Sunday, January 20, 2013

2013: What I'm Looking Forward to This Year

A little over a week ago, I closed the door on 2012 by looking back on what I was anticipating the most coming into the year. And now it's time to look forward. Since we're at the start of 2013, I'm going to do it again: list some of the movies, books, TV shows and music that I'm looking forward to this year.

(Photo Source: Lionsgate)
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (in theaters November 22)
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (in theaters December 13)
Game Change
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
Zero Dark Thirty

The Host (in theaters March 29)
Terry Fator: All Hits, No Lips (late 2013 DVD release)

The two movies at the top of this list, the latest Hunger Games and Hobbit movies, are the two I'm most looking forward to seeing this year. (The first in these series were at the top of my list last year as well.) Unfortunately, they don't come out until the end of the year. Recently, some official photos from Catching Fire were released, all getting me pumped up and ready for whenever a trailer is released.

Lincoln is getting rave reviews, and Daniel Day-Lewis won a Golden Globe last weekend for his role as the 16th president. As you know by now, I'm a huge political news junkie, so I can't wait to get a peek inside the world of politics during his day. Speaking of politics, Game Change also won a few Golden Globes. I read the book that the film is based on last year, and in my review I called it one of the best non-fiction books I've ever read. I still stand by that statement. And you can count on a review of the film most likely within the next few weeks. (A sequel to the book, called Double Down: Game Change 2012, is set for a fall 2013 release--and I include that in the books section below.) Then there's also Zero Dark Thirty, about the hunt for Osama bin Laden.

I'm in the middle of reading Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter and so far I'm enjoying it quite a bit. The writing style, and the use of Abe's "journal entries" make for a fascinating read and discovery into this fictional version of the president. Which has me interested in the movie; I'm no doubt going to watch it after I'm through with the book.

And finally, The Host, based on the huge bestseller by Twilight author Stephenie Meyer. If you find yourself not wanting to read the book because it was written by the same person who brought us Edward and Bella, don't take that as a turnoff. If anything, you might find The Host a far superior book to the vampire saga. Much of the first-person narrative is so much internal within the protagonist that I'm intrigued by how the filmmakers are going to pull off this adaptation.

If you are ever in Las Vegas, go see Terry Fator's show. My family and I did last summer. He's the singing ventriloquist who won season 2 of America's Got Talent. A couple years ago or so, he came out with a DVD of his show. And now another one will be out sometime later this year.

(Photo Source: NBC)
TV Shows:
Smash (season 2 premieres February 5)
American Idol
American Horror Story (season 3 premieres in Fall 2013)
Breaking Bad

The West Wing

There's so much hype surrounding the return of Smash, not the least of which is Jennifer Hudson joining the show for a three-episode arc, as well as other cast additions and guest stars. I devour any and every preview NBC posts online, and the first hour of the two-hour premiere is available to view online for free right now. I've got so many other things to catch up on right now, so I hope I can sneak in time to watch that first hour.

Yes, American Idol season 12 already premiered (last week, in fact). But just go with me on this because this post was intended to go up before the premiere. All anyone's talking about is Mariah Carey, Nicki Minaj and their feud. Mariah may be the biggest star on the panel, but I'm actually most looking forward to Nicki, because we really need someone who can not only bring the crazy and the humor, but most important the honesty that we haven't seen on Idol in a few years, since the days of Simon Cowell. Let's hope the upcoming weeks and months live up to the noise.

The final two shows listed here are Breaking Bad and The West Wing, the former having been on for four and half seasons and almost at its conclusion, and the latter having been off the air since 2006. But I've never seen either show before. Being the political nerd that I am, I've had The West Wing written down to finally watch for a while now. I'm about five episodes in, and so far it's living up to expectations. And with Breaking Bad, I'm two episodes into season 1, and it's beyond fantastic. Over the course of 2013 (and most likely the following year or so after that), I'll be working my way through these two series.

(Photo Source: Bantam Books)
A Clash of Kings - George R.R. Martin
Waiting to be Heard - Amanda Knox (in stores April 30)
Double Down: Game Change 2012 - Mark Halperin/John Heilemann (Fall 2013)

Harken - Kaleb Nation
The Selection - Kiera Cass
Inferno - Dan Brown (in stores May 14)
Room - Emma Donoghue
The Night Circus - Erin Morgenstern

At the end of every year, I go through the list of books I want to read and choose which ones to read for the following year. And once I compiled that for this year, I noticed many if not most of the books are fantasy/YA/dystopia series. The above selection is just a handful of what's on my 2013 list. I read A Game of Thrones last year, and now after having just finished watching season 1 of the HBO show, I'm itching to start on A Clash of Kings.

Kaleb Nation is a YouTuber and author. He's written two Bran Hambric novels, marketed towards children. I had the opportunity to interview him. And now he's starting a new series, this time for a YA audience, and it's all about conspiracy theories and the like. Harken was released on January 13 as an eBook. But I don't have a tablet or eReader, and I refuse to read a full-length book on my computer. (I've done that before and don't recommend it.) So I'm waiting for them to come out with a hardcover or paperback edition, which Kaleb has promised will happen this year.

Then there's The Selection, what some people have called a mix between The Hunger Games and The Bachelor; now, I'm no fan of The Bachelor, but the Hunger Games aspect intrigues me. And with a TV show in the works, I want to read the book (a sequel is due out in the spring) so that I don't miss out on the show if the story catches my attention enough.

Dan Brown is most known for his book The Da Vinci Code. His most recently novel, The Lost Symbol, did not live up to fans' expectations, so I'm really hoping that Inferno, yet another Robert Langdon thriller, can bring us back to what we loved about the first two.

(Photo Source: Columbia Records)
Bombshell: The New Marilyn Monroe Musical from Smash (in stores February 12)

Most music releases for 2013 are unknown or unconfirmed at this point, so there's only one album I know of right now that I want to have: the latest collection of music from the TV show Smash. The first set, The Music of Smash, featured both originals and covers from season 1. And this new one will focus only on the music from the Marilyn Monroe musical, Bombshell. There will be some repeat songs, which is natural, but some of the season 1 songs weren't released and they'll be on here, as will some new ones from season 2.

Are there any movies, TV shows, books, music or anything else that you're looking forward to this year? Share in the comments or tweet me using the links below.

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