12:00pm PT by Rick Porter
This Week in TV: Farewell to 2020; Hello to 'Cobra Kai,' 'Call Me Kat'
The year comes to an end this week, and a number of TV specials are queued up to say goodbye (and good riddance) to 2020. The week also brings a handful of broadcast network premieres, the final episodes of two shows — including Vikings, which is debuting on Amazon rather than its original home, History Channel — and the earlier than expected premiere of Netflix's Cobra Kai.
Here is The Hollywood Reporter's rundown of some of the coming week's highlights. It would be next to impossible to watch everything, but let THR point the way to worthy options each week. All times are ET/PT unless noted.
The Big Show(s)
New Year's Eve is typically one of the bigger TV nights of the year, and with huge parties likely not happening this year, it could be even bigger than usual. Several networks have full nights of coverage planned, even without Times Square crowds as a backdrop.
ABC will have its annual, Ryan Seacrest-hosted New Year's Rockin' Eve in both primetime (8 p.m.) and late night (starting at 11:30 p.m.) Thursday. Fox's New Year's Eve Toast & Roast (8 p.m. and 11 p.m.) is hosted by Ken Jeong and Joel McHale. On NBC, Hoda Kotb and Jenna Bush Hager host Escape From 2020 at 8 p.m., then turn things over to Carson Daly at 10 and 11:30 p.m. CNN's Anderson Cooper will host the news channel's festivities with Andy Cohen, starting at 8 p.m.
Prior to New Year's Eve, Amazon will feature a roster of women comics eulogizing 2020 in the special Yearly Departed (Wednesday). Netflix also has Death to 2020, which began streaming Dec. 27. A trailer for Yearly Departed is below.
On broadcast …
New: The Big Bang Theory's Mayim Bialik plays the title character in Call Me Kat (8 p.m. Jan. 3, Fox) — and is doing a 180-degree turn from Amy Fowler. The series centers on Kat, who wants to prove to the world and her mother (Swoosie Kurtz) that she can live a good life as a single woman — and who has recently sunk her savings into opening a cat cafe.
Also new: Animated series The Great North, featuring a voice cast led by Jenny Slate and Nick Offerman, premieres at 8:30 p.m. Jan. 3.
Returning: The Rookie opens its third season at 10 p.m. Jan. 3 on ABC — and plans to take on the changing conversation about policing, and how it's depicted on TV, that has resulted in the wake of social and racial justice protests since the show last aired in early May.
"We can’t do one special episode, where we feel good and solve racism in the end, and then go back to our usual thing the next week," executive producer and writer Terence Paul Winter said during a press event about the changes on the Nathan Fillion-led series. "We want to change things for as long as we get to do this show."
Also returning: Last Man Standing begins its ninth and final season on Fox at 9:30 p.m. Jan. 3, before moving (along with Call Me Kat) to Thursdays the following week.
On streaming …
Returning: When Cobra Kai's first two seasons moved to Netflix, the show racked up big viewing numbers, and the streamer quickly ordered a fourth season. The third season — which was filmed before Netflix acquired the show as YouTube got out of the long-form scripted business — debuts Friday, a week ahead of its initial schedule.
Final seasons: Two series offer up their last chapters this week. Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (Thursday, Netflix) is ending after four seasons (or "parts," in the show's parlance). The final 10 episodes of Vikings debut Friday on Amazon after airing on History for five-plus seasons since 2013. They'll air on the cable channel sometime in 2021.
New: Netflix's newest cooking competition is not about fresh ingredients — the opposite of that, in fact. In Best Leftovers Ever (Wednesday), three cooks try to earn a $10,000 prize by transforming what's in the fridge into new and delicious dishes. GLOW's Jackie Tohn hosts.
On cable …
Special: Season 13 of Doctor Who is still a good ways off (production is ongoing but no date has been set), but the show's holiday special, Revolution of the Daleks, is set to air at 8 p.m. Friday on BBC America. The episode features the return of Captain Jack Harkness (John Barrowman) and, obviously, the titular villains.
New: The Watch (8 p.m. Jan. 3, BBC America) brings part of Terry Pratchett's hugely popular Discworld novels to the screen. It's based on the "City Watch" subset of Pratchett's books and follows a group of misfit cops trying to reform a corrupt city. Richard Dormer (Game of Thrones) heads the cast.
Returning: The 13th season of RuPaul's Drag Race ushers in the new year at 8 p.m. Friday on VH1. The show will feature its first out trans man contestant, Gottmik.
Sports: College football bowl season is in full swing despite a shortened season for most teams and dozens of canceled regular season games. Seventeen games are set to air this week, including the two College Football Playoff semifinals on Friday: Alabama vs. Notre Dame at 4 p.m. ET/1 p.m. PT and Clemson vs. Ohio State at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT. Both are on ESPN.
In case you missed it …
Bridgerton, Shonda Rhimes' first series for Netflix, is set amid London's marriage market in the early 1800s — but Jane Austen it is not. Adapted from novels by Julia Quinn by Scandal veteran Chris Van Dusen, the show "truly dazzles," writes THR critic Inkoo Kang, "because of its smart weaving of feminist critique throughout its marriage plot, which doesn't just sit atop the proceedings but shapes the storylines themselves." The eight-episode first season is streaming now.