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2016 pop culture predictions

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JP Yim/Getty Images; Sesame Street; Dana Edelson/Getty Images; Fox

Friends, rejoice: We made it! The year 2015 has finally come to a close. We survived Trump and Pizza Rat (which, contrary to popular belief, are two different things), and we’ve now emerged on the other side of 2016, fresh-faced and ready to pack the year’s zeitgeist with juicy new pop culture. So we pulled out the crystal Bullseye and used our prowess to predict what will have you buzzing, babbling, and bawling in the new year.

THE ELECTION

FREEDOM OF TWEETS

From the makers of Periscope and the Declaration of Independence comes Social Media Presidential Election, the year’s hottest and most unbearable vessel for public discourse on our country’s political future. For the first time in American history, candidates must contend with passive-aggressive hashtags (the kids call it “Mudslinging and Chill”) and unnecessary memes, the most popular being a late-May photo of Bill Clinton relaxing on a chaise. The 2016 election trail will also welcome the return of series regulars Stephen Colbert and Kate McKinnon, as well as pivotal new guest stars like Gay Son-in-Law and Republican Mistress (a recurring role not yet cast, though the studio is reportedly searching for an “Alyssa Milano type”). The season finale is slated for the first week of November, after which the 45th spin-off will receive a four-year pick-up.

THE MOVIE THEATER

THE GEEKS EXPAND THEIR EMPIRE

In a post-Ant-Man world, no superhero is too obscure. If we put an ant at the Arclight, we certainly can’t count out any abstruse hero from inhabiting the same silver screens where, in 2016 alone, Batman will face Superman, Iron Man will war with Captain America, and Benedict Cumberbatch will go weird-to-weird with Tilda Swinton. As such, in 2016 you can expect big announcements for feature-length solo movies for Howard the Duck, Squirrel Girl, and the Wonder Twins (starring Finn Wittrock as both Zan and Jayna). And Hollywood, having tapped dry the well of comic books and sequels to movies from 12 years ago, will shift its creativity sap to the pixelated world of videogames. Teens, be on alert: You will have barely explained Assassin’s Creed, Warcraft, and Angry Birds to your grandparents when you’ll have to start all over again and clarify why Toads — a hellish nightmare of a Mario spin-off — is the new Minions and why a live-action Q*bert is not as obscene as it looks.

THE MUSIC LIBRARY

COMEBACKS GO FOR GOLD

One Direction’s hiatus begins this spring, paving the way for a new boy band to rise in their absence. (FYI, we know at least two of the Jonas brothers are available.) Frank Ocean and Rihanna may finally release their latest albums — seriously — and if they don’t, you can always go watch Christina Ricci do “Bitch Better Have My Money” on, like, Lip Sync Battle or something. Should Mr. Ocean and Ms. Hanna in fact debut their latest works, they’ll be joined by other surprise comebacks from Blondie, George Michael, and the guys who sang “Chasing Cars” in the season 2 finale of Grey’s Anatomy. Meanwhile, Ariana Grande will lick a cruller, 2016’s song of summer will just be Adele coughing (feat. sighs by Florence Welch), and Meghan Trainor’s lips will keep movin’ as she provides the official theme song for the Rio Olympics — though her “Waka Waka” is more Fozzie Bear than Shakira.

THE DVR

OLD IS NEW; NEW IS WEIRD

The X-Files! Full House! Paula Abdul! Relics of the past are revived once more, as dearly departed series return with more wrinkles — both in narrative and complexion — and American Idol‘s final season forces you to remember where you keep your landline. While the adults will stay distracted with reboots of Square Pegs and L.A. Law, another anthology installment from Ryan Murphy (Frances Conroy will star as Cookie Butter in American Horror Story: Trader Joe’s), and yet another televised musical (Derek Hough and Chace Crawford in The CW’s Les Misérables Live!), the millennials will be left to take over children’s programming. Sesame Street has moved to HBO — brought to you by the number NC-17 and the letter chardonnay, no less — which means that Netflix’s Green Eggs and Ham series suddenly won’t seem any stranger than Vince Gilligan’s origin story of Amelia Bedelia or FX’s bloody reimagining of Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret.

THE INTERNET

HOLD YOUR NOSTALGIA PRECIOUS

Before the Internet ruins all the things you love (R.I.P. The Brady Bunch Movie), take stock of what you have lying around the house that could be a meme by years’ end. Got an old family oil portrait that vaguely resembles Eddie Redmayne? Is there a home video of your dog barking the exact opening notes of Annie Lennox’s “Walking on Broken Glass”? If Jan Brady can reach peak popularity, who’s to say that Judy Jetson can’t give us the year’s best response GIFs? Here are a bunch of other random predictions, just so I can say “Called it!” when they happen:

Nude beach pic scandal: Len from Dancing With the Stars

Trailer that breaks the Internet: Disney’s live-action Beauty and the Beast

Hamilton quote mash-up: Grapes of Wrath

Celebrity child with hit song: Brooklyn Beckham

Offensive Halloween costume offender: Judy Blume

Social media reunion nobody asked for: 1997’s USA High

Amazing comeback in Fargo season 3: Alicia Silverstone

Awful comeback in True Detective season 3: Devon Sawa

Important cat: Sassy in Homeward Bound

Thinkpiece: Something about Ghostbusters and sex appeal

Tweet you will see on January 12: “Did Dunston ever check out!?!?”