I’ve been covering people and entertainment for more than 20 years now, so I’ve learned that predicting what happens next week, let alone next year, is foolish. There is, however, much to look forward to in the new year. Here are a few notes from my list.
* Inaugural parties!
* A glamorous awards season, unmarred by writers’ or actors’ strikes. It’s opulent, decadent and an antidote to recession blues.
* Children in the White House. And dogs, too. I bet the new puppy will be a Labradoodle.
* The return — finally! — of Damages on FX. Glenn Close takes my breath away.
* Watching Oprah lose those 40 pounds. You know she can do it.
* Emerging new stars in the Obama cabinet. And I don’t mean Rahm Emmanuel or Hillary Clinton.
* The new dramedy Trust Me on TNT. Eric McCormack and Tom Cavanagh were born to be together.
* The spring return of Rescue Me. I’m mad about Denis Leary. And Michael J. Fox guest stars.
* Rachel Maddow getting more press than Keith Olbermann. (Remember, he once named me a worst person in the world.)
* Michelle Obama rockin’ the East Wing.
* Celeb weddings: Jen and John? Angie and Brad? Nicole Richie and Joel Madden? Halle Berry and Gabriel Aubry?
* Celeb divorces: J.Lo and Marc? David Duchovny and Tea Leoni? Spencer and Heidi?
* More celeb babies: Tony and Eva? Beyonce and Jay-Z?
* West Side Story returns to Broadway.
I also asked my colleagues stuck at work during the holiday weeks to share what they’re looking forward to in 2009 and why, so click read more below for their thoughts. And if there’s something you’re psyched about in the new year, let us know in the comments section.
Ali Cybulski, copy editor: In 2008, I made a big leap and became a vegetarian. I did it for a lot of different reasons — for health, the environment and animal welfare. In 2009, I’m committing to eating vegan (no dairy) as much as possible. (As a big cheese lover, that’s tough!) I’ve been enjoying digging into various vegan cookbooks, but I really love the sassy tone and recipes of Isa Chandra Moskowitz. Plus, she’s got a crazy name like mine. I loved her Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World and Vegan With a Vengeance cookbooks, and she’s got another one coming this spring that’s all about cooking a tasty vegan brunch. I’m also looking forward to a book on the vegan lifestyle due out this fall from Clueless actress and animal activist Alicia Silverstone. A vegan for 10 years, Silverstone is sure to offer a few good tips I can use to make this year an even healthier one than last.
Brian Truitt, associate editor: Turning 33 (I love the symmetry of it, and the fact that it’s divisible by 11). Finally seeing Watchmen — and I want to see it on March 3, so don’t screw this up, Fox! — as well as two summer movies from ’80s toy franchises I still love, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen and G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra. Heath Ledger getting a supporting actor trophy come Oscar time. The return of Lost, Flight of the Conchords, The Tudors and (hopefully) the guilty-pleasure Canadian hockey soap opera MVP. Fried chicken salad Wednesdays. The premiere of Dollhouse, featuring Joss Whedon and Eliza Dushku together again. The new Green Day album. A new Brian K. Vaughan comic book that comes even slightly close to the fantastic Y: The Last Man. Watching my top-ranked Tar Heels hoops team win the national championship in April, followed by my Capitals taking the Stanley Cup soon after. Comic-Con 2009!!! (Because the 2008 version was a truly awesome experience.) And another safe and happy year with friends, family, loved ones and great co-workers.
Christina Bevington, associate art director: This was severely lacking in “quality programming” for the boob tube. But with 2009 just around the corner, I can rejoice, because my two favorite kiwis, Bret & Jemaine, are back following their very successful and critically acclaimed first season of Flight of the Conchords! Fans should set their TiVos to HBO on Jan. 18, although if you’re antsy, web users can go here to see the first episode now! The Conchords went on a short spring tour in 2008 to keep the buzz going for their show and try out some new material for the second season. I was lucky enough to score tickets to the Washington, D.C., show that sold out in less than five minutes, and was pleased with the handful of new tunes. How they’ll be incorporated into the new season is anybody’s guess, but after a stellar first season of David Bowie dreams, racist fruit-sellers and crazy stalker fans like Kristen Schaal, I think I’m in for a real treat.
David Baratz, senior photo editor: January 20, 2009….
Dennis McCafferty, senior writer: The potential for a Manning vs. Manning Super Bowl; another exceptional March Madness tournament, with the usual heapings of upsets, Cinderellas and games that will keep me up well past my bedtime; an inauguration that will hopefully unite the country as we face our toughest economic challenge since the Great Depression; and opening a great newspaper every single morning, whether it’s USA Today, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal or the local newspaper in the hundreds of cities and towns in the U.S. that I sometimes find myself in.
Jill Golden, copy chief: The rest of the seasons of 30 Rock, The Office, Chuck, Life and CSI; the final episodes of Battlestar Galactica, although I’m torn on that because I don’t really want it to end (for a wrap-up of the whole series until now, watch this); the return of the summer series Mad Men (with creator Matt Weiner), Burn Notice and Psych; more Flight of the Conchords, although I don’t have HBO (I watched the first episode of the second season online already, but I guess I’ll have to wait for the DVD to see the rest. Unless I can’t wait, and then I’ll download episodes from iTunes); and more installments of two online series, The Michael Showalter Showalter and Drunk History.
Pam Taylor, art director: Two sailing events I’m looking forward to are the Volvo Ocean Race in Boston during the first week of May and the Chesapeake 20 Nationals in Annapolis, Md., during the ast weekend in JuneTwo Kid. Also, my family is looking forward to seeing Thomas the Tank Engine at one of the closest railroads to us. Maybe Baltimore in April! We saw Laurie Berkner in concert earlier in year and would love to see her again (my son Thomas loves, “We are the Dinosaurs…marching, marching…”). And heading down to the Mall in D.C. for the National Cherry Blossom Parade, the Capitol Fourth of July celebration, Memorial Day at Arlington cemetery and the National Book Festival.
Reyhaneh Fathieh, editorial assistant: I am looking forward to the Los Angeles Lakers reclaiming what’s rightfully theirs, and beating the Boston Celtics in the NBA Playoffs this year; Britney Spears’ comeback tour (mainly to see if she is worth the money anymore); and seeing what happens to the kids when Brad and Angelina break up.
T.J. Walter, associate editor: The return of Lost and 24, two shows that are sorely missed by many and are sure to really draw fans back in instantly (believe me, I already saw the first few episodes of each). The much-anticipated 12th U2 album, No Line on the Horizon. Watching my beloved Steelers make a run for a sixth ring! Celebrating my first wedding anniversary. In matters of movies, its hard not to talk about seeing my childhood action figures hit the big screen in films such as G.I. Joe, Transformers 2 and Star Trek. In 2009, I also want to dive back into one of my favorite hobbies, which is photography. I can’t wait for the new coffee table book by one of my favorite photographers, Jeremy Cowart. Awakening chronicles his time with the Passion World Tour, which stopped in 17 cities around the globe. Beyond this, I can’t wait to do some more traveling. Happy 2009, everyone!