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5 TV shows that are perfect to watch on New Year’s Eve

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Three main characters from Letterkenny standing together, wearing plaid and overalls.

It’s close to New Year’s Eve and instead of getting dolled up and going to a flashy party, you have decided to stay in. There’s nothing wrong with that. Sometimes, the best way to ring in a new year is to relax at home in your pajamas with comfort food take-out, a blanket, a glass of champagne, and a good TV show.

You could tune into the many New Year’s Eve specials that are being televised. But if that isn’t your thing, spend the evening binge-watching a TV show that will put you in the right mood for the big countdown and a mental reset. These five TV shows on streamers like Peacock, Hulu, and others are perfect to watch on New Year’s Eve, and here’s why.

Letterkenny (2016-2023)

Bell Media

End the year on a high note with a feel-good series that’s just pure silliness. Letterkenny’s 12th and final season is out on Christmas Day, so New Year’s Eve is the perfect time to watch now that you have recovered from all the post-holiday shopping and clean-up. Take the week to get other things done, then cozy up on the couch for a quiet night in with the hilarious characters from this Canadian sitcom.

Letterkenny was born from a YouTube web series and became so popular that Hulu picked it up for exclusive U.S. streaming. A spin-off called Shoresy, also streaming on Hulu, launched to follow. Set in a small rural Ontario, Canada down, Letterkenny follows the goings-on between the cliquey residents, including the “skids” (drug addicts), “natives” (First Nation reservation members), “hicks” (farmers), and others, including the local ice hockey team members from out of town, the gym rats, and the French Canadians. You’ll be laughing the entire way through at all the perpetuated stereotypes, puns, and one-liners.

Stream Letterkenny on Hulu.

Shrinking (2023-)

Harrison Ford pointing a finger at Jason Segel in an image from Shrinking on Apple TV+.
Apple TV+

It’s one of those shows you probably heard about this year and meant to watch but never got around to doing so. If that’s the case, queue up Shrinking for New Year’s Eve. The first season is 10 episodes long so you can easily get through it in one sitting. Created by Jason Segel (who also stars) as well as Ted Lasso’s Brett Goldstein and Bill Lawrence, Shrinking is about Jimmy (Segel), a therapist who is deeply grieving the death of his wife. His personal and professional life is suffering because of it. His teenage daughter can’t stand him, and his job is on the rocks. He makes it worse when he decides to start telling his patients harsh truths instead of handling their sessions per the rules and ethics of his job. Thankfully, his co-worker, mentor, and confidante Dr. Paul Rhoades (Harrison Ford) has a soft spot for him and tries to help.

The comedy-drama takes you on a journey through stages of grief and how it affects others around you. Dr. Rhoades is a comedic stand-out, an unexpected surprise since Ford isn’t well-known for comedy. At times, Segel takes a backseat to other scene-stealing supporting characters as well, like his sickeningly positive co-worker and friend Gaby (Jessica Williams) and his annoying, nosy but helpful neighbor Liz (Christa Miller). You’ll laugh, cry, and feel satisfied by the end, especially knowing there’s more to come with the season 2 renewal.

Stream Shrinking on Apple TV+.

Cobra Kai (2018-)

Johnny Lawrence doing the Daniel LaRusso Crane Kick in a scene from season 4 of Cobra Kai.
Curtis Bond Baker / Netflix

For some TV lovers (present company included), watching Cobra Kai on New Year’s Day became a tradition. That’s because season 3 was released on January 1, 2021, and season 4 was released on December 31, 2021. The show went back to an earlier year September release for season 5, but those who haven’t yet caught up will enjoy keeping the tradition going and watching the show on New Year’s Eve. The martial arts comedy-drama is a sequel to The Karate Kid movies, bringing back many characters from those films, 30 years later, along with a new cast of kids.

It has a little bit of everything, from corny acting and plotlines to epic fight scenes, violence, villains, heroes, and drama among both teenagers and adults. Most episodes run under half an hour, so it’s easy to blaze through an entire season in a single sitting. With the sixth and final seasons delayed due to the writers’ and actors’ strikes, filming won’t resume until early 2024. So go ahead and get started (or restart) from season 1 of this entertaining, Emmy-nominated guilty pleasure.

Stream Cobra Kai on Netflix.

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (2015-2020)

Kimmy Schmidt in Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt riding a bicycle.
Netflix

Want to go into the new year with an upbeat, positive attitude that nothing can bring you down? Live like Kimmy Schmidt, the titular character in Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. She has been through tremendous hardship, kidnapped and forced to live in an underground bunker as part of a doomsday cult since she was a teenager. But Kimmy (Ellie Kemper) wants to make the most out of her life now that she’s free. But she’s pushing 30, still has the innocence of a teenager, and doesn’t know much about technology and society since the ‘90s. New York City is so beautiful, though, in her eyes, and everyone is so happy and welcoming. She truly believes this even as she crosses paths with people who are anything but.

The sitcom was created by Tina Fey and ran for four seasons, plus an interactive special. It’s colorful and fun with a tone and style of humor you’d expect from a Fey project. You’ll love the stark contrast between Ellie’s outlook on life and that of her street-smart, tough landlady Lillian (Carol Kane), lazy roommate Titus (Tituss Burgess), and socialite boss Jacqueline (Jane Krakowski). She’s completely clueless, but her innocence and naivety soften others and encourage them to stop and smell the proverbial roses. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt will remind you of the lighter side of life, a refreshing way to enter a new year.

Stream Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt on Netflix. 

Twisted Metal (2023-)

John Doe and Quiet talking to Calypso in a scene from Twisted Metal.
Skip Bolen / Peacock

Recently renewed for a second season, Twisted Metal is pure fun; a great watch when you want to unwind. Set in a post-apocalyptic wasteland, John Doe (Anthony Mackie) works as a milkman, delivering items from one post to another in the trusty car he’s named Evelyn. But when he’s offered what appears to be the opportunity of a lifetime, he and his new friend/foe Quiet (Stephanie Beatriz) set out on a mission to retrieve a seemingly important package. To get there, he must pass some of the most dangerous places and come face-to-face with a maniacal, clown-masked man named Sweet Tooth (played by Joe Seanoa and voiced by Will Arnett).

The action comedy is based on the popular Sony Interactive Entertainment video game of the same name. You’ll get the same fast-paced action, including tons of incredible car chases, explosions, and eclectic, often dangerous, characters. The show is as funny as it is violent. It isn’t worthy of any big awards, but Twisted Metal is simply well-acted and downright exciting to watch, which makes it perfect to ring in 2024.

Stream Twisted Metal on Peacock.

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