• The San Juan Daily Star

At home this New Year’s Eve (unexpectedly)? Here’s what to watch.

Regina Voce in the singing competition “Queen of the Universe” on Paramount+.

By Erik Piepenburg

With the annual New Year’s Eve celebration in Times Square scaled back due to the spread of omicron, and other big party plans in doubt, an at-home celebration with friends and a remote might be a more popular way to ring in 2022 than we had all imagined.

Live television will be flush with celebrity-driven countdowns. The biggie is “Dick Clark’s Primetime New Year’s Rockin’ Eve With Ryan Seacrest 2022” broadcast from Times Square on ABC, the special’s 50th anniversary.

Other live specials include “Miley’s New Year’s Eve Party Hosted by Miley Cyrus and Pete Davidson,” broadcast from Miami starting at 10:30 p.m. ET on NBC, with performances by Brandi Carlile and Billie Joe Armstrong; and the return of Anderson Cooper and Andy Cohen as the hosts of “CNN’s New Year’s Eve Live,” starting at 8 p.m.

If you want to make a day of it, here are some streaming options on the fun, uplifting side — no matter how you define that — to stay entertained until it’s time to say goodbye to 2021.

A good-time binge

Don’t be fooled by the downer-sounding name: “Dead to Me,” an Emmy-nominated Netflix comedy, now in its second season, will make you laugh even as tears stream down your face.

It helps if your tastes run toward the darker side of funny, since the show is about Jen (Christina Applegate), a hotheaded mom, and Judy (Linda Cardellini), a free-spirited artist, who meet at a grief support group and strike up an oddball but deep friendship that’s threatened by a devastating secret Judy harbors. Applegate is especially good as she navigates pitch-black humor and heartbreaking sorrow.

You won’t get through all 20 half-hour episodes in a day, but chances are good you’ll be hooked to keep watching in 2022, when a third season is expected.

Be a drag

If “RuPaul’s Drag Race” is getting tired to you, two other drag queen competition shows will quench your thirst for elegance, sass and wigs to here.

Lip-syncing, the dollar-generating go-to of drag queens everywhere, is off the menu on the Paramount+ show “Queen of the Universe.” Here, queens from around the world battle by actually singing for the judges, who include Vanessa Williams and “Drag Race” winner Trixie Mattel.

For a more wicked competition, Shudder offers “The Boulet Brothers’ Dragula,” a horror-themed drag competition. The looks are as glamorous as they are macabre, and with names like “Exorsisters” and “Nosferatu Beach Party,” the competitions are fiendishly camp.

Count down

For the past few years, my partner and I have enjoyed a New Year’s Eve tradition that makes us feel like dinosaurs: We compile a YouTube playlist of music videos for the year’s Top 20 songs, according to Billboard’s Hot 100 list, and watch with cocktails in hand. Every year I’ve maybe heard of one or two songs; my personal soundtrack hasn’t left ’80s New Wave.

This year, I’ve seen Lil Nas X’s video for “Montero (Call Me By Your Name)” — it’s hard to miss — but I’m looking forward to watching Dua Lipa’s “Levitating,” the top song.

Double features

Four highlights from the Criterion Channel’s “New York Stories,” a collection of 40 films set in the five boroughs, would make for a terrific night of thematic watching.

Start with a pair of films about roaming New York. “Little Fugitive” (1953) is a scrappy fable about a boy who leaves home to spend the day exploring Coney Island. “Downtown 81,” shot in the early ’80s but released in 2000, stars Jean-Michel Basquiat as an artist wandering the streets of lower Manhattan, where he meets some legends of early ’80s New York. Yes, that’s Debbie Harry as a fairy princess.

Or try two films that ponder what it means to be young and in search of yourself. In “Brother to Brother” (2004), Anthony Mackie’s character develops a friendship with a fellow Black gay artist whose life was shaped by the Harlem Renaissance. In Noah Baumbach’s dry comedy “Frances Ha” (2013), Greta Gerwig plays a young dancer struggling with ambition, friendship and elusive happiness Manhattan style.

A family watch

“Lego Masters” is a family-friendly reality TV competition, streaming on Hulu, in which teams of two are asked to create artistically fantastic and architecturally demanding Lego structures.

Kids will get a kick out of how Lego are transformed into wearable hats, cuddly animals and smash-’em-up vehicles. Adults, especially those who grew up as Lego builders, will appreciate the engineering skill required for structures to withstand heavy winds and even tremors. Expect heart-pounding, creative fun no matter the episode, especially with charming goofball Will Arnett as host.

Be nostalgic

Head to IMDb TV to watch “All in the Family,” the CBS sitcom that ran from 1971 to ’79. When Archie, Edith and their Queens neighbors argue over race, feminism and politics, the rancor sounds ripped from today’s headlines. Season 2 has several very funny episodes, including “Sammy’s Visit,” in which Sammy Davis Jr. memorably gives Archie a smooch.

For a darker day of retro television, tune in to Decades for a three-day “Twilight Zone” marathon starting on New Year’s Eve. Friday’s schedule features two of the series’s best episodes: “The After Hours,” about a woman wandering through an eerie department store, and “The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street,” about a neighborhood that turns paranoid amid a possible alien invasion.

Laugh and scream

As a horror movie fan, I spent a lot of time during the pandemic catching up on scary comedies, a genre that’s hard to get right. When a movie strikes the right balance of funny and frightful, it’s worth a watch — especially for the horror-averse.

Several great horror comedies are available for free on Tubi. Two of my favorites are “Saturday the 14th” (1981), a cheeseball spoof of old-school monster movies that’s good for older kids (rated PG) and the easily distracted (a speedy 76 minutes); and “Tucker & Dale vs. Evil” (2011), a slapstick splatter comedy about two yokels, a group of meddlesome college kids and a very bloody-funny misunderstanding.

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