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What to watch this weekend: New Year's Eve specials, shows to watch before the winter TV season starts

The numerals 17 are lit up ahead of the New Year's Eve celebrations in New York City. These two will be part of the 2017 sign that lights up above Times Square on Saturday night.

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The numerals 17 are lit up ahead of the New Year's Eve celebrations in New York City. These two will be part of the 2017 sign that lights up above Times Square on Saturday night.

30

December

This weekend marks an end to the trash fire that was 2016. Along with a fresh slate and hopefully fewer beloved celebrity deaths, we have a boatload of new TV to look forward to in the new year. Before we get to the new stuff, here are some fall shows you need to catch up on.

Pitch, Fox: The addictive sports drama about the first female pitcher in the major leagues wasn't on many critics' best-of lists, but it should be. Kylie Bunbury plays Ginny Baker, a lifelong baseball player who clawed her way to the San Diego Padres roster. Though the whole of the series revolves around Ginny's struggles to fit in with her teammates and the whole of major league sports, it also details her personal struggles and the inner workings of sports politics. You'll be crying during at least three of its 10 episodes.

Amazon

Good Girls Revolt, Amazon: The premiere of a show centered around women fighting for equality in a 1960s newsroom felt especially relevant just weeks before an election with the first female presidential nominee. It started slow, weaving in and out of its main characters' personal and professional lives, before ending with a fist through a glass ceiling. Unfortunately, Amazon cancelled the series. We are still hoping Sony can #SaveGoodGirlsRevolt.

Insecure, HBO: Sure, Insecure centers on the insecurities of a young woman. But it's not a makeover show. Issa Rae is in control of her own show as the creator and star, using her insecurities to better herself. She doesn't try to hide her issues, she turns them into hilarious raps.

Atlanta, FX: FX is coming off its best year ever and its fall show Atlanta is at the top of critic's best-of lists. Atlanta is about a lot of things  the hip-hop scene in Atlanta and an aimless man (Donald Glover) becoming a manager to his cousin's budding rap career. But it boasts strong social commentary on race, parenthood and masculinity, among other things. It's billed as a drama, but it's often delightfully hilarious.

Fox

The Exorcist, Fox: Hear me out: The Exorcist was one of the fall shows I was most excited about. It's not for everyone, but it satiated this horror fan's thirst for quality scary TV. Clearly, this show is about someone possessed by a demon and the two priests (Alfonso Herrera and Ben Daniels) who vow to save them. But that's where the obvious plot points end. There are plenty of bone-chilling scenes of an exorcism, but the deeper story is so much scarier.

Watch this weekend

FRIDAY

Downton Abbey marathon, starts at 6 a.m., PBS: A marathon of the sixth and final season of masterpiece period drama set in early 1900s England. Because we miss Downton Abbey so much.

SATURDAY

A Toast to 2016!, 8 p.m., NBC: A look back at the year's top stories and events, hosted by Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb.

Dick Clark's Primetime New Year's Rockin' Eve with Ryan Seacrest 2017, 8 p.m., ABC: There are two parts to the annual countdown festivities. Hosts Ryan Seacrest, Fergie and Jenny McCarthy report from New York City, Los Angeles and New Orleans. Performances from Mariah Carey, DNCE, Thomas Rhett, Gloria Estefan and more before and after the big ball drops. Runs until 1 a.m.

New Year's Eve Live with Anderson Cooper and Kathy Griffin, 8 p.m., CNN: A live special with hosts Cooper and Griffin counting down the hours until 2017.

New Year's Eve with Carson Daly, 11:30 p.m., NBC: Daly and co-host Mel B ring in the new year with a celebration from Times Square in New York City. Performances by Jennifer Lopez, Alicia Keys, Pentatonix and Blake Shelton.

This is History: 2016, 11 p.m., History Channel: A look back at noteworthy news stories from the year, including interviews with President-elect Donald Trump's campaign manager Kellyanne Conway, cyber expert Dmitri Alperovitch and Pulse Nightclub shooting survivor Isaiah Henderson.

SUNDAY

Movie Stills Database

Special: Wishful Drinking, 9 p.m., HBO: The network honors the late Carrie Fisher by showing an encore presentation of Wishful Drinking. This adaptation of Fisher's hit stage production tells the story of her life with one-woman performances, interviews with family and friends and archival footage.

SERIES PREMIERE: The Mick, 8 p.m., Fox: A Rhode Island woman is forced to take on guardianship of her wealthy estranged sister's children after the couple has to flee the country to avoid being arrested on fraud charges.

SERIES PREMIERE: Ransom, 8 p.m., CBS: Eric An experienced crisis and hostage negotiatorand his team take on kidnap and ransom cases with the most dangerous criminals in the world.

SEASON PREMIERE: Sherlock, 9 p.m., BBC America: Holmes and Watson return for a fourth season. It's rumored to be Sherlock's last season, seeing as Benedict Cumberbatch is now Marvel's Doctor Strange.

Contact Chelsea Tatham at ctatham@tampabya.com. Follow @chelseatatham.

 

[Last modified: Thursday, December 29, 2016 5:20pm]

    

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