Sure, when you're sitting at the Thanksgiving dinner table, you're going to feel the pressure to say that you're thankful for your friends, family, and (hopefully) good health. And while you may really feel that way, we also know there's a deeper truth, one burning in the back of your head like overcooked stuffing: You're a fan, and this year, there's a whole lot of reasons for fans to feel thankful.
We know this because we, too, are fans — of science fiction, fantasy, horror, comic books, big monsters, and more. And because we're not sitting around a dinner table, we can be free to admit the things for which we are really thankful this year. Movies like IT and Logan; TV shows like Stranger Things and Twin Peaks; new creatures like Porgs and demodogs.
For everyone who can't say as much at dinner tonight, here's a sampling of some of the things we've been most excited about thus far this year. Once you finish your dessert, and do some reflecting, let us know what genre thing you're most thankful for this year, in the comments!
Everyone love the '80s
Mullets. Shoulder pads. Synth ditties. The ’80s have always gotten a bad rap in pop culture — easy targets for parody, quick yuks, and snide zingers. I’m thankful that today’s crop of genre goodies finally gives the game-changing decade the reverence and respect it deserves. Stranger Things dives into ’80s nostalgia without irony. Blade Runner reached into the past to revisit an Atari-festooned future. Thor: Ragnarok detonated a retro-futurist neon bomb. And Black Mirror showed us that heaven could truly be a place on ‘80s-jammin’ earth. Thankfully, not a laser portrait in sight. - Alexis Loinaz
Twin Peaks' return
I really liked American Gods on Starz. I also liked the third and final season of The Leftovers on HBO. But this year I'm especially thankful for Twin Peaks: A Limited Series on Showtime. Alternately fascinating and maddening, sometimes in the same frame, Twin Peaks was the year's most creative triumph. AND I WAS THERE. - Bryan Enk
Horror gets the spotlight
I'm grateful that horror movies, always the perennial stepchild of genre fare despite consistent commercial success, are having a bit of a resurgence and moment. Between the brilliance of Get Out (we're not denying Jordan Peele's claims it was a documentary, but that doesn’t preclude it from being horror), the artistry of IT, amongst a crop of more indie fare like XX and Tragedy Girls, horror was pervasive. Straight scares, paranormal stories, slasher, thrillers, anthologies and horror-comedies were all on the table, with franchises like Chucky and Jigsaw right alongside wholly original fare like Mother! (say what you will about the movie, it was original). - Jesse Murray
Superheroes rule the world
It's easy to get caught up in the rivalry of it all; the box office totals; and the endless debates over whether Hulk or Superman would win in a fight. But, after seeing Thor: Ragnarok and Justice League pretty much back-to-back the past few weeks, I'm just thankful we get to see all these crazy stories brought to life on the big screen, at all. Sure, they might not all be perfect (or even good, some of the time), but we live in a world where Ant-Man has his own film series, Wonder Woman has one of the best comic movies ever made, and Deadpool is a box office juggernaut. Who could've ever imagined that just a decade ago? - Trent Moore
An escape to Monster Island
Mark Hamill is the hero we need
Genre in general
While there have been some notable disappointments on movie screens this year — as there always is — I am overall thankful for the uptick in quality genre releases we've been seeing in the past year. Films like Get Out, The Girl With All the Gifts and Colossal took tried-and-true genres in new directions, while Logan and Wonder Woman opened up the superhero category with fresh perspectives. Epics like It and War for the Planet of the Apes brought gravity and emotional power to their respective subjects as well. I hope filmmakers out there keep it up. - Don Kaye
More Star Wars than ever
In a year that’s definitely tested my patience, the Star Wars franchise has been the gift that keeps on giving in 2017. It started with the success of Rogue One then dove back into Star Wars Rebels. We got amazing new books, an exciting bit of drama with Solo: A Star Wars Story and we’re wrapping it up with Star Wars: The Last Jedi. It’s a really good time to be a Star Wars fan. - Shana O'Neil
2017 was frightening time for a lot of people so it's no surprise that the horror genre completely ruled this year. It and Get Out scared the crap out of theatergoers while Twin Peaks, Mindhunters and Stranger Things 2 terrified those at home. Horror in comics also hit a zenith with The Unsound, Redlands, Winnebago Graveyard and Emil Ferris's incredibly creepy My Favorite Thing is Monsters. It's a scary time my friends. Be careful out there. - Matt Dorville
Lucky for Logan
I'm grateful for the movie that may have provided the pivot the superhero movie genre needed: Logan. An R-rated movie featuring one of the biggest and most valuable comic book characters in the world at his weakest, nearing the end of his life, in a low-stakes road trip film without a deadly alien or hole in the sky anywhere in sight. I'm grateful that Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart finally had the chance — thanks to writer/director James Mangold — to bring the full potential of Logan and Charles Xavier to the big screen. - Mike Avila
Restoring the weird stuff
Whether it's classics like the Universal versions of Dracula, The Mummy, Wolf Man, and Frankenstein, or schlocky so-bad-it's good stuff like Cathy's Curse, Hack-O-Lantern, and Corpse Grinders, what I'm thankful for, as ever, is the loving restoration of weird, old movies.
Vinegar Syndrome, Arrow, Severin, Synapse, Massacre, Shout Factory and others keep upping their game, year after year, taking the original film materials for movies Criterion would never touch, and dedicated the hours, days, weeks, and even months towards restoring them anyway. Because they care about those movies, And so do I. And so do you! - Dany Roth
Good adaptations of sci-fi books
It was a truth universally acknowledged that films based on books were either terrible or did no justice to its source material. (I’m looking at you, wretched 1994 film The Puppet Masters, which was one of my favorite books as a child.) Fortunately, this universal acknowledgment is now safely trapped in an alternate universe. Movies like Children of Men, The Hunger Games, The Martian, Arrival, The Prestige, The Adjustment Bureau, the Harry Potter series, The Princess Bride, as well as TV series’ like The Expanse and The Handmaid’s Tale, have made it safe for me to go to the book store and the movie theater. It’s a delight to see a book that I’ve loved for years given big-screen treatment by a careful director, even more so when the director’s vision aligns with my own. Also, when an adaptation is done well, I find myself recommending books rather than defend them. For that, I’m grateful.