Around this time last year, we put together a list of things we had to look forward to in the world of entertainment in 2020.
We probably don’t need to remind you what happened next, but the long and short of it is… a lot of them didn’t actually end up happening.
And so, as we stand on the cusp of another new year, we’ve decided to remain optimistic, and put together a brand round-up of the biggest music, film and TV events that lie ahead of us in the next 12 months.
Here are 21 things to look forward to in 2021 (hopefully)...
1. No Time To Die is finally released (and Daniel Craig is finally released from the role of James Bond)
We’re going to start with a rather obvious one. Daniel Craig has been waiting to hang up his tuxedo since… well, since before Spectre came out, if we’re being honest, but he ultimately decided to give 007 one last outing before giving up the character.
What he probably didn’t count on was that nine months on from No Time To Die’s original release date, the 25th Bond film still wouldn’t have hit cinemas yet.
On a serious note, Daniel did have a few stipulations when he agreed to play James Bond again, so we’re genuinely looking forward to seeing exactly what it was that convinced him to stick around for one last film. Fingers crossed it was worth the wait.
2. The One Where They Finally Agreed To Get Together Again Only For A Literal Pandemic To Get In Their Way
We’ll admit that when details of the much-anticipated Friends reunion special were first announced, we were happy, but not beside ourselves with excitement.
After all, it wasn’t a full-blown revival, but an unscripted one-off that would see the cast sitting together and reminiscing about old times. It sounded like a laugh, and something we’d be interested in watching, but not something we’d be counting down the days until it arrived.
Fast-forward 10 months, two much-publicised delays and one global pandemic... and we are very much ready for this Friends special now. After all, has the phrase “no one told you life was going to be this way” ever been more appropriate?
3. Eurovision makes a triumphant return
The entertainment news cycle in March 2020 was essentially one long list of cancellations, and one that hit especially hard was the news that the pandemic meant Eurovision would no longer be able to go ahead.
At a time of huge uncertainty and global turmoil, the celebration of unity and joy that Eurovision usually delivers in spades would have been the perfect tonic (rather than the actually-rather-bleak Eurovision: Europe Shine A Light which aired in its place).
Fortunately, with more time to plan, the EBU has several contingency plans in place for 2021 depending on where the continent is at in terms of the pandemic. And even more excitingly – Daði Freyr has already been confirmed as Iceland’s representative. We’ve never needed Eurovision more, and we’re so happy we’ll have it in some capacity in 2021.
4. Channel 4 welcomes a host of celebrities into The Circle
Kicking the year off in style will be a celebrity special, in aid of Stand Up To Cancer. It’s not clear quite how things will work with a host of celebrities playing the game, but if Richard Madeley’s brief stint during series two is anything to go, we’re in for some laugh-out-loud moments.
And while you could probably play reality TV star bingo with the line-up (Sam Thompson? Check. Charlotte Crosby? Check.), there are a handful that are guaranteed to deliver on the entertainment, particularly when tasked with impersonating another celeb 24/7.
5. Could The Cabins become our new dating show obsession?
Remember when reality TV fans were crying out for a winter series of Love Island, complete with a snowy backdrop, log cabins and the opportunity for the couples to grow close snuggled up with a cup of hot chocolate?
Remember when what they actually ended up giving us... the same show as usual, but set in South Africa, while British viewers grappled with regular January weather.
Well, it sounds like ITV has finally got it right this time, with The Cabins set to debut in January. The premise of the show is that two complete strangers move into a cabin together, with the hope of growing close in the 24 hours that follow.
We’re intrigued to see how things play out, especially as it looks like bosses have learned from another of Love Island’s biggest criticisms, and decided to make The Cabins a more inclusive experience.
6. The Weeknd at the Super Bowl
Because of Covid-19 restrictions, we’ve all had to go without live music in 2020, with the only thing coming close to a concert being when artists perform on TV and awards shows.
This has meant that musicians have had to really think outside the box when it comes to their live performances, and one man who’s consistently delivered this year has been The Weeknd.
Not only have hits like In Your Eyes and Blinding Lights dominated the charts, he’s also had us talking with his appearances at the MTV VMAs and American Music Awards. He may have been completely snubbed from the Grammys (seriously, what was that about?!), but we do have what promises to be an epic Super Bowl Half-Time Show still to come in 2021.
7. Before The Weeknd, though... who’s ready for that Friday feeling?
After much speculation in the press, This Morning confirmed they were shaking things up in 2021, with new double act Alison Hammond and Dermot O’Leary set to take over Friday shows, while Eamonn Holmes and Ruth Langsford will cover school holidays.
Nothing screams “Friday feeling” quite like Alison, who’s kept us smiling and laughing throughout the last difficult 12 months.
But while Alison is known for bringing the fun wherever she goes, the multi-talented presenter also proved in 2020 that she’s more than capable of handling more serious themes too.
Alison, you’ve got this. And we can’t wait to see you in action.
8. Arlo Parks kicks off the year in music
While 2020 has admittedly been an all-round horrific year, one thing that can’t be denied is that it’s gifted us with some amazing music. Making sure that the new year in music gets off to a strong start is HuffPost fave Arlo Parks.
Not only has the London-based 20-year-old gifted us with some of the most thought-provoking and interesting new music in the last 12 months – winning the endorsement of everyone from Billie Eilish to Michaela Coel – she’s gifting us what looks set to be 2021′s first great album with the release of Collapsed In Sunbeams.
We are fully prepared to cry our way through it this January...
9. We really want to say Hello to Adele again (whenever she’s ready)
Adele has been unsatisfyingly vague when it comes to details about her much-awaited fourth studio album, particularly after it turned out her Saturday Night Live appearance was not her way of announcing a return to the music scene, but rather just the singer “putting on some wigs, having a glass of wine or six and just seeing what happens”.
And whether it’s a return to form with huge power ballads or a change of direction (it’s been a pretty bleak year so we’re kind of praying for the latter, tbh), absence truly has made the heart grow fonder when it comes to Adele.
10. Loads more RuPaul’s Drag Race to keep us smiling
Frankly, we’re staggered that there was ever a time people could consider such a thing as Drag Race fatigue. Throughout 2020, Drag Race in its various spin-offs and guises were what kept us smiling during the turbulent times, kicking off with season 12 and ending with the Canadian series, which ran until September.
Right off the bat, 2021 has two brand new batches of queens for us to get to know, with season 13 of Drag Race launching in the US on New Year’s Day, followed two weeks later by the new UK series.
Frankly, RuPaul, you can keep ’em coming. All Stars 6? Bring it.
More RuPaul’s *whispers* Secret Celebrity Drag Race? Why not?
Canada’s Drag Race season two? We’re here for it.
New episodes of AJ And The Queen? Well... erm... actually, maybe that’s where we draw the line.
11. More Star Wars spin-offs than we can even count
Remember when it looked like Disney was cooling things off with Star Wars when the most recent trilogy came to an end? Well, it seems they’ve had a change of heart.
Apparently, 2021 is the year of the Force over on Disney+, with a new original series based on Boba Fett set to debut next year, and an Obi-Wan Kenobi spin-off starring Ewan McGregor also due to begin shooting.
Then there’s the third season of The Mandalorian, not to mention animated shows like Star Wars: The Bad Batch, Star Wars: Visions and yes even Lego versions of the Skywalker saga.
And yet, no one is interested in our Baby Yoda chat show idea. A travesty.
12. Emma Stone reintroduces us to Cruella DeVil
We thought we were done with Disney’s live-action remakes... but then we saw the first photo of Emma Stone in character on the set of Cruella.
Admittedly we’re still not 100% sold on how much the world needs an origin story for one of Disney’s most iconic villains ever (surely half the appeal of her is that she’s unapologetically evil without need for any further explanations?), but frankly, it’ll be worth it just to see Cruella’s amazing fashion moments play out on the big screen, won’t it?
13. It’s business as usual for AC-12 as Line Of Duty finally returns to our screens
In December 2019, we were over the moon to hear Line Of Duty would be back on BBC One “sooner than any of us expected”, only for the show to be among the earliest productions to shut down in the early days of the pandemic.
Thankfully, filming is now complete, so we don’t have long to wait until we’re not only reacquainted with the usuals of AC-12, but introduced to Kelly Macdonald, whose new character has been described as the show’s “most enigmatic adversary ever”.
14. Jodie Turner-Smith brings us a new take on Anne Boleyn
We’re as surprised as anyone else that a Channel 5 original drama has made it onto our list of most-anticipated new shows of 2021, but there’s no denying that we’re excited for the broadcaster’s new take on Anne Boleyn.
Not only is the “psychological thriller” based on Henry VIII’s third wife led by Queen & Slim star Jodie Turner-Smith, it also features Paapa Essiedu in his first post-I May Destroy You role, while White Horse Farm’s Mark Stanley will play the Tudor King.
15. The French Dispatch has more stars than we can count and we honestly can’t wait
OK, can we please talk about this cast? Benicio Del Toro. Tilda Swinton. Timothée Chalamet. Saoirse Ronan. Anjelica Huston. Jeffrey Wright. Willem Defoe.
We’ll say no more. And we’ll see you in line the exact second this film arrives in cinemas.
16. Sex Education returns from a longer-than-planned school holiday
The bad news is that Sex Education won’t be back for its third series in its usual January slot, with filming beginning later in 2020 than planned.
However, if the past two seasons are anything to go by, then the third run will be worth the wait.
Not only do we have the double cliffhanger of Jean’s pregnancy and the Otis and Maeve latest to be resolved, there’s also a wave of new characters, including Girls’ Jemima Kirke as a new headteacher and Dua Saleh as Sex Ed’s first non-binary character.
17. Better late than never, Emerald Fennell’s Promising Young Woman arrives on our screens
We’ve had to wait a whole extra year longer than we thought to get to see Promising Young Woman, the feature-length directorial debut of The Crown’s Emerald Fennell.
Has our excitement waned, though? Not even one bit.
18. And Everybody’s Talking About Jamie is getting to us fashionably late, too
2020 was supposed to be the year of the big-screen musical, with In The Heights, West Side Story and a Mean Girls musical remake all thought to be coming to us in the last 12 months.
What did we get instead? The Prom, that Eurovision film and Dolly Parton’s Christmas On The Square.
It was Everybody’s Talking About Jamie we were most excited for, though, so we’re happy to see the film version of the West End modern classic has a new release date for 2021. Hopefully our patience is about to be rewarded...
19. I Can See Your Voice arrives in all its silly glory
We fully anticipate I Can See Your Voice becoming our new Saturday night TV obsession.
The premise is simple enough, with a celebrity panel having to decipher from a group of people how many of them can actually sing, despite not being able to hear them. And that’s it.
Does it sound totally silly and ridiculous? Yes, obviously. Will we be absolutely glued to it regardless? Most likely. And the fact that it also features HuffPost faves Amanda Holden and Alison Hammond among its regular panel only serves to sweeten the deal.
20. Tuca and Bertie find a new home after being cut short in their prime
Netflix has been known to rule with an iron fist when it comes to their original programmes, cutting plenty of shows first when fans are only just starting to find them.
This was certainly the case with animated sitcom Tuca And Bertie, which was axed in 2019 after just one series, despite largely positive reviews from critics and fans.
Fortunately, it’s been given a second chance on US broadcaster Adult Swim, with new episodes set to debut in the new year. We love a story with a happy ending...
21. New Rihanna music? Maybe?
Well... we can dream, can’t we?