Each week, Torontoist examines the upcoming TV listings and makes note of programs that are entertaining, informative, and of quality. Or, alternately, none of those. The result: Televisualist.
There’s a Just For Laughs special tonight featuring Kristin Chenoweth, and we are willing to wager that she will be spunky and sing some show tunes probably and maybe make a few jokes about how she is tiny. This is not in any way a criticism of Kristin Chenoweth! Because we love what she does. (CBC, 9 p.m.)
In case you want to get the New Year started early in the saddest way possible, there is New Year’s Rockin’ Eve Presents the 30 Greatest Women in Music, hosted by Ryan Seacrest, Jenny McCarthy, and Fergie. We wonder if this is “of all time” or “active right now.” If it is “all time,” who thought Seacrest, McCarthy, and Fergie were worthy of presenting on this topic? Oh, who are we kidding with our snobbery—lots of people did. Bad people, specifically. (City, 8 p.m.)
No, wait, this is sadder: A Toast to 2013 features Kathie Lee Gifford, Hoda Kotb, and “various celebrities” (how various?) as they look back at 2013. Oh, sense of schadenfreude, you had us at “Kathie Lee Gifford.” (NBC, 8 p.m.)
So, if you want New Year’s Eve specials: Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve With Ryan Seacrest does not have Dick Clark, because despite the title, he is dead now—but it does have Jason Derulo, Fall Out Boy, Jennifer Hudson, Enrique Iglesias, Robin Thicke, and Pitbull. (City, 11:30 p.m.) NBC’s New Year’s Eve with Carson Daly has Train and Cassadee “I won The Voice and am not long for being famous probably” Pope. (11:20 p.m.) Fox’s New Year’s Eve Live is hosted by Mario Lopez (no, really) and features J. Cole and Panic! At The Disco. (11 p.m.) If you want Canadian content, sort of, ET Canada’s New Year’s Eve at Niagara Falls features Demi Lovato, the Sam Roberts Band, and Serena Ryder. (Global, 10 p.m.) If all this music seems entirely too jovial and life-affirming, George Stroumboulopoulos has a very special New Year’s Eve interview with Maya Angelou. (CBC, 11:30 p.m.) And if you want to start the New Year with no expectations whatsoever, there is always New Year’s Eve Live With Anderson Cooper and Kathy Griffin (CNN, 9 p.m.)
If you don’t care about New Year’s specials at all, there are of course alternatives. For example, Turner Classic is running a marathon of the That’s Entertainment! collections of classic movie musical numbers—always good if you want to see a lot of Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly and Judy Garland (and, as a bonus, the second one has the last time Astaire and Kelly ever danced on film, as they hosted it and wanted to do something a little special). (beginning at 8 p.m.) AMC has a Walking Dead marathon because they have one of those every Tuesday now, it seems. (starting at 9 a.m. and going all day). And Space has a monumental pile of cheese: Deep Impact, The Day After Tomorrow, Independence Day, and Real Steel. (beginning at 5 p.m.)
It’s New Year’s Day, and you don’t need anything challenging, so how about some light fluff? Friends With Benefits is fluff! This amiable 2011 Mila Kunis/Justin Timberlake romcom succeeds mostly on the excellent chemistry of its leads and a lot of fun gags. All the density of cotton candy, but none of the calories. And we mean that as a compliment. (Slice, 7 p.m.)
Alternately, you can watch SPORTS, as we are meant to do on New Year’s Day. New Year’s Day means Bowl Day for college football, and although the Bowls have been spread out over a week now in order to get more advertising revenue, you can still watch the Taxslayer.com Gator Bowl (Sportsnet 360, noon), the Outback Bowl (TSN2, 1 p.m.) and the Capital One Bowl (ABC, 1 p.m.), and marvel at how college football lost any semblance of dignity in so many ways.
If you want SPORTS but you also want to celebrate your Toronto-ness, well then, we have just the SPORTS for you. See, the Toronto Raptors have actually been playing remarkably well since they traded Rudy Gay—who was supposed to be their biggest star but was in fact their biggest anchor—and fans are starting to think that maybe this team can make the playoffs and is not a lost cause after all; besides, the Atlantic Division is so bad this year that it will probably end up being won by accident (the Raptors currently lead it with only a 13-15 record). Unfortunately, tonight the Raptors play the Indiana Pacers, who are the best team in the East and one of the best teams in the league. So this is, as one might say, sort of a test. (TSN 7 p.m.)
And, of course, you can watch the Maple Leafs play the Detroit Red Wings, because SPORTS. (CBC, 1 p.m.)
The Simpsons rerun of the week: “Das Bus,” wherein the schoolkids re-enact Lord of the Flies, and Bill Gates goes after Homer’s new internet company. “Oh, they have the internet on computers now!” (MuchMusic, 3:30 p.m.)
Community returns, and now that Jeff has graduated, he’s going to end up becoming a teacher at Greendale so that the premise can continue to operate. Can Dan Harmon recapture his past glories now that he’s back running this show? Can the show survive without Donald Glover, who’s only in five of thirteen episodes this season because he’s starring in his own show on FX? SO MANY QUESTIONS. And we didn’t even answer them with a cunning Community reference. (City, 8 p.m.)
The Taste returns for a second season, because it’s January, and nobody has standards in January. (ABC, 8 p.m.)
Something Borrowed, Something New returns to TLC because it is a new year and that means it is WEDDING SEASON on TLC. (TLC’s other season is “trashy people.”) (10 p.m.)
Of course, we will all be hoping that Canada once again advanced to the Gold Medal game in the World Junior Hockey Championships, but what about the Swiss? You can never trust the Swiss. What with their banks and all. (TSN, 1 p.m. Sunday)
This post originally indicated that Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve With Ryan Seacrest would be airing on CTV; it will, in fact, be shown on City.