The It List: Mayim Bialik breaks the 4th wall in new comedy 'Call Me Kat,' say goodbye to 2020 with 'New Year’s Rockin’ Eve' and 'Toast & Roast' and the best in pop culture the week of Dec. 28, 2020

Yahoo Entertainment Staff
·7 min read

The It List is Yahoo’s weekly look at the best in pop culture, including movies, music, TV, streaming, games, books, podcasts and more. During the coronavirus pandemic, when most of us are staying at home, we’re going to spotlight things you can enjoy from your couch, whether solo or in small groups, and leave out the rest. With that in mind, here are our picks for Dec. 28 - Jan. 3, including the best deals we could find for each.(Yahoo Entertainment may receive a share from purchases made via links on this page.)

WATCH IT: TV favorite Mayim Bialik returns in Call Me Kat

The Big Bang Theory alum Mayim Bialik plays a woman who’s 39 and single. Her life is happy and full, thanks in part to the new cat cafe she started with the money her parents had been saving for her wedding, but she still feels the need to prove it to her mom (TV vet Swoozie Kurtz) and the world. The series, with co-executive producers including Bialik and her Big Bang Theory co-star Jim Parsons, is inspired by hit British sitcom Miranda, which is a semi-autobiographical take on the life of writer and star Miranda Hart. Call Me Kat's premise and the fact that Kat regularly speaks to the audience has already drawn comparisons to Fleabag. “What we’ve created," Bialik told reporters this month, "is a woman who includes everyone in her world because that’s what makes her world interesting and colorful. Sometimes they’re people who exist, sometimes they’re people who don’t exist. We’re including the audience, they’re in on her jokes, they’re in on her experiences because that’s how she views the world — everyone is part of it.” Look out for actors Cheyenne Jackson (30 Rock), frequent Will and Grace guest star and Instagram breakout star Leslie Jordan and One on One’s Kyla Pratt in supporting roles. — Raechal Shewfelt

Call Me Kat premieres Sunday, Jan. 3 at 8 p.m. on Fox.

WATCH IT: Say goodbye to this garbage year in spectacular, socially distanced style

Did your plans for New Year’s Eve, like most of your plans for 2020, get canceled? Well, you can still ring in what will hopefully be a much happier 2021, safely at home. Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve With Ryan Seacrest, an ABC tradition since 1972, will adapt to pandemic times but will be as celebratory as ever, with socially distanced Times Square performances by Miley Cyrus, Billy Porter with his Kinky Boots colleague Cyndi Lauper, Jimmie Allen and headliner Jennifer Lopez. Meanwhile, Fox’s equally star-studded New Year’s Eve Toast & Roast 2021, hosted by Ken Jeong and Joel McHale, will star Gloria Estefan, Ava Max, Gabby Barrett, Green Day, John Legend and newly crowned Masked Singer winner LeAnn “The Sun” Rimes, and will also feature a timely tribute to health care workers by Doctor Elvis, aka The Masked Singer’s Serpent. May these old acquaintances not be forgot… but hopefully the tough times of 2020 will soon be a faded memory. — Lyndsey Parker

Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve With Ryan Seacrest airs Thursday, Dec. 31 at 8 p.m. on ABC; New Year’s Eve Toast & Roast 2021 airs Thursday, Dec. 31 at 8 p.m. on Fox.

WATCH IT: Get back in the Tardis with the new Doctor Who holiday adventure Revolution of the Daleks

Jodie Whittaker’s Thirteenth Doctor will return for another round of timey-wimey travels in late 2021. As per Whovian tradition, though, she’s getting the New Year off to a grand start with a one-shot holiday adventure. Co-written by current showrunner Chris Chibnall, Revolution of the Daleks features the return of those extermination-minded villains, as well as eternally youthful fan favorite Captain Jack Harkness, played by John Barrowman. It’s a good thing that Captain Jack is around, because the Doctor herself is still locked away in the alien prison where we left her at the end of the season finale. With the current Time Lord out of action, it’s up to her companions — Yaz, Ryan and Graham — to figure out a way to combat the imminent threat. Here’s hoping they remember what they learned while following the Doctor as she made her galactic rounds. — Ethan Alter

Doctor Who: Revolution of the Daleks premieres Friday, Jan. 1 at 8 p.m. on BBC America.

STREAM IT: Revisit Susan Sarandon’s Oscar-winning performance on the 25th anniversary of Dead Man Walking

Tim Robbins’s moving drama Dead Man Walking made its theatrical debut a quarter-century ago on Dec. 29, 1995. The director’s ex-partner Susan Sarandon won an Oscar for her star turn as Sister Helen Prejean, who wrote the 1993 non-fiction book that inspired the movie. Sarandon’s co-star Sean Penn also received an Oscar nod as death row inmate, Matthew Poncelet — a fictional version of the real-life prisoner who inspired Prejean in her ongoing crusade to end the death penalty. Along with The Shawshank Redemption, Dead Man Walking sparked Robbins’s own career as an advocate for prison reform. Last year, he directed the documentary, 45 Seconds of Laughter, that plays like a latter-day companion piece to its predecessor. Keep your ears peeled for Bruce Springsteen’s Oscar-nominated theme song, which captures the movie’s intimate, yet majestic tone. — E.A.

Dead Man Walking is currently streaming on HBO Max and Hulu.

WATCH IT: One of HGTV's most beloved and popular shows return for a new season

Ben and Erin Napier are back for another season of renovations and Southern hospitality in Season 5 of Home Town. Lovers of the Laurel, Miss. couple and their eye for architecture and design will get to see even more of the Napiers' woodworking and watercolors – and who knows? Maybe the new season will inspire a few design changes around your house as well. — Alexis Shaw

Home Town Season 5 premieres Sunday, Jan. 3 at 8 p.m. on HGTV.

STREAM IT: The transporting African fable Night of the Kings puts a new spin on the prison movie

The Ivory Coast’s official Oscar submission for Best International Feature Film, Night of the Kings takes viewers inside the MACA prison, infamous for housing the African nation’s most violent offenders. Inside the crowded walls, the inmates have created their own world — one that operates by its own laws and traditions. And MACA’s newest resident, Roman (Koné Bakary), has to learn those laws on the fly when he’s thrust into the center of a dispute between current prison “king” Blackbeard (Steven Tientcheu) and the various challengers eager to take his place on the throne. It all comes to a head on the night of a red moon, when Roman is required to spin an Arabian Nights-style yarn as MACA’s future hangs in the balance. Fans of films like Kiss of the Spider Woman and HBO’s OZ will appreciate the way that director Philippe Lacôte creates a highly-realistic prison environment while also leaving the cell doors open for the film’s frequent flights into fantasy. It’s a cinematic feast fit for a king. — E.A.

Night of the Kings premieres Wednesday, Dec. 30 on various virtual cinemas.

WATCH IT: Laura Ingalls Wilder: Prairie to Page delves into an iconic writer’s legacy

Eighty-five years after the publication of her beloved Little House on the Prairie novels, the author receives the American Masters treatment. Viewers will see previously unpublished family artifacts, photos and letters in this series meant to break down Wilder’s true personality. How much of her upbeat outlook, despite many personal tragedies, was a facade? The doc also promises to address the controversy in recent years over Wilder’s remarks about American Indians and Black people, which have driven away readers and librarians alike. And the cast is star-studded! Victor Garber narrates, while his fellow actors Tess Harper (reading Wilder's words) and Amy Brenneman (reading the words of her daughter, Rose Wilder Lane) provide voices. Writers Roxane Gay and Caroline Fraser, who won a Pulitzer Prize for her Wilder biography, are among those providing commentary. For fans of the TV show, the highlight will be the inclusion of actors Melissa Gilbert (the on-screen Wilder), Alison Arngrim, who played the bratty Nellie Olsen, and Dean Butler, who played Wilder’s sweetheart. — R.S.

Laura Ingalls Wilder: Prairie to Page premieres Tuesday, Dec. 29 at 8 p.m. on PBS.

— Video produced by Jon San and edited by John Santo