Well, folks, we made it. We can officially put another stressful year behind us, with nothing to do now but look ahead to the next 12 months – including what looks to be an exciting year’s worth of entertainment.
From the long-awaited return of some of our favourite TV shows to some exciting goings on in the music world, there’s a lot to look forward to in 2022.
Here are 22 of our top picks of what we’re all going to be talking about in the year ahead…
1. The Crown ushers in a brand new Royal Family
After Olivia Colman’s time on the throne came to an end in 2020, Netflix will be opening the doors to Buckingham Palace in the next year, and introducing a whole new cast in the process.
Of course, we’re looking forward to seeing what Imelda Staunton does with the role of Queen Elizabeth II, but after the Diana-mania kick-started by Emma Corrin continued into 2021, it’s Elizabeth Debicki’s portrayal of the late Princess of Wales’ final years we’ll be most intrigued about when our next The Crown binge-watch begins.
2. Who knows what ABBA are going to have in store for their Voyage shows?
Voyage has been billed as a concert experience like no other, with music fans from all generations excited to catch the so-called ABBAtars in action as they perform the pop giants’ biggest hits.
The first trailer for the shows looks, frankly, insane, but even if the tech somehow ends up falling short of our expectations, how wrong can a night of listening to ABBA classics (plus the two stand-outs from their chart-topping 2021 album) really go?
3. It’s the start of a new era for Doctor Who
Doctor Who fans have two major reasons to be excited for the show’s return in 2022. First off, there are Jodie Whittaker’s final adventures as the Time Lord, with her final episodes – and likely her re-generation – at the helm of the Tardis set to air this year.
Second, there’s the big reveal about exactly who’ll be taking over the role. Brace yourself for months’ worth of every single actor who’s ever worked with Russell T Davies being “rumoured” for the role in the tabloid press, only for the part to eventually go to someone no one had even considered…
4. The Game Of Thrones prequel finally hits our screens
It’s coming up to three years since that infamous Game Of Thrones finale… and we’ve not encountered a TV moment as divisive since. Fortunately, fans of the fantasy franchise have finally got something that might allow them to put their disappointment behind them once and for all, in the form of brand new spin-off series House Of The Dragon.
So far, teaser clips and photos from set have given devotees of the original show a lot to get excited about, so fingers crossed it can live up to the hype.
5. The revamped Brit Awards light up The O2
The biggest night in British music will also begin a new era in 2022. Not only do they only have a new host in comedian Mo Gilligan – the first Black-British star to present the Brits, and only the second person of colour to do so after RuPaul in 1994 – there are some big changes to the show to look out for, too.
In a move towards inclusivity, gendered categories have been replaced by awards for “British Act” and “International Act”, while there are also genre-specific prizes for artists in the Dance, Hip-Hop/Grime/Rap and Alternative/Rock fields.
Performers are yet to be revealed, but with artists like Adele, Little Simz, Sam Fender and Dave among the top nominees – not to mention a range of international stars with multiple nods like Lil Nas X, Olivia Rodrigo and Billie Eilish – we’re more than likely in for a big show.
6 Two words: The Batman
A film we’ve been excited for since the second we saw that they’d turned Colin Farrell into Richard Kind to play The Penguin for some reason, 2022 is finally the year we get to see Robert Pattinson in action as the caped crusader for the first time.
For those who love the more theatrical side of the Dark Knight universe, Paul Dano’s spin on The Riddler will definitely be one to look out for, while Zoe Kravitz’s turn as Catwoman is something we’re equally as excited about.
7. It’s finally time for the Hawkins High School reunion
We’re going to be honest, we don’t know whether it’s the fact we binge-watched it in two days or the fact it came out more than two years ago (with a whole pandemic in between then and now), but we don’t really recall what went down in Stranger Things’ third season. What we do know, though, is that we were absolutely glued to it, and after a lengthy absence, it feels right that it’s almost time for a Hawkins reunion.
Not much is known about what transpires in the new season, other than Hopper is back and there’s a “new horror” about to terrorise our young heroes. But given the already-impressive teenage cast’s performances only get stronger as the years go on, we’re excited to see how far they’ve come in the time since we we last checked in on them.
8. Conversations With Friends is already guaranteed to have us gripped
The 2019 adaptation of Sally Rooney’s Normal People had us all under its spell, with BBC Three turning its attention to another of the hit Irish author’s works in the new year. This time around it’s her breakthrough moment Conversations With Friends that’s being given the TV treatment, with an impressive cast that includes Girls star Jemima Kirke, Joe Alwyn (otherwise known as Mr Taylor Swift) and Sasha Lane, who we tipped as one to watch after her stellar performance in The Miseducation Of Cameron post.
9. But it’s not just award-winning prestige drama that’s got us excited for the year ahead
The dawn of a new year means it’s time for the weirdest show on telly to return to our screens. Yes, we’re of course talking about The Masked Singer.
And how do you top Joss Stone performing a power ballad dressed as a giant sausage? Why, with new characters like Bagpipes, Traffic Cone, Mushroom and Robobunny (???), naturally.
10. Adele takes her hit album 30 on the road (sort of)
Despite her mammoth success in the latter half of 2021, Adele has kept her expectations realistic when it comes to what live music might look like this year. So far, she’s scheduled two outdoor shows at Hyde Park in London for the space’s annual British Summertime Festival, while she’ll also be putting on a show as part of a short-lived Las Vegas residency.
For a star as massive as Adele, it’s unlikely that’s where she’ll draw the line (dependent on what’s next in terms of the pandemic, of course) – but even if there are no more dates from her in 2022, it’s been so long since fans have been able to hear her incomparable vocals live we’re sure that will more than suffice for the time being.
11. Is the world ready for brand new horror films from Jordan Peele and Ari Aster?
Both directors last helmed films in 2019 with Us and Midsommar, respectively, and they’ll be back in the next year with brand new projects – both starring some very camp faves, it has to be said.
Oscar winner Jordan Peele will be reuniting with Get Out’s Daniel Kaluuya for new film Nope, but it’s the new film’s female cast members we particularly want to shout out. Daniel will be sharing the screen with both Euphoria’s Barbie Ferreira and the icon that is Keke Palmer.
Meanwhile, Ari Aster’s new project Disappointment Boulevard will see Nathan Lane (!) and Patti LuPone (!!!!) no doubt chewing every piece of scenery within reach alongside Joaquin Phoenix, Parker Posey and little-known indie star Meryl Streep.
Bring. It. On.
12. But we don’t have to wait long at all for the first big scare of 2022
After more than a decade since the last film, the Scream franchise is being rebooted with a fifth instalment, confusingly named just Scream (when ScreVm and 5cream were right there, no less).
Sadly, this is the first film in the series to come out since the death of Wes Craven, with Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett on co-directing duties. But Scream fans are still in for some serious nostalgia, with Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox and David Arquette reuniting for the fifth time, alongside new cast members like Melissa Barrera, Mason Gooding and Jenna Ortega.
Can you believe it’s been more than five years since the Queen Bey bestowed us with the career high that was Lemonade? True, she’s kept the hive well-fed in the time since with the Jay-Z collab Everything Is Love and the Lion King companion album The Gift – plus her Black Is King and Homecoming film experiences, but that doesn’t mean we can’t still be greedy for more, right?
Well, the woman herself has confirmed that new music is coming, with whispers suggesting she’s also planning a 2022 stadium tour. Hive, get ready to rise up. Our time is now..
14. Harry Styles fans are in for quite the year
And the hive aren’t the only fanbase in for an exciting 2022. Not only is Harry Styles’ long-awaited Love On Tour jaunt tipped to finally arrive in the UK in the year ahead, there are also rumours he’s got a new album up his billowing sleeve for us, too.
As if that wasn’t enough, he’s set to appear on the big screen not once but twice, first opposite Florence Pugh in the unsettling thriller Don’t Worry Darling and later in the steamy drama My Policeman, alongside Emma Corrin of The Crown fame.
15. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
Even for non-Marvel fans, Black Panther was a must-see spectacular that broke box office records, raised the bar in terms of Black representation on the big screen and became the first ever superhero film to be nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars.
Of course, the team behind follow-up Wakanda Forever have a big job on their hands, not just in living up to the success and acclaim of the first film, but in paying tribute to its lead actor Chadwick Boseman, who died following a private battle with cancer in 2020. Rather than recasting the titular hero, the sequel will apparently focus on the women of Wakanda, with original cast members Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Angela Bassett and Letitia Wright reportedly taking on a more central part of the story this time around.
Also joining the cast is Michaela Coel, following the international success of her hit drama I May Destroy You. And speaking of…
16. Yep, Michaela Coel is back
The world has been waiting with baited breath for what Michaela Coel cooks up as the follow-up to I May Destroy You, which took the world by storm upon its debut in 2020. Michaela not only wrote, produced and directed I May Destroy You, she also took the lead as Arabella, a character whose rape was inspired by the star’s own experience of sexual assault.
Back in May, the BBC announced a slate of new projects, including a mysterious show helmed by Michaela, with the corporation’s director of drama, Piers Wenger, teasing: “It’s relatively early stages but I just wanted to let everybody know, for the fans of I May Destroy You, that there was a new show coming along.
“What relationship that show will have with the original series… there is a relationship between Chewing Gum (Coel’s first TV series) and I May Destroy You, there is a sort of through line to Michaela’s thinking and I suspect there may be elements but it’s really too early to say anything too specific.”
17. Turning Red looks set to be one of the year’s weirdest (and most intriguing) new films
Throughout their ascent to becoming one of the most popular film companies on the planet, Pixar has been renowned for thinking outside the box when it comes to their films. And Turning Red just might be their most off-the-wall yet.
Bringing the nostalgia with a story set in the early 2000s, the film introduces us to typical teenager Mei Lee. She’s 13, she loves boybands, she feels pressure from her mum… oh, and when she gets too stressed or overexcited she turns into a massive red panda, an issue she has to keep under wraps from her peers. Seriously, we can’t wait for this one.
18. Eurovision returns after an epic 2021
After a year out due to the pandemic, Eurovision’s 2021 comeback was truly worth the wait. Not only was it a real battle royale with some of the most exciting acts the competition has seen in years, eventual winners Måneskin have done the unthinkable and had chart success not just with their Italian-language entry but subsequent singles I Wanna Be Your Slave and Beggin’.
Quite how Europe reacts to having their Eurovision winners actually turn out to be credible musicians is going to be an interesting one, but we reckon there might be a fair few electric guitars on display in Turin next spring.
Meanwhile, the UK is turning to the management company behind Lana Del Rey and Dua Lipa for our next representatives, which should have interesting results if nothing else.
Oh – and if all of that isn’t exciting enough, 2022 is also the year the American Song Contest airs its inaugural competition.
19. Studio 54: American Crime Story
Ryan Murphy made us wait four years in between the most recent two seasons of American Crime Story, but we’re happy to report he’s not hanging around with what’s coming next – and it sounds like a good ’un.
This time around the TV super-producer will be delving into the back story behind one of the most iconic night clubs of all time, Studio 54, setting the action in 1970s New York. Let’s face it, we’re going to be hooked on the whole thing for the fashion and soundtrack alone, but the thought of some extremely camp celebrity cameos is also going to have us coming back every week, too.
20. The Derry Girls say goodbye
Weirdly, one of 2022’s most anticipated shows is one we’re not actually entirely sure we’re ready for.
The third and final series of Derry Girls is coming in the next few months, and while we’re obviously long overdue a catch-up with Erin, Orla, Clare, Michelle and “honorary Derry Girl” James, we’re frankly already misty-eyed at the thought it will be the last time we see these iconic characters in action.
21. What’s next for Britney Spears?
One of the running stories that’s dominated the news cycle in 2021 is Britney Spears’ ongoing fight for her freedom, finally achieving the dissolution of the conservatorship she’d been under for the past 13 years a month before turning 40. The question is, now that Britney has got her freedom, what does she want to do next?
Of course, whatever she decides, she’ll have our full support. Whether that involves new music, a public interview with the likes of Oprah Winfrey or going off-grid to live a quiet life with her sons and fiancé, Britney owes the world precisely nothing, and we hope whatever she decides next brings her the happiness and peace she deserves.
22. And finally…
Is it wrong to already be looking ahead to Christmas when we’ve barely put 2021 behind us? Probably – but when we say the reason we’re even thinking about is because of Lindsay Lohan’s new festive film’s long-awaited arrival on Netflix, it’s definitely justified.
According to a Netflix announcement, Lindsay will play a “newly engaged and spoiled hotel heiress” who gets amnesia after a skiing accident, only to find herself in the care of a “handsome, blue-collar lodge owner and his precocious daughter” in the new film. The whole thing sounds cliché, excessively maudlin and unrealistic. We need it yesterday.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.