The A-Z of 2017: your essential preview of the next 12 months in pop culture

Long-awaited albums, big-budget blockbusters, superior TV series and fab festivals: 2017 looks set to be a busy year


Its a good year for big-name directors

The next 12 months promises the return of some directorial big names. Steven Soderbergh, who claimed he had retired from filmmaking, makes a surprise reversal with NASCAR heist movie Logan Lucky, while another Steven, Spielberg, looks to banish memories of box-office flop The BFG with the more serious-minded The Kidnapping Of Edgaro Mortara. Kathryn Bigelow has been quiet since 2012s Zero Dark Thirty, but is back in 2017 with an untiled movie about the 1967 Detroit riots that features, among others, John Boyega, while Darren Aronofsky swaps biblical epics for psychological thrillers with the Jennifer Lawrence-starring Mother. And if that werent enough theres also: Last Flag Flying, Richard Linklaters spiritual sequel to 70s comedy The Last Detail; Christopher Nolans Dunkirk; Sofia Coppolas civil war drama The Beguiled; Alexander Nebraska Payne doing comedy sci-fi with Downsizing and an untitled Paul Thomas Anderson effort about 50s fashion that reunites the director with chief milkshake-drinker Daniel Day Lewis. GM

Seven box-office big-hitters for 2017

Blade Runner 2049
After his triumphant Arrival, expectations are high for Denis Villeneuves sci-fi-noir sequel, led by Ryan Gosling.

The Dark Tower
Fans have been salivating for this sci-fi-western-fantasy based on Stephen Kings epic series, with Idris Elba snd Matthew McConaughey.

Alien: Covenant
A new planet and new dangers for Ridley Scotts space franchise. Michael Fassbender returns as his Prometheus character David.

The Mummy
Tom Cruise leads an action-packed update, set to usher in a whole cycle of Universal monster movies.

Ghost In The Shell
The anime comes alive, with Scarlett Johansson (pictured) as a cyborg cop in a digital dystopia.

After Ex Machina, Alex Garland takes us on a strange sci-fi expedition, led by Natalie Portman.

Justice League
Ben Afflecks Batman rounds up a DC Comics super-team, including Wonder Woman, Aquaman and The Flash. SR


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Larry David in Curb Your Enthusiasm. Photograph: Channel 4

Accept no imitations! Larry Davids sitcom is finally back

Its more than five years since the last Curb Your Enthusiasm. Five years since HBOs choral sting was followed by those umpy-pumpy Michelini strains. Five years since Susie Essman last screamed anyone out of her house. They have been a long five years indeed. Thankfully, a new series is due at some point next year. And it cant come a moment too soon. We now live in a world of half-hearted Curb imitators, all labouring under the delusion that Curb was nothing but floridly improvised swearwords. How wrong they were. Only Curb Your Enthusiasm has those same tight, Seinfeld-ian plots that explode together in the final minutes. Only Curb Your Enthusiasm can distinguish between celebrity cameo and good celebrity cameo. Only Curb Your Enthusiasm has the nerve to let JB Smoove go off at full-tilt as often as he wants. And only Curb Your Enthusiasm can bring out the best in Larry David. After his limp Woody Allen movie, his underpowered HBO film and the Broadway show most of us never got to see, a new series of Curb will give us the dose of undiluted, misanthropic, misunderstood David weve all been craving. Hurry back, Larry. SH


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The Jesus And Mary Chain. Photograph: Ilpo Musto/Rex

The many musical mavericks making notable returns in 2017

Some feared it would never happen. Others feared it would. And now, it seems that it finally is. A third Stone Roses album will be released in 2017. Almost certainly. We nervously await further developments. Its fair to say that the Roses arent the most reliable bunch but, happily, other comebacks look just as exciting and much more concrete. Magnificently moody goth Glaswegians Jesus And Mary Chain (pictured) even have a name and a date (Damage And Joy, 24 March) for their first new album in 18 years. Stephin Merritts wry pop stylists Magnetic Fields have already released five tracks from their sprawling, self-descriptive 50 Song Memoir (out 3 March). Arcade Fire are being rather more vague, suggesting a late-spring release for their followup to Reflektor. And theres LCD Soundsystem, who cancelled a tour last year to crack on with their new opus, the first since 2010s This Is Happening. Their ecstatic comeback shows bode well. PH

Five reasons why the new Star Wars will top The Force Awakens

1 Isle be back: the still-untitled Episode VIII (out 15 Dec) apparently picks up where we left off (with Rey and Luke on Jedi Craggy Island), just like the pulp serials that inspired George Lucas in the first place.

2 The original gangster of cute robotics R2-D2 is recharged and ready to kick BB-8 to the kerb.

3 There are new cast additions include Oscar-hefting oddball Benicio del Toro and David Lynch favourite Laura Dern

4 plus there are rumours of a Tom Hardy cameo.

5 Finally, after JJ Abrams so thoroughly rehashed (sorry, lovingly homaged) the
original films, new director Rian Johnson has no option but to take audiences somewhere new. GV


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Fabric nightclub, London. Photograph: Getty

The return of Londons best-loved club signals a brighter future for the nations nightlife

Clubbers in fact, anyone with a woke eye on how council decisions can affect nightlife and, by extension, culture at large fist-bumped the air in November when Fabric announced its reopening. After a lengthy court appeal and widespread #SaveOurCulture campaign, in which even ex-Spice Girl Mel C sported one of its T-shirts, the London venue will open once again on 6 January.

Fabrics sudden closure following two drug-related deaths last September sparked concerns for UK nightlife up and down the country. But its return with secret guests on Friday and a friends and family party on 7 January featuring their usual DJ residents waves a triumphant flag for the future.

There are other sizeable venues contributing to this sense of victory (even if few are actually calling themselves clubs). In Newcastle upon Tyne, Boiler Shop has been recently renovated and turned into a multi-arts space, with parties from pop giants Guilty Pleasures and more. In Londons Canada Water, an experimental, multi-purpose cultural destination is due to open on 4 February. Printworks, from the promoters behind Festival No 6 and Snowbombing, will cram club nights, gigs, probably even a small village into its eye-popping 16 acres

But while two clubs does not a new heyday make and opening one is a risky business these days the Fabric campaign proved that the appetite for forward-thinking nightlife has not dried up or fallen prey to, say, more Instagrammable experiences. If the kids want to dance, really theres no stopping them. KH


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Some monkey business in Kong: Skull Island. Photograph: Warner

Were going ape for the years most unlikely trend

Youd think 2016 the year Harambe chest-pounded his way into the great banana grove in the sky would become known as the Year of the Gorilla. But brace yourself, because over the next 12 months were getting a new Gorillaz album, a pair of cinematic blockbusters in Kong: Skull Island and War For The Planet Of The Apes, and a new Idris Elba-starring political drama Guerrilla. Which, theres no denying it, sounds like gorilla. Wed say thats a lot of monkey business were it not an unforgivable misuse of biological nomenclature. The apes are taking over. Theres no esc-ape. YOU MANIACS! GOD DAMN YOU ALL TO HELL!!! LH


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Lin-Manuel Miranda and the cast of Hamilton. Photograph: Joan Marcus

A guide to getting tickets to the biggest show around

Lin-Manuel Mirandas Broadway phenomenon Hamilton opens at Londons Victoria Palace Theatre, SW1, in November. Tickets go on sale on 30 January and, well, there is next to no chance that youre going to get one. That isnt to say you shouldnt try. Not wanting to waste your shot, your best bet is to get a desktop computer, a laptop, an iPad, a landline phone and two mobiles, and hammer the ticketing site as soon as tickets go on sale. Itll take you hours, and bring you to the edge of despair, but it might just be worth it. Failing that, why not try a scalping site, morally dubious as that is? Secondary ticketing site Stubhub has tickets for the current Broadway production priced at 500 each. And thats for a version thats been running for almost two years. However, this is the perfect option for anyone whos both catastrophically wealthy and very slightly evil. Any other tactics? Of course! I guarantee you that, 15 years from now, one of your yet-unborn nieces and nephews will co-star in a painfully middling school production of Hamilton that you can watch for next to nothing. There, problem solved. SH


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Kevin Bacon in I Love Dick. Photograph: Patrick Wymore

That made you look: now, here are 2017s best US TV comedies

If youre expecting frat boy larks from that title, think again: instead Jill Solloways I Love Dick is an adaptation of Chris Krauss satirical novel about love and relationships in academic life. After a successful pilot, the series, which stars Kevin Bacon (pictured) and Kathryn Hahn, is coming to Amazon, where a new season of Solloways excellent Transparent will also be appearing. After wowing us with its tales of relationships, racial politics and rigatoni, Aziz Ansaris marvellous Master Of None comes back for a second run on Netflix, where youll also find a TV adaptation of satirical college comedy Dear White People and Drew Barrymores dark California sitcom Santa Clarita Diet. Two fine 2016 debuts return for second series in 2017: Donald Glovers woozy Atlanta and Issa Raes whip-smart Insecure. Finally, after six series and an endless number of thinkpieces, Lena Dunhams Girls will call it a day after a one last season in February. GM


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Dave Chappelle. Photograph: Frazer Harrison/Getty

Eight standups bringing the funny in the next 12 months

Last seen delivering a brilliant monologue on the first post-election Saturday Night Live, Dave Chappelle will return with no less than three Netflix specials in 2017, his first filmed standup shows in 12 years. IRL dates for the diary include Whoopi Goldberg, performing her first ever UK standup gig at the London Palladium (W1, 11 Feb). British standups with star power also hit the road: Ricky Gervaiss Humanity tour begins in Feb; Jack Whitehall swaps Hollywood for Sunderland; and Rob Brydon returns to the stage for the first time in eight years. If you like your heavyweights more cerebral than commercial, Sara Pascoe, Bridget Christie and Stewart Lee will all grace venues across the UK with their smart standup tours. RA


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Keeping Up With The Kardashians? Some people are. Photograph: E! Entertainment

Kim, Khlo, Kourtney et al lead the year in reality TV

If youve been given the cold-shoulder, take heart because Khloe Kardashian is here to whip your butt so hard the object of your desire will rue the day they ever let it go. Lets turn the haters into motivators, vows the steely workout mistress of Revenge Body With Khlo Kardashian (starts 15 Jan, E!). Shes backed by the muscle of celebrity trainers Harley Pasternak and Gunnar Peterson to push civilians to look Hollywood hot. Thats just one of the usual gaggle of Kardashian-themed reality series this year. Rumours are rife that Khloes BFF Malika Haqq could be entering Celebrity Big Brother (Tue, 9pm, Channel 5). Also on the reality radar: Gary Barlow brings his fist of pure emotion to Let It Shine, in which he and Dannii Minogue search for the cast of a Take That musical. That launches on BBC1 on 7 Jan, when it will take on ITVs newly acquired The Voice in the quest
for Saturday night supremacy. HV


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Lorde performs at Coachella, April 2016. Photograph: Kevin Winter/Getty

Aucklands finest heads up 2017s most anticipated albums

Its natural to celebrate turning 20 with a hyperbolic social media post. But using that to tease an album is probably a first. Lordes November Facebook address got 49,000 likes while still giving nothing away. All we know is that shes been exchanging studio knob pics with Funs Jack Antonoff. Also in 2017 we should hear Jay Zs response to Lemonade; someone who may have an insight is electronic artist Sampha, who follows up work on Solanges album with his debut (3 Feb). The xxs psychodramas are more oblique but at least theyre clear about when their record drops (13 Jan); St Vincent promises a sea change with a new album out in spring; while Haim say theyll get back to their roots with theirs, out in summer. Also keping it vague are Dirty Projectors, whose idea of teasing a release is to post a vid of Dave Longstreths head in a wind tunnel. Colour us intrigued. MH


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Diane Morgan and Anna Maxwell-Martin in Motherland. Photograph: BBC

A family farce heads up the next 12 months in British comedy

From Flowers to Fleabag, 2016s comedies were notable for their melancholy, but next year will see a swath of more joyful new Britcoms hit the small screen. Sharon Horgan and Graham Linehans school run-based farce Motherland (pictured above), which piloted on BBC2 in September, returns for a series, while more middle-aged mayhem comes courtesy of Mitchell and Webb, who are rookie pub owners in new C4 sitcom Back. Brydon and Coogan tour Spain in what is sure to be a transcendent third series of The Trip, while Horgan and Rob Delaney will be having another Catastrophe. Theres plenty of youthful folly, too: Jamie Demetrious magnificently strange estate agent Stath graduates from E4 Blap to full series; old pals Tim Key and Tom Basden team up for gap-year caper Foreign Bodies (pictured below, C4); and the Inbetweeners-shaped sad-lad comedy hole gets filled by the shows co-creator Damon Beesleys new 1983-set BBC2 comedy White Gold, starring Joe Thomas, James Buckley and Gossip Girls Ed Westwick as used-car salesmen. Famous faces also grace Skys Sick Note: Rupert Grint plays a compulsive liar alongside Don Johnson and Nick Frost; while in high-concept C4 comedy Loaded, four friends hit the big time when their gaming business sells for millions. RA


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The Rock in Fast & Furious 8. Photograph: Matt Kennedy/Universal Pictures

Expect to see plenty of repeat offenders in the year ahead

Unless theyre voting for self-destuctive political upheaval, people fear change. We like what we know. Thats why seven of the top 10 highest-grossing films of all time are sequels. So it comes as no OMG that 2017 is another year comprising an exhausting barrage of follow-ups: theres Jurassic World 2; the eighth entry in The Fast And The Furious; a new Pirates Of The Caribbean; Michael Bay inflicts another Transformers on us all; the world waits with not-so-baited breath for a new Saw; Huge Action (AKA Hugh Jackman) plays stabby X Men lambchop enthusiast Logan one last time; Guardians Of The Galaxy gets a Vol 2; Brad Pitt battles the zombie hordes in World War Z 2; and Keanu goes on another daft revenge mission in John Wick 2. Oh, plus a new Kingsman; Cars 3; Despicable Me 3; Fifty Shades Darker, and… look, were out of room. But trust us, there are a lot of sequels. Lots. Like, LOADS. LH


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Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone in La La Land. Photograph: Dale Robinette

From La La Land to Moonlight, 2017s awards field looks competitive… and so does 2018s!

The best picture race at this years Academy Awards (26 Feb) might just be the tightest in years. Showbiz musical La La Land, starring Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, is the bookies fave. Its in UK cinemas from 13 Jan, but faces competition in the form of devastating drama Manchester By The Sea (13 Jan) starring Casey Affleck, and gay African-American love story Moonlight (24 Feb), not to mention new Scorsese film Silence (out New Years Day) and the affecting Denzel Washington directed/starring drama Fences (17 Feb). On the acting front, Gosling, Washington and Affleck are all fancied for the best actor gong, and Stone, Natalie Portman (for Kennedy biopic Jackie, out 20 Jan) and Annette Benning (for wry dramedy 20th Century Women, out 10 Feb) look set to battle it out for best actress. GM


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Sarah Koenig, producer and host of the podcast Serial. Photograph: Jessica Rinaldi/Getty

Were all ears as podcasting prepares for a big 2017

The podcast came of age in 2016 … but where will it go from here? I think therell be more efforts to expand beyond a podcast alone, to support it with different multimedia experiences, says Helen Zaltzman of Answer Me This! and The Allusionist. Plus, expect to see existing shows remade for TV: horror series Lore, social-commentary comedy Throwing Shade, podcast-themed podcast StartUp and, of course, Serial are among those that have been optioned by programme-makers. Speaking of which, Serial could well be watercooler-worthy once again. Host Sarah Koenig (pictured) was recently spotted at a murder trial, fuelling speculation that the show will return to its cold-case roots. HJD


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