A new month is almost upon us, which means it’s time for December’s Enthusiasm List – the things in pop culture I’m psyched about this month. This time, it’s going to be a little bit movie-heavy. At this time of year, TV kind of checks out for the holidays while new releases for video games and comics tend to be light – they want you buying that stuff from the last couple of months as gifts. But there’s still some good stuff including new Star Wars and the big Doctor Who Christmas Special.
Happy! (December 6) – This Syfy series stars Christopher Meloni as a cop turned hit man and Patton Oswalt as the voice of his imaginary friend (a small blue horse with wings). As premises go, that’s a pretty good start. This is an adaptation of a comic book written by Grant Morrison, and while it’s nowhere near my favorite Morrison work (it reads like a parody of Preacher creator Garth Ennis), it was still entertaining and might work better in this format. Brian Taylor, co-creator of Crank, writes and directs the pilot, and if that doesn’t get your butt in the seat, then we will never understand one another.
The Disaster Artist (December 8) – There’s serious Oscar buzz about James Franco’s new movie detailing the story of the movie that couldn’t be farther from an Oscar. Franco directs and plays Tommy Wiseau, creator of the notoriously terrible The Room. I’m utterly fascinated by that film and the Disaster Artist book is great. There’s an amazing supporting cast (Kristen Bell, Adam Scott, Lizzy Caplan, J.J. Abrams, and Bryan Cranston all play themselves.) and the story is compellingly weird. I’m looking forward to this weird story. Is it on the list just because Alison Brie is in it? No, but I wouldn’t put it past me. (She’s also in Spielberg’s The Post, but that only has a limited run in December. It’ll make the list for its national release in January.)
Star Wars: The Last Jedi (December 15) – Is it less special if we get a Star Wars move every year? Maybe eventually, but for now it’s super fun to be excited about the franchise again. Rian Johnson directed this one, and Disney was so happy with it they offered him a trilogy of his own, so it looks like the modern Star Wars renaissance will go three-for-three. We’ll talk about it more later, I promise. But for now, I’m super excited to see where the story goes now that Luke is back in the mix. Also, I think the Porgs look cute. I’m pro-Porg!
Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (December 20) – So, I’ve never seen the original Jumanji, even though the author/illustrator of the original book is a West Michigander. But I really like the premise of this sequel/reboot with kids stepping into adult bodies for the video game version. (One trailer indicates that they each have three lives, and I love stories that operate on video game logic.) It looks fun and it’s not like I’m going to turn down a Karen Gillan movie, especially one where she jumpkicks a dude off a motorcycle.
Doctor Who Christmas Special (December 25) – In this year’s Who Christmas Special, we’re going to say goodbye to 12th Doctor Peter Capaldi and longtime showrunner Steven Moffat, and I’m not ready for either of those things to happen. It’s a heck of a thing to know ahead of time that I’m going to have a good hard cry on Christmas. Still, “Twice Upon a Time” looks to be really good – Capaldi’s Doctor (who would rather die once and for all than regenerate) meets the First Doctor (David Bradley, replacing the late William Hartnell) and there’s so much potential there. I’m looking forward to seeing how Moffat says goodbye to the character he loves and while I’m going to be very sad when Capaldi leaves, I’m excited for where the show will go with Jodie Whittaker stepping in to replace him. I’m a mess of feelings right now.
Todd Barry: Spicy Honey (December 26) – Hey, Netflix has a new Todd Barry stand-up special! I don’t really have much to say on the topic, but he’s one of my favorite comedians and I will always make time for any new specials or albums he sends our way.
Black Mirror (TBA) – Netflix hasn’t announced when the next six episodes of the dystopian anthology will hit, but they were promised in 2017. So unless there’s a month I forgot, they pretty much have to come out in December. We know Jodie Foster is directing one episode (“Arkangel”) and another will feature callbacks to every other episode. Which sounds cool, but those people who insist every Black Mirror episode take place in the same continuity are as bad as the “James Bond is a code name!” people. Regardless, I’m hoping these hit right before Christmas so the holidays can be all weird.
We’ll see you in January for more enthusiasm!