Here’s what’s up in the world of TV for Thursday, December 31. All times are Eastern.
The Twilight Zone Marathon (SyFy, all day): Sure every episode of The Twilight Zone is available on Netflix and Amazon Prime, but there’s something special about knowing you’re watching all 156 episodes (plus commercials) with a nation full of people who just happened to stumble upon the same marathon. The whole thing actually began yesterday and will continue all the way through Sunday, which—at least to us—makes Rod Serling the official host of the New Year (sorry Ryan Seacrest). Today’s highlights include “The Monsters Are Due On Maple Street” at 5:30 a.m., “A Stop At Willoughby” at 9:30 a.m., “The After Hours” at 11:30 a.m., “The Eye Of The Beholder” at 3:30 p.m, “The Invaders” at 10 p.m. and “The Odyssey Of Flight 33” at 11:30 p.m. It’s a little strange that SyFy is interrupting the marathon with WWE Smackdown from 8-10 p.m., but that’s just what happens… in The Twilight Zone.
Jessica Jones (Netflix, 10 a.m.): Oliver Sava wraps up his coverage of Jessica Jones’ first season with “AKA Smile.” Will Luke survive his seemingly fatal accident? Will Jessica be able to best Kilgrave? Will Robyn finally stop being so annoying? All that plus a special appearance from a Daredevil cast member. Your What’s On Tonight correspondent—who binge-reviewed the whole show when it debuted—would like to give a personal salute to her brother-in-arms for his wonderful coverage.
Your guide to the best and worst specials to watch during the last few hours of 2015.
New York Philharmonic New Year’s Eve: La Vie Parisienne (PBS, 8 p.m.): By far the classiest way to spend New Year’s Eve, Alan Gilbert leads the New York Philharmonic in a Parisian-themed concert featuring mezzo-soprano Susan Graham and pianists Inon Barnatan and Makoto Ozone.
Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve With Ryan Seacrest (ABC, 8 p.m.): Ryan Seacrest and co-host Fergie are joined by correspondent Jenny McCarthy to report on festivities in both New York and Los Angeles. Carrie Underwood, One Direction, Wiz Khalifa, Demi Lovato, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, Fallout Boy, and Nick Jonas are slated to perform while Taylor Swift will be releasing the music video for “Out Of The Woods.” We’d call this the most insufferable special of the night, but, honestly, it has some stiff competition for that title.
New Year’s Eve Live With Anderson Cooper And Kathy Griffin (CNN, 8 pm.): For instance, Anderson Cooper and Kathy Griffin try to take on the unstoppable team of Seacrest and Fergie with their own New Year’s Eve special from Times Square.
Pitbull’s New Year’s Eve Revolution (Fox, 8 p.m.): Pitbull, on the other hand, forgoes both Times Square and the West coast to celebrate New Year’s Eve in Miami with performances from Jussie Smollett, Shawn Mendes, Austin Mahone, Pia Mia, Prince Royce, and R. City. We’d be more excited if we had heard of any of those people.
A Toast To 2015! (NBC, 8 p.m.): Meanwhile NBC is splitting up its New Year’s Eve coverage starting with this two-hour special looking back on the top stories and events of 2015. Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb interview 2015 movers and shakers (a.k.a. celebrities willing to participate in this nonsense) such as Zooey Deschanel, Eva Longoria, Michael Bublé, Blake Shelton, Katherine Heigl, Howie Mandel, Kelly Osbourn, and Margaret Cho.
New Year’s Eve Game Night With Andy Cohen (NBC, 10 p.m.): Then at 10 p.m. Andy Cohen hosts a two-hour celebrity game night featuring John Stamos, Bob Saget, Bob Harper, Chris Parnell, Whitney Cummings, JB Smoove, Rob Riggle and Sasheer Zamata. Just by virtue of featuring real comedians this may somehow be the most watchable special of the evening.
Billy On The Street (TruTV, 10:30 p.m.): In an interesting programming choice, Billy On The Street airs two new episodes—including its season finale—on New Year’s Eve. Julianna Margulies, Lucy Liu, and special guest Elena join Billy Eichner for an hour of madness.
Marx Brothers Marathon (TCM, 8:15 a.m.): TCM airs the best of Chico, Harpo, Groucho, and Zeppo including The Cocoanuts, A Day At The Races, A Night At The Opera, Animal Crackers, Monkey Business, Horse Feathers, and finally Duck Soup at 6:45 p.m.
The Lord Of The Rings Marathon (TNT, 1 p.m.): Commit your bow, axe, or whatever other weapon you have on hand to watching 11 hours of The Lord Of The Rings, including The Fellowship Of The Rings at 1 p.m., The Two Towers at 4:30 p.m., and The Return Of The King at 8 p.m.
New Year’s Eve (TBS, 5:30 p.m.): Still trying to capture the Love Actually model after his failed attempt with Valentine’s Day, Garry Marshall’s 2011 rom com New Year’s Eve features a ridiculously talented cast who are somehow incapable of squeezing even an ounce of charm out of the material. But hey, at least it’s seasonally appropriate!
It’s A Wonderful Life (Bravo, 8 p.m.): Sure It’s A Wonderful Life is more associated with Christmas than with New Year’s Eve, but the movie does end with a rousing rendition of “Auld Lang Syne” which makes it perfect viewing for December 31st.
The Thin Man Marathon (TCM, 8 p.m.): Join Nick and Nora for some sleuthing in The Thin Man, After The Thin Man, Another Thin Man, Shadow Of The Thin Man, The Thin Man Goes Home, and Song Of The Thin Man.
- College Football: Peach Bowl: Houston vs. Florida State (ESPN, 12 p.m.)
- College Football Playoff: Orange Bowl: Clemson vs. Oklahoma (ESPN, 4 p.m.)
- College Football Playoff: Cotton Bowl: Alabama vs. Michigan State (ESPN, 8 p.m.)
Mozart In The Jungle: Those who don’t want to subject themselves to the horrors of New Year’s Eve-themed TV can spend the day binge-watching the second season of this Amazon comedy. In his pre-air review, Vikram Murthi found the second season a vast improvement from the first, noting: “From the very first minutes of the new season, Mozart In The Jungle displays an invigorated energy that comes from knowing exactly what kind of show it wants to be.”