3 Books, Shows, & Movies I'm Looking Forward to in 2018
About 90% of my life revolves around pop culture and media. It’s pretty much the only way I communicate with my teen at this point (like a secret language). I teach a college-level course on female superheroes. And pretty much all my free time is given over to the gods of pop culture. Thankfully, 2018 looks to be filled with plenty of quality books, television shows, and movies to keep me happy. Here’s some of the ones I am most looking forward to this year.
A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J. Maas
A Court of Thorns and Roses is one of my favorite series. It begins with a retelling of Beauty and the Beast and then becomes so much more. With a clever spin on the good boy vs. bad boy, I love how each and every character is developed, each with their own deep flaws and glorious moments. The latest in the series is set to hit the store shelves (or Amazon) on May 1st, so there is plenty of time to catch up on the first three books.
The Merry Spinster: Tales of Everyday Horror by Mallory Ortberg
So, I love a good fairy tale retelling. There, I said it. This collection uses a feminist bent to update traditional children’s stories and fairy tales. Adding in some psychological horror just to spice things up. Of course, for anyone who has studied the tales in their more original forms, you know there is plenty of horror to be found.
Television has been used as a propaganda vehicle since it was first introduced into the American home. And it wasn’t just the television ads. Shows like Leave it to Beaver were part of the backlash that shuttled out of the workforce and back into homes, idealizing an image of the perfect wife. Over the decades, the image of women in front of the camera and the power of women behind the camera has changed the way we see women. Stealing the Show is a behind-the-scenes account of revolution taking place on our television screens.
The Good Place (Season 2, NBC)
Okay, Season 2 came to its conclusion on February 1st, but technically it had new episodes in 2018 and I’m sure we will see Season 3 later in the year. Did you see the finale? Did the "somewhere else" turn out to be your fan theory or completely shock you? Kristen Bell is always a hoot and Ted Danson, well, what can I say. Every episode has a plot twist you weren’t expecting and it’s one of the only shows that still manages to delight and surprise me.
Jessica Jones (Season 2, Netflix)
OMG, why is this not out right now!!!! This show is THE Marvel show I recommend. If all others up and disappeared tomorrow, I would not cry as long as we have Jessica. Season 1 showcased a story about life after sexual trauma, and it was the first show that I felt did it well. No one bounces back after an episode, people are still broken and trying to climb back out of the hell they underwent, and rape was never used to further the story of the male lead. Plus, the villain was by far the scariest Marvel villain to appear on screen.
The Handmaid’s Tale (Season 2, Hulu)
If you haven’t watched Season 1, please stop what you are doing, grab your comfy blanket, and go watch the whole thing right now. Actually, watch a couple episodes, come up for air, read some silly comic strips to cleanse your palate, then head back in. Based on Margaret Atwood’s novel, Season 1 followed Offred/June in the new nation of Gilead. It’s a time and place where few women are able to conceive. Those that can, get passed around like livestock. The first season ends where the book does, so Season 2 is all new material. And they say it’s going to be even darker.
Westworld (Season 2)
Michael B. Jordan shirtless. I could just leave it at that. But in reality, this movie is ground-breaking. I remember the overwhelming swell of emotions I felt while watching Wonder Woman walk across No Man’s Land last year. Black Panther is set to stir those same emotions for the Black Community. And given the numerous female characters who are anything but Sexy Lamps, I can’t even imagine what the experience will be like for women of color. All the advance comments say this movie is astonishing. And I have no doubt that’s an understatement.
I recently reread this classic and was sad that it didn’t stand up for me. I had loved it as a child, the science nerd that I was, but when I read it again last year, I was disappointed. Meg just wasn’t the “strong” female character I remembered. But watching the trailers, I get a sense that Ava Duvernay has committed to developing this character to her fullest.
Ocean’s 11 is one of those movies I will sit down and watch every single time it is on TV. It is just plain joyful. The story is fun, but more than anything, I love to watch actors who are obviously having the time of their life. When I saw that another movie in the saga would star an entire crew of women, led by the talents of Sandra Bullock and Cate Blanchett, well, please take all my money.
Mama Mia: Here We Go Again
*For any die hard fan (like me) of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, this is going to be a BIG year. Three movies, including the culmination of more than 10 years of story building, just this year. It would be easy to just list these three movies (Black Panther, Antman and The Wasp, and Avengers: Infinity War) as the movies I am looking forward to, but I wanted to be more diverse in my selection.