the best things to watch in 2019

From 'Boy Erased' to the 'Buffy' reboot, here's everything you need to see in the New Year.

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26 December 2018, 10:36pm

2018: the year queer cinema got more inclusive, tales of adolescence tardily received the respect they deserve, diverse casts outsold their all-white counterparts dramatically. The world outside may be in flames, but at the very least Hollywood gave us more empowering two-hour respites to the misery beyond the cinema doors. So what might the 2019 bring to save our souls?

From the return of Stranger Things to the quiet, arthouse gems that’ll help change your goddamn life, these are just 10 of the many brilliant things coming to your screens next year.

Boy Erased
In the suburbs of an American southern state, a teenage boy comes to terms with his homosexuality as his parents -- one, the local pastor -- send him to gay conversion therapy. In this moving drama from actor-turned-director Joel Edgerton, the implications of queerness and religion colliding are laid bare. Anchored by Lucas Hedges and Nicole Kidman, who deliver tearjerking (and in Hedges’s case, Golden Globe-nominated) performances as the film’s central mother and son duo, it also includes two surprise stars in the form of indie movie wunderkind Xavier Dolan and our fave pop prince, Troye Sivan.

Burning
Adapted from a short story by Haruki Murakami, Lee Chang-Dong’s masterful Burning centres in on the lives of millennials in Paju, South Korea. Jong-su is a working class man making ends meet in the city; Hae-mi is his old school friend, who he starts a casual love affair with when they run into each other after years apart. When she returns from a gap year with a new man some months later, a love triangle ensues -- one so potent and disorienting it throws everybody’s connections to each other into question. This remarkable, beautifully-shot film about the arresting nature of infatuation is one of the best films of the year, and has already topped several critics’ choice lists.

Sauvage
This visceral French drama from first-time director Camille Vidal-Naquet stars Felix Maritaud of 120 BPM fame, and tells the story of a young, male sex worker reckoning with the idea of leaving his profession behind in search of a new life. But instead of scrutinising the industry, Sauvage does an exemplary job of showing the touching and enlightening side to being an escort. It might not be the most comforting watch, but it’s a winner for anybody seeking queer cinema with real bite and integrity.

Happy as Lazzaro
This social realist, coming-of-age fable from Italian director Alice Rohrwacher is weird and wondrous things. Set on a tobacco farm, it tells the story of a blissfully ignorant young farm boy named Lazzaro who learns the realities of the outside world when the son of the farm’s owner, Tancredi, comes into town. An unlikely friendship ensues over its meditative first hour, before Rohrwacher slickly executes a complete twist in the second hour.

Eighth Grade
We've been waiting for Bo Burnham’s hotly-tipped debut feature to land on our shores for a while now. Come April, maybe we’ll finally have a new coming-of-age favourite. This Sundance breakout takes us into the life of young Kayla Day: a teenager on her last day of middle school, precariously peering into her future as a high schooler. It harbours the DNA of previous high school classics, but it’s brought brilliantly into the present by the way Burnham introduces social media and all of the pressures that come with it. Its star, 15-year-old Elsie Fisher, just earned herself a Golden Globe nomination for her "captivating" lead performance.

Game of Thrones
Over two years since the penultimate series came to its monumental conclusion, the final run of Games of Thrones is just around the corner. Of course, all of plot details are strictly under wraps, but what we do know is that we’ll be thrust into The Known World for six episodes -- a smaller GoT dose than we got way back when the show began -- and that the stories will be partly inspired by excerpts from George R. R. Martin’s forthcoming novels. To make things even more tantalising, Gwendoline ‘Brienne of Tarth’ Christie has already issued a warning: that die-hards will need therapy once the credits on the last episode start to run. Expect blood, guts and other bodily fluids to be strewn when it hits screens in April.

And the ones we know less about...

Stranger Things
If there was one thing Netflix fans were expecting in 2018, it was the return of Stranger Things. After leaving us on a hair-tearing cliffhanger, with the mysterious Mind Flayer still storming through town on the second season’s finale, fans were asked to wait a little longer than first expected for a resolution. After all, production on the series -- arguably Netflix’s greatest commodity -- has reached dizzying, new and super expensive heights. But fret not, the series will definitely return to our screens in 2019. After two seasons set during the school year, the third is rumoured to show us what happens when Will, Mike, Eleven and co. are given freedom for the summer, and uses a nostalgia-heavy backdrop of camp outs and bike rides to illustrate a story that -- we all know -- is bound to end in pure chaos.

Charlie’s Angels
We’re hyped to see more all-woman ensemble casts continue to smash the box office next year. Case in point: this reboot of everybody’s favourite ass-kicking trio, Charlie’s Angels. Written and directed by the brilliant Elizabeth Banks of Pitch Perfect fame (who also has a supporting role), the film gathers Kristen Stewart, and British-born actresses Naomi Scott and Elle Balinska, for a new take on the 70s TV show-turned-00s film franchise. Quite what Banks has in store for her most exciting project to date has been kept tightly under wraps, but we have just one question: will Cameron, Drew and Lucy make a cameo? We need to know STAT.

It: Chapter Two
Two years after Stephen King’s classic novel was resurrected for the movies, everybody’s favourite evil clown will return. In the film, Pennywise rears his ugly head nearly three decades after terrorising the seven young high schoolers in their hometown of Derry. That fateful crew, known as the Losers’ Club, haven’t spoken in a while, but the news of Pennywise’s return leads them all to make a bee-line for Maine to get to the bottom of why he’s back. We spoke to its young star Jack Dylan Grazer a few months ago, and he was sworn to secrecy when it came to telling us plot details, but with a bigger cast that includes Jessica Chastain, James McAvoy and self-confessed It fanboy Xavier Dolan, it sounds promising.

Little Women
With a ridiculous ensemble cast consisting of Saoirse Ronan, Emma Watson, Florence Pugh, Meryl Streep and current i-D cover star Timothée Chalamet, Greta Gerwig’s follow-up to this year's Lady Bird sees her delve into the world of post-Civil War America, with an adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s literary classic Little Women. In the film, we witness the lives of the young March sisters as they leave home and start to explore young womanhood -- a stark switch-up from the 1994 version starring Winona Ryder, which sees the girls battle against the commanding rule of their mother.

Tales of the City
Armistead Maupin’s name might not mean much to anybody outside of queer literary circles, but the legendary gay author is responsible for one of the most cherished and progressive book series in modern American history. Set in the historically LGBTQ+ friendly neighbourhoods of San Francisco, Tales of the City was once a serial that ran regularly in the San Francisco Chronicle in the 1980s. Now, it’s tipped to be the next huge series for Netflix in 2019. Starring Laura Linney and Ellen Page, this freewheeling story of activities that go on behind closed doors is bound to convert plenty of people onto the work of the trailblazer who wrote its source material.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer
And finally, there are a handful of shows that stans will fight to the death in support of, even years after they’ve finished. Buffy the Vampire Slayer -- an unequivocal 90s classic -- is one of them. 15 years after its final episode, we’re finally catching wind of a reboot. Little is known about this new series, other than the fact that the new slayer won’t be the Buffy we’re used to. Instead, she’ll reflect the “richly diverse” world we live in today. Stans can rest easy knowing this resurrection is in good hands: Monica Owusu-Breen, a writer who’s formerly penned episodes of Charmed and Lost, is heading up the show for its new incarnation, which will give us at least five instalments late in the new year.

This article originally appeared on i-D UK.