Random Pop Culture Top Ten List
Top Twenty Things We're Looking Forward To in 2013
The Staff
Random Pop Culture Top 10 List is a (fairly self-explanatory) biweekly list in which the Review to be named gang take stock of the realm of pop culture, and come up with their Top Ten in a specific category.

Look, we broke the rules last year for our "Things We're Looking Forward to in 2012" list, and let ourselves throw out 20 things from the year to come that excited us. What can we say, we're excitable! So continuing that tradition, here are 20 things we're looking forward to in 2013.

20. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Push the Sky Away(February 19th)

Every time Nick Cave releases new music, its an event, and this will be the first time Cave has teamed with his traditional backing band the Bad Seeds since 2008's Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!!. This will be the group's first album since the departure of Mick Harvey in 2009, and Cave has said it will focus on how the internet has influenced "significant events, momentary fads, and mystically-tinged absurdities," and question "how we might recognise and assign weight to what's genuinely important." When forced to play into the "albums as children" metaphor, Cave has called Push the Sky Away as "the ghost baby in the incubator." Coming from Cave, that's enough to make us very excited.

19. Star Trek: Into Darkness (May 17th)

Director J. J. Abrams's cinematic reboot of the Star Trek franchise captured the sense of fun and high adventure of the original series while emphasizing sci fi action and character interaction to appeal to modern audiences. J. J. Abrams had done something most had thought impossible, crafting a movie that appeased the hardcore fans, intrigued the first time viewers, and left both groups chomping at the bit for more. And then came an almost interminable wait. Fans have been waiting for the next installment of Abrams's Star Trek for four long years. And while the title and trailers promise a much darker and more serious tone for the sequel, it's hard to stifle a smile when seeing this cast reassembled in their primary color uniforms. Fans are especially excited to see the growing friendship between Chris Pine's Kirk and Zachary Quinto's Spock, as well as Benedict Cumberbatch's portrayal of an antagonist who is probably, definitely not Khan. But he's Khan, right?

18. Much Ado About Nothing (June 7th)

Really whatever Joss Whedon decided to do after Avengers we'd be there. We here at RTBN are huge Whedon fans, and he has yet to let us down. But his forthcoming adaptation of Much Ado About Nothing promises to be stellar. Not only is he taking on one of Shakespeare's best comedies, he is doing so with a cast that seems designed to make Whedon fans salivate: Amy Acker and Alexis Denisof star as Beatrice and Benedick, leading a cast that also includes Whedon mainstays Nathan Fillion (as Dogberry), Clark Gregg (as Leonato), Reed Diamond (as Don Pedro), Fran Kranz (as Claudio), Sean Maher (as Don John), and Tom Lenk (as Verges). We'd say this is such stuff as dreams are made on, but we're pretty sure that's a different play.

17. Tomb Raider- Playstation 3, PC, WiiU (March 5th)

Lara Croft gets the Batman Begins treatment as campy Boobs Vanderbilt Lara gets replaced with a grittier, more realistic iteration. The new game starts with the origin of Lara, a spirited girl to be sure, but not one accustomed to the tomb raiding we've seen her do in past games. Not only is the storyline going to take precedence, not surprising considering SquareEnix is taking the lead here, but Tomb Raider is also going to tackle controversial subjects, as amajor inciting event of the plot is an attempted rape of Lara. While some are afraid the game is simply becoming an Uncharted clone, Tomb Raider will undoubtedly be on everyone's radars, as one of the first females of gaming looks to once again hit stride.

16. Bioshock: Infinite- Playstation 3, PC, Xbox230 (March 23rd)

While it's a little late to the Video Game Trilogy party, Bioshock: Infinite looks to rival its predecessors in terms of a phenomenal cap to a trilogy series. Gone is the Atlantis cum laude city of Rapture"”now, players deal with Columbia, a steampunk city in the clouds that would give both Lando Calrissian AND Jules Verne a boner. Because of this, railroaded corridors of the deep seas are gone, and replaced with a wide open-world experience rife with air balloons and a slick monorail system. Sure, the plasmids don't seem to have changed much, and that damsel-in-distress-character-that-is-annoying-as-all-hell-but-you-probably-have-to-save-her-at-every-corner-possible-to-get-the-best-ending is still present, but at the end of the day, you're left with a Bioshock experience that isn't mitigating main story resources to implementing multiplayer. Plus, Irrational Games says the ending is going to be, quote, "like nothing you've ever experienced in a video game before".

15. Iron Man 3 (May 3rd)

Given that he brought the character to an unprecedented levels of popularity and helped to set the tone for the entirety of the Marvel Studios slate of productions, it would be a gross understatement to say that fans were nervous when Director John Favreau announced he would not be returning for the third installment of the Iron Man films. However the pairing of new Director Shane Black and star Robert Downey Jr. resulted in one of our favorite neo-noir black comedies of the previous decade: Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang. The trailer indicates a much darker tone for Iron Man 3 (guys, darkness is so in this year), which perfectly suits the character's self-destructive streak that was merely touched on in the first two films.

14. Image Comics

While DC and Marvel Comics have grabbed major headlines with new #1s and line wide revamps, the true comics revolution was happening over at Image. Over the past two years, Image has positioned itself as the #1 place for exciting and groundbreaking creator owned comics, and it looks like the Publisher is planning to up the ante once again in 2013 with the launch of a slew of new titles by A-list creators. Satellite Sam by Matt Fraction and Howard Chaykin, East of West by Jonathan Hickman and Nick Dragotta, Pretty Deadly by Kelly Sue Deconnick and Emma Rios, Lazarus by Greg Rucka and Michael Lark, and Sex Criminals by Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky are just a handful of the titles we have to look forward to this year. Make no mistake, the most talked about comics of 2013 will be published by Image.

13. The Last of Us- Playstation 3 (May 7th)

Video games about shooting zombies have been done to death, but what makes The Last of Us so different- and so compelling- lies in the character dynamics between the game's two leads. The Last of Us features a pair of survivors, one battle-hardened killer and one youthful innocent girl, in a world recently run to the ground due to a zombie outbreak with seemingly random infection cycles. While survivors of the outbreak have cobbled together a makeshift society complete with currency and other civilizational familiarities, Joel must protect Ellie from not only zombie attacks, but from becoming corrupted by the situation and losing her childhood innocence. Think The Walking Dead meets Léon: The Professional, only instead of Natalie Portman, you're getting the girl who was Chrissy Seaver from Growing Pains. Yeah"¦..she's still around.

12. Monsters University (June 21st)

While the majority of our most anticipated pop-culture of 2013 are offerings that embrace darkness, we here at Review To Be Named are not completely soulless (despite Jordan's best efforts), and still experience a sense of child-like joy whenever a new Pixar Movie is announced. Toy Story 2 showed us that Pixar could handle sequels, and Toy Story 3 showed us that Pixar could one up the original (We'll just pretend Cars 2 never happened, kay?). Monsters University will serve as a prequel to Monsters Inc. revealing the origins of Mike and Sulley's friendship in a truly Pixar twist on both Animal House and the Monster Movies of yesteryear. More-so than any other film of 2013, Monsters University appears to offer the perfect blend of humor and heart needed to keep our blackened hearts beating (at least until Jordan cancels the RTBN X-Mas party for the 5th year in a row).

11. Game of Thrones Season 3 (March)

Any number of returning TV shows could have made this list (we cut Girls, Veep, and Mad Men among others to make room for some newer entertainment to look forward to), but Game of Thrones needs special recognition for a few reasons. Anyone who has read George R.R. Martin's books knows that the third season plans to tackle the first half of A Storm of Swords, which should be enough to make any geek salivate. But after struggling (slightly) in the adaptation of the second (and weakest) book last year, we expect the show to be strong out of the gate this year. It wouldn't surprise us if season three was the best Game of Thrones yet...and that's enough to get us excited.

10. Man of Steel (June 14th)

With the exception of Christopher Nolan's Batman Triology, Warner Brothers has experienced great difficulty in adapting it's wealth of DC Comics Properties to the big screen, and building a buzz worthy shared universe of films to compete with Disney and Marvel Studios. However, the studio is looking to rectify the cape gap with a big push behind Man of Steel as the cornerstone of their DC Movie Universe. It's been 33 years since fans have been treated to a cinematic treatment worthy of Superman's stature in the comics, leaving wider audiences to wonder if Superman really is still the world's greatest super hero. Hopefully, under the watchful eye of Executive Producer Christopher Nolan and writer David Goyer, Man of Steel will re-convince the world that a man can fly. And while we maintain a slight wariness regarding Director Zack Snyder's vision given that his style of hyperbolic violence and gratuitous cheesecake make him an odd choice for the hero that most embodies "American ideals" (with the exception of Captain America), we cannot deny that the first trailers have been as assuring as they have been breathtaking.

9. Frightened Rabbit, Pedestrian Verse (February 5)

After dropping the wonderful Frightened Rabbit EP and State Hospital last year, we were a bit worried that the brooding Scots of Frightened Rabbit were dropping off bits instead of going all-out for a new album. Well guess what? We're going to get that album, and hopefully it continues the trend of the excellent sad-bastard wailing that came with Frightened Rabbit's previous two albums, The Winter of Mixed Drinks and The Midnight Organ Fight. While we like to joke about the subject of the songs, I truly love the imagery and we'd be hard pressed to find a band that puts out songs that are truly beautiful and make us want to sing along. To tease you further about the awesomeness that surely awaits (we won't have to wait too long, thankfully) the band has released the video for "The Woodpile" on YouTube. Surprise, surprise -- It's awesome.

8. New Superman Title by Scott Snyder and Jim Lee

While "cautious optimism" are the watchwords when it comes to the movie Man of Steel, we need no such caveat when describing our excitement for the new Superman comic DC is planning to launch roughly around the same time as the film's release. The yet to be named title will be written by Scott Snyder, a writer who has quickly positioned himself as DC's new golden boy with his work on the critically acclaimed Swamp Thing and DC's best selling title, Batman. Adding to the excitement surrounding this book is the fact that Jim Lee, one of the most highly sought after artists in comics, will be pencilling the title. Snyder's nuanced and metaphor laden narration is of literary caliber while there are few artists who can depict both quiet emotion and explosive action with the same finesse that Lee can. With two of DC's most talented creators launching the character's new flagship title, regardless of how the movie fares, 2013 will be a great year for Superman fans.

7. Pacific Rim (July 12th)

Any fan of great sci-fi/fantasy has always kept close tabs on the work of Guillermo Del Toro. With this summer's Pacific Rim we're finally getting to see the auteur's first film since Hellboy II. The trailer lays the cards out pretty clearly, this is Robots vs. Aliens in the best way possible. With a different director at the helm, we'd be more worried this would be another Transformers-type orgy of flying metallic parts. What gives us confidence is that Del Toro has real vision and if anyone can make CGI robots working, its him. Known for using practical effects and makeup instead of CGI, we have to believe that the CG work in the film is good enough to please Del Toro's high standards. We have no clue the real story beyond, "There are some monsters and there are some good guys in badass suits who control giant robots that would make the Power Rangers' Megazord shit its metal pants". Plus Idris Elba. Get your popcorn.

6. S.H.I.E.L.D. TV series (Fall)

Ok, we know. It's not a Whedon Show in the traditional sense. Beyond the Pilot, his involvement will be minimal. But...still! S.H.I.E.L.D. is the closest fans have come to a Whedon TV project since the untimely demise of Dollhouse. Given that Marvel used S.H.I.E.L.D. as the connective tissue to build it's shared film universe, a television show about the world's premier intelligence organization is the perfect vehicle to introduce other properties that could conceivably be spun off to build an ABC Marvel Television Block. And given that Avengers sold fans on the idea of mythical gods and atomic rage monsters co-existing in harmony, the show has been given a pass to explore a world as diverse as the Marvel Universe itself. Think of S.H.I.E.L.D. as The X-Files on cr- errr...Super Soldier Serum! Week to week, the core cast of agents can be thrown up against threats that range from espionage to extraterrestrial, from mutant to magic, all the while building a super story of how humanity's premier line of defense adapts to a world where gods and monsters begin to walk among us. The possibilities of where S.H.I.E.L.D. are almost as boundless as our excitement to be taken along for the ride.

5. Inside Llewyn Davis (TBD)

Not much is known about Inside Llewyn Davis at the moment, but the little we do know is enough to have us chomping at the bit. We know it's the first Coen Brothers movie since 2010's True Grit (an unusual absence for the generally prolific duo), and that it is set in Greenwich Village during the folk movement of the early 1960's. The last time the brothers set a film in the era, it was 2009's stellar A Serious Man, and if anyone wants to give us a showcase of one of the coolest eras of music ever, we have no doubt these two are up to the task. It isn't clear yet what the tone of the film will be, nor how long it plans to cover, but regardless of scope or genre, we have no doubt it will be among the best movies of 2013. Come on, people. It's the Coen Brothers.

4. New Arcade Fire Album (TBD)

We don't know the name. We don't know the subject matter. We don't know the release date. All we know is Arcade Fire has a new album coming down the pipeline, and that's enough to get us pumped. Though they have yet to top their masterpiece of a debut, 2004's Funeral, they gave us a bleakly beautiful view of the Bush years in 2007's Neon Bible and took on 21st century existential malaise in 2010's The Suburbs. Whatever they choose to do next, we're sure it will be brilliant, dense, beautiful, and thought-provoking. Our ears are ready for it.

3. The World's End (September 25th)

Director Edgar Wright has teamed with Simon Pegg and Nick Frost twice before (for Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz) and both times the trio has come away with a modern comedic masterpiece, a satire of a genre that also works well as an entry into it. The World's End is the long fabled third film in that trilogy. It follows a group of friends (including the always welcome Martin Freeman) on a pub crawl to the titular bar who realize the fate of the planet may hinge on their success. But it could be about literally anything and we would be there opening day. When these three are together, magic happens, and we won't want to miss it.

2. The final season of Breaking Bad(TBA Summer)

Walter White's journey is finally coming to an end this year, and with it comes the conclusion of one of the greatest television series ever made. Breaking Bad has been the cream of the crop since it premiered, but with a cliffhanger that left us breathless at the end of an episode we deemed the greatest hour of television broadcast in 2012, we couldn't be more amped about the show's return. We all know Walter is headed toward that machine gun in his trunk, but what gets him there, and what he plans to do with it are mysteries we can't wait to be solved. And when the show sticks the landing, we will all get to debate where it lands in the television canon. Regardless of these last eight episodes, our bets are it will be pretty high.
1. Arrested Development Season 4 (TBA Spring)

More Arrested Development. Is there really anything else that needs saying? Even typing that caused us to prematurely shoot our wad on what was supposed to be a dry run, and now we have something of a mess on our hands. Also, there's always money in the banana stand, BEES?, and other jokes we have made for years since the show ended. Whatever we are doing on the day when Netflix makes the entire new season available will be put on pause, with apologies to our bosses, teachers, and loved ones. Don't worry though, because we have learned from Arrested Development that you always leave a note. A fun, sexy time will be had by all. References!

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