The first rule of reality TV is chemistry. Watching our favorite castmates interact is what keeps us tuned in, week after week. But what if a show was built around online interactions like those most of us experience on social media? And what if not everyone is who they say they are? That's the unusual concept behind Netflix's new reality series The Circle, and according to Primetimer's Kevin O'Keefe, it's the perfect show for this moment in time. Also: The Rose Parade marches again in Pasadena, Doctor Who returns and Flirty Dancing makes its timeslot debut. Here's what's new and noteworthy on TV this New Year's Day:
SERIES PREMIERE: Based on the UK reality series of the same name, Netflix's The Circle puts eight strangers in a closed social network, where they're tasked with making friends and winning allies, lest they be eliminated (or to use the show's parlance, "blocked"). The series is set to unspool in three parts, with new episodes dropping each Wednesday over the next three weeks. Watch the preview. Streaming on Netflix
LIVE EVENT: It's a New Year's tradition 131 years in the making. Live from Pasadena, it's The 2020 Tournament of Roses Parade, hosted by Hoda Kotb and Al Roker. (Alas, no Cord & Tish this year.) 11:30 AM ET / 8:30 AM PT on NBC
SPECIAL PRESENTATION: It's been a full year since we last saw Jodie Whittaker's Doctor. She and her companions return today with an all new Doctor Who New Year's Special, followed this coming Sunday by the official kick-off of Season 12. Watch the preview 8:00 PM ET on BBC America
SERIES PREMIERE: Kayla Scodelario (Skins and The Maze Runner) stars in Spinning Out, a new drama about a figure skater forced to navigate her passion with mental health struggles and an ice queen mother (played by Mad Men’s January Jones). Watch the preview. Streaming on Netflix
SERIES REVIVAL: After eight years off the air, caregiver extraordinaire Jo Frost returns with new episodes of Supernanny. The show, which ran for seven seasons on ABC from 2005-2011, makes the hop to basic cable for its revival, premiering at 10:00 PM ET on Lifetime.
SERIES PREMIERE: Mark Burnett and Roma Downey are behind the controversial new thriller Messiah, focusing on the modern world's reaction to a man who claims to be the second coming of Jesus Christ. Michelle Monaghan stars as a CIA agent investigating the mysterious figure. Watch the preview. Streaming on Netflix
SERIES PREMIERE: If you like watching things blow up (and from the looks of things, many of us do), The Explosions Show is a behind-the-scenes look at the many ways explosions exist in our everyday lives. Read out review. Premieres 10:00 PM ET on Science Channel.
SERIES PREMIERE: A&E expands its Live PD-fueled broadcasting empire beyond the lower 48 wih Alaska PD. The new docuseries follows Alaska's law enforcement in various cities as they struggle to fight a soaring crime rate. 10:00 PM ET on A&E
TIMESLOT PREMIERE: After a sneak peek last Sunday, Fox's Jenna Dewan-hosted dancing/dating reality series Flirty Dancing makes its timeslot premiere at 8:00 PM ET on FOX
Jed Rosenzweig is the Founder and Publisher of Primetimer.
TOPICS: The Circle, Netflix, Reality TV