Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Most anticipated of 2016

I've never done a "most anticipated" list before, but 2015 was so great — from the first Faith No More record in 18 years, to the best Stephen King novel since the 90s, to the consistently excellent film and television — that I'm finding myself much more excited about what's coming up than I have been in a really long time. So here are a few of the things I'm looking forward to the most in 2016.


The City of Mirrors by Justin Cronin (May 24)

The final installment in Cronin's The Passage trilogy of post-apocalyptic vampire novels (comprising 2010's The Passage and 2012's The Twelve), this book will conclude what, for my money, is the best horror/sci-fi series to come along in a very long time. Owing much to Stephen King's The Stand and Richard Matheson's I Am Legend, Cronin's vision is nevertheless distinct enough to make it stand apart, and the world and characters he creates are vivid and complex. The overall tone is one of deep melancholy that should make newer readers think of a more bent version of The Walking Dead. 

A lot of fans (myself included) were a bit underwhelmed by The Twelve (although, on a second read, I have to say it was a lot better than I remembered), so it'll be interesting to see if Cronin can stick the landing here.

Runner Up:

End of Watch by Stephen King (June 7)

Another conclusion to a trilogy, King's End of Watch is the follow-up to the pretty good Mr. Mercedes (2014) and the excellent Finders Keepers (2015). This series is a bit of a departure for King, who's working in a self-consciously John D. McDonald-influenced hard-boiled crime framework here. Mr. Mercedes showed a bit of strain, probably because of his unfamiliarity with creating this type of story, but in Finders Keepers he found his stride and wrote his best book in well over a decade.

The ending of Finders Keepers hints that End of Watch might stray back towards his supernatural horror roots, however, so I'm curious to see what he does with the likely genre mashup.


The Witch (February 19)

Coming out of last year's Sundance, the level of buzz surrounding the debut film by Robert Eggers has been insane. And, if the above trailer is any indication, this promises to be one of the scariest fucking movies in the history of ever. The most difficult part of this for me is managing my expectations. Luckily we don't have to wait much longer.

 Runner Up:

 Green Room (April 15)

Jeremy Saulnier's Blue Ruin was an imperfect but wildly ambitious debut, and Green Room looks to take that movie's savage ethic and positively square it. All I know is that it's about members of a punk band from Portland who inadvertently agree to perform at a white supremacist gathering, where they witness a brutal crime and then have to fight to survive.

Just the concept alone is enough to grab my interest, but the fact that it's Saulnier makes it a must-see.


Deftones, Gore (April 8)

Looking at what's scheduled, there isn't a whole lot coming out in the music world that really grabbed my attention. But I'll always check out a new Deftones record; for me, they're one of the only 90s nü-metal bands to survive with their artistic integrity intact.

Runner Up:

Anthrax, For All Kings (February 26)

I'm enjoying this throw-backy Anthrax that we've been getting since the return of Joey Belladonna. I can't say the above-linked song is among their best work, but I'm willing to give the album as a whole a chance.

2nd Runner Up:

Untitled new Metallica album (TBA)

I'm quite convinced that this album, whatever it is, will suck a hairy dog ball. But I'm still enough of an old-school thrash guy that I can't ignore a new record by these guys. We'll see, I guess.

3rd Runner Up:

P.J. Harvey, The Hope Six Demolition Project (April 15)

Harvey's work is always great and she hasn't put out a record since 2011, so I'll definitely be excited the day this one drops.


Daredevil Season 2 (Netflix)

I don't really care about the whole Marvel universe thing, and I've only ever been mildly interested in the movies. But the work they're doing on Netflix with Daredevil and Jessica Jones has been excellent. Both series have more in common with gritty cable fare like Sons of Anarchy or Banshee than they do with The Avengers, and the fact that they're bringing in the Punisher (John Bernthal) has me almost giddy with excitement. Frank Castle is really the only comic-book character I ever followed with any regularity, and I've been dying to see someone do a solid screen take on him since Dolph Lundgren mumbled his way through the dismal 1989 movie. I'm looking forward to the upcoming Luke Cage and Iron Fist series' as well.

Runner Up:

Vinyl (HBO)

Everything about this — from the subject matter and setting to the talent involved to the network it's on — tells me that Vinyl is going to be awesome. In fact, they would almost have to go out of their way to screw this one up.

Of course, after the dismal second season of True Detective, HBO has proven that that is entirely possible.

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