Friday, December 19, 2014

New Year's Eve TV specials to watch if you're staying in

There's no shame in staying in on New Year's, and your television would like you to know that.

New Year's Eve TV specials to watch if you're staying in

There's no shame in staying in on New Year's, and your television would like you to know that. If you find yourself stuck in this New Year's Eve, have no fear—there's plenty of quality programming to keep you entertained until the Ball drops, which you'll no doubt be watching from home since you didn't end up going out anyways.

Whether you're going for traditional New Year's special, a fresh new update, or something different altogether to get away from all that, we've got you covered. Just chill the champagne, check the remote's batteries, and settle in for a long night of TV-based ringing-in. Here's what you should be watching this New Year's Eve:

 

Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve with Ryan Seacrest — 8 p.m., ABC

 In what has in many ways become Dick Clark's legacy, this year's New Year's Rockin' Eve proves beyond a doubt why it should be considered the grandaddy of all New Year's Eve programming. Starting off with a “30 Greatest Women in Music” countdown, this ABC special will feature performances from Blondie, Billie Joel, Macklemore, and Miley Cyrus, along with hosting from Jenny McCarthy and Fergie alongside Ryan Seacrest. You won't find a more surreal lineup anywhere on TV.

 

New Year's Eve with Carson Daly — 10 p.m., NBC

If New Year's Eve television programming is war, then NBC is defending against ABC's entertainment onslaught with their Carson Daly fronted offering. A two-hour special hosted out of Times Square (where else?), Daly's special boasts co-hosting duties from The Office's Angela Kinsey plus requisite live-tweeting, which more or less is the best reason to watch. Couple that with performances from Train, and The Voice winners Tessanne Chin and Cassadee Pope, and you likely still can't compete with ABC.

 

All American New Year — 11 p.m., Fox News

FOX News Channel offers up its own New Year's Eve special with hosting by Elisabeth Hasselbeck and Bill Hemmer—which, to be fair, might sound like something you'd like to avoid watching. And you'd be right, especially with cohosting duties headed up by Rick Leventhal and Kimberly Guilfoyle. Except for the rare and somewhat out-of-left-field inclusion of Blues Traveler on the performers' docket, that is. Everyone loves “Run Around,” and there's no better  to ring in 2014 than with a song that came out in 1994. Particularly after a few glasses of champagne.

 

New Year's Eve Live — 11 p.m., CNN

CNN competes with Fox's special with their Anderson Cooper/Kathy Griffin-fronted offering, this year marking the duo's seventh time covering the evening's events from Times Square. No Blues Traveler here (and if you asked me, CNN dropped the ball in not booking the Spin Doctors to counter Fox), but there is coast-to-coast coverage from locales like New Orleans, Nashville and Vincennes, Ind. That last one admittedly sounds random, but Vincennes is actually home to the annual “watermelon drop,” which is exactly what it sounds like. So, a step up for CNN.

 

New York Philharmonic Gala with Yo-Yo Ma — 8 p.m., PBS

For the more culturally-inclined among us, PBS is offering up a broadcast of the New York Philharmonic's Opening Gala concert featuring guest cellist Yo-Yo Ma. So even if you're staying in, you don't have to feel weird about wearing a full tuxedo and having nowhere to go. Yo-Yo Ma is there for you, plus dozens of other musicians that deserve as much name recognition. It won't be all slow movements and building crescendos, though, with the Lincoln Center describing the evening's entertainment as “dance-inspired orchestral works.”

 

106 & Party: New Year's Eve 2013 — 11 p.m., BET

If Yo-Yo Ma isn't your thing, then surely ASAP Rocky, Trey Songz, and August Alsina are. Or, rather, if they are, BET has got you covered with their 106 & Party special. As specials go, this one also features live coverage from Times Square courtesy of BET hosts Lil Mama and Mack Wilds. And, since the New Year is a time for making changes and resolutions and all, why not make a pledge to take in a wider depth and breadth of entertainment. ASAP Rocky, after all, is at least as good at rapping as Yo-Yo Ma is at playing the cello.

 

TeenNick Top 10: New Year's Eve Countdown — 11 p.m., TeenNick

To understand the kids, you must think like the kids. In 2014, that starts with a countdown of the most important events of 2013, as told by Nickelodeon, bastion of all things kid. Musical performances come courtesy of Echosmith, 4Count, and Nick Cannon, plus a kickoff in the form of a music video countdown. In many ways, there will be no escaping this one, with airing scheduled on Nick at Nite, NickMom, Nicktoons, and TeenNick. Let this program serve as the jumping off point into the new and strange world of your tween's entertainment preferences.

 

MTV's New Year's Eve 2014 — 10 p.m., MTV

Oddly enough (or perhaps just as expected), MTV's New Year's special is one of the few on the list to not include any live musical performances. Instead, the network will have stars from Girl Code and Guy Code discuss the rules of New Year's Eve, from “getting that midnight kiss” to “choosing the perfect party.” With a description like that, this one is bound to be a perfect hate-watch. But, of course, what else would you expect from MTV?

 

That's Entertainment I, II, and III — 8 p.m., TCM

OK, so it's not technically a New Year's special. There's no hosts asking people what they pledge to do in 2014. And you won't see any live shots from Times Square. But what That's Entertainment on TMC lacks in, well, being current, it more than makes up for in over-the-top retro charm. Skip the modern day performances and go with the greats like Frank Sinatra and Fred Astaire, who are featured heavily in this three part rundown of MGM's greatest musicals.

 

Twilight Zone marathon — 12 a.m., SyFy

Less musical numbers and wishes for the New Year, more pig monsters and neighbors suspecting one another of being aliens. SyFy makes every geek's holiday again with their traditional Twilight Zone marathon, opening up 2014 to yesteryear's tales of horror and melodramatic woe. As SyFy continues to air Twilight Zone on virtually every holiday known to man, it's starting to feel like no New Year is complete without one episode. After all, you gotta remember your roots.

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Nick Vadala Philly.com
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