When you’re a culture expert at TMA, work is an endless buffet. So we asked them this question: What’s happening in the quarter ahead that excites you, personally, the most?
Fast X (5/19) has a new villain called Dante (Jason Mamoa), who goes after Dom’s (Vin Diesel) family to avenge his father’s death in Fast 5. The star power and action scenes are said to be among the franchise’s best.
Making its debut at SXSW with a 100% score on Rotten Tomatoes, Joy Ride (6/23) is the directorial debut of Adele Lim, who wrote the Crazy Rich Asians adaptation. In meetings about this property, studio contacts described this as The Hangover meets Girls Trip as four Asian American friends travel through Asia in search of one of their birth mothers and learn the meaning of loving and discovering themselves through some mishaps. It stars Ashley Park (Emily in Paris) and Stephanie Hsu (Everything, Everywhere, All at Once). It’s edgy and funny, and by far the most anticipated for me.
Even if you’ve never watched Vanderpump Rules, there is a solid chance you’ve heard of “Scandoval,” the cheating scandal that has exploded across entertainment news media and totally galvanized the Bravo show, now in its 10th season. The story is developing daily as I write this, but essentially, Ariana Madix discovered her boyfriend of 9 years, Tom Sandoval, had an affair with one of her best friends, Raquel Leviss, for several months. This bombshell shifted the audience perspective on the season’s episodes, and ratings have doubled. Subsequently, new scenes were shot with Tom and Ariana and old cast members who showed their support for Ariana. These will be edited to air at the end of the season. The new trailers will have your jaw dropping. Coming off of filming the cast reunion on March 23, Andy Cohen has promised shocking revelations, and NBCU is promoting the 3-part reunion with a special edition that will only stream on Peacock, in a bid to gain subscribers. That’s how juicy this story is, and May will be epic for anyone following.
-Jen Cowan, VP of Entertainment
This year’s NFL Draft (April 27-29) is particularly interesting with Kansas City hosting directly following their Super Bowl Championship, placing it firmly at the center of the NFL universe. The NFL has already had one of its most unpredictable off-seasons with an explosive free agency period that has seen more movement of established veteran talent than arguably any other off-season. All of that movement in free agency has changed teams’ needs and approach, setting the stage for a great Draft, kickstarted by surprising Draft Day trades. The stakes are so high. With the continued growth of contracts and guarantees for NFL veterans, teams are more dependent on the ability for rookies to become impact players early on in their careers.
–Basia Wojcik, VP of Sports
I was fortunate to attend an advance listening of Ed Sheeran’s new album ‘-‘ (Subtract.) Definitely some heavier and darker tones that what we’ve seen from Ed recently, but some incredible songwriting as always, arriving in May. I’m also stoked for new albums from post-Disco diva, Jessie Ware, and the self-described “trap Tracy Chapman,” Joy Oladokun, both arriving in April.
On the concert trail, I’m going to make a point to try and see upcoming shows from M83—the new album Fantasy is a synth dream—and the hip hop powerhouse Sampa the Great. And let’s not forget that Governor’s Ball arrives in New York in June!
-Jason Blaine, Director of Music Licensing & Supervision
Q2 is usually the second biggest window for game releases, and 2023 does not disappoint. Kicking things off in May is Redfall, one of two anticipated releases coming out of Bethesda this year, which is an “open world vampire shooter.” It’s a game genre I didn’t know existed but looks really fun. Only a week and a half later, Nintendo will release The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom which could be the most anticipated game of 2023. And rounding out the end of Q2 is the long-awaited next installment in one of Blizzard’s iconic franchises, Diablo 4. On the content side of things, a (relatively) new streaming platform called Kick is picking up steam as a potential competitor to Twitch and Youtube. Already, a bevy of large creators have announced plans to re-home to Kick, and Q2 innovation in areas like moderation could be critical in determining if it will be a viable competitor long-term.
-Andrew Robinson IV, Group Director of Gaming
I look forward to each Emily Henry book as soon as I’ve finished the last. She writes romance novels (and yes, those parts are great 😉) but her books touch on so much more, with themes ranging from family and career to grief and insecurity. Her upcoming book Happy Place (April 25) centers on a couple who broke up months ago and still haven’t told their friends. Not wanting to ruin an annual vacation, they decide to keep the ruse up for one last trip with the people who know them best. While we may have some guesses as to what comes next, Henry always delivers in unexpected ways with her trademark heart and humor. This one will be moving off my TBR pile quickly this month!
-Megan McMahon, SVP of Celebrity & Influencer, and TMA Book Club lead