Depending on how much you celebrated on New Year’s Eve, 2016 is already a fading memory. It’s time to forget about e-mail scandals, elections, Summer Olympics and the passing of entertainment greats. Now is the time to look ahead. So far, 2017 is a clean slate with wonderful possibilities looming just over the horizon. The following is a list of TV shows, concerts, movies, video games, local arts and theater productions and restaurant and store openings that The Fresno Bee staff are eagerly anticipating.
“Wonder Woman” (June 2): This is the most important movie based on DC Comics characters to be released since “Superman” hit the big screen in 1978. After successful runs with Superman and Batman, DC Comics movies have fallen into a deep funk with the likes of “Green Lantern,” “Suicide Squad” and “Superman v Batman: Dawn of Justice.” Gal Gadot has given the franchise some hope with her portrayal of Wonder Woman in “Superman v Batman.” She needs to be the super cinema hero DC Comics needs.
“Star Wars: Episode VIII” (Dec. 15): “The Force Awakens” left “Star Wars” fans with a lot of questions. While the odds are low that all your questions will be answered in the next installment in the series, anything new in this franchise is welcome. The fact the film will bring together new characters with some familiar faces, including Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker, is enough reason to want to see the movie.
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“The LEGO Batman Movie” (Feb. 10): Batman (Will Arnett) was only a supporting player in “The LEGO Movie,” but he stole the spotlight. Now, he’s the star and that should make for an entertaining film to be built one brick at a time.
“Time After Time” (ABC): The 1979 feature film, “Time After Time,” told the tale of H.G. Wells (Malcolm McDowell) chasing Jack the Ripper into tho 20th Century. That’s the same plot for the new network drama. The production comes from Kevin Williamson, who was the driving force behind “The Following” and “The Vampire Diaries.”
“Iron Fist” (Netflix): The streaming series has already had great success with TV series based on Marvel Comics, including “Luke Cage” and “Daredevil.” Finn Jones stars in the story of a young man trained by Buddhist monks in the way of iron fist. He’ll use that ability to claim his family business.
“Twin Peaks” (Showtime): The 1990 series was one of the biggest TV shows of the year. David Lynch combined creepy characters, odd events and a great cup of coffee into one of the strangest – and most compelling – series to ever play on network TV. Having the series on a premium channel creates the potential for even more bizarre tales.
Restaurants and retail
Manchester Center renovation: The future home of Chipotle and Habit Burger is under construction in the parking lot and should open sometime in spring or early summer. The mall’s Beverly Hills owners have also started a major revamp of the mall, including bringing a remodeled food court on the first floor with a slew of local restaurants. They include waffle and coffee shop Grids and Grounds (a coffee and waffle place) and Pineapple Kitchen, which will sell a twist on rice and poke bowls with raw fish. Also coming are Green’s Family Grill, Med Wraps Cafe, Rocket Dog Gourmet Brats & Brew, Yummyz Street Treats, Southern Twist, Smokin’ Burrito and Tomo’s Japanese Restaurant.
New Olive Garden: To be honest, this food writer doesn’t get that excited about Olive Garden. But I’m excited for the people who are excited that it’s opening a new restaurant at the Marketplace at El Paseo near Highway 99 and Herndon Avenue. And boy, are they excited. News of the restaurant’s second location in the area swept through the community like wildfire and it was one of my top-read stories of the year. The restaurant is under construction and slated to open this spring.
Beer: It’s going to be a big year for the craft beer scene in the valley. This will hopefully be the year that the downtown gastropub planned by House of Pendragon Brewing Co. and Visalia’s Pita Kabob opens on Van Ness Avenue and Inyo Street. Tioga-Sequoia Brewing Co. is also planning an expansion nearby in a former thrift store at Inyo and Broadway streets. And we’re sure to hear more from local breweries like Tactical Ops Brewing and “nanobreweries” such as Two Dudes Brewing in Clovis and Sackbut Brewing and Barrelwerks in Fresno.
Neil Diamond (April 7): Start naming off Neil Diamond’s hits. When you’re done, you’ll understand why so many people are looking forward to this Save Mart Center concert.
Okilly Dokilly (April 26): You might not think that a hardcore band that takes its name, aesthetic and lyrical content directly from a Simpson’s character (Ned Flanders) would make this list. You would be wrong. Especially when the band is touring with the live mash-up band Beatallica (that’s Beatles and Metallica) and stopping at Fulton 55.
Grizzly Fest (April 29): Without having the full lineup revealed, the multi-stage, all-day music festival at Chukchansi Park is shaping up to be legit. Already, it’s has some hip-hop heavy hitters (E-40, Fashawn, Dilated Peoples), plus hip reggae (Collie Budz), indie-rock (Dr. Dog, Thee Commons) and local acts (Slow Season, Sagey).
Twenty One Pilots (Feb. 14): And a bonus concert. Because what better way to spend Valentine’s Day than at the Save Mart Center with one of the hottest bands on the planet right now, right?
AFI (“AFI, The Blood Album,” out Jan. 20): The new record from everyone’s favorite post-garage-skate-pop-horror-hardcore-emo-screamo-goth-alternative-punk rock band. Also look out Dreamcar, the Davey Havok fronted rock band from the members of No Doubt (the ones that aren’t Gwen Stefani).
Grandaddy (“Last Place,” out March 3): It’s been 10 years since the Modesto indie-rock band released its last record. Judging by the two singles that have been released so far, the band still goes for that lo-fi electronic Neil Young vibe.
Zack de la Rocha (title, release TBA): While de la Rocha’s Rage Against the Machine band mates were putting together another super group, the singer has been working on long-awaited solo album. It will be his first serious body of work since 2008, when he released the One Day as a Lion EP with Mars Volta’s drummer Jon Theodore. For a certain set, this is the most-anticipated solo album of the year (if not the decade).
“35MM: A Musical Exhibition” (June 16) The Selma Arts Center, which last year brought us the central San Joaquin Valley premiere of a first-rate “Heathers: The Musical,” is tackling another cutting-edge title. Ryan Scott Oliver’s song cycle pairs his original compositions with a series of still photographs.
“The Great God Pan” (March 24): Amy Herzog’s acclaimed, haunting play about memory and possible childhood sexual abuse gets a staging by Fresno State’s theater department.
“The Full Monty” (July 21): It’s taken more than 15 years for the Broadway musical adaptation of the 1997 movie about a group of unlikely male English strippers to get a local production, but StageWorks Fresno is finally ready to take it all (or mostly) off.
“Of Mice and Men” (May 6): Fresno Grand Opera presents Carlisle Floyd’s 1969 adaptation of the famed John Steinbeck novel – a natural fit for the central San Joaquin Valley.
Conductor announcement (April): After the Fresno Philharmonic finishes with its season-long job interviews of six finalists with an April 9 concert, we’ll learn who will be the orchestra’s next music director.
Nancy Youdelman exhibition (summer): The Fresno Art Museum gives a big retrospective, “Fashioning a Feminist Vision, 1972 to 2017,” to the artist and former Fresno State professor, who is known internationally for transforming clothing into sculpture.
“South Park: The Fractured But Whole” (March 31): The follow-up to 2014’s “The Stick of Truth” looks fantastic. The sequel promises more action-packed gameplay geared around the characters’ superhero alter egos.
“Mass Effect: Andromeda” (2017): For many, this is the most-anticipated game of 2017. “Andromeda” marks the return of a beloved series from some of the best storytellers in the business (BioWare).
“Red Dead Redemption” (2017): I doubt this game will actually release in 2017, but it’s on the list until we definitively hear otherwise. Expect an impactful plot and breathtaking graphics from Rockstar.
Bee reporters Rory Appleton, Rick Bentley, Bethany Clough, Donald Munro and Joshua Tehee contributed to this report.