2016 is going to be great. Don't believe me? I've curated a list of some (just a small selection, mind you) of the stuff scheduled in entertainment, politics, literature, science, and music that will blow our minds in the new year. Of course, we have to offset all these new cultural contributions against the inevitable natural disasters, political scandals, heartbreaking celebrity divorces, and peculiar news items from Florida, but on balance, the start of 2016 looks hopeful indeed. And, as a bonus, a lot of the most exciting stuff is being done by ladies. 2016: Year Of Women Kicking Ass And Taking Names.
For many of us, the problem will be fitting it all in. New series are debuting, new films are out, basically everybody with a guitar is releasing an album, and there's so much exciting Space Stuff you can count on Neil deGrasse Tyson being excited for six months on end. But this list also serves a more practical purpose: if you're entering 2016 feeling like you don't have much to live for, I assure you that you do, and that there's something waiting out there to excite and inspire you. Whether it's a book or Shonda Rhimes being awesome, it's there, and it's amazing, and you should be there to see it.
Let's look at what 2016 will bring. Get your Kindle geared, your Netflix warmed up, and your popcorn at the ready; we're going all-out for things to put in your calendar across the whole year.
1. There Will Be A Bunch Of Kickass, Female-Dominated Films
I know it's been all Star Wars all the time, but might I remind you that another franchise is rearing its head in 2016? The almighty all-female Ghostbusters is coming, and I for one am intensely excited. (Kristen Wiig and Melissa McCarthy are in it, in case you've been under a rock.) Ellen Degeneres is also stealing the show in the Finding Nemo sequel Finding Dory, which is valid as she was the best part of the first one (aside from the sharks).
More into costumed hilarity? Pride And Prejudice And Zombies may actually be kind of a genius feminist horror masterpiece, since it features Lizzie and the girls refusing marriage offers in order to fulfil their training as zombie-hunters. And then, of course, there's JK Rowling's next onscreen creation, Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them, featuring Eddie Redmayne releasing a suitcase of magical monsters across New York. Accidentally, one presumes.
2. ... And TV That Will Blow Your Mind
Yes, Downton Abbey is ending (will Lady Edith find true love and/or somebody who doesn't attempt to throw her downstairs?), but there are other hot titles afoot on television. Game Of Thrones's Season 6 will start, hopefully with a modicum of happiness for any of the people involved (also, if you don't follow Maisie Williams on Instagram, you need to), and the brain behind the books, George R.R. Martin, may complete the next installment in the next 12 months.
Women of all stripes are running amuck basically everywhere in the 2016 TV schedule. Broad City is back, Agent Carter returns for three episodes in January, and the official queen of televisual hijinks Shonda Rimes is bringing yet another brainchild to screen: The Catch , starring Mirielle Enos and involving something to do with fraud. Expect a lot of double-crossing.
3. Several Exciting Books By Female Authors Are Being Released
Look, even if you haven't stepped into a bookstore since Borders shut down, this is the year to make an exception, or at least to nab a Kindle. Chrissy Teigen's much-anticipated cookbook, fittingly called Cravings as she's now very pregnant, will debut, probably after a lot more teasing and chicken wing flirtation on social media.
On the literary side of things, women who've been absent from the spotlight are coming back with new material. Elizabeth Strout, Pulitzer Prize winner for Olive Ketteridge, is back with new novel My Name Is Lucy Barton, and Jhumpa Lahiri (pictured) is releasing a memoir, In Other Words. And then there's the short story collection American Housewife by Helen Ellis, populated entirely by neat Mad Men-type wives who cheerfully commit murder in their spare time. It's being called "retro-feminist," but at the least it sounds hilarious.
4. Politics & Law Will Be Extremely High-Stakes — And Entertaining
Well, the 2016 election is coming up, a little thing that nobody will pay any attention to. In the unlikely event that Donald Trump wins the Republican nomination, everybody in America will have the pleasure of watching Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders utterly eviscerate him in debate. But there are other things going on in the political and legal landscape, too, in case you forget.
The Supreme Court, for one, is going to debate the Planned Parenthood restrictions in place in Texas, and whether regulations that might cause 75 percent of the state's Planned Parenthoods to close are unreasonable and unlawful. Expect the media to go mad, though perhaps not as mad as they will over Bill Cosby's various trials, whether they're his own defamation suits against his rape accusers or legal actions brought by the women themselves. The New Yorker thinks it's a pretty reasonable guess that Cosby will end 2016 in jail.
5. Space Continues To Be Awesome
Yes, light sabers are awesome, but the real stuff of space is also rad as hell, and 2016 will show it off to full advantage. March 23 will feature a penumbral lunar eclipse across the West Coat of the U.S., where the moon is almost eclipsed, while on May 9, Mercury will move directly between the earth and the sun, an event so rare it won't happen again until 2019.
If your style's more spectacular, how about the Perseid Meteor Shower, which will fill the night sky on 12 August with meteors streaking across the atmosphere? Or perhaps you'd like a dose of science: NASA's spacecraft Juno is scheduled to arrive at Jupiter on July 4 after five years of travel, to sit in its orbit and make planetary observations.
All in all it looks like a pretty rad year ahead. And that's not even counting the stuff we can't predict, like whether Prince Harry will mysteriously elope, or if Tilda Swinton is finally revealed to be a friendly alien. Batten down the hatches; it's going to be amazing.
6. Tons Of Long-Awaited New Music Is Finally Coming
It's more a question of who isn't releasing an album in 2016 than who is. (Well, Beyonce may not be, but she wouldn't tell us if she was.) Rihanna's Anti album (above), much anticipated and delayed, is hopefully on the way, as is the sophomore album by California-rock band HAIM. And '90s grunge darling PJ Harvey's releasing her first album in five years (her last one won the Mercury Prize, so she clearly hasn't lost her touch).
And the schedule gets more and more crowded the further into the year you look: Frank Ocean, Kanye, Sigur Ros, Radiohead, the XX and the Shins are all flirting with 2016 releases, though for some it's less guaranteed, more wild hope. Hell, even David Bowie's got a release coming up. It's going to be a mad year in music.
Images: Roy Nachum