5 Movie and TV Trends You'll Start to Hate In 2015
If there's one thing Hollywood loves, it's doing the exact same thing over and over again until there is no more blood to be wrenched from a particular stone (such as the upcoming glut of superhero films, and the fact that all movie trailers are orange and blue now). So let's take a look at the upcoming year Tinseltown has in store for us so we can see what we'll all be tired of by this time next year.
Every Network Will Have Its Own Subscription Streaming App
We're guessing that your current television-watching outlets consist of Netflix, Hulu, maybe a friend's HBO Go password, and possibly Amazon Prime, because who can afford to miss even one second of Alpha House? That's four different services, and it still doesn't give you access to every show on TV. Still, subscribing to a handful of different services is better than paying for cable and having to sit through commercials, right? Well get ready to double that number, because next year, every major studio and their grandmother is going to be putting out their own streaming site.
For starters, HBO is finally going to release a standalone subscription service right around the time when the new season of Game of Thrones starts (we assume they're going to abandon all pretense and just call it the "Watch Game of Thrones Without Getting a Virus from a Racist's Bit Torrent" app). Also throwing their million dollar hats into the streaming service arena are CBS, Starz, and Lionsgate, so now you can have a streaming service dedicated entirely to the Hunger Games movies and films starring professional wrestlers.
And that cross-over they did.
But that's still a good thing, isn't it? You'll definitely never have to pay for another cable subscription! But you'll probably end up spending just as much money subscribing a la carte to the networks of your choice that happen to have the shows you want to watch. You'll need a freaking spreadsheet to keep track of which subscription you need in order to watch which shows, because CBS and Lionsgate aren't going to let Netflix continue to stream any of their properties once they've got their own services. Watching TV is about to become exactly as much fun as itemizing your receipts.
And speaking of exclusives, the fun doesn't stop there, because shows you used to be able to watch in one place are getting moved around or having arbitrary restrictions placed on them. Like watching episodes of South Park on Netflix, or for absolutely free on the South Park Studios official website? Too bad, because they recently signed a deal that made every single episode of the show's 17 year history exclusively available to Hulu Plus subscribers. That means you have to shell out an extra 8 bucks a month just for South Park.
You might as well just buy the DVDs like a goddamn caveman.
Fox requires you to have an existing cable subscription to stream The Simpsons from a website that exists for the sole purpose of streaming The Simpsons, rather than simply offer a Simpsons subscription that plenty of fans would happily pay for (or, you know, just let Netflix have the damn show). That means you have to purchase an entire cable package (which can cost more per month than leasing a new car) just to watch the same seven seasons of a 25 year old cartoon.
An Anthology of Anthology Shows
Anthology shows like The Twilight Zone (where each new episode or season tells an entirely self-contained story with a different cast of characters) was the earliest example of producing a hit television show without having to pay someone like Jennifer Anniston a million dollars per episode. American Horror Story recently proved that the formula is still viable, so television studios took notice the only way Hollywood executives know how - by hammering the same button until everything explodes.
Which will probably be a big plot point in American Horror Story Season 5: The Button Factory, Or Whatever.
The creators of American Horror Story just began production on American Crime Story, a spin-off show dramatizing true-life crime stories from the nation's past. Like American Horror Story, each season of American Crime Story is going to focus on a different crime that took the national spotlight. The first season is an episodic retelling of the O.J. Simpson trial, starring Cuba Gooding Jr. as The Juice. That is in no way a joke. We assume season two will star Marisa Tomei as Susan Smith, and season three will feature Adrian Brody as Anthony Weiner.
Also coming down the pipeline is a romantic anthology series from director Steven Soderbergh, where each episode focuses on a different relationship; a comedy anthology inexplicably based on the 1980s Tom Hanks movie Bachelor Party (each season will feature a different wedding); and another horror anthology show from the creators of American Horror Story called Scream Queens, which, according to a baffling press release, claims to have "invented" the idea of horror comedy.
Bullshit. We saw Halloween III.
Big Budget Adaptations of Old and/or Boring Video Games
Because the Battleship movie was simply too awesome for words, beginning next year we're going to start seeing every old game get dragged out of our closets and dusted off for a feature film adaptation starring Adam Sandler (more on that in a minute).
First up, we've got a planned television series revolving around Myst, which, as very few of you probably remember, was a game about wandering aimlessly around an abandoned island and thinking about things. To be fair, Myst had a richly detailed backstory, if you wanted to sit and read all the companion material, but absolutely nothing actually happens in the game itself. You just sort of click on things in silence. Truly, the chance to see this powerful narrative turned into a major motion picture is something audiences have spent the past 25 years dreaming about.
If we wanted to get frustrated, watching someone boringly walk in a fantasy world, we'd just re-watch the Hobbit movies.
That said, at least Myst kind of has a story, which is more than can be said for Space Invaders and Tetris, both of which are currently being developed into feature films. That's right - they are making a fucking movie out of fucking Tetris.
Getting back to that Adam Sandler threat we made earlier, the patron saint of giving up and making the same jokes for twenty years is currently hard at work on a movie called Pixels, which will feature characters from virtually every arcade game from the 1980s, including Pac-Man, Frogger, and Donkey Kong, and some bullshit about an alien invasion. Apparently "alien invasion" is the go-to option for shoehorning a story into a game with the same amount of narrative content as a box of toaster strudel.
But hey, by including classic arcade characters Sandler has really come up with something original.
So Many Damn Prequels
Prequel television shows have been all the rage the past two years, with Gotham, Hannibal, and Bates Motel telling us all about the years of boring shit that happened to our favorite characters before the stories that were actually interesting enough to be made into movies. 2015 is looking to continue that trend to the delight of absolutely no one.
Better Call Saul, the wacky prequel series to Breaking Bad, will be launching next year, as will Marvel's SHIELD origin story, Agent Carter, which will presumably tell the riveting story of how SHIELD haplessly stumbled through a half-century being secretly controlled by HYDRA. There's also a plan for a Sons of Anarchy prequel series, because we all want to see what Jax was like as a fifth grader in perpetual detention for drawing skulls on his desk. There's even a Gotham-inspired Superman prequel in the pipeline. But rather than Smallville, which focused on a pre-Superman Clark Kent dealing with teenage angst in a nowhere Midwestern town, Krypton will tell the story of Superman's home world, before Superman was even born. And while a show about Russell Crowe riding space dragons would no doubt win every major award in the television industry, a pre-Superman Krypton was pretty much just a place where a bunch of aliens physically indistinguishable from humans lived regular lives. It's pretty much going to be a standard drama like E.R., only set in space.
And, with those words, NBC has just started developing Space E.R.
Responding to the success of Bates Motel, Hollywood is testing a bunch of other horror film series for their "will people give a shit about this" television appeal. We're going to see prequel series about The Omen, Friday the 13th, Shutter Island, and possibly Scream (it's not clear whether the Scream series is going to be a prequel or not, but it's definitely happening).
There's even talk of a Game of Thrones prequel series, presumably to give George R. R. Martin time to finish his books before the show writes them for him.
You've seen your favorite characters battle for the throne. Now learn the life story of the random craftsman who built it.
Rebooting Shit That Came Out Yesterday
Remember John Carter? Of course not, so let us refresh your memory - Disney spent hundreds of millions of dollars on a sprawling sci-fi epic about a Confederate soldier who wishes himself to Mars back in 2012, and for some reason nobody wanted to see it. But that's okay, because there will be a reboot of it soon enough. What about the Will Smith film I Am Legend? That one's getting a mulligan as well, presumably because Will Smith manages to destroy the point of every literary adaptation he stars in (see I, Robot). Considering the Will Smith version was itself a remake of The Omega Man, which similarly had very little to do with Richard Matheson's genre-defying horror novel, we probably shouldn't hold our breath over the promise of a third attempt.
Speaking of rebooting horror movies that came out less than ten years ago, the Eli Roth film Cabin Fever is getting a remake that, for some reason, will be using every word of the original script. It's like watching a different cast perform the same Shakespeare play, except instead of Hamlet, it's Cabin Fever. The Grudge is also getting a second American remake, because the nuances of that story were apparently too difficult to capture back in the year of antiquity that was 2004.
"Wait, so she wants to kill people because she harbors some sort of... ill-feelings? Slow down, Japan!"
We also have Insidious: Chapter III to look forward to, which is wholly unrelated to the previous two films in the series except for the return of the comic relief characters, Specs and Tucker, along with their dead psychic ghost mom. It won't even pick up from the cliffhanger ending of Insidious: Chapter II, which featured the return of Darth Maul Demon from the first film. That's like ending your movie with the hero dangling from a cliff, then putting out a sequel that begins with him browsing the magazine rack at Farm Fresh and never mentions the cliff again.
Desperate to keep their Spider-Man license afloat, Sony is trying several different approaches to rebooting The Amazing Spider-Man without actually calling it a reboot. We might be seeing Sinister Six and Venom movies featuring a completely different, non-Andrew Garfield Spider-Man, if Spider-Man appears in them at all. He might show up in Captain America 3, or they might toss him back to Disney and Marvel Entertainment like a sock full of rotten eggs. The only thing that's definite at this point is that we will see another Spider-Man movie within the next few years, and that it won't have anything to do with The Amazing Spider-Man films.
So there is a silver lining to all this nonsense.
So enjoy a fun-filled 2015 at the movies, everyone! Unless they reboot it and decide it's 2014 again.
For more from Ashe, check out Weird Shit Blog and his book, The Book of Word Records, available now!
For a look back at some of the stranger moments in 2014 cinema, check out 4 Creepy and Baffling Implications of the X-Men Films and The 6 Stupidest Things The Hobbit Movies Wasted Money On.