We asked our staff what movies, music, TV shows, and video games they most looked forward to in 2017. Here are their responses:
The Mass Effect trilogy is my favorite video game series of all time (yes, even with the ending of the last game) so it comes as no surprise that I eagerly await Mass Effect: Andromeda, which will be released on March 21. The game takes place nearly 600 years after the original trilogy, so while there may be familiar alien species, there probably will not be any cameos from any of the original characters. Players control either Scott or Sara Ryder, the children of N7 operative Jake Ryder, and are tasked with discovering new planets in the Andromeda Galaxy for colonization. Since the basis of the game rests on discovery, Andromeda features an open world system where players can explore new planets and discover resources. The new game also allows for more freedom in how players develop their character. Instead of choosing from specialty classes that have their own unique skill sets, players can now assign points to any skill that they want to build up their powers throughout the game. Overall, I look forward to new stories and fresh gameplay from Mass Effect: Andromeda.
For those who find the Spider-Man franchise overrated and unoriginal (anyone can be bit by a spider or fall into a vat of radioactive powder, or whatever), Spider-Man: Homecoming has been a long time coming. For starters, they finally cast a kid (Tom Holland) to play Spider-Man, because everyone knows that giving an actor glasses does not transform him into a nerd. Another welcome addition is the off-kilter humor that lightens the Spider-Man comic book series. The cheesy joke that opens the trailer of Spider-Man: Homecoming, has already begun to dispel the gloomy scenes of the Original Spider-Man and Amazing Spider-Man movies from my mind. This new Spider-Man movie has the depth and action that viewers deserve. Spider-Man swung (pun intended) onto the stage of Captain America: Civil War giving him an official place in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Now, the events of Homecoming take place right after the civil war, as Tony Stark drives Peter Parker home and tells him to stay out of trouble. However, Peter Parker does not want to be treated like a kid and swings into action when The Vulture (Michael Keaton) brings trouble to his neighborhood. Spider-Man: Homecoming, the long awaited, true depiction of Spider-Man that die-hard fans deserve arrives in theaters this summer.
I’m looking forward to Christopher Nolan’s World War II thriller Dunkirk, which, judging from what little the trailers have shown us, is likely to be a somber, moving portrait of resilience in wartime. The movie is especially intriguing because it seems to go in a number of directions that are all uncharted territory for Nolan. For instance, plot-wise, it appears that the overarching goal for all of the characters is but one: not dying (“Survival Is Victory,” proclaims the trailer). Indeed, since the evacuation of the Allied troops from France looms so large in world history, I am curious to see how Nolan will get the audience interested in a story it already knows. Also, the movie also appears to have no clear-cut main character. While Inception and The Dark Knight had neatly structured stories and moral narratives, what looks to be a chaotic and fractured Dunkirk will hopefully shake up his formula. On top of all this, every shot looks absolutely gorgeous, and, because it is Nolan, the blocking, dialogue, and composition are bound to be wildly inventive, too. I am looking forward to that and Cars 3. RIP Lightning McQueen.
HBO’s Game of Thrones made a name for itself as one of the most ruthless, bloody, and spectacular shows on television, and the upcoming Season 7 promises to uphold that reputation. Teaser trailers show Arya dressed in northern furs, indicating a potential Stark reunion (the last time Arya was near her family was in Season 3). Although tensions between Sansa and Jon foreshadow more strife among the Starks, hopefully Arya’s return to Winterfell will not be another near miss. In greater Westerosi politics, we can expect a complete transformation of the status quo. Cersei Lannister’s claim to the Iron Throne is tenuous at best, and her wild unpopularity and evident insanity suggest her reign will be brief. Meanwhile, Daenerys Targaryen was last seen crossing the Narrow Sea to reclaim her family’s throne. When she lands, she will likely find support from Houses Tyrell and Martell, who have expressed hatred for the Lannisters. Nonetheless, it is unknown how Daenerys will treat supporters from the Great Houses; she previously promised to “break the wheel” of nobility and power that ended the Targaryen reign. Another unknown factor will be Daenerys’s relationship with House Stark. As newly crowned “King in the North,” Jon may find himself pitted against Daenerys’s army, but their shared ancestry could bring Jon and Daenerys together in unexpected ways.
Season 7 will continue to shock and delight viewers with its witty dialogue, compelling characters, and overarching themes about nobility, slavery, feminism, and the omnipresence of death. Whether the main battle scenes end up being among the great houses or against the onslaught of the White Walkers, viewers know that, in the end, all men must die.
Though I cannot point to any particular upcoming music releases (many electronic music labels have dubious release schedules), I am incredibly excited to see what a few of my favorite music labels decide to put out this year. HNYTRX put out great spacy, house-in-flected EPs by Bézier, Justin Cudmore, and Beesmunt Soundsystem throughout 2016. Those plus their ongoing efforts to reissue archival material by eminent disco producer Patrick Cowley lead me to think 2017 will prove just as groovy for them. Lobster Theremin and its ever-growing series of sub-labels cranked out an unholy volume of material– more than thirty releases– but they never compromised on quality. Ranging from crunchy techno bangers to soft ambient lullabies, head Lobster Jimmy Asquith and company show great A&R dexterity and will undoubtedly bring more heat this year. Finally, local DC label 1432 R broke from their usual focus on Ethiopian artists to release more domestic productions, putting out debuts from psychedelic techno duo Ocobaya and jungle producer RBCHMBRS in addition to an EP by Addis Ababa’s E.R. They have already announced their first release for 2017– a 12” by label heads Sami and Zem Su Yung– and the sample track is a beautiful UK Garage burner that indicates they have more exciting material in store.