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What to watch this weekend: New ‘Black Mirror,’ New Year’s Eve specials

By Chelsea Tatham
Courtesy of Netflix. Black Mirror's "Arkangel."


While many will be counting down to midnight while chugging champagne at parties, others prefer to ring in the new year from the comfort of the couch. And luckily for them, there are plenty of broadcasts of eye-popping fireworks and musical performances by favorite pop artists. Here's what to watch New Year's Eve if you're planning to stay in your pajamas.

Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve With Ryan Seacrest, 8 p.m., ABC: The annual special airs live from New York City until around 2 a.m. Ryan Seacrest hosts along with Jenny McCarthy, Ciara on the west coast and Lucy Hale from the central time zone in New Orleans. Performances include Florida Georgia Line, Halsey, Hailee Steinfeld, Alessia Cara, Kelly Clarkson and more.

New Year's Eve Live, 8 p.m., CNN: Andy Cohen takes over co-hosting after CNN fired Kathy Griffin for a video she posted showing her holding a fake, bloody head that looked like Donald Trump. Anyway, Andy and Anderson Cooper are good pals, so the live special from Times Square should be a treat.

Fox's New Year's Eve With Steve Harvey: Live From Times Square, 8 p.m., Fox: Steve Harvey hosts along with Maria Menounos with performances by Celine Dion, Backstreet Boys, Macklemore, Flo Rida and more. Neil Diamond is also scheduled to lead the world's largest sing-along.

Live From Lincoln Center, 8 p.m., PBS: This year, the New York Philharmonic celebrates the 100th birthday of the late Leonard Bernstein, its musical director from 1958 to 1969. The tribute features performances by Annaleigh Ashford (Sunday in the Park With George), Christopher Jackson (Hamilton), Laura Osnes (Cinderella) and Aaron Tveit (Next to Normal).

The future is terrifying: Black Mirror

The nightmarish dystopian anthology series from Charlie Brooker returns for a fourth season this weekend, promising even more existential dread. Since the series moved from Channel 4 to Netflix, Black Mirror has boasted an increased budget, meaning more genre-bending stories. The third season included an '80s LGBTQ love story (which won an Emmy), a police drama and a haunted house nightmare with a virtual reality twist. Interestingly, Netflix released short trailers for each of Season 4's new episodes. "Crocodile" takes place in Iceland and plays with the idea of the privacy of memories and how they can be twisted. "Arkangel" delves into the lengths some parents may go to control their children, including putting needles in their temples. And with "Hang the DJ," Black Mirror tackles the dreadful world of online dating with an app that decides who you can date and when your relationship will end. The four other episodes deal with unseen monsters, a not-so-funny parody of Star Trek and more ways technology could further ruin our lives. Fun! Now available on Netflix.

The truth is still out there: The X-Files

The groundbreaking sci-fi series The X-Files returns for an 11th season Wednesday, promising a resolution to last season's cliffhanger and more twisted explorations of otherworldly phenomena with agents Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) and Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson). At the end of last season, Mulder was near death after a widespread contagion threatened humankind. Scully developed a vaccine, but using stem cells from William, the son she gave up for adoption, might be the key to curing the illness. And then there's that apparent UFO hovering above them. This season, the premiere and finale pertain to the overarching mythology, but the episodes in between follow the "monster of the week" format, usually more popular with fans. And because we live in the social media age and the era of peak TV, expect the new X-Files episodes to deal with fake news, science being thrown out the window, conspiracy theories and other major cultural and political shifts. 8 p.m. Wednesday, Fox

Upcoming streaming releases

Friday: Bill Nye Saves the World Season 2 Part 1 (Netflix)

Monday: A League of Their Own (Hulu)

Jan. 12: Philip K. Dick's Electric Dreams (Amazon), Homeland Season 5 (Hulu)

Jan. 26: Dirty Money (Netflix)

Feb. 2: Altered Carbon (Netflix)

Contact Chelsea Tatham at [email protected] Follow @chelseatatham.