Between network, cable and streaming, the modern television landscape is a vast one. Here are some of the shows, specials and movies coming to TV this week, Dec. 27-Jan. 2. Details and times are subject to change.
THE LAST BLACK MAN IN SAN FRANCISCO (2019) 6 p.m. on Showtime. A drama that uses surreal imagery to comment on real issues of displacement, gentrification and income inequality, “The Last Black Man in San Francisco” centers on a young man, Jimmie (Jimmie Fails, playing a version of himself), who fights to reclaim his childhood home in a San Francisco transformed by wealth and those who wield it. “In moments,” Manohla Dargis wrote in her review for The New York Times, “it feels as if Jimmie and his faithful artistic friend, Montgomery (Jonathan Majors, a mournful heartbreaker), are dreaming the movie into existence, pouring its surrealistic jolts and hallucinatory beauty out of their heads and straight into yours.”
THE YEAR: 2021 9 p.m. on ABC. This annual year-end recap from ABC might strike some viewers as too daunting — this edition focuses on 2021, after all — but those in a reflective mood might appreciate the opportunity to look back at some of the biggest world events from the past year. Robin Roberts hosts.
THE SUPER BOB EINSTEIN MOVIE (2021) 9 p.m. on HBO. Revisit the career of the comic actor and writer Bob Einstein, who died in 2019 at 76, in this feature-length documentary. After writing on “The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour” in the late 1960s, Einstein stepped in front of the camera as the character Super Dave, a parody of stuntmen like Evel Knievel. More recently, Einstein appeared alongside Larry David in “Curb Your Enthusiasm.” David pays tribute to Einstein in the documentary, alongside a roster of other interviewees including Steve Martin, David Letterman, Jerry Seinfeld, Rob Reiner, J.B. Smoove and Sarah Silverman. In a succinct description of Einstein’s magic, Silverman says, “The straight man is usually what the funny man bounces off of — but he’s both.”
MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS (1974) 8 p.m. on TCM. The director Sidney Lumet assembled a train full of famous actors for this classic take on the Agatha Christie story of the same name, about a billionaire’s on-rails murder. Albert Finney stars as the fictional detective Hercule Poirot, alongside Ingrid Bergman, Lauren Bacall, Sean Connery, Vanessa Redgrave and Anthony Perkins. Working from a screenplay adapted by Paul Dehn, Lumet fills the story with stylistic nods to classic big-budget Hollywood movies — this is a movie that felt old school even in the mid-70s. The result, Bosley Crowther wrote in his 1974 review for The Times, is a “terrifically entertaining super-valentine” to classic whodunits.
SPIDER-MAN: INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE (2018) 4:30 p.m. on FX. Spider-Man once again proved his moneymaking superpowers this month with “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” which brought in the third-highest opening weekend box-office receipts in Hollywood history after a period of moviegoing malaise. But the animated rethink “Into the Spider-Verse” is probably still the recent Spidey movie to beat in terms of critical reception. It imagines its hero as a Brooklyn middle schooler named Miles Morales (Shameik Moore) who takes on the bad guys with the help of a group of heroes from different dimensions. In his review for The Times, A.O. Scott called the movie “fresh and exhilarating.”
NEW YEAR’S EVE SHOWS various times on several networks. While the Omicron variant has thrown many people’s New Year’s Eve plans into doubt, there’s no shortage of events on offer in the televised realm. Highlights include MILEY’S NEW YEAR’S EVE PARTY HOSTED BY MILEY CYRUS AND PETE DAVIDSON, airing at 10:30 p.m. on NBC, with a slate of performers including Brandi Carlile, Billie Joe Armstrong and Saweetie; NEW YEAR’S EVE LIVE: NASHVILLE’S BIG BASH at 8 p.m. on CBS with Jason Aldean, Miranda Lambert, Darius Rucker and many more; and DICK CLARK’S PRIMETIME NEW YEAR’S ROCKIN’ EVE WITH RYAN SEACREST 2022 at 10 p.m. on ABC, with Billy Porter, Journey, Daddy Yankee, Avril Lavigne and Travis Barker, Big Boi with Sleepy Brown, and others.
GREAT PERFORMANCES FROM VIENNA: THE NEW YEAR’S CELEBRATION 2022 8 p.m. on PBS (check local listings). The Vienna Philharmonic has long been prized for its warm, traditional “Vienna sound.” So expect to feel a disorienting sense of timelessness as it performs a New Year’s program anchored by Strauss waltzes in this celebratory concert. “It’s their obstinacy that has kept them so different, sound-wise, from the other orchestras of the world,” the conductor Zubin Mehta told The Times in 2014. “The oboes, the clarinets, the horns, the trumpets, the timpani are still the same type of instruments that their forefathers used.”
THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN (2016) 9:30 p.m. on Paramount Network. In less time than it takes him to wax poetic about the moral cost of killing in the just-released “The Tragedy of Macbeth” (“is this a dagger which I see before me?”), Denzel Washington cuts down a saloon full of bad guys in this western from Antoine Fuqua. A remake of the 1960 film of the same name — itself an adaptation of Akira Kurosawa’s “Seven Samurai” — the movie casts Washington as a bounty hunter hired to free a town from the grip of a greedy villain (Peter Sarsgaard). He enlists the help of some other gunslingers, played by the likes of Ethan Hawke and Chris Pratt. It’s “a remake of a remake that’s as fresh as recycled recycling suggests,” Manohla Dargis wrote in her review for The Times. But, she added, Washington “has that ineluctable what’s-it for selling the goods no matter what their sell-by date. And he has nice help in his amusing backup team.”
MASTERPIECE: AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS 8 p.m. on PBS (check local listings). David Tennant plays the peppy fictional adventurer Phileas Fogg in this new, family-friendly adaptation of the Jules Verne novel. Joining the quest to circumnavigate the globe are Fogg’s valet, Passepartout (Ibrahim Koma), and a young journalist (Leonie Benesch).