Televisualist: Looking Forward To A New, Ron James-Less Year
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Televisualist: Looking Forward To A New, Ron James-Less Year

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.

Seth Macfarlane’s Bordertown promises a “cross-cultural wink” but we’re guessing it’s not quite that subtle.


Monday

This year’s edition of the Royal Variety Performance, where entertainers do their thing to entertain the Queen or her royal surrogate (this year it was Prince Harry), includes Elton John, Kylie Minogue, Ricky Martin, Josh Groban and One Direction. None of them will be beheaded if they sing poorly. Probably not, anyway. (CBC, 8 p.m.)

If you want to watch some kiddie New Year’s Eve specials, tonight you can watch both the middling but not terrible Happy New Year, Charlie Brown, followed by the oddball sequel/cash-in Rudolph’s Shiny New Year, because there’s nothing like New Year’s Eve specials three days before New Year’s Eve. (ABC, 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. respectively)

Pitch Perfect remains a rock-solid piece of entertainment, even if the sequel was somewhat disappointing. But this isn’t the sequel! So that’s good! (Showcase, 8 p.m.)


Tuesday

Stephen Colbert hosts the 38th Annual Kennedy Center Honors ceremony; this year the honorees include Carole King, George Lucas and Cicely Tyson, among others. The ceremony is mostly a series of variations on the annual “honorary Oscar” portion of the Academy Awards each year, but there’s nothing wrong with that. (CBS, 9 p.m.)


Wednesday

Con Air, almost twenty years later, remains gloriously, amazingly stupid, and we’re not saying that in a mean way. This movie is ridiculously nuts, a live-action R-rated cartoon, most of which makes no sense at all. But things blow up real nice. (Peachtree, 8 p.m.)


Thursday

Once again, the Royal Canadian Air Farce returns from the eternal entertainment Purgatory they have rightly earned to provide comedy-adjacent television to us with Air Farce New Year’s Eve 2015. (CBC, 8 p.m.)

Ron James: Fast Forward is James’ final television special of 2015. That is the good news. The bad news is that in 2016, Ron James will likely have more television specials. Also this one exists. That is also bad news. (CBC, 9 p.m.)

Tonight in New Year’s Eve shows: Dick Clark’s Rockin’ New Year’s Eve With Ryan Seacrest (still bearing the name of Dick Clark three and a half years after his death, not allowing his soul to pass along to the next thing) features Nick Jonas, Macklemore, Jimmy Buffett, Fall Out Boy and Demi Lovato (City, beginning at 8 p.m.). NBC has an interesting combination of New Year’s Eve Game Night, a variation on Hollywood Game Night featuring John Stamos, Bob Saget and JB Smoove, and then New Year’s Eve With Carson Daly featuring a performance by Gwen Stefani (starting at 10 p.m.); Pitbull’s New Year’s Revolution features Puff Daddy, Timbaland, Shawn Mendes, and Earth, Wind & Fire (Fox, 8 p.m.). If you aren’t in the mood for music, you can simply go with 22 Minutes Counts Down to Midnight (CBC, 11:30 p.m.)


Friday

The Toronto Raptors have a good track record on New Year’s Day games and tonight they host the Charlotte Hornets. Charlotte has been a reasonably good team this year and have traditionally been one of the Raptors’ nemeses (despite often being bad). So this will be a good game to win, one hopes. (TSN, 7:30 p.m.)


The Weekend

Bordertown is Seth McFarlane’s newest animated comedy, which for many people will be a warning sign, but on the other hand he did make American Dad!, which was good more often than not. It is about two families, one of whom is headed by a border agent and one of whom is… decidedly not. The advance word has been good. On the other hand: Family Guy is the worst and Seth McFarlane often is as well. (City, 9:30 p.m. Sunday)

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