So far I think it’s fair to say 2017 has been rather impressive on both the big and the small screen.
The Lego Batman Movie had an incredible reception, and is currently sitting on a box office gross of 150 million dollars; while Taboo saw UK viewing figures of 4.8 million on the premier episode alone, already receiving a go-ahead for a second season. And of course we all remember the finale season of Sherlock in all its headscratching-inducing wonder (review available here).
Credit: http://www.tvguide.com/tvshows/taboo/881137/, http://www.fandango.com/thelegobatmanmovie_191368/movieoverview, BBC Sherlock - edited by Brig Culture
But looking back [Topcan wait until the sentimentality that befalls us at the end of the year – right now it’s too early for that tosh.
With most of these big releases being something to look forward for when deadlines and dissertations are behind us, looking forward at what is to come seems like the best way to get us through the hard times.
A movie that has had debate surrounding it since the lead’s casting is sci-fi manga film adaption Ghost in the Shell.
I’m not about to get all political about whether, in fact, the film is western culture white-washing the Japanese source material. But the controversy around the casting of Scarlet Johansson has made the film hard to ignore.
Whichever side of the fence you sit on, I personally think it is undeniable that the film’s visuals look incredible as well as the premise being one you can’t help but be intrigued by – even if ScarJo seems to be reprising her newfound Black Window/Lucy typecast.
Set in a mid-twenty-first century dystopia, Ghost in the Shell follows the counter-cyberterrorist organisation Public Security Section 9, led by The Major portrayed by Johansson.
Ghost in the Shell crashes, guns blazing, onto UK cinema screens on March 30.
Another highly anticipated release hitting screens at the end of March comes in the form of Netflix series 13 Reasons Why.
Based on Jay Asher’s novel of the same name, the show follows a teen finding the tapes that his crush had recorded before taking her own life, explaining the 13 reasons why she killed herself.
The 13-part Netflix series comes from the director of the 2016 Best Picture Oscar winner Spotlight, Tom McCarthy, and stars young rising star Dylan Minnette as main character Clay Jensen – who, I assume, will function as the narrator as we follow through the story.
13 Reasons Why is added to UK Netflix libraries on March 31.
Moving on to April, all you motor heads and random unexplained explosion fans out there have The Fate of the Furious to look forward to.
Functioning as the eighth addition to the Fast and the Furious franchise, this film sees the ‘family’ that has formed over this time become divided and turn on one of their own after a betrayal from within – throwing wrecking balls, tanks and even a high speed submarine in the mix as some fan Viagra to keep their ‘OTT-action arousal’ in top gear [Ayy!]
With an A-lister cast list to rival that of a MCU ensemble film – with Kurt Russell, Charlize Theron and Jason Statham to name a few – and a multi-hundred million dollar budget to max, The Fate of the Furious looks to be one of the most intense, explosive additions to the franchise to date.
The Fate of the Furious speeds [ayy!] onto UK cinema screens on April 12.
April also sees two TV series air that have already generated a lot of both online and offline dispute.
The first is Peter Capaldi’s and show runner Steven Moffat’s final season of Doctor Who.
The time travel show has had some serious ups and downs in the last few years with UK viewing figures not quite reaching that of the Tennant/Davis era, so for many this last series for Moffat and Capaldi couldn’t come soon enough, but for others it will be a sorry goodbye to both key contributors to this British national treasure.
Doctor Who’s tenth season will premier with the first episode on April 15 and will feature new companion Pearl Mackie.
The next show that is proving surprisingly divisive is the Netflix series adaptation of 2014 satire film Dear White People.
From the film’s original director, writer and producer, Justin Simien, shall be returning to take lead for this 10 episode series that satirically follows a group of African American minorities in a white majority Ivy League college as racial tensions begin to escalate.
This is yet another show that will have at least some Oscar winning talent behind it, with Barry Jenkins, director of Best Picture winner Moonlight, coming on board to direct a few episodes.
The YouTube trailer for the show has caused a great uproar over allegedly being ‘anti-white’ and even prompted an attempted Netflix boycott campaign.
Dear White People will be available Netflix libraries from April 28.
Also in April we see Star Lord, Gamora and the gang of universe savers return in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2.
Now I could go full nerd and do a full scale analysis of the trailers released and what that tells us about the film’s plot, MCU’s third phase and everything in between, but I do not feel this article is quite the right place for said nerd-spiel.
All I will say is that it looks like the team and its members will see some physical changes and additions with Groot now being referred to as “Baby Groot” in the trailers, and with previous rival Nebula possibly joining the group of comically reluctant space avengers; along with another memorably nostalgic soundtrack.
The Guardians sequel will have you, once again, “hooked on a feeling” in UK cinema screens from April 28.
Finally for April, the long awaited TV adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s modern yet mythological fantasy novel American Gods hits screens across America – most likely available for online streaming not long after the American premier.
The show premise centres around the conflict between the old gods, such as Oden, gathering together to take on the new ‘American Gods’ – being the media and technology.
The cast isn’t exactly studded with A-listers, but some big names such as Ian McShane, Gillian Anderson and Kristin Chenoweth are lined up for some godly roles, judging by their credited names.
The show will premier at 9pm in the US on the Starz network on April 30.
Now May is the month I’m really gearing up for – getting my Tango special ice blast out from under my bed and putting on my cinema-going blanket (yes, I did just say I have a cinema-going blanket, what about it?). With the academic year coming to an end, the cinema where I’m going to be spending a great deal of my time when this list of blockbusters and other cute releases hit the big screen.
First up is yet another chapter in the iconic sci-fi horror Alien series, which had hype building exponentially from the release of the first teaser trailer.
The new instalment, title Alien: Covenant, sees Michael Fassbender return to the series to take on yet another Xenomorph while trapped onboard yet another dark, eerie spaceship – where, of course, no one can hear you pish yourself.
Now cinema urination and Freudian psychoanalytic interpretation aside, this recent instalment looks to be returning to the high suspense excellence achieved in the franchise’s first two films.
Although I’m quite religiously not a fan of horror in any manifestation, Covenant is a film I will happily make an exception for.
The Xenomorphs will be jump-scaring back onto your screens on May 12.
May 12 will also see the US release of Everything, Everything; another star-crossed teen romance novel adaptation.
The film, based on Nicola Yoon’s novel of the same name, focuses on a teenage girl with Immunodeficiency (more commonly known as “Bubble Baby disease”). This means she is allergic to so much in the world that one has to exist purely in her custom build sterile home to stay safe and healthy. The narrative however takes a turn when a new neighbour boy moves in a takes an interest in her and a complicated romance begins to blossom, much to the dismay of her anxious and protective mother.
Although Everything, Everything’s UK release date is yet to be announced, May seems like a likely time given its US distribution schedule.
Another big May blockbuster that will surely bring in audiences by the millions is the return of Captain Jack Sparrow and his piratey eccentricity.
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (or as online whispers dictate, the UK release name of Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge) sees the franchise lift its anchor and raise its sails again after a six year break; with Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom and Geoffrey Rush all returning to their parts for another chapter in their swashbuckling adventures.
Not very originally, this story follows a group of alive pirates trying to avoid being killed by some not-so-alive-anymore-but-still-walking-about-and-stuff pirates – with the writers probably thinking along the lines of “if it ain’t broke, keep repeating it till it is”.
I hope for the franchises sake they take some risks with story and character in order to keep the formula fresh, but from trailers it seems like tropes are just being repeated with mildly different circumstance – an example being the large sea-chasm the ship has to avoid falling into, drawing far too many parallels to Calipso’s whirlpool finale from World’s End.
Dead Men Tell No Tales (or Salazar’s Revenge) lands on British shores on May 26 with a yo ho ho and a bottle of Fanta Fruit Twist TM (let’s not encourage alcohol consumption).
As for the small screen, May will also see the launch of new Netflix series Anne.
Based on the novel Anne of Green Gables, by Lucy Maud Montgomery, this new series centres around an orphan living in 19th century Nova Scotia.
Little is known about how rigidly Anne is sticking to the source material and what the series will have as its overarching narrative yet, but the show does seem like a bold indie choice for the media giants Netflix.
Hopefully this means a step in the right direction by supporting smaller, less established films and television from Netflix, but until May we will have to wait and see.
Anne will appear on the Netflix catalogue on May 12.
These months will also feature the return of many well-known shows with new (and final in some cases) seasons such as The Get Down [April 7], Sense 8 [May 5], and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmitt [May 19].