It’s a common trait of the later seasons of television that the character you thought was gone forever suddenly shows up at the door, all haggard and wet, when you least expect him. That’s what happened in one of my favorite television shows, Community. Rather, that’s what happened behind-the-scenes. Last year, after a dud season, NBC took the unprecedented step of bringing back fired producer Dan Harmon, the self-obsessive, self-destructive, self-centered unkempt showrunner who clashed fervently with studio and network suits. Two episodes already aired this fall, including the funniest season premiere the show has done. For me, if it's like if The Simpsons were suddenly good again. All that to say I’m looking forward to the Community episode two weeks from now: "Cooperative Polygraphy," guest-starring Walton Goggins (Justified, The Shield) as a lie-detector administrator. It’s a callback to "Cooperative Calligraphy," one of Community’s best episodes (where the group can’t leave the study room until Annie finds who — or what — took her purple pen). And lie detectors, as always, make for great comedy.
— DANIEL WALTERS
One of NPR Music's greatest regular features is the First Listen page that offers new streaming previews of upcoming albums each week, released late Sunday nights. This morning I woke to see a new album from Western Washington crooner Damien Jurado called Brothers and Sisters of the Eternal Son. Considered a sequel to Jurado's Maraqopa in 2012, Brothers and Sisters showcases more of the intimate, ambient folk Jurado has come to master. I'm looking forward to soaking up the album before its Jan. 21 release date. First Listen also posted the new album from Rosanne Cash, The River & The Thread last night. I'll be keeping an eye out for more in the coming year.
— JACOB JONES
I got on the fan wagon for Game of Thrones a little late, as last year’s third season of the hit HBO show, based on the popular fantasy series by George R.R. Martin, was already airing. But, thanks to a little something we call binge-watching, I was able to catch up on the show’s first two seasons in a matter of a few weeks, and in time to catch the last few episodes of S3 with the rest of the world. While I still don’t want to talk about lest bring to memory the brutal bloodbath that ended S3, I’m looking forward to being reunited with some of the series’ most beloved (and still living) characters: Bran Stark, Jon Snow, Daenerys Targaryen, Tyrion Lannister and others. As a disclaimer, I haven’t read the books (by personal choice) but what I do expect from the upcoming season is plenty more of what GoT is known and loved for: deadly conspiracies, treacherous lies, new alliances, lots of steamy sex and, of course, new plot twists and surprises. Rumor has it the season premiere is set for late March/early April.
— CHEY SCOTT
Maybe it’s the new year or the fact that the sun finally came out this weekend, but I’m looking forward to warmer weather and, in particular, Bloomsday. It’s 118 days until the 2014 race. Registration opened last week, and this might be the year I finally go ahead and do it. The running’s not so intimidating to me, but I’ve never really enjoyed the big crowd atmosphere that most people enjoy. But I feel like this could be the year. Or I’ll just look forward to getting coffee and walking down to People’s Park to watch.
— LISA WAANANEN
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