"Roseanne" returns on the small screen, "The Incredibles" on the big screen, Justin Timberlake takes the Super Bowl stage, and the Olympics take over.
The year is just beginning, and our calendar is filling up quickly with pop culture events from movies, television, weddings, elections, concert events and more!
There's barely a few weeks before our newest true-crime drama will begin to dominate our lives with "The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story" on FX. Then we've got Justin Timberlake at the Super Bowl and the Winter Olympics to look forward to. And let's not forget the latest royal wedding, and a couple of unexpected television revivals in the spring as well.
That's before we even get to the summer movie bonanza featuring Marvel, "Star Wars" and "Jurassic Park" entries, along with a long-awaited Pixar sequel. We'll probably be exhausted by the time the midterm elections hit in November, but we'll still be lining up to make sure our voices are heard, along with our favorite celebrities who will probably spend most of the year talking about it.
Before that calendar gets too full, here are the 18 pop culture events we're most anticipating for 2018:
January 17 - 'The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story'
The first season of this FX anthology series, "The People vs. O.J. Simpson" captured the nation every bit as much as that infamous white Bronco drive did. The 1997 murder of fashion designer Gianni Versace was almost as big, coming unexpectedly at the hands of serial killer Andrew Cunanan. Gianni was such a huge public figure at the time, as was his sister Donatella Versace, who took over the company after his death. The story turned out to be sordid, sensational, and utterly addicting to news junkies of the time, and yet it never offered any satisfying answers about why he was killed or closure to the story. Based again on an extensive book chronicling the true-life events, we expect this ripped-from-the-headlines story to be just as gripping as its first season two years ago.
February 4 - Justin Timberlake Super Bowl Halftime Show
The last time Justin Timberlake performed the Halftime Show it was 2004 and he and Janet Jackson nearly broke the Internet and the world with the infamous "wardrobe malfunction" incident. There were massive fines for the moment, which lasted maybe a second, and then those fines rescinded, with Jackson controversially taking much more heat for the incident than Timberlake. Her career was largely derailed, while his went on as if nothing happened. Perhaps he'll invite her back on the stage as a moment of vindication for both of them, and as a statement of solidarity and support. Regardless of what happens, all eyes will remember 2004 and they'll be watching the proceedings very closely.
February 9 - XXIII Olympic Winter Games
Long a dominant force, Russia has been barred from this year's Winter Olympics. Matt Lauer, who often was heavily involved with coverage for NBC, has been let go for sexual misconduct. In a lot of ways, this will be an Olympics to remember. In the absence of Russia, though some of its athletes will be able to compete with an independent status, others will see greater chances to rise up and take home medals. Every four years, the Winter Olympics dominates the cultural zeitgeist, but with the shadow of Lauer hanging over this one, and the official absence of one of its perennial powerhouses, this one should be even more memorable.
March 9 - 'A Wrinkle in Time'
The tale has been told and retold for generations, but modern CGI and the singular vision of director Ava DuVernay ("Selma") promises that this iteration of Madeleine L'Engle's classic children's novel may just become the definitive one. With an all-star cast including Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, Mindy Kaling, Chris Pine, and Zach Galifianakis, every trailer for this film has been both surreal and wonderful. It's the first film to even begin to capture L'Engle's trippy descriptions of the alternate reality Meg and her friends find themselves in. Add to that incredible diversity both on-screen and behind the camera, and "A Wrinkle in Time" may just be the gold standard for how stories should be told from this point forward.
March 11 - 'American Idol: Season 16'
It will be less than two years after the final episode of the series' Fox network run when "American Idol" returns on its new network. Many critics and viewers are baffled by ABC's decision to revive a series that was cancelled due to declining ratings so soon, but the truth is that even with declining ratings, "Idol" was still a powerhouse compared to most of what was on television: The final season averaged 9 million viewers, with the finale scoring 13.3 million (and that's just same-day viewing). Appointment television is more and more rare, so ABC is hoping to recapture some of that with Ryan Seacrest returning to helm new judges Lionel Richie, Katy Perry, and Luke Bryan. This show dominated the face of television for years, so any move it makes is a big deal. It remains to be seen if it can capture even a tenth of that clout in a crowded reality marketplace and a very different television landscape.
March 27 - 'Roseanne: Season 10'
More than 20 years later, the entire cast is back in one of the most unexpected and anticipated sitcom returns of all time. It's become a bit of a trend in recent years, with "Will & Grace" back on NBC, and "Fuller House" continuing the ABC juggernaut on Netflix, but this is a welcome return. There was no voice quite like Roseanne Barr's during the series' original run, as "Roseanne" was the first sitcom to really shine the light on the lower middle class and show American families as they were. She picked up the torch lit by "All in the Family" and brought it boldly into the '80s and '90s. Her exploration of the struggles of average Americans has never felt more timely than today, just as the current climate fed "Will & Grace" so perfectly. While the latter is already picked up for another season, this one is only nine episodes at the moment, so we'll have to really cherish each one.
March 30 - 'Ready Player One'
In a world of sequels and remakes, it's always a breath of fresh air when something wholly unique emerges. Ernest Cline took the book world by storm in 2011 with this debut novel, and Steven Spielberg is bringing it beautifully to life. A love letter to the 1980s, Cline really scored when he got one of the decade's brightest directorial lights to bring "Ready Player One" to the big screen. Trailers have been literally overflowing with references to the bright, techno-gaudiness that was the 1980s in this story about a virtual reality universe and the classic quest to gain control of it. Even better, Cline is hard at work on a sequel to the novel, so now "RP1" can launch the next major franchise we'll all complain about but still go see in record numbers with each new installment.
April - Beyonce Headlines Coachella
With Jay-Z's "4:44" response album now out about the troubles in his marriage with Beyonce, the reigning queen of pop music will take to the stage of one of the biggest music festivals in the world as headliner for both weekends. Expect Coachella attendance to balloon with Beyonce's appearance, as fans are eager for her to perform both her classic hits as well as the personal pain she revealed with 2016's groundbreaking "Lemonade" album. If she really wants to blow her fans' minds, work in a surprise appearance by Jay-Z with some of his own music, so they can tell both sides of their story live in front of their fans, and it may just go down as the most memorable Coachella of all time.
April - 'The Handmaid's Tale: Season 2'
While normally a second season wouldn't be such an event, there are a lot of reasons "The Handmaid's Tale" is an exception. First, it emerged as a cultural phenomenon in April 2017, becoming the most talked about show on television. Then, it went and cleaned up at the Emmy Awards, scoring eight wins in thirteen nominations, including for Elisabeth Moss in the lead and for Drama Series. It was the first streaming show to earn such an honor. But the biggest reason people are so intrigued by this upcoming season is because Season 1 essentially told the story of Margaret Atwood's groundbreaking novel. Now, Offred's story heads into virgin territory, with everyone completely in the dark on where it will go. It's much like what happened when "Game of Thrones" surpassed George R.R. Martin's books. And with the current social and political climate, this story of women subjugated under a patriarchal pseudo-religious order in a near-future America feels more urgent than ever.
May 4 - 'Avengers: Infinity War'
If you thought the original "Avengers" movie was a big deal, you ain't seen nothing yet. Every movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe has been building to this epic feature and everyone will be in it. It's sure to be bombastic chaos in the Might Marvel style, but it's also promised to be a game-changer, setting the stage for the future of the MCU by bringing closure to the massive Infinity Stones arc that's made up most of the saga so far. Some fans are speculating a reboot, while others are looking forward to seeing if either the X-Men or Fantastic Four make an appearance thanks to the Disney-Fox merger. No matter what happens, this is guaranteed to be the biggest event yet in superhero films.
May 19 - The Royal Wedding
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will be the latest royal couple to tie the knot, and once again Americans will be tuning in by the millions to watch it happen. While it's unlikely to hit the heights of Charles and Diana in American obsession, this wedding has already sparked a lot of attention stateside thanks to American Megan Markle, who most people recognize as a star of USA's "Suits." The nuptials will take place in St. George's Chapel at Windsor Castle, and you can just bet every detail from bridesmaid's dresses to what will be served to who will be in attendance will be scrutinized on both sides of the pond, with many staging viewing parties to watch it all go down. Also, with the wedding coming after Kate Middleton's due date, there will perhaps be a new baby to ooh and aah over as well.
May 25 - 'Solo: A Star Wars Story'
With the success they're having at the holiday season, we wouldn't be surprised if Disney shifted the second standalone film in the "Star Wars" saga. This one is riskier, though, as it features well-established characters being completely recast. It's not like recasting Obi-Wan, either, as this takes place only marginally before the events of "Episode IV," and Alden Ehernreich doesn't look all that much like Harrison Ford. If audiences can embrace these new faces as familiar favorites like Han Solo and Lando Calrissian, then Disney is golden to continue expanding this universe in any iteration they want. The premise looks a little thin, so for now it's looking like this will just be the story of a couple of smuggles trying to get by under the thumb of the emperor, so it's also the most seemingly inconsequential "Star Wars" story we've gotten yet. But if the MCU can do it with the first "Guardians of the Galaxy" and "Ant-Man," who are we to doubt that Lucasfilm can do it just as well.
June 1 - 'Deadpool 2'
Sure, "Infinity War" may be the biggest superhero sequel of them all, but this one may be just as anticipated. Ryan Reynolds blew everyone away with his commitment to the character and the subversive genius of the original film, so everyone is already lining up to see "Deadpool 2." Even better is all the in-character promotional work he does on social media and talk shows. Reynolds is a tireless marketing machine for "Deadpool," and we're already hoping he sticks with it at least as long as Hugh Jackman was Wolverine. With Disney committing to keeping the "Deadpool" films R-rated, there's no reason to fear the edge will come off of this twisted parody of superheroics anytime soon.
June 15 - "The Incredibles 2"
After more than a decade of waiting, fans are finally getting a return to Pixar's stellar superhero saga "The Incredibles." Just like the first film, Brad Bird is writing and directing, and all of the key voice actors are returning, including Craig T. Nelson, Holly Hunter, and Samuel L. Jackson. In other words, there's no reason this should be anything other than great. Bird has had 13 years to prepare a story worthy of the super-powered Parr family. Once again, the family is largely living the normal domestic life until a new threat forces them back into action. We just can't wait to see what Jack-Jack's other powers are, and we're so excited to hear Jackson's Frozone inevitably look for his super-suit again!
June 22 - 'Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom'
"Jurassic Park" roared back to life with Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard in the lead with the first "World," and this one looks to be upping the stakes tremendously. If that wasn't enough to keep us excited in the continuing expansion of Michael Crichton's original vision, the return of Jeff Goldblum's Dr. Ian Malcolm put us over the top. The story is unique as well, with Pratt and Howard returning to try and save the dinosaurs from a massive volcanic explosion on the island. The visuals are stunning, upping the ante considerably from the last one, and they've done a good job of making us care about at least one of the dinosaurs as well.
November 6 - Midterm Elections
Whether you care or not about politics, the ramp up to these midterm elections should be absolutely fascinating to watch. Public figures from Hollywood and all across sports and entertainment are likely to get more involved than they ever have during a presidency, thanks to the polarizing nature of Donald Trump. After seeing how mobilized and public they were over Roy Moore in the Alabama special election, we can only imagine how they'll be when 33 Senate seats and all 435 seats in the House are up for grabs. Between social media and the late-night talk shows, it should be a memorable election year no matter how it turns out.
TBA (Spring 2018) - 'Heathers'
Following the trail blazed by "Fargo," Paramount Network (formerly Spike TV) is set to launch its own anthology series based on the 1989 black comedy "Heathers," starring Winona Ryder, Christian Slater, and Shannen Doherty. Just like "Fargo," the first 10-episode season will expand on the stories and characters of the first film, only modernized and updated for today's audiences. Doherty has already agreed to make an appearance in a new role, so maybe other original cast-members will follow. Future seasons will look at the cruelty of the high school social structure with other "Heathers" in other settings. Dark and bloody, "Heathers" was a surprising and controversial film when it first released, but it shines a light on the real ugliness that goes on in high school in a way that complements and contradicts shows like "13 Reasons Why."
TBA - 'Castle Rock'
Fans of Stephen King know the name Castle Rock, as it is in and around this fictional town that the bulk of his horror stories have taken place. Combining all (or at least most) of them into one series is a stroke of genius that should have happened years ago, but with King having "a moment" right now in regards to adaptations of his work, the timing makes sense. King has been weaving connections between his books for decades now, so fans will get to poke around every line of dialogue and scene to see how many nods to different stories appear. J.J. Abrams' Bad Robot is behind this, and we know how much he loves a cryptic and convoluted story, so expect this one to be just as complex as it is spooky and weird. In other words, it should be classic King. Without a hard launch date yet, we don't know how much time we have to read King's 50-plus novels and over 200 short stories, so we'd better get started right away.
2019 - 'Game of Thrones: Season 8'
We know there will be no new episodes of "Game of Thrones" in 2018, and we're not sure we can handle it. With just one season left, "GoT" is still sure to dominate 2018 as well as we will be thinking about it and stewing and anticipating the final season, and maybe rewatching the first seven so we can be prepared to argue with our friends about Dany and Jon and whether or not ice dragons should be breathing fire (they shouldn't!). Sneak Peek: After anticipating it through all of 2018, this will definitely be at the top of our list of 2019 pop culture events we're looking forward to experiencing.