Winter break was short, and there's no way you got your fill of binge–watching and theater–going. Thankfully, the new year promises a bounty of films and shows to provide you with some screen time between studying. Here's a preview of some of the titles we're most excited to see this year. Add our picks to your calendar, go forth and press play.

The return of Twin Peaks

Most of us weren’t alive to watch in real time the episodes of Twin Peaks unfold into one of TV's greatest dramas. Twenty–five years later, the cult classic returns with 18 new episodes airing on Showtime beginning May 21st. Set in the fictional town of Twin Peaks, Washington, the drama follows FBI Agent Dale Cooper as he investigates the murder of homecoming queen Laura Palmer. The unsettling music, outdoorsy setting and melodramatic characters forged the perfect blend of eeriness and addictively mysterious humor. The second season of the episode ended with Palmer telling Cooper, “I’ll see you again in 25 years.” Since Palmer's prophecy has come true in real time, the reboot  begins with a female FBI agent receiving a dossier of documents all related to the small, strange town. Original director David Lynch is sure to inject his humor and surrealism into the story as the FBI grapples with new questions and an amazing mix of old (David Duchovny, Sheryl Lee, Sherilyn Fenn, Mädchen Amick) and new (Laura Dern, Michael Cera, Naomi Watts and Jennifer Jason Leigh) cast members. The original two seasons are on Hulu, so you have no excuse to not catch up between now and May.

Todd Haynes continuing his hot streak with Wonderstruck

This movie is set to be the must–see of the year. It has the acclaimed story, the powerful cast and the innovative filming technique. In his 2011 novel, Brian Selzek told the story of two deaf children living 50 years apart. In 1927, Rose hopes to meet the actress she adores, Lillian Mayhew. In 1977, Ben yearns to meet his father. Both roads converge in New York City. Selzek’s previous work has translated to the silver screen wonderfully as in the case of Hugo and, combined with the careful direction of Todd Haynes (the mastermind behind Carol), there's no chance that the film won't live up to the beauty of the novel. Already, we know that half of the movie will be silent to recreate the character’s perspective, and Rose will be played by the 13–year–old deaf actress Millicent Simmonds. She will be joined by Julianne Moore and Michelle Williams, as well as other deaf actors and actresses, in what's sure to be a kickass ensemble.

When you want a refreshing dystopia, watch The Handmaid’s Tale 

Before you skip over Hulu’s new series The Handmaid’s Tale and pigeonhole it as another iteration of the saturated, tired dystopian drama genre, let us remind you of two things. First, the original novel was written by Margaret Atwood in 1985, long before The Hunger Games and Divergent. Second, rather than showing a future where environmental and political abuse leads to ruin, it’s a feminist dystopia that Atwood claims is happening now. Sure, Offred (Elisabeth Moss) lives in the Republic of Gilead, where women aren’t allowed to read, can only leave the house for shopping and works as a handmaid to bear children for the elite, but Atwood argues valuing women only for their fertility is not new or fantastical. Beyond the powerful message, this novel series deserves screen time for its compelling visuals, using techniques like first person point-of-view, extreme close-ups and flashbacks. Even though there's been some controversy surrounding its male director spearheading a project about a male-dominated world, this tension gives you all the more reasons to check out its premiere on April 26. 

An inside look at the NYC pornography industry with The Deuce

Did you know that Times Square use to be a porn headquarters? James Franco and Maggie Gyllenhaal plan to show you exactly how it was done in The Deuce. The HBO series follows pornography’s legalization and popularity in the tourist industry during the 1970s and 1980s through the story of twins (played by Franco) who became mobsters to control the lucrative sex business. Coming from The Wire creator David Simon and Breaking Bad director Michelle MacLaren, we know this series will be darkly delicious and are eager to see when it will be released this year.

M. Night Shyamalan's chance at redemption

Who's to blame when a multiple personality disorder leads to a horrific crime: the person or the personality? This seems to be the inspiration behind Split, the newest plot twister by the director that kept you guessing in The Sixth Sense and Signs, M. Night Shyamalan. Also filmed in Philadelphia, the movie takes you through the unnerving fight of three high school girls trying to escape their “multi-faceted” kidnapper. Yep, that’s James McAvoy as the captor, seemingly taking a break from playing handsome roles to shave his head and morph into 23 different personalities. To escape his character is nearly impossible, as each time the girls employ a new scheme, they face a new person. The story is similar to the real–life case of Billy Milligan, who raped three college women and claimed his multiple personalities committed the crimes without him being aware. Despite these similarities, the movie reviews swear you haven’t guessed the plot twist yet. 

The bittersweet ending of so many iconic series

Yeah, graduating is exciting and all, but each question about what’s it like to have less than a semester left is like a sharp stab reminding you that shit is about to actually get real quickly. Escape from the full–time job search by watching the final seasons of some of your favorite shows. Pretty Little Liars. Girls. Bones. The Vampire Diaries. They are all about to make their victory laps. Did we mention that Game of Thrones is on its second to last season? There is no time to waste.

Photo courtesy of Creative Commons. 


All comments eligible for publication in Daily Pennsylvanian, Inc. publications.