Here’s what’s up in the world of TV for Friday, December 30, and Saturday, December 31. All times are Eastern.
New Year’s Eve coverage (numerous networks, throughout primetime and late-night, Saturday): We joke a lot about how we would cope without television in this space, but we’ve mostly enjoyed this week full of not having to watch anything. And yet we aren’t quite sure what we’d do without TV on New Year’s Eve night. Sure, we could just look at our watches, but TV is always there to provide a reliable clock and to haul out various celebrities and musical acts you’d forgotten were alive. Hang out for the countdown on any one of a number of networks—ABC if you’re into pop, Fox if you’re into country, CNN if you’re into news, PBS if you’re into Coldplay, and NBC if you’re into Carson Daly.
Chuck (NBC, 8 p.m., Friday): “Oh, hey!” said NBC. “We’ve still got a bunch of Chuck episodes! Let’s air one on Dec. 30!” The executives congratulated themselves on clever burn-off strategies, while Ryan McGee wept at having to work.
WHAT ELSE IS ON?
Prison Diaries (Investigation Discovery, 8 p.m., Friday): For whatever reason, the Discovery networks have mostly been new this week, and God bless ‘em for it. Tonight’s episode promises “three stories of betrayal.” Are there any other kinds?
WWE SmackDown (SyFy, 8 p.m., Friday): It’s pointless to make jokes about SyFy airing wrestling, we realize, but we still hope that the show will stop dead for Vince McMahon to provide a bunch of exposition about the coming alien invasion of 2012.
Infested! (Animal Planet, 9 p.m., Friday): The AP hasn’t bothered filling us in on what’s going on in this new episode of Infested! (exclamation point mandatory), so we think you should draw your own conclusions. May we suggest goats?
Sanctuary (SyFy, 10 p.m., Friday): We don’t really know what’s happening in this show right now, but we can tell you it’s the fourth season finale of the British import, so there will probably be lots of crazy shit going down. We assume.
The Twilight Zone (SyFy, 9 a.m., Saturday): Why wouldn’t you settle in for this holiday tradition on Saturday? It’s the most bearable programming option all day on this day, or at least it is while you wait for Dick Clark to crawl onto your screen.
Notarized: Top 100 Videos Of 2011 (BET, 11 a.m., Saturday): Time was that all of the music video channels showed top video countdowns all day on New Year’s Eve, but BET’s the only network keeping the faith this year, as the other networks ignore countdowns entirely or shunt them into too-short specials.
Best Of The Best-Ofs (5 p.m., Saturday): We’re throwing our own TV Club New Year’s party Saturday afternoon, as Phil Nugent celebrates the many end of the year countdown specials by summarizing which were best and which were worst.
Live From Lincoln Center (PBS, 8 p.m., Saturday): As always, PBS wants to make you feel classy, with an evening of the New York Philharmonic performing songs by George Gershwin and Leonard Bernstein. No Better Than Ezra, sadly. Too bad.
The Notebook (Oxygen, 8 p.m., Friday): We’ve never seen this damn movie, and we’re weirdly proud of that, even if it features Celebrity Girlfriend Rachel McAdams, Celebrity Boyfriend Ryan Gosling, and Celebrity Grandpa James Garner.
Tootsie (TCM, 8 p.m., Friday): Rounding out the year with a little cross-dressing comedy never hurt anybody, and this Dustin Hoffman star vehicle is probably the best example of this subgenre this side of Some Like It Hot. Worth a watch.
2001: A Space Odyssey/The Shining (Sundance, 7 p.m., Saturday): If you’re feeling a little antiseptic and antisocial, why not hang out with two of Stanley Kubrick’s chilliest masterpieces as you wait out the rest of 2011?
Music City Bowl: Mississippi State vs. Wake Forest (ESPN, 6:40 p.m., Friday): This is the time of year when we’re reminded of the magic of college football and the wonder that is two 6-6 teams battling to see which will be 7-6. Magic.
College Basketball: Gonzaga at Xavier (ESPNU, 8 p.m., Saturday): Gonzaga’s been pretty good for a good long while now, so we should no longer be surprised when they do stuff, but we still think their name just sounds silly. Titter.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
Hook, Line, And Sisters (Thursday): You guys feel like fishing? Ryan McGee checks out a TLC show that wastes some intriguing elements, even though they’re still present, hanging out on the edges of the pilot, wishing someone would pay attention.