Wwith Omicron waving around Australia, there is good reason to eat at home in front of the television on New Year’s Eve and observe the outside world through this medium we call television. One day in the future, coupled with the metaverse, we will project astral between virtual fireworks while high-fiving our digitally recreated long-dead ancestors, but so far we are still absorbing entertainment via live images displayed on flat screens.
The humble old teev offers various ways to count down the new year, including fireworks, summaries and movies.
Fireworks and New Year’s Eve concerts
The Omicron variant of Covid-19 has caused many fireworks shows to be canceled around the world, including one in Melbourne that would have involved more than 350 drones – which may or may not have been sensational in the middle of the performance and decided to rise up against their human overlords. You never know, maybe we avoided a bullet.
Many screens still continue the great human tradition of creating colors and spectacle by making things explode in the sky. ABC will broadcast several of them, including the Sydney Fireworks at. 21.00 AEDT for those who do not bother to reach midnight. ABC’s pre-fireworks shebang starts at. 20.30 with The Early Night Show, co-hosted by the charismatic actor Hunter Page-Lochard, who played the title character in ABC TV’s Cleverman and most recently starred in Fires.
From kl. 21.15 ABC broadcasts its NYE2021: Let’s Celebrate! concert at the Sydney Opera House, hosted by Charlie Pickering, Zan Rowe and Jeremy Fernandez. Starring include Tina Arena, Missy Higgins, Casey Donovan and Genesis Owusu, who take you up to the midnight countdown and more fireworks over Sydney Harbor.
Alternatively, viewers in Victoria can tune in to channel Nine to watch City Of Melbourne: New Year’s Eve 2021, which starts at. 23:00 and hosted by Catriona Rowntree and Clint Stanaway.
I appreciate the “annual summary” format – it reminds me of cheat sheets for high school exams. My wife verbally summed up the appeal of the format when, while watching The Yearly with Charlie Pickering 2021, she said “oh yes, that’s right!” at least three times.
Pickering’s special this year contains several loud moments, but obviously filmed before Omicron, it already looks outdated, with Pickering showing up near the beginning of the show and sitting in a rather crowded (albeit masked) studio. Funny moments include a segment called Real Premiers of Australia, which sums up the quirky feud between Australian premieres as if it were a reality TV show.
For a more international perspective, Netflix has its very funny Death to 2021 special, a sequel to Death to 2020. For more summary, there’s Jimmy Fallon’s collection of his “news smash” segments, this six minute long rewind of the year from Vox, and – even shorter – a two-and-a-half-minute Reddit-produced video, which is set to an annoyingly optimistic ditty, but in its honor begins with a vision of geese wearing sombreros.
But I hear you ask – no, demanding – how about articles showing the very best Australian films and TV series of the year? Here are a few I prepared earlier: my lists of the best homemade productions for both the big and small screen, with many hours of quality viewing.
New Year’s Eve movie
The perfect movie to watch during NYE is something with a bit of a party vibe, or at least something that is not a total downturn – so no Lars von Trier movies allowed. On ABC iView, there’s Firestarter: The Story Of Bangarra, an amazing documentary (No. 4 on my list of this year’s best Australian films) about the history of the amazing Bangarra Dance Theater, which has staged lavish visual and musical performances for decades.
Nine shows Dirty Dancing at 20.30, which is happily remembered as one of the 80’s pedigree dance themes – the top-clad domain Flashdance, Footloose, Fame and (my favorite among the bunch) Breakin ‘2: Electric Boogaloo.
For good family fun, NITV shows Taika Waititis’ comedy Hunt for the Wilderpeople from 2016 from 19.30. Elsewhere, SBS shows The Blues Brothers at. 21.25, The Full Monty is broadcast on Seven from kl. 23.00, and 9Gem shows Ben-Hur from kl. 20.30 – with a playing time of three and a half hours, it will take a good part of the night and get you over the finish line into 2022.
Those longing for a huge success can play the beautiful cinematic Godzilla vs Kong, which recently landed on Netflix. And if you have not seen the excellent Danish comedy / drama Another Round, check it out on SBS on Demand.
Adelaide Oval is perhaps the most beautiful sports arena in the world and it shows a sunset like nowhere else in Australia. So before the sky lights up with fireworks, why not check out the Adelaide Strikers against the Sydney Thunder in the Big Bash League and the many cutaways to the multicolored gloaming? It will be shown at 19:15 AEDT on channel Seven, Kayo and Foxtel. – Jonathan Howcroft