A list? You want another list? Right, well, my favourite music at this time of the year is The Chieftains playing The Bells of Dublin, Elbow’s One Day Like This and Maria Callas singing Donde lieta usci from La Bohème. In terms of books and stories and such, of course I always read James Joyce’s The Dead.
What? A list of TV things to watch over the coming period of the holidays? Some things to get you through the worry about COVID, vaccinations and boosters while experiencing bonhomie faux or authentic, and the whole fragile festive spirit? Fair enough, I’m not that interesting anyway.
The 44th Annual Kennedy Center Honors (Wednesday, CBS, 9 p.m.) is the two-hour salute to two famous Canadians: Lorne Michaels and Joni Mitchell, plus Berry Gordy, Bette Midler and Justino Diaz. Taking part are David Letterman, Graham Nash, Herbie Hancock, Chita Rivera, Steve Martin, Kate McKinnon, Seth Meyers, Jimmy Fallon, Amy Poehler, Paul Simon and Smokey Robinson.
Emily in Paris, Season 2 (streams Netflix from Wednesday) is both a feast for beret fetishists and another opportunity to hate-watch the annoyingly upbeat American Emily (Lily Collins) as she makes one faux pas after another while living and working in Paris. It has all the depth of a Taylor Swift music video but for some reason fascinates many viewers, mainly those beret fetishists, one assumes.
Yearly Departed (streams Amazon Prime Video from Thursday) is some sort of comedy roast of the year 2021 featuring women comics, including Meg Stalter, Brooklyn Nine-Nine′s Chelsea Peretti, Canadian Alessia Cara and, for reasons yet to be determined, Jane Fonda. Fine, if they’re all dancing on the grave of this awful year.
A Holly Dolly Christmas (Friday, CBS, 8 p.m.) is a repeat but on Christmas Eve people watch things they’ve seen many times. Here Dolly Parton “shares the spirit of the holidays” in a TV special with hymns, light-hearted classics and personal Christmas stories.
Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown (Saturday, CNN, 8 p.m.) gets a marathon of repeats, with five episodes airing, if that might be your idea of Christmas Day viewing. Meanwhile CBC, known in my house as the Canadian Baking Channel, repeats Once Upon a Murdoch Christmas (CBC, 10 p.m.)
Letterkenny (streams Crave from Saturday) returns with a new season. The last was a rare disappointment, and one hopes that was a COVID-era detour away from its usual wit and weirdness. Still, there are many who will be thrilled by the return of Bonnie McMurray (Kamilla Kowal) in any shenanigans.
The Book of Boba Fett (streams Disney+ from Wednesday, Dec. 29) is a spinoff from Star Wars spinoff The Mandalorian. It is, apparently, about the elusive bounty hunter and set in Jabba the Hutt’s desert empire and, if I’ve got this straight, Boba Fett (Temuera Morrison) and the mercenary Fennec Shand (Ming-Na Wen) hunt down no-goodniks who threaten Jabba’s throne.
Stay Close (streams Netflix from Friday, Dec. 31) is the latest Harlan Coben thriller, about three people who harbour dark secrets unknown to their loved ones. Along comes someone from the past to stir things up, menacingly. James Nesbitt stars as one of them, a hard-bitten detective still angry about a missing-person case he couldn’t solve. There’s a twist every few minutes.
Finally, on New Year’s Eve, there is, locally, Canada’s New Year’s Eve: Countdown to 2022 (CBC, 11 p.m. and streams CBC Gem) with Rick Mercer hosting and musical performances from coast to coast. There is also Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve With Ryan Seacrest 2022 (ABC, 8 p.m.), which is headlined by LL Cool J.
Miley’s New Year’s Eve Party Hosted by Miley Cyrus and Pete Davidson (NBC, 10:30 p.m.) is an awkward title for a show featuring Brandi Carlile, Billie Joe Armstrong, Saweetie, Anitta and Jack Harlow. But the main takeaway is this – what is Pete Davidson’s magic?
Also, there’s New Year’s Eve Live: Nashville’s Big Bash (CBS, 8 p.m.) featuring every living country star and lasting five hours. Some New Year’s Eve specials may be cancelled or reduced depending on the COVID situation.
That’s it from me until early January. Be good and kind to each other, stay safe and get totally vaccinated if you haven’t done so already.
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