The consensus seems to be that 2016 was an awful year, maybe one of the worst in recent memory. A lot of influential artists and celebrities are gone, America's political future is more terrifying than ever, and there's just a general sense that everything is falling apart. As such, most New Year's Eve celebrations probably won't be celebrating 2016 as much as they're celebrating a clean slate. Anyone hoping to avoid the hustle of New Year's Eve parties may also not be interested in watching the many TV specials recapping the past 12 months. Luckily, the New Year's Eve TV schedule has plenty of unrelated programming to watch if you just need to a distraction on Dec. 31.
After 366 days (because of course 2016 had to sneak in an extra day... thanks, leap year) of a terrible year, many people are just going to want to ignore anything that has to do with reflecting on the past. Television is, like all forms of entertainment, an escape before anything else — and there's nothing wrong with wanting to pull an ejector seat from the roaring garbage fire that is 2016. Here are the best ways to escape your woes with television this New Year's Eve.
The Pinkprint Tour: Nicki Minaj Live From Brooklyn on BET
The only major new special to be airing on New Year's Eve that isn't about New Year's Eve is a celebration of one of the decade's biggest stars. While 2016 wasn't Minaj's biggest year, she still proved to be a major cultural presence and is treating her fans to a look at her successful 2015 Pinkprint tour with a concert documentary. The special airs at 10:00 p.m. ET on New Year's Eve on BET, and it's the best thing to watch if you want to end 2016 feelin' yourself.
Harry Potter Marathon on Freeform
What better way to escape 2016 than by going to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry? Freeform has been defined by its recurring celebrations of Harry Potter — but be warned, viewers. This marathon, which starts with Sorcerer's Stone at 7:00 a.m. ET and ends with Half-Blood Prince, straight-up skips Order of the Phoenix. Then again, Order of the Phoenix is basically the 2016 of Harry Potter movies so maybe it's for the best.
Ghostbusters I & II on BBC America
While a lot of 2016 was unfortunately derailed by sexist comments claiming that an all-female Ghostbusters reboot would ruin childhoods all over the world (It didn't!), there's no denying that everyone involved in the 2016 remake had a great deal of love and respect for the original movies. Fans of Ghostbusters old and new will probably enjoy ringing in the new year with BBC America, as the network is airing the original Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters II on loop for all of New Year's Eve.
The Walking Dead Marathon on AMC
Reading post-election news in 2016, it's tempting to imagine that the world might just come to an end based. Luckily, AMC is happy to help everyone more fully imagine an apocalypse by airing The Walking Dead all New Year's Eve.
American Ninja Warrior Marathon on Esquire
Need some motivation to really commit to whatever your New Year's resolution may be? Then spend your New Year's Eve with the Esquire network as they dedicate the entire day to showcasing some of the most determined, hardworking people on the planet with an American Ninja Warrior marathon.
The Twilight Zone Marathon on SyFy
As it does every year, SyFy is airing a Twilight Zone marathon — but this time it will last a massive three days, beginning at 6:00 a.m. ET on Dec. 31 and ending on Jan. 3 at 8:00 a.m. ET. While this may be an exceptionally long marathon, part of the reasoning behind the extensive programming may be that for the first time since its premiere, 2016 actually feels like it all happened inside The Twilight Zone.
Magic Mike Double Feature on Cinemax
Cinemax is airing both Magic Mike and Magic Mike XXL starting at 8:00 p.m. ET on New Year's Eve. Cinemax is using its programming to echo what many people are thinking, which is"Please, Channing Tatum – just take us away from this awful, awful year."
That's just a taste of the non-New Year's television offerings that networks are providing to help everyone heal after this tumultuous year. So be sure to turn your TV on to have a happy 2017 and say "good riddance" to 2016.