As the calendar rolls over to a new year, TV is mostly still on winter break, but the winter season kicks off in earnest with the returns of Community on Thursday and Downton Abbey on Sunday.
Monday, December 30
Enter the Dragon (6:15-8:30 pm, Sundance)
This 1973 martial-arts classic is what most people think of when you say “Bruce Lee” (except for the weirdos who think of Kato on the old Green Hornet TV series).
Tuesday, December 31
New Year’s Eve Specials
Some people don’t enjoy going out tonight, myself included. If you’re not up for braving the cold and the heady aura of drunken stupidity, your TV will happily keep you company tonight. The
Dick Clark Ryan Seacrest fest gets underway at 10 pm on ABC, pauses for local news at 11, and then resumes at 11:30; NBC’s party hosted by Carson Daly follows the same schedule, while Fox has Mario Lopez from Las Vegas starting at 11 pm.
But for me, the best NYE show is Anderson Cooper and Kathy Griffin live from Times Square, beginning this year at 9 pm on CNN. These two together are light-years more entertaining than the prefab, plastic stuff you’ll get on the other shows.
Wednesday, January 1
New Year’s Day Marathons
If you did choose to go out Tuesday night, soothe your hangover with comfort food and a TV marathon of your choosing—it’s the original binge-watching. There are a couple dozen to choose from, including The Honeymooners (WPIX), The Tudors (BBC America), The Walking Dead (AMC), Futurama (Comedy Central), or the criminally unappreciated Happy Endings (VH1), but really, how can you go wrong with The Twilight Zone (Syfy; also all day Tuesday)?
Thursday, January 2
Community (8-9 pm, NBC)
Season four ended up as something of a disappointment, but the unexpected renewal and subsequent return of show creator Dan Harmon have fans optimistic all over again. The big question is: how to keep Jeff Winger (Joel McHale) involved in campus life and the activities of his study group pals now that he’s graduated? The answer is pretty obvious if you think about it. (Two episodes air tonight.)
Friday, January 3
Sinister (8-10 pm, Showtime 2)
On a night with very few worthy choices, on a channel a lot of people don’t get, is a pretty decent creepy movie about a true-crime writer (Ethan Hawke) who moves his family into a house where a gruesome murder occurred. Hawke seems to be following the Liam Neeson playbook for a bifurcated career, starring in highbrow movies like Before Midnight and its predecessors while making substantial contributions to his retirement account with work in movies like this one, The Purge, and Daybreakers.
Saturday, January 4
Austin City Limits (9-10 pm, PBS)
Queens of the Stone Age perform live.
Sunday, January 5
Masterpiece Classic (9-11 pm, PBS)
Yes, Downton Abbey is a glorified and slightly more dignified iteration of a soap opera, but that doesn’t mean it’s not entertaining. Season four begins tonight, picking up six months after the events at the end of the third season.
Watch ‘Em Before They’re Gone
Deals for streaming movies and TV shows expire every month, but for some reason a list that got published on Reddit has received a lot of media attention this past week. There are nearly 100 titles to choose from, but if you had to pick just one or two, I’d suggest Brick or Requiem for a Dream on the serious side, Killer Klowns From Outer Space or Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo on the funny/silly side.