Now that we've slept off our Tranya hangovers, all of us here at Blastr are looking forward to a year full of possibility. Sure, 2014 might feel a bit like the lead-in to the heavyweight that is 2015 (Star Wars! Age of Ultron! Batman vs. Superman! Jurassic World!), but there's plenty to recommend the coming trip around the sun to genre fans, whether your poison is movies, TV, comics, games or miscellaneous.
Our list is below -- join us in the comments and let us know what you're most anticipating in 2014!
Star Wars. Two small words; one big, emotional wallop. There's a lot I don't know about upcoming seventh installation, which won't see the light of this galaxy until 2015. Will the original trilogy's stars reprise their roles? Will director J.J. Abrams add his trademark lens flares to the already-glowing lightsaber? Will it contain the good and great deeds of the first trilogy ... or the borderline minstrelsy of Episode I? But there's one thing I do know: Star Wars VII will be filming in 2014. Just the thought of the return of the Jedi, and a saga that etched itself onto our collective childhood consciousness, is good enough - no, great enough - for me.
When I picked up a Playstation 4 at launch, my friends mocked me, pointed me toward this video, and otherwise decried my waste of money. But with Assassin's Creed: Black Flag, Need for Speed: Rivals, and Resogun taking up plenty of my time, the purchase has already been overwhelmingly worth it. And that's just the beginning! 2014 feels like the year I'll really get to see what my next-gen system can do. In just a few months, I'll be playing a superhero in Infamous: Second Son, a reformed hacker thug in Watch Dogs and a defender of the last human city on Earth in Destiny. And while I may sound like a bit of a fanboy (or a secret Sony rep), the fact that I can play my PS4 from my Vita anywhere in the world so long as I have an Internet connection makes me feel like I'm living in the future. It's an exciting time to be a gamer.
With the ever-unfolding scandal over the NSA's electronic surveillance programs and capabilities, no game is set to tap into the public debate over privacy and technology more than Ubisoft's Watch Dogs. Think Grand Theft Auto meets Person of Interest; in addition to car thefts and machine-gun rampages, your character also has the ability to hack into wifi networks, steal passwords, hijack phones and use predictive technology to foil violent crimes before they occur. This open-world game set in Chicago was scheduled to be a launch title for the Playstation 4 before it was abruptly postponed weeks before the launch. So this game gets to be my most anticipated release two years in a row.
There are a slew of promising sci-fi movies coming out in the next 12 months, but two in particular have grabbed my interest from the start and will keep me on edge until I finally get to see them. The first is Godzilla, from director Gareth Edwards. We've never had a Godzilla film that's matched the raw power and anguish of the 1954 Japanese original (not the Americanized version), but I think that's what Edwards (Monsters) is shooting for -- along with a truly awesome, colossal title character and some jaw-dropping monster mayhem. The second film is Christopher Nolan's Interstellar. This fan was very pleased overall with Nolan's take on the Dark Knight, loved his Inception, and can only imagine what he'll do with a hard sci-fi premise involving wormhole travel and alternate dimensions. A modern classic that could stand alongside landmarks like 2001 and Alien is not out of reach -- and I'll stand by that statement.
In 2014, I'm excited about the tension-filled psychological thriller Sharknado 2. As we all know, the shark-tornado combination Sharknado was a white-knuckle masterpiece, with a plot so complicated it required not one, but two summary paragraphs on Wikipedia that I just read. Bridging genres, the Sharknado series combines the thrills of shark movies like Jaws and Deep Blue Sea with the completely different thrills of tornado movies like Twister and Twister: Blu-ray Edition. No other style of film has thought to combine two amazing things like this; I'd love to watch a romantic comedy where the lead heroine lands an unlikely husband in both her childhood crush and her stuffy-but-lovable boss. I'll be chomping the popcorn shrimp as I watch Sharknado 2 and its inevitable followup spinoff, Sharquake: The Aftershark.
Flying into '14, I'll have the grand fortune to interview Billy Dee Williams and Linda Blair at the Wizard World Comic-Con in Portland later this month. Williams' Lando Calrissian is my favorite character in the rich Star Wars saga, and it'll be cool to chat with him on life and the new trilogy. And then there's Linda Blair. Her nerve-searing performance as Regan in The Exorcist still stuns, and I remember with crystal clarity the insane line wrapping around the Millbrae theater with the ominous marquee in stark black letters -- THE EXORCIST. I can't wait to rap with her about memories of the fright film. Who knows? We may even grab a little lunch. I hope she skips the soup course, though.
Matt Smith left big shoes to fill as the Eleventh Doctor on Doctor Who, and I was sad to see him go. But when one Doctor leaves, another Doctor replaces him, promising many new adventures and a new Doctor Who-esque, bigger-than-life personality. We got the briefest peek at Peter Capaldi as the Twelfth Doctor in this year's Christmas special, and it was promising. Matt Smith's bow tie is gone, but what new quirks await that will make Capaldi different from those that preceded him? I can't wait to find out.
The first half of Arrow's second season gave us one revelation after another. There was the introduction of Black Canary and the Flash, a paternity reveal, plus one character's transformation from hero to villain. But the best is yet to come -- cue The League of Assassins. They've name-dropped Ra's Al Ghul more times than I can count, and it's been reported that his daughter's heading to Starling City. Arrow is putting other comic-based shows (and some films) to shame. I can't wait to see what happens next!
A few weeks ago, Time Magazine named Sex Criminals the best comic of 2013, even though the run of the series at the time was only three issues. That sounds premature, but this Image Comics series by writer Matt Fraction (Hawkeye, The Invincible Iron Man) and artist Chip Zdarsky (Prison Funnies, Monster Cops) really is just that good. The conceptual hook of the series -- It's the story of a young couple who discover they both have the ability to temporarily stop time by having sex, and end up using said ability to become bank robbers -- makes it sound like something that might be fun for an issue or two, but in Fraction and Zdarsky's dirty, dirty hands, it becomes a heartfelt, hilarious and remarkably honest sci-fi love story with some of the best background gags (the scenes set in a local porn shop will keep you busy laughing for hours) and inside jokes (including this cover for the fourth printing of the first issue) you'll ever see on a comics page. I am absolutely addicted to this book, and while I'm also psyched to see the return of Godzilla to the big screen, the expansion of the Marvel Cinematic Universe in Guardians of the Galaxy, Peter Capaldi's Twelfth Doctor and a second season of Bryan Fuller's vastly underwatched Hannibal, the prospect of an entire year of this comic is the most irresistible thing about 2014 at the moment.
There are actually two things I'm really excited about that are coming out in 2014. The first one is Starz's upcoming series, Outlander. I was a huuuge fan of Spartacus, and I'm a huuuge fan of Diana Gabaldon's series of books and of executive producer Ron D. Moore (Star Trek being my first love, ya know). Plus, Starz has asked Moore to make the show for the fans, which gets big thumbs-up from me and makes me feel the series will be in good hands. Time traveling, romance and men in kilts: It's a win-win and a must see for me. The second one is the fourth Uncharted videogame, which will probably be released in November (as they usually are). The Uncharted series boast amazing storytelling coupled with dazzling visuals and fantastic gameplay. Plus, Nolan North is simply one of the best voice actors in the gaming industry, and I love all those quips peppered in the Uncharted dialogue. A brand-new adventure with Nathan Drake? Count me in!
More of DC's digital-first Batman Beyond 2.0 comic. This little semi-weekly gem has become like digital crack for my iPad these days. Sure, I'm also looking forward to Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and the rest of The Walking Dead game's second season in 2014 -- but there's just something about this nostalgic little comic run by Kyle Higgins that has me jonesing for the rest of the story later this year. The comic picks up the story introduced in the 1999 animated series Batman Beyond, beloved by kids of a certain age (i.e. we mid-to-late-20s folk who grew up with Terry McGinnis AND Bruce Wayne). I loved the TV series growing up, and this romp through Neo-Gotham is a worthy successor to the mantle, almost like a long-lost season. Seriously, it's totally schway.
Among all the galaxy guardians, giant monsters, and Y.A. adaptations hitting theaters this year, it's a trio of original sci-fi features from visionary filmmakers that has me most excited. I had no idea what was happening in the Jupiter Ascending trailer, but it looked dazzling, and with the Wachowskis at the helm, it'll surely be worth talking about. I'm also interested to see Christopher Nolan return to non-licensed sci-fi with the intriguing Interstellar. And then there's Transcendence, the directorial debut from award-winning cinematographer Wally Pfister, which features Johnny Depp as a mad scientist working with sentient machines. In an industry in which success telling original stories can often lead to filmmakers being eaten up by the franchise machine (see: Duncan Jones), it does this geek's heart good to see big names like these take a chance on new IP.