The New Shows color code: red means don’t bother; blue means maybe; green means good; magenta means great.
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 29
36th Annual Kennedy Center Honors (CBS)
I watch this show every year and I love it. It is one of the few award shows where the people being honored deserve it. The tributes are always tasteful and hugely fun and this year was pure music -- pretty much every genre out there. The honorees this year were:
- Carlos Santana. Unfortunately, he chewed gum throughout his tribute (one of my pettest of pet peeves); but, the music was to die for. Even the Obamas were chair dancing.
- Martina Arroyo. If you have never heard this woman sing, you have missed one of life’s greatest joys. Do whatever it takes to get your hands on a recording of her singing Aida. It is life changing.
- Herbie Hancock. Only this man could bring people as diverse as Bill O’Reilly and Snoop Dogg together to honor him. Again, the music was amazing and had the entire audience going wild.
- Shirley Maclaine. Say what you will about this woman, in her day, she could sing and dance and she can still act circles around most others. Her tribute was a series of Broadway show tunes she has sung in her time. The highlight was Anna Kendrick who was the one who got even Ms. Maclaine singing with her.
- Billy Joel. They saved the best for last. Billy Joel is in my pantheon of music gods, and his songs were sung by Don Henley and Garth Brooks (two other members of my pantheon). The music geek in me was squealing with delight. “New York State of Mind” had Marina Arroyo singing along. During “Goodnight Saigon,” the stage filled with Vietnam vets who sang the chorus. The audience sang “Piano Man.” By the end, I was in tears. But, in a good way.
MONDAY, DECEMBER 30
Independent Lens: How to Survive a Plague (PBS)
A documentary about the activists who forced the government to face the crises that was HIV/AIDS back in the 1980s, especially ACT UP. It was a bit self-congratulatory, self-aware, and self-conscious for me. Filled with archival footage, I didn’t feel as though I learned anything that I didn’t already know.
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 31
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 1
Caribbean Life (HGTV)
House of Secrets (Lifetime Movie Network)
Kim of Queens (Lifetime)
Lone Target (Discovery)
Tattoos After Dark (Oxygen)
Vacation House for Free (HGTV)
THURSDAY, JANUARY 2
The Assets (ABC)
This show reminded me a lot of The Americans, only this story is based on events that actually occurred. Aldrich Ames, highly placed in the CIA, spied for the KGB for nearly ten years before his arrest. This is the story of the woman who brought him down. The spy parts of the story are great; the home life parts are less compelling. It’s easy to commit to this miniseries as the story and, therefore, this series has an end date. If you enjoy spy stories, give this one a try. Just don’t go in with your expectations soaring.
Cold River Cash (Animal Planet)
Do or Die (National Geographic)
Toned Up (Bravo)
FRIDAY, JANUARY 3
How to Live to 100 (Cooking Channel)
DON'T FORGET to set your DVR:
Downton Abbey returns Sunday, January 5 at 9:00 on PBS.
Teen Wolf returns Monday, January 6 at 10:00 on MTV.
Justified returns Tuesday, January 7 at 10:00 on FX.
Psych returns Wednesday, January 8 at 9:00 on USA.