In less than 10 hours, Ricky Gervais will take the stage at the Beverly Hilton Hotel and begin his opening monologue at the Golden Globes. Last year, of course, he scorched the biggest celebrities in the room, and the industry punished him… by inviting him back. Don’t expect anything different tonight: He’s already said he has “specific targets” in mind, so you know you’ll be glued to the tube to either laugh at his welcome cheekiness or tsk-tsk his brash impudence. But the build-up for the Globes may have distracted you from the upcoming week of must-see events, so let PopWatch Planner be your guide as we look ahead to the next seven days in entertainment.
Golden Globe Awards, NBC, 8 p.m. ET
In addition to Gervais, the Globes will set the table for the next month of pre-Oscar hoopla — nominations for the main event come out Jan. 24. So pay close attention to the voting in the Best Actor race — Clooney or Pitt? — and see what films emerge with a Golden Globes bounce. (Or don’t. The Globes are notorious for misfiring on predicting the ultimate Best Picture Oscar. See: The Social Network, Avatar, Atonement, Babel, Brokeback Mountain, The Aviator…) Make sure to check back to EW.com’s Golden Globes special report for real-time coverage and to share your thoughts on all the fashion, winners, losers, and parties.
Alcatraz series premiere, FOX, 8 p.m.
A half century after the notorious island prison shut its doors, 302 inmates and guards who mysteriously went missing are popping up in modern-day San Francisco. Island “prisons”? Time travel? Jorge Garcia? J.J. Abrams? Nooo, it’s not the next Lost, but here’s hoping it’s something half as special.
Justified season premiere, FX, 10 p.m.
Last we saw Deputy U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant), he was recovering from a gunshot wound and saying goodbye to Mags. Power loves a vacuum, though, so enter two new potential troublemakers: Neal McDonough plays a slick Detroit mobster with visions of becoming a backwoods crime lord. Mykelti Williamson is Limehouse, a calculating badass from Harlan willing to do anything it takes to protect his folks. Diehard fans of Elmore Leonard’s character can get a head start Tuesday morning when his next Harlan County novel, Raylan, is released.
American Idol season premiere, FOX, 8 p.m.
You’ve sampled the rest (The X Factor, The Voice). Now come home to the best. Season 11 of American Idol kicks off with a two-hour premiere (a second two-hour episode airs Thursday). Will this be Ryan Seacrest’s last season on Idol? Will being engaged make Steven Tyler more cogent? Will the show feel pressure to be bolder this season, especially since The Voice is slated to return next month?
Sundance Film Festival, Park City, Utah
Last year, Sundance introduced Elizabeth Olsen (Martha Marcy May Marlene) and the tearful romance Like Crazy, while featuring the carnival-barker theatrics of Kevin Smith. This year, who knows? Wish You Were Here, the story of two couples on a dream Cambodian vacation shot to hell, starring Joel Edgerton and Teresa Palmer, kicks things off Thursday night. And before the festival wraps on Jan. 29, we’ll experience the latest from indie darling Julie Delpy, two Jarecki brothers, and People‘s Sexiest Man Alive.
The Colbert Report, Comedy Central, 11:30 p.m.
Since Stephen Colbert is officially running in Saturday’s Republican presidential primary in his home state of South Carolina, let’s assume he’s going to use Thursday night to make his final pitch to residents of the Palmetto State who have given up all hope in the political process. Though Colbert will not be on the ballot, he’s polling better than Jon Huntsman. If he bests Huntsman — or any candidate — as a write-in, can they continue to campaign with any credibility? And if they drop out, will they forever be remembered for losing to Stephen Colbert?
Haywire (in theaters)
For a guy who’s supposed to be close to retirement, Steven Soderbergh is having more fun abusing Hollywood stars than anyone except maybe Ricky Gervais. In Contagion, he killed off Gwyneth Paltrow and Kate Winslet, and in the new action-packed Haywire, he has mixed-martial arts expert Gina Carano smash in Channing Tatum’s pretty face. Michael Fassbender might not fare much better.
Drew Peterson: Untouchable, Lifetime, 8 p.m.
Finally, we get to see the reason Rob Lowe’s hair was so uncharacteristically awful during early episodes of this season’s Parks and Recreation. I’m still convinced Lowe lost a bet, but I’ll be watching anyway.