers showing us all the good parts.  Batman was a huge part of the success of The Lego Movie, but I wonder will it be too much of a good thing?

IT

What is it?  A cinematic translation/remake of the Stephen King novel involving a group of children twice facing down a shapeshifting evil that often looks like a homicidal clown.

Why we’re excited:  IT is one of my favorite Stephen King books from back when I was in a Stephen King phase.  And while there is a TV mini-series version from a couple decades ago, network TV wouldn’t dare cover all the truly despicable things Pennywise did in that book.  Granted, there are a few things in that book I think even the movie won’t touch with a ten hundred foot pole, but this has the potential to be a truly frightening horror flick.

Why we’re wary:  Truthfully, a lot of King’s horror books never translated well to the big screen for some reason.  Maybe it was due to special effects not being up to snuff, or maybe it was not translating King’s own internal narratives well to the big screen.  Heck, King had some substance abuse problems back in the day and sold the rights to his stuff to anyone who asked it seems.  But the fact remains most of the best adaptations were either ones that ignored much of what King wrote (The Shining) or went with something that wasn’t horror (Stand By Me).

Jimmy says:  I too loved the book IT.  And how can you not be a fan of the mini-series and Tim Curry’s fantastic turn as Pennywise?  I haven’t seen much about this yet.  From what I have, it seem like it will play much darker than the mini-series ever could on TV.  As a King fan, I am intrigued.

Great Wall

What is it?  An epic movie about the construction of the Great Wall of China.

Why we’re excited:  The movie looks epic in scope and covers a major construction effort from centuries ago amidst Mongol invasions and the like.

Why we’re wary:  OK, I know why Matt Damon is in this, but why is Matt Damon in this?

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

What is it?  The fifth installment of the popular film franchise inexplicably based off a theme park ride.

Why we’re excited:  Johnny Depp is a charming pirate, these movies are often lighthearted, and Ryan’s favorite actor, Javier Bardem, is playing the villainous thing menacing Captain Jack Sparrow this time around.

Why we’re wary:  Well, quite frankly, one was enough, but we’re still here as Depp phones in another performance and we wonder why another one got made at all.

Jimmy says:  Haha, good call Tom!  The first film was surprisingly excellent, but the two follow ups were painfully bad, especially the third film.  Pirates 4 was a step up, but still mostly “meh”.  I’m not sure who asked for this 5th one.

Beauty and the Beast

What is it?  A live action remake of the animated Disney classic staring Emma Watson and Dan Stevens.

Why we’re excited:  The last couple live action adaptations of animated Disney films were actually pretty good, but this one is being directed by Bill Condon, an immensely talented director that, on an already impressive resume, actually almost made the last two Twilight movies watchable (the guy can only do so much with the source material).  That’s a hell of an achievement in and of itself.

Why we’re wary:  Does Disney need to do live action remakes of all its old animated movies?  The original here may be one of the best they’ve done, certainly one of if not the best since Walt died, and it’s doubtful they can improve on it even with a bankable, charismatic screen presence like Emma Watson in the lead role.

Jimmy says:  I don’t think I’ve seen the original animated film.  And I have no desire to see this version.  But Ms. Impossible is VERY excited, so I guess I’ll see you there opening night.

Ghost in the Shell

What is it?  A live action remake of the classic sci-fi anime film.

Why we’re excited:  The trailer looks amazing, and Scarlett Johansson can be incredible in the right roles.  And Watson will probably point out that one pale set of tights she’s wearing makes her look naked.  Watson does that sort of thing.

Why we’re wary:  Ignoring the whitewashing issue since Johansson isn’t the slightest bit Asian, I would actually say when ScarJo is good in a film, she’s very, very good, but when she isn’t, she’s horrible.  There’s no in-between for her.

Jimmy says:  Not much more to add to what Tom has said here.  I do feel like I should watch the source material prior to seeing it to find out what this is all about as I have no idea.  I’m not much into anime, but hey, I liked Akira.

Silence

What is it?  Technically a 2016 movie, but it won’t be out anywhere most of us can see it until 2017.

Why we’re excited:  Martin Scorsese labored for years to make this movie, an examination of faith and what it means to be Catholic, particularly when you’re a Catholic in medieval Japan and they have rules against that sort of thing.

Why we’re wary:  Um…no signs of DeNiro or Dicaprio, so that’s a little unusual for Scorsese.

The Coldest City

What is it?  A Cold War spy thriller adapted from a graphic novel where an MI6 agent has to find all the deep cover agents as the Berlin Wall comes down.

Why we’re excited:  Charlize Theron can kick some serious ass, and this movie comes from director David Leitch, the stuntman turned director who gave us John Wick.

Why we’re wary:  I’ll think of something…she’s not reprising her Mad Max role?

I Am Not Your Negro

What is it?   A documentary based on the works of James Baldwin about his remembrances of the Civil Rights Movement.

Why we’re excited:  Something like this is probably a labor of love for all involved.  It’s already picked up a ton of awards and has a high Rotten Tomatoes rating.

Why we’re wary:  I’m not even sure where to find a lot of documentaries in my neck of the woods.  This is less about being wary and being not sure how I can even see this movie.

The Girl with all the Gifts

What is it?  A film adaptation of Mike Carey’s zombie novel of the same name.

Why we’re excited:  The novel was great.  Mike Carey let Ryan interview him.  We’ve been waiting for this movie for a long time.

Why we’re wary:  This movie was released in Britain back in September.  Why hasn’t it popped up in the States yet?  That’s not a good sign…

Jimmy says:  I loved the book as well and was looking forward to the movie’s release last fall…which never happened.  And it hasn’t been heard from since.  As Tom says, that’s not a good sign.

The Mummy

What is it?  The first in Universal Studio’s planned Monsters Cinematic Universe.

Why we’re excited:  Cinematic universes are all the rage, and Universal is looking to use their best known properties to get involved.  Quite frankly, thanks to old crossover films these were the original cinematic universe.  And getting a big name actor like Tom Cruise onboard says the studio is serious about bringing the monsters back.

Why we’re wary:  This isn’t the first time Universal has tried this considering the Hugh Jackman Van Helsing, the Benicio Del Toro Wolf-Man, the Brenden Fraser Mummy movies, or even that Dracula Untold thing from a couple years ago.  And here’s an idea:  why not use the monsters for horror movies, not action films with supernatural elements, which the trailer suggests might be what’s happening?

Jimmy says:  The trailer isn’t half bad and I like Tom Cruise enough to check it out.  I’m guessing this will have no ties to the Brenden Fraser version of The Mummy.  And do we really need a Monsters cinematic universe?

Television

The Arrowverse

What is it?  The collected, shared-universe of the CW’s DC line-up that began with Arrow and has since gone on to include The FlashSupergirl, and Legends of Tomorrow.

Why we’re excited:  There’s been an uptick in quality coming from most of these shows.  Arrow might be having its best season since Deathstroke was walking the streets of Starling City.  Legends of Tomorrow jettisoned some of its weaker characters and embraced the goofiness inherent in its concept.  Supergirl made a strong transition from one network to another and a cut in the show’s budget.  If anything, The Flash might be the only one that didn’t get any better, and that’s due more to it being pretty high in quality to begin with.  Heck, Supergirl even introduced a better Superman than the movies have so far.  This is the fun DCU fans are missing on the big screen.

Why we’re wary:  Barry Allen messed with the timeline for a “Flashpoint” storyline, so will much of the good that’s happened this year be erased if and when he fixes that?

Stranger Things 2

What is it?  Netflix’s surprise hit about some kids in the 80s dealing with really weird stuff.

Why we’re excited:  Stranger Things lived up to the hype, creating a show that is not overwhelmed with 80s nostalgia but embraces the time period to create something that looks like it came from the time period, which is a difficult balancing act to attain.  The mystery around Hawkins, Indiana isn’t completely solved yet, and the Duffer Brothers set up something great.

Why we’re wary:  Well, sophomore slumps can happen to the best of shows.  Here’s hoping Stranger Things isn’t a one-season wonder.

Jimmy says:  Stranger Things was one of the best shows I have watched in recent memory.  I’ve heard from many sources that they felt there should be no subsequent seasons.  To let the first stand on it’s own and let your imagination fill in any blanks.  I can see their point to a degree, but I am looking forward to more.  I am worried about the sophomore slump as well as they attempt to once again capture lightening in a bottle.

Game of Thrones

What is it?  HBO’s biggest hit.  You know what it is.

Why we’re excited:  The show surpassed the source material this past year and managed to keep things going smoothly.  Yeah, no one was surprised about the fate of Jon Snow after the previous season’s finale, but secrets were revealed and the end game is coming soon.  Now let us all have a moment of silence for Hodor.

Why we’re wary:  There’s still about thirteen to fifteen episodes left.  That’s a lot of misery to still happen to characters we like while the rotten ones advance their careers.

Iron Fist

What is it?  The last of the individual Defenders solo series about martial artist Danny Rand.

Why we’re excited:  Netflix has done well by Marvel’s TV universe thus far to varying degrees depending on which of the Gabbing Geeks you ask.  There’s no reason to think that Iron Fist won’t continue that with another street-level, low special effects style Marvel hero.

Why we’re wary:  Well, actually, there is a reason:  showrunner Scott Buck.  He gave us the last few seasons of Dexter, and that was not good television.

Jimmy says:  I’m concerned.  Daredevil season two and Luke Cage season one have to be considered let downs.  And though I loved Dexter for a long time, those last few seasons were some of the worst TV I ever forced myself through.  Hopefully Iron Fist can rise above all that and give us a proper set up for The Defenders in the vein of season one of Daredevil and Jessica Jones.

The Defenders

What is it?  A special Marvel team-up show involving Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist working together to stop a single threat.  You know, a Netflix version of The Avengers.

Why we’re excited:  Jessica and Luke already know each other, Luke and Danny Rand are usually best of friends, and Daredevil, well, he looks good in red.  There will be less episodes than most Marvel series, so here’s hoping that translates into something that doesn’t feel like it’s stretched out too far.  Also, Sigourney Weaver was cast as an as-yet unrevealed villain.

Why we’re wary:  I can’t think of anything right now.  There’s a lot we don’t know at this point, truth be told, but that can be a good thing.

Jimmy says:  Ditto.  The move to 8 episodes from 13 really addresses one of the biggest weaknesses with the other Marvel/Netflix series.

The Punisher

What is it?  A spin-off from Netflix’s Daredevil featuring Jon Bernthal’s Frank Castle.

Why we’re excited:  If you had told me I would be excited about a Punisher series at this time last year, I would have thought you ridiculous.  But Bernthal’s character was the true break-out from Daredevil‘s second season, making one of Marvel’s most one-note characters seem like a real person in ways I didn’t think possible.  This is a Frank Castle who tells Dad Jokes.  Has that ever been tried before?

Why we’re wary:  It would be so easy to forget the Punisher needs to be a real person.

Jimmy says:  I agree that the Punisher was the best part of Daredevil season two when he wasn’t lying around in a hospital bed or in court for extended periods.  I worry that the Punisher works best in the sort of role he had in Daredevil, as more of a supporting character.  I know he is popular enough in his own right and has many comic books and movies to prove it, but can they stretch a Punisher story over (I’m assuming) 13 episodes?

House of Cards 

What is it?  Netflix’s original series about an ambitious politician and all the people he and his wife will step on to attain and maintain power.

Why we’re excited:  Kevin Spacey is the man when it comes to making Frank Underwood a compelling anti-hero.  The Shakespearean overtones suggest a fall could be coming soon due to the Bard’s five act structure, and this is season five after all…

Why we’re wary:  Look, I like House of Cards as much as the next Netflix watcher, but this is one of those things that becomes silly if you think about it too hard.  The show walks a fine line just to maintain the credibility it has.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

What is it?  The continuing adventures of those brave S.H.I.E.L.D. agents that keep the rest of us safe from superthreats the Avengers are too busy to deal with.

Why we’re excited:  Personally, I don’t watch this one, but Ryan loves it.  Stuff with Inhumans and Ghost Rider and things like that.

Why we’re wary:  Ratings are apparently down, so this might be the end of the road this season anyway.  Best enjoy it while you can if that’s true.

Jimmy says:  One of these days I’ll get back to watching AoS.  Someday.  Maybe.

Sherlock

What is it?  The continuing adventures of a modern day Sherlock Holmes, as played by Jenny crush Benedict Cumberbatch.

Why we’re excited:  It’s been something like three years since season three.  Aside from a Christmas special last year, that’s all we’ve had to tide us over.  Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman are both busy, so it’s understandable, but oh so frustrating all the same.  Plus, if that picture is anything to go by, Sherlock will now need to contend with the most baffling of people, an infant.

Besides, if you are reading this on January 1st, good news:  the first episode is tonight.

Why we’re wary:  Personally, I think the level of quality dropped between seasons two and three, but that’s just me.  Plus, we only get three episodes at a time.  Yes, they are 90 minutes each, but that’s still not much in the grand scheme of things.

Jimmy says:  Given how long ago it was since season three, Ms. Impossible and I rewatched it over the holidays.  I had forgotten how great this show was and it only heightened my anticipation for season four.  I also rewatched The Abominable Bride which I didn’t like the first time I saw it and still don’t, but c’est la vie.

The Young Pope

What is it?  A series about a (relatively) young man being elected a surprisingly conservative Pope.

Why we’re excited:  Jude Law is the Pope, and Diane Keaton is hanging around as a nun.  What little I know says he is clearly not one for anything less than total formality.  A political drama set in the Vatican could be very interesting, and it’s already aired in Britain and various European countries to critical and fan acclaim.  HBO may have another hit on its hands.

Why we’re wary:  Not an issue for me personally and I was raised Catholic, but there are way too many people in the States that get upset over stuff like this sight unseen.  Fortunately, HBO doesn’t seem to mind those folks as much as, say, regular network programmers.

American Gods

What is it?  A television adaptation of the Neil Gaiman novel of the same name.

Why we’re excited:  A copy of the novel signed by the author is one of my personal prized possessions.  And it’s a rather good book to boot.  Various gods roam the American countryside, old against new, as a seemingly mortal man named Shadow seems to be stuck in the middle of it all.

Why we’re wary:  It’s on a premium network, Starz, so we don’t have to worry about censorship or maybe even whether or not it has a decent budget, but it might be interesting to see how much they could get out of a single novel as the source material.

Ash vs the Evil Dead

What is it?  The continuing (mis)adventures of Ash Williams, the moron who keeps having to fight off the supernatural with a chainsaw.

Why we’re excited:  Well, it’s Ash and it’s the Evil Dead.  If you don’t know why that’s worth seeing, I can’t tell you.

Why we’re wary:  Actually, I’ve never seen it.  Between this and American Gods, I really wish I had Starz right about now.  Ask Jimmy.

Jimmy says:  Unfortunately I can’t tell you much.  I was excited for it to come on and watched the first handful of episodes…but nothing since.  I’m a bad Evil Dead fan.  🙁

Sense8

What is it?  Netflix’s globetrotting adventure about eight random people who share a psychic bond.

Why we’re excited:  This is a real headtripper of a show from the Wachowski sisters and J. Michael Straczynski.  Intelligent and really weird, this is the sort of show you either get or you don’t.

Why we’re wary:  Sometimes this show goes a little overboard with the artistic stuff, like in season one where each of the eight suddenly remembered his or her own birth, or that weird psychic orgy a bunch of them had.  There’s a Christmas special currently on Netflix acting as the first part of season two for the interested.

The Expanse

What is it?  It’s a sci-fi mystery drama set in space from the SyFy Channel.

Why we’re excited:  This is the sort of stuff the SyFy Channel should have been doing all along instead of half-assed movies about tornadoes full of sharks.  If the purpose of your channel is to imagine the crazy, go crazy.

Why we’re wary:  One of the reasons SyFy probably didn’t go crazy before was money.  Will the network continue to shell out for programing like this?  That’s a big reason it’s onetime biggest hit, Farscape, was canceled:  too expensive to continue producing.

The Magicians

What is it?  Another SyFy series, this one based on the novel series by Lev Grossman about what it might really be like to be able to do magic.

Why we’re excited:  Grossman’s world was enticing, an adult look at Harry Potter, where magic doesn’t solve problems or make a person happy.  Instead, the characters use magic to get high and be stupid until they find themselves on an honest-to-goodness magical quest.  At least, that’s how the book went.  I haven’t seen the show yet, but it’s on Netflix right now, so I will be getting to it soon.

Why we’re wary:  Well, it’s still SyFy, and there’s still the potential sophomore slump.  I’ll say more when I’ve seen the show.

A Series of Unfortunate Events

What is it?  Netflix’s adaptation of the popular young readers’ book series by Lemony Snicket.

Why we’re excited:  This series has a large fan following, and Netflix wouldn’t want to screw it up.  Besides, the best appeal may be found in three simple words:  Neil Patrick Harris.

Why we’re wary:  NPH is a major fan of the movie Clue, and that movie is cursed.

Handmaid’s Tale

What is it?  A TV adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel about a future society that controls the reproductive lives of the handful of fertile women that are left.

Why we’re excited:  A story like this could be more timely than anyone cares for it to be.  Series star Elizabeth Moss showed a lot of real acting chops on Mad Men and is probably more than capable of carrying a show of her own.  After all, she had to carry a few episodes of that series, and there were no acting lightweights amongst the Mad Men regular cast.

Why we’re wary:  It’s on Hulu Plus.  Does anyone actually watch Hulu Plus’ original programming?

Outlander

What is it?  The Starz series about love and time travel, based on the popular book series.

Why we’re excited:  This may very well be the opposite of everything going on with The Handmaid’s Tale one entry up.

Why we’re wary:  This is another one I haven’t seen, but it doesn’t make we want to rush out to get Starz right now either.  This probably works better for people who want more romance in their time travel stories.  I’m not one of those people.

Legion

What is it?  Based on the X-Men universe of mutants, Legion is the story of incredibly powerful psychic mutant David Haller.  He’s a little crazy.

Why we’re excited:  Besides the promise that this series will tie somehow into the X-Men movie universe, FX put the show in the hands of Noah Hawley, creator of the great Fargo series.  Star Dan Stevens is looking pretty intense.  Plus, we can see if they’ll go for the comic book origin that makes Legion/Haller the illegitimate son of Charles Xavier.

Why we’re wary:  Legion’s most recent series dealt a lot with the character having voices in his head that weren’t caused by telepathy.  He’s basically insane.  How well will that translate to a TV series?

Jimmy says:  The trailers look great and I’m curious as to what lengths they will go to tie it into the X-Men movies.  This has the potential to be a breakout hit or a complete disaster that lasts 4 episodes.

Voltron:  Legendary Defender

What is it?  Season two of the new Voltron cartoon to spice up all your nostalgia needs.

Why we’re excited:  Unless you’re me and somehow you missed this craze when it first came out, just about every kid in the 80s loved Voltron.  And it’s probably good to make your kids love Voltron too.  Even giant robots made up of smaller robots that are still huge need love.

Why we’re wary:  Well, Ryan never seemed to finish season one.  Given that man’s favorite book is Ready Player One, how does that happen?  Sure, he could just be busy, but…

Jimmy says:  I gave up waiting for Ryan and finally finished the first season of Voltron.  I liked it.  Though I still think it should be called Paladins, as the big guy rarely appears.

The Walking Dead

What is it?  AMC’s monster hit about the survivors of a zombie apocalypse, based on the Image comic book.

Why we’re excited:  For fans, The Walking Dead continues to bring the goods, creating an interesting setting to have zombies pop up out of nowhere, though the walkers may not be anywhere near as dangerous as other survivors.

Why we’re wary:  Yeah, uh, I’ve never seen this show either.  It’s one of those shows I always debate watching but never actually do.  Draw your own conclusions.

Jimmy says:  I’ve been a fan of The Walking Dead since the first issue dropped in 2003 and a fan of the show since it premiered in 2010.  Like any long running series it has it’s ups and downs.  Ebbs and flows.  Some seasons are better than others.  I wasn’t one of the people calling for the head of Robert Kirkman and Scott Gimple when season six ended on a cliffhanger.  I know we are in a “information now” society, but once upon a time season ending cliffhangers of almost every show were the norm.  That said, the first half of season seven has been a disappointment (an entire Tara show?  Who requested that?).  I find The Walking Dead works best when the majority of the players are banding together to face their next adversary.  The show tends to stumble when our “heroes” are splintered and separated as per the end of 2016.  But 2017 looks to bring the gang back together and hopefully wipe that smug look off Negan’s face.

iZombie

What is it?  A charming procedural where the lead character/investigator is secretly a zombie.

Why we’re excited:  iZombie is a fun show.  Period.  Main character Liv is a buoyant personality who doesn’t let a little thing like undeath drag her down, and the central gimmick (that Liv takes on the memories and personality of the brains she needs to eat from the morgue to solve crimes and keep her intellect intact) makes for some interesting character shifts every week.

Why we’re wary:  Should we be?  The over-hanging meta-plot is going in a dark direction which may not appeal to many fans.  Plus The Walking Dead crossover is bound to cause major tonal shifts that were weirder than when Fox crossed over Bones and Sleepy Hollow.  (Please note there is no such planned crossover between iZombie and The Walking Dead.)

Jimmy says:  still haven’t read the source material (or even heard of it until after the show was about to come out) but I’m sure glad I stumbled across this little gem.  Having a lead that was a zombie likely piqued my interest.  Because: zombies.  I’m pretty worried about my CSI: Zombie show though, as the third season premiere is scheduled for April 2017.  Ouch.  That’s not a very high vote of confidence from the network.

Books

City of Miracles

What is it?  The third book in Robert Jackson Bennet’s Divine Cities series.

Why we’re excited:  Because the first two books were awesome explorations of the nature of divinity and what happens when a god dies.  Bennett has created a fascinating world where geopolitics is influenced by the fact that a former world power once had gods running things, those gods are dead, and now the colonizers are  the colonized.

Why we’re wary:  As much as I liked book two, City of Blades, Bennett changed the narrative focus away from City of Stairs‘ politician/scholar Shara and towards a supporting character from the first book.  The change was highly appropriate given the nature of the plot, but I found I missed Shara.  The third book’s basic summary says she’ll probably have even less of a role in this third novel, but the focus is shifting to Sigurd, the giant, one-eyed, monster-killing viking and fugitive king.  We can do far worse.

Jimmy says: I gotta finish City of Stairs first…

Iron Gold 

What is it? It’s a spin-off/continuation of the Red Rising series.

Why we’re excited:  Author Pierce Brown created a fascinating world of moral complexity with Red Rising, and his stories tend to show high levels of creativity.  While this one appears to be using a new set of characters in the same setting, any continuation of this world is fine by his fans, especially Ryan.

Why we’re wary:  Speaking for myself, I think Brown padded out the page count with some unnecessary scenes last time around.  The last book was also less surprising in its action than the first two.  I hope that isn’t the beginning of a downward slide for Brown.  Plus, it would be nice to see what other worlds he may have inside himself as an author.

Jimmy says:  Well, I’ve only read Red Rising and didn’t fall in love with it the way others here have.  Maybe one day I’ll get back to these books.

Peace Talks (Dresden Files 16)

What is it?  The sixteenth book in Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files series.

Why we’re excited:  Even the weakest entries in The Dresden Files are six degrees of awesome.  I don’t think there’s anyone in the urban fantasy business better than Jim Butcher.  He practically invented the genre.  Great action, great wit, and a lot of twists and turns along the way.  It’s always great when we get another Harry Dresden adventure.

Why we’re wary:  I’m not.  About the only thing I find bothersome about Dresden adventures is in some books narrator Harry stops to contemplate how his actions affect his loved ones, which isn’t bad, but it sure does feel like I’ve heard it before many times.

Comic Books

Paper Girls

What is it?  The story of four adolescent girls stuck in the middle of some sort of time travel weirdness when they go out to deliver the morning newspaper.

Why we’re excited:  Writer Brian K. Vaughn generally knows what he’s doing, and the mystery surrounding the story is good and weird.  The girls only have a vague idea what’s happening, but they aren’t letting that stop them.

Why we’re wary:  Well, it’s no Fallen.

Monstress

What is it?  A gorgeously illustrated fantasy quest.

Why we’re excited:  On a personal note, I just got the first trade, so I’m ready to give it a whirl.  The artwork looks beautiful, and there’s a female lead to try and give the fantasy genre some diversity.  Stick around and I will review it once I’ve read it.

Why we’re wary:  Well, it’s no Fallen.

Bitch Planet

What is it?  A sci-fi women-in-prison story acting as a strong allegory for cultural misogyny.

Why we’re excited:  This is a very timely story.  Written and illustrated by women, it tells of a society gone too far from any sense of equality.  Even Mother Nature has been replaced by a man.  There’s a literal patriarchy running things.  The second volume comes out in January, and I really want to see how the world ended up this way given the title of the trade seems to suggest giving the reader some backstory on how everything got this messed up.  The first trade was great, and I don’t just say that because writer Kelly Sue DeConnick gave my review a “like” on Twitter.

Why we’re wary:  Well, it’s no Fallen.

Star Wars comics

What is it?  The comics Marvel publishes set in a galaxy far, far away.

Why we’re excited:  I’m generally wary of licensed books, but these have been done pretty well.  They’re probably somewhat restrained by movies that have already come out, or will be coming out, but they’re fun and Marvel put a lot of top talent on these books.

Why we’re wary:  Well, it’s no Fallen.

Jimmy says:  I don’t generally read licensed books, and likely won’t read many of these going forward, but do yourself a favor and go read the Darth Vader series.  That was well done.

The Royals

What is it?  It’s a comic book about the Inhuman Royal Family.

Why we’re excited:  I’m not sure that I am, personally, but Marvel has been trying for years to make the Inhumans a thing.  Maybe this time they will actually succeed to spite Fox for owning movie rights to the mutants.

Why we’re wary:  Well, it’s no Fallen.

Black Bolt

What is it?  A new series starring the Inhumans silent king, Black Bolt.

Why we’re excited:  An ongoing series about a guy who can’t talk?  What can go wrong?  See above comments on the Inhumans being a thing.

Why we’re wary:  Well, it’s no Fallen.

Jimmy says:  Given the suckfest that was Civil War II, I’m not sure if I’m excited for much of anything Marvel coming up.  And just give it a rest with the Inhumans already.  They’ll never be the X-Men Marvel, no matter how hard you try.

Pieces

What is it?  [Redacted]

Why we’re excited:  [Redacted]

Why we’re wary:  [Redacted]

Jimmy says:  Well, it’s no Fallenbut hopefully Ryan and I can share the details of our secret project in the upcoming months.

Video Games

Please note:  Tom doesn’t really play video games, so his ignorance on this subject is bound to show here more than anywhere else.

Please also note:  Jimmy does play video games, but his scope is very limited and he barely gets the time to play much of anything these days.

South Park: The Fractured but Whole

What is it?  Another South Park game, where this time the kids use their superhero alter-egos to do…something.

Why we’re excited:  These games work with the show’s producers to give it that special South Park look and sound.

Why we’re wary:  You know why I quit South Park ages ago?  I don’t tend to like gross humor, and that show would often find one gross, generally unfunny joke and repeat it fifty times in a single half-hour episode.  And the social allegories were often dumbed down straw man arguments.  I don’t really expect much from a silly cartoon in terms of social commentary, but as it is I’m not a fan of South Park these days.

Mass Effect:  Andromeda

What is it?  The latest installment in the sci-fi RPG.

Why we’re excited:  Stunning visuals and compelling storylines are a staple of popular game series like this or else they wouldn’t be popular.

Why we’re wary:  This is the one where Master Chief hunts the Metroids, right?

The Legend of Zelda: The Breath of the Wild

What is it?  The latest in Nintendo’s long running fantasy RPG.

Why we’re excited:  Hey, even I know that Peter Pan-lookin’ guy ain’t Zelda.  I played one of these once during a brief period when I had and played a Wii.  There are a lot of fans out there for this series.

Why we’re wary:  I played one once and, uh, didn’t get very far.

Nintendo Switch-Mario Switch

What is it?  Nintendo’s newest upcoming game system.

Why we’re excited:  It’s a handheld and can be played through your TV, hence the name.  It even has a new Mario game.

Why we’re wary:  There’s some speculation this is being put out because Nintendo’s latest console hasn’t been looking too good in demo.

Jimmy says:  You have to take your hat off to Nintendo.  If anything, they always seem to push the boundaries and get people excited.  Remember when the Wii first came out?  They are hoping for a similar revelation here with Switch.  Time will tell.

Spider-Man

What is it?  It’s a Spider-Man game.  Duh.

Why we’re excited:  Games like this allow you all the fun of being the hero without all the downsides of taking beatings and bad press from that guy with the Hitler mustache.  Jimmy can’t sit still this year with all the Spider-goodness coming.

Why we’re wary:  Um, what’s with that white spider on his chest?

Jimmy says:  That’s what gives me pause too, Tom.  If they are taking liberties with the costume, what else will they change up?  But, yes, I’m excited to see Spidey unleashed with the full power of the PS4.  Spider-Man games over the years have been very hit and miss.  If this is a hit, and the movie is good (note, the game and movie are not related), it’s going to be a big year for your friendly neighborhood wallcrawler.

Resident Evil 7:  Biohazard

What is it?  Well, the title tells me it is the seventh game in the Resident Evil series.

Why we’re excited:  Maybe someone will finally explain how the Umbrella Corporation planned to make a profit off a zombie virus.

Why we’re wary:  More zombies?  Sheesh.

Jimmy says:  For someone who is a big Resident Evil fan, I sure don’t act like it.  I haven’t played Resident Evil 5 or 6 (or Zero for that matter) and I don’t think I’ve seen the last several movies.  I’ll have to finally rectify that this year.  (He says, knowing he will say the same thing next year.)  RE7 is getting major buzz and is a return to the series more horror roots after the last few installments have been more action adventure oriented.  Which sounds good to me as 2-4 and Code: Veronica are some of my favorite games ever.

Marvel vs Capcom 4

What is it?  The fourth installment of the popular fighting game series where Marvel’s characters team up and/or battle Capcom’s.

Why we’re excited:  There’s generally a colorful mix of characters in here that make no sense working together in so many different ways and for so many different reasons.

Why we’re wary:  How can Mega-Man defeat the Hulk?  He’s no Mario!

Gabbing Geek

What is it?  You’re reading it right now.

Why we’re excited:  We do what we love.

Why we’re wary:  Watson might come back.  Or he might not.  Both are cause for concern.

We’re damned if he does and we’re damned if he don’t.

4 thoughts on “2017: Year Of Anticipation

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