January: the month of resolutions both started and failed. Of cold, post-holiday malaise. How is one to escape the doldrums after the season of joy and giving? By leaping into pop culture, that’s how. The Refinery29 entertainment team is here to suggest the movies, TV shows, books, and music that’ll get you amped for 2018.
Get excited for the midseason premieres of your favorite shows, from
The Good Place to Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. Plus, the blockbuster returns with a completely different topic: the assassination of designer Gianni Versace. Will it live up to the hype of American Crime Story ? That remains to be seen, but you know we’ll be tuning in. Meanwhile, Lena Waithe is bringing her talents to Showtime with The People vs. O.J. Simpson The Chi, while Zoey Johnson (Yara Shahidi) is heading to college on .
Rose McGowan’s long-awaited
Brave hits shelves at the end of the month. The powerful voice of the #metoo movement and leader of Rose’s Army is telling her life story in a fearless tome.
Also, we’re officially in the thick of awards season. The year kicks off with the
Golden Globes, with the SAGs following closely on their heels. Will Get Out prove victorious, sending a strong message to Hollywood about the types of stories that need to be told (and outside-the-box genres that are worthy of award consideration)? The achingly beautiful could net young Timothée Chalamet best actor consideration at the Oscars, with castmates Armie Hammer and Michael Stuhlbarg hot on his heels with their equally moving performances. If this kind of awards season drama doesn't float your boat, there's plenty to check out at the box office.
Call Me By Your Name
Yes, it’s a busy month for entertainment mavens, even if it’s easy to feel sluggish after the hustle and bustle of the holidays. Ahead, see some of our picks for the best of the month.
Kathryn Lindsay, Entertainment News Writer Golden Globes (January 7 on NBC) It's a new year, and awards season is officially kicking off! I used to only care about the Oscars and the Emmys, but working in entertainment has made me appreciate the long game much more. It's less about one award but instead how shows and movies fare with different audiences and different criteria. There are movies I've been rooting for since they first came out, and I can't wait to follow their journeys. Is this what sports feels like? Crazy Ex-Girlfriend returns (January 5 on The CW) Speaking of the long game, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend's true purpose has finally arrived. It was never about Josh, but instead about Rebecca's own journey, culminating in a suicide attempt in episode 5. I'm looking forward to seeing this serious topic pursued with comedy and respect when the show returns on January 5.
Morgan Baila, Entertainment News Writer Arctic Thunder Justice Squad (in theaters January 26) An animated movie starring James Franco, Jeremy Renner, Anjelica Huston, and Heidi Klum addressing global warming? Sign me up. As off-brand as this movie is for me to be excited about as a 25-year-old with no children, it warms my heart (in a non-global warming way) to see real-life issues being used as plot lines for children's films. Get ready for more woke babies in 2018, y’all. High Maintenance (January 19 on HBO) is one of the funniest and freshest shows on television and finally returns to HBO on January 19 at 11 p.m. The series, which was created by the hilarious duo Katja Blichfeld and Ben Sinclair (who is also its star, "The Guy"), follows Brooklyn and Manhattan's most lovable pot dealer as he interacts with his strange and endearing clients, from dog walkers to college students to rich kids to stay-at-home dads. This is one show that will leave you feeling high on life.
Lauren Le Vine, Senior Entertainment Editor The Good Place midseason premiere (January 4 on NBC) When oh when will the general population open its eyes to this marvelously clever, pun-tastic show from brilliant writers like Michael Schur, Megan Amram, Joe Mande, and Aisha Muharrar? It deals with ethical and moral paradoxes in a comedic way, and you’ll walk away from every episode feeling like you actually learned something about philosophy. While learning from a TV show may not sound like everyone’s cup of tea, trust me, these are universal truths everyone should keep in mind at all times. The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story (January 17 on FX) I hope the latest installment of FX’s anthology series tackling headline-making crimes lives up to the addictive nature of its predecessor, . I still remember learning about Gianni Versace’s death, but I was too young to know all the details behind it. In the most macabre of ways, I can’t wait to learn the true story behind the fashion designer’s shocking murder in 1997.
The People vs. O.J. Simpson
Rebecca Farley, Editorial Assistant The Bachelor (January 1 on ABC) Last year was a weird one for Bachelor Nation — we saw two Bachelor breakups, one confusing Bachelor in Paradise catastrophe, and an underwhelming Bachelorette engagement. I'm beginning to suspect we've outgrown The Bachelor. It relies on traditional dating structures, and, as the lines between television and social media continue to blur, it's hard to tell who's performing and who's falling in love. This doesn't mean it's irrelevant, though. (And thank goodness, because I'm going to watch anyway.) It's still the most popular dating reality show on television, and it's fascinating to watch ABC figure out how to keep the show up to date. With a Bachelor from 2011, the show is clearly trying to return to its heydey, which occurred around season 8 of The Bachelorette. Will it succeed? Probably not. Will I watch every minute of it? Absolutely. Camila Cabello, Camila (January 12) I remember the moment I fell in love with Camila Cabello. I was watching The Tonight Show and I saw her perform "Havana" in a red leather jumpsuit. Related: I have recently been looking to invest in a red leather jumpsuit. "Havana" is the lead single of Cabello's upcoming album Camila. It will be her debut album which, after a year of solid singles, is way overdue.
Ariana Romero, Entertainment Writer Black Lightning (January 16 on the CW) The CW might be pushing Black Lightning's titular superhero right now, but I’m much more excited about the crusader’s daughters, Anissa (Nafessa Williams) and Jennifer (China Anne McClain). These two young women will have super powers of their own, and I expect they’re going to use them. It’s about time DC Comics' sprawling Berlantiverse looks like the real world, where Black women save the day on the regular. Oscar Nominations (January 23) The holiday season is fun and all, but awards season is actually the best time of the year. After months of hearing about what award season bait may get nominated for an Oscar, it will be a relief to finally have the big answers. And, look, after that brief moment of pop cultural calm washes over our national psyche, we can all rage against the Hollywood machine if Girls Trip's Tiffany Haddish is left off of the best supporting actress ballot.
Maia Efrem, Associate Entertainment Editor The Alienist (January 22 on TNT) Based on a historical fiction book by the same name, the series centers around the mysterious murders of male prostitutes that shake New York City in the late 1890s. The series stars Dakota Fanning, Luke Evans, and Daniel Brühl as the trio that sets out to investigate and put an end to the murders. If the trailer is any indication, The Alienist is a riveting psychological thriller, plunging us into the underground world of sex, murder, and deceit. New Girl (TBD on FOX) After six hilarious seasons, it's time to say goodbye to the shenanigans and quirky tête-à-têtes between our favorite loft mates. Last we saw the gang, Jess and Nick professed their love for each other, Winston was engaged to his partner Aly, and Cece and Schmidt were expecting a baby. In the final (and shortened) season, the show jumps forward in time. While we don't know what that means for the others, we do know there's a new sheriff in town and her name is Ruth Schmidt, Cece and Schmidt's daughter. She is so adorable I demand a spinoff ASAP! I'll be sad to see the gang go, but look forward to the final eight episodes with them.
Sesali Bowen, Entertainment Writer The Chi (January 7 on Showtime) As a Chicago native, I am ready to love and hate The Chi at the same time. The highly anticipated Showtime original series from Emmy winner Lena Waithe is a drama set in the Windy City, also her hometown. With appearances from Common, the trailer sets it up to be both gripping and funny. And I can count on Waithe to make sure that the street names are pronounced properly. Grown-ish (January 3 on FreeForm) On January 3, we are finally going to get the dose of Yara Shahidi that we deserve. No longer a supporting character, she is going to be the lead on a new black-ish spinoff called Grown-ish. Premiering on FreeForm, Shahidi is reprising her role as Zoey and embarking on her freshman year of college, and adulthood. May her nights be long and her hangovers brief.
Elena Nicolaou, Entertainment Writer Brave by Rose McGowan (January 30) McGowan, the crusader of the #MeToo movement, now has an entire memoir in which she can expound on her experiences, her rages, and her hopes for how Hollywood's culture — and culture in general — can change in light of the Weinstein revelations. Thanks to McGowan's persistence and outspokenness, we've entered into a period in which women's voices are not only heard, they're taken seriously. In this memoir, she's likely to be even louder with her story, because she knows we're all listening. Counterpart (January 21 on Starz) In a show like The Office, the people working in a gray-hued office escape the doldrums through pranks. And in Counterpart, Howard Silk (J.K. Simmons) does so by figuring out his U.N. agency is actually guarding the secret to a parallel dimension. Simmons gets to meet his counterpart on the other side, and see the life he could have had. Counterpart is poised to be one helluva thrilling and metaphysical ride.
Anne Cohen, Entertainment Editor Proud Mary (in theaters January 12) Taraji P. Henson, a woman of color, headlining a mainstream blockbuster thriller is already a radical move in an industry where Black female leads are still few and far between. As a hit woman working for the mob, Henson is about to re-shape our idea of what an action hero looks like. Who says you can't be a badass in thigh-high stilettos? Victoria (January 14 on PBS) It's kind of sad that a show about 19th century female monarch feels like it's tackling modern issues, but that's exactly what makes this royal drama so compelling. Fans of The Crown will recognize the all-too relatable struggle that women in power face as they try to juggle work and societal expectations of motherhood and deference. Come for the killer dresses, stay for the cathartic takedown of the patriarchy!