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January 2017

Books on Screen

January 2017

Happy New Year, Books on Screen lovers! There's nothing like the bleak entertainment landscape of January to bring us back to reality after a festive holiday season. The good news is that if you binged all the prestige movies while you were avoiding your family for most of December, there are plenty of great television shows to watch this month, both new and old favorites. In the spirit of staying positive in 2017, let’s focus on those (don’t say it, don’t think it).

Good things come to those who wait: More than a year ago, Amazon teased “Z: The Beginning of Everything,” and later this month the entire season will be available to stream. Christina Ricci stars as notorious belle-turned-flapper Zelda Sayre, whose brilliant eccentricity won the heart of GATSBY author F. Scott Fitzgerald and eventually landed her in the loony bin (don’t say it, don’t think it). And speaking of lush period dramas, fans of “Downton Abbey” will be happy to have “Victoria,” a well-mannered replacement in the PBS Masterpiece Sunday time slot about the lively young queen as she ascends the throne and breaks some rules (don’t say it, don’t think it).

Stock up on tissues mid-month because Lifetime’s remake of Beaches airs on January 21st. The classic tearjerker is about two lifelong friends --- one practical and reserved, the other talented and brash; the wind and the wings, as they say --- who support each other through thick and thin (don’t say it, don’t think it). If weepy melodrama doesn’t quite do it for you, check out Syfy’s “The Magicians,” which is back for its second season after an exciting, if a tad uneven, premiere run. And after the shockingly violent events of last year’s finale, our favorite group of irresponsible magicians aren’t returning a minute too soon (don’t say it, don’t think it).  

Stay in and enjoy some Books on Screen! It’s like I always say: There’s no better way to enjoy January than with your socks on and your boots off. And I don’t know about you, but I still haven’t said it or thought it.


--- Written and compiled by Emily Hoenig


In Theaters:

The Bye Bye Man
Cast: Douglas Smith, Cressida Bonas, Lucien Laviscount, Doug Jones, Carrie-Anne Moss
Director: Stacy Title
Distributor: STX Entertainment
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Release Date: January 13th
Based on: “The Bridge to Body Island” from THE PRESIDENT’S VAMPIRE: Strange-but-True Tales of the United States of America by Robert Damon Schneck

When three college friends stumble upon the horrific origins of the Bye Bye Man, they discover that there is only one way to avoid his curse: don't think it, don't say it. But once the Bye Bye Man gets inside your head, he takes control. Is there a way to survive his possession?


A Dog’s Purpose
Cast: Britt Robertson, Dennis Quaid, Josh Gad, Peggy Lipton
Director: Lasse Hallström
Distributor: Universal Studios
MPAA Rating: PG
Release Date: January 27th
Based on: A DOG’S PURPOSE by W. Bruce Cameron

A Dog's Purpose shares the soulful and surprising story of one devoted dog who finds the meaning of his own existence through the lives of the humans he teaches to laugh and love.


On TV:

Emerald City
Cast: Adria Arjona, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Ana Ularu, Gerran Howell, Vincent D’Onofrio, Joely Richardson, Florence Kasumba, Mido Hamada
Network: NBC
Airdates: Premieres January 6th; Fridays at 9pm ET
Based on: Land of Oz book series by L. Frank Baum

Swept up into the eye of a tornado, 20-year-old Dorothy Gale is transported to another world --- a mystical land where an all-powerful ruler governs over one kingdom, has outlawed magic and faces not only the wrath of a growing cauldron of witches but a looming disaster brought on by a mythical force. Epic, romantic and fantastical, "Emerald City" is an empowering tale of a young woman finding her true strength and identity even as she battles to bring a divided world together.


A Series of Unfortunate Events
Cast: Neil Patrick Harris, Patrick Warburton, Joan Cusack, Malina Weissman, Louis Hynes, Alfre Woodard, Don Johnson
Network: Netflix
Release Date: Season 1 available to stream January 13th
Based on: A Series of Unfortunate Events book series by Lemony Snicket

Three orphaned children face trials and tribulations, including an evil uncle, as they search for the secret to their parents' deaths in this live-action adaptation of the best-selling book series.


Cast: Jenna Coleman, Daniela Holtz, Catherine Flemming, Adrian Schiller
Network: PBS
Release Date: Premieres January 15th; Sundays at 9pm ET
Based on: VICTORIA by Daisy Goodwin

When King William IV passes away, the throne is inherited by his niece Princess Alexandrina Victoria of Kent. She is pressurised by overpowering mother and advisor on what to do and how to act; however, she goes her own way and choses to rule in Buckingham Palace as Queen Victoria.


Cast: Idina Menzel, Nia Long, Colin Lawrence, Barbara Beall, Kate Isaac
Director: Allison Anders
Network: Lifetime
Airdate: January 21st at 8pm ET
Based on: BEACHES by Iris Rainer Dart

CC is an aspiring singer trying to make it in Los Angeles until she is discovered by a director who gives her her first big shot. Hillary is the daughter of a prominent civil rights lawyer who struggles to find her own destiny. Their friendship --- even with its ups and downs --- sustains them for decades.


The Magicians
Cast: Jason Ralph, Stella Maeve, Olivia Taylor Dudley, Hale Appleman, Arjun Gupta, Summer Bishil
Network: Syfy
Airdates: Premieres January 25th; Wednesdays at 9pm ET
Based on: THE MAGICIANS by Lev Grossman

Quentin Coldwater enrolls at Brakebills College for Magical Pedagogy to be trained as a magician, where he discovers that the magical world from his favorite childhood books is real and poses a danger to humanity. Meanwhile, the life of his childhood friend Julia is derailed when she is denied entry, and she searches for magic elsewhere.


"Z: The Beginning of Everything"
Cast: Christina Ricci, Gavin Stenhouse, David Strathairn, Kristine Nielsen
Network: Amazon
Air Dates: Season 1 available to stream January 27th
Based On: Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler

"Z: The Beginning of Everything" is a bio-series of the life of Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald, Southern Belle turned flapper, writer and icon of modern feminism. Starting right before Zelda meets unpublished writer F. Scott Fitzgerald in 1918, "Z" dives into the fascinating life of a woman ahead of her time and the story of the most famous, and infamous, couple of the Roaring 1920s.


The Flash
Cast: Grant Gustin, Candice Patton, Rick Cosnett, Danielle Panabaker, Carlos Valdes, Tom Cavanagh, Jessie L. Martin
Network: The CW
Airdate: Tuesdays at 8pm ET
Based On: THE FLASH: DC Comics character created by Robert Kanigher, John Broome and Carmine Infantino

Barry is living his dream life --- his parents are alive, he’s asked Iris West on a date and he can finally be a normal guy as Central City has another speedster, Kid Flash, running around saving the city. When Barry starts forgetting parts of his old life, the Reverse Flash taunts his nemesis and tells him that there will be serious repercussions for Barry and the ones he loves if he continues to live in this alternate universe. In addition to losing his memories, his powers will also start to fade. When disaster strikes, Barry must decide if he wants to continue to live in this world as Barry Allen or return to his universe as The Flash.”


"Good Behavior"
Cast: Michelle Dockery, Juan Diego Botto, Lusia Strus
Network: TNT
Airdate: Tuesdays at 9pm ET
Based On: GOOD BEHAVIOR by Blake Crouch

Letty Dobesh, a thief and con artist, is released from prison. She reunites with her 10-year-old son, who is being raised by her mother; and she regularly sees her substance-abuse counselor, whose motives for helping her are questionable. Letty soon overhears a hitman being hired to kill a man's wife and sets out to prevent it, which puts her on a collision course with the killer to the point of starting a relationship with him.


Cast: Stephen Amell, Emily Bett Rickards, David Ramsey, Willa Holland, Paul Blackthorne, John Barrowman, Echo Kellum
Network: The CW
Airdate: Wednesdays at 8pm ET
Based On: DC Comics character Green Arrow created by Mort Weisinger and George Papp

Oliver’s new recruits for Team Arrow are Curtis, Wild Dog and Evelyn Sharp. Unfortunately, the Green Arrow’s training methods prove to be too much for some of them to handle. Meanwhile, in the flashbacks, Oliver’s initiation into the Bratva continues.


On DVD: 

The Girl on the Train
Cast: Emily Blunt, Haley Bennett, Luke Evans, Justin Theroux, Rebecca Ferguson, Edgar Ramirez, Allison Janney, Lisa Kudrow
Director: Tate Taylor
MPAA Rating: R
DVD Release Date: January 17th
Based on: THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN by Paula Hawkins

Rachel, devastated by her recent divorce, spends her daily commute fantasizing about the seemingly perfect couple who live in a house that her train passes every day, until one morning she sees something shocking happen there and becomes entangled in the mystery that unfolds.