2012 Pop Culture Prognostication

Breaking Bad castI’ve done a political clairvoyance act for the last few years on this blog, with more than a few teaspoons of satire thrown in for good measure. But 2012 doesn’t feel like adequate fodder to me, because hello, Barack Obama is going to be reelected President, and all of the other commentary around the election is just noise. So I’m setting my sights on popular culture this time around. With that, here are my thoughts for what I see will be terrific stories, so-so pop moments, and overhyped crap:

Television

Breaking Bad, AMC–The fifth and final season of this gritty rollercoaster ride will leave everyone scratching their heads at the end. Who would dare dictate a neat end for such an unpredictable show about duplicity, cancer, personal armageddon, and crystal meth? Few shows are as tightly written and exquisitely acted as this one (read: Damages and Battlestar Galactica), and if the future is anything like this show’s past, we have a terrific season ahead. Big Winner/Must Watch

Major Crimes, TNT–Kyra Sedgwick’s departure from The Closer is Mary McDonnell’s gain. Probably. Personally I’m glad that her short turn on Grey’s Anatomy as a cardiac surgeon with Asperger’s Syndrome didn’t grow into a larger role, because The Closer offers her a better set of character arcs to work with and a less heavy handed means of introducing storylines and messages about people. She could have gotten lost in the who’s sleeping with whom score keeping that goes on over at Grey’s. But the writers for Major Crimes will need to watch that they don’t try to force the show into a new framework too quickly–it’s both okay to let the spinoff grow organically, and it’s a great idea to let us watch nuanced shifts among the characters we all like so much. Oh, and the twists each week will keep coming, I’m sure. Could Be Terrific

Siri the Channel Guru–With voice-directed Siri available on the iPhone 4S, and apps that let us use those phones to channel surf, it’s only a matter of time before someone hooks Siri up to television guides and she tells us what to watch based on what she already knows about us, switching our shows for us. The only way I’m wrong about this is if it’s already happened (or if this will be the next generation of AppleTV). I’m sure someone will let me know. Big Boon for Laziness

Mad Men, AMC–March eventually will show up for its turn as The Present, and with it we’ll delve into the next season of Mad Men. After all of the hoopla about contract negotiations, creative license, and Jon Hamm’s underwearlessness, will the show keep viewers as entertained as before? Will they even remember where the series left off? (Lucky Strike deal dead, Don Draper hooks up with his latest assistant instead of the market analyst, etc.) Good thing we can catch all of the reruns online. At a Crossroads

Books

It’s time for vampires to leave the stage, media hogs that they are. Zombies did pretty well for themselves in 2011, with hundreds of titles on bookshelves and in warehouses ready to ship to rabid readers, and a couple of terrific television shows. But we could all use some new monsters in 2012. With that in mind, consider the following:

Lies Beneath, Anne Greenwood Brown–Woo hoo for mermaids! And not just any mermaids…murderous mermaids. The first of two planned novels in a series, I’m excited to dig into the narrative because I love a good age-old clan-oriented story, and we’re not talking vampire diaries or Team Jacob. Big Hopes

The Beginner’s Goodbye, Anne Tyler–Speaking of paranormal characters, Tyler’s latest is about a man helped through his grieving process by his dead wife. I have liked many of Tyler’s novels, but I’m nervous about this one. Will it be more tightly written than Joan Didion’s The Year of Magical Thinking? More tear-jerking than Terms of Endearment? A better contemplation of grief than William Bridges’s Transitions? More inventive than The Kitchen Daughter? I’m skeptical. Up Against the Odds

More Cross-Marketing and Content Design–Ebooks are now outselling their printed counterparts, for better or for worse. And traditional publishers are looking as dusty as a first edition of Tom Sawyer, slow to adapt to a rapidly changing publishing environment, ravenous readers, and evolving genre boundaries. The most agile authors, editors, and publishers are creating blogs to pair up with their books, streaming new content to users, who can devour such content on their iPads, smartphones, and laptops, while getting to know authors better than ever before. It’s a way to make writing, the process of writing, and ideas more accessible for more people. Win-Win

Movies

Of course we’ll see the latest installments of franchise series blockbusters this year, along with notable indie hits and plenty of misfires. I wonder what will be 2012’s version of the Cowboys vs. Aliens floppitude. I do know one thing: the 3D craze needs to be over.

Titanic, remastered in 3D–Finally we beat the musical stylings of Celine Dion out of our collective consciousness, and now it’s back, like the undead. I can’t believe James Cameron expects us to watch the whole awful 3 hours over again just so we can see Kate Winslet’s sketch in three dimensions, and water washing down corridors at the audience. Sometimes Hollywood has no freaking sense. I’m looking at you, remake of Psycho. Sure to Displease

The Hunger Games–The book was great, but the casting for the movie caused an uproar when it looked to fans of the trilogy that the protagonist, Katniss Everdeen, would be whitened up from her descriptions in Suzanne Collins. Collins herself came out and tried to put out the fire, and now there seems to be a truce until curtain time. It’s not like Jennifer Lawrence isn’t a great thespian, as evidenced in her stunning work on Winter’s Bone. I think I’ll walk away after watching this one entertained but still favoring the book. Probably Worth the Money

Men in Black III–I watched MIB and its followup and I enjoy a good alien. But after seeing Tommy Lee Jones in a Coen Brothers movie, now I’m not sure I can go back. I want and like serious fare from him and Will Smith (well, not Seven Pounds), and I think my mood for goofy extraterrestrials is over. I’m guessing I’m not the only one out there who feels this way. Won’t Make Bank

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Categories: Pop Culture, popular culture

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One Comment on “2012 Pop Culture Prognostication”

  1. Lyra Rose Seanchai
    January 4, 2012 at 12:20 pm #

    I’m so ready for this crazy 3D craze to be over, too! Maybe I’m old fashioned or behind the times, but I really don’t see what the big deal about 3D movies is…

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