From returning favourites and high-profile projects to potential pop culture calamities, the outlook for 2012 is already packed with interesting arts and entertainment prospects.

CBC Arts offers a quick run-down of 15 things — including books, music, theatre, films and TV shows — we can’t wait to check out in the coming year.

  1. Three words: The Hunger Games! (March)
  2. The TV return of men behaving badly – whether they’re dressed in dapper suits (Mad Men in March), bearing cloaks and swords (Game of Thrones in April) or Charlie Sheen (in the new series Anger Management, debut TBA).
  3. And just to prove that women aren’t always angels, we’ll have The Real Housewives of Vancouver, a north-of-the-border edition of the notorious U.S. series (debut TBA).
  4. A wide-ranging offering of Broadway musicals, including the controversial revision of Porgy and Bess (January), Stratford-born revival Jesus Christ Superstar (March) and movie-turned-musical remakes Ghost (April) and Once (March).

    Deepa Mehta and Salmon Rushdie speak in Toronto in September. (Jerod Harris/Getty Images)

  5. Lofty literature-to-film adaptations: Deepa Mehta tackles Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children (late 2012), Baz Luhrmann reimagines F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby (December) and Ang Lee takes on Yann Martel’s Life of Pi (December).
  6. Cinematic déjà vu when past blockbusters return to theatres converted to 3D. Expect Disney and Pixar offerings like Beauty and the Beast (January) and Finding Nemo (September), epic romance Titanic (tied to the 100th anniversary events in April), interstellar tale Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace (February) and ‘80s favourite Top Gun (TBA).
  7. Rock world memoirs by the likes of Neil Young, Pete Townshend, Courtney Love and Rod Stewart (all TBA).
  8. Leonard Cohen’s Old Ideas, the troubadour’s first new studio album since 2004’s Dear Heather and featuring unpublished tracks and new songs (January).
  9. The debut of Smash, the boundary-crossing Broadway-inspired TV series spotlighting film and television stalwarts (Anjelica Huston, Debra Messing) as well as stage stars (Brian d’Arcy James, Megan Hilty). Executive produced by movie mogul Steven Spielberg, its musical theatre-cred is bolstered by director Michael Mayer (Spring Awakening) and with original songs by Tony-winners Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman (February).
  10. Bring Up the Bodies, Hilary Mantel’s follow-up to her engrossing, award-winning Tudor saga Wolf Hall (May).
  11. The Royal Winnipeg Ballet's unveiling of a new full-length Twyla Tharp ballet (fall 2012) in Canada, following its U.S. premiere in February with partner company Atlanta Ballet.

    Screenwriter Aaron Sorkin is slated to premiere his new HBO series The Newsroom in 2012. (Ben Margot/Associated Press)

  12. Maestro screenwriter Aaron Sorkin's return to television drama with his star-studded cable news series The Newsroom (summer 2012).
  13. John Irving’s In One Person, in which the acclaimed novelist explores a bisexual man looking back on his life (June).
  14. Madonna’s music world homecoming, after recent forays into film (W.E.) and gyms/fitness clubs (Hard Candy Fitness). Though her untitled new album is due in March, her first single Gimme All Your Luvin will surface in late January – just ahead of her halftime gig at the Super Bowl.
  15. New instalments of several blockbuster film franchises (prequels, reboots, trilogies, etc.), including The Avengers (May), The Dark Knight Rises (July), The Amazing Spider-Man (July) and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (December).