As happens every so often, this Sunday is a night when many important shows are airing or premiering at the same time. So which should you watch? What will best suit your tastes? Here, let us tell you.
If you spent more on movie tickets in December than you did on Christmas presents you should most certainly watch the Golden Globe Awards, which start at 8 p.m. on NBC. Not only will you get to see the movies you spent hours with get rewarded — Anne Hathaway will likely warble her way to a win for Les Miserables, Zero Dark Thirty could triumph despite all the controversy — but there's TV, too! Yes, the 86-or-so oddballs who make up the Hollywood Foreign Press Association combine TV and film awards into one glittery, drunken evening. It's the most fun awards show of the season, likely made more so this year by the fact that Tina Fey and Amy Poehler are hosting. Oh, so you should probably watch this if you're a mainstream-ish comedy nerd, too. Even if you haven't seen everything, it's fun to watch celebrities dress up in nice clothes and, uh, massage each other for a few hours, right? Start your work week with a champagne hangover and give the Globes a watch.
If you spent all year reading think-pieces on women's blogs then you're probably already going to watch the second-season premiere of youth sensation Lena Dunham's Girls, on HBO at 9 p.m. Ditto if you read a lot of TV sites, or really any websites. Man did people talk a lot about Girls in 2012! (We are just as guilty as anyone else, we know.) So now that the show is coming back, you'll need to watch this live to properly participate in all the Tweet-debate and Tumblr musing as it happens. Girls would likely also be the right choice for those who just can't stomach all the glitz and silliness of awards shows. There's decidedly no glitz on this series, though there is plenty of arrogance and self-involvement and insecurity, just like in Hollyweird. This is a tonally small affair, but of course the larger conversation has made it important appointment television for those who fancy themselves in-the-know about what the kids in Brooklyn are up to at any given moment. After Girls, be sure to stay tuned for the second-season premiere of Mike White's Enlightened, the funny-sad series that went mostly overlooked last year, but features stellar acting (from lead Laura Dern and others) and heartbreakingly good writing. Have yourself a downbeat little evening on HBO instead of giving in to all that celebrity noise.
If you still have Showtime after ordering it to watch Homeland, because who ever remembers to actually cancel those things, then maybe you'll want to get the most out of your investment by checking out the third-season premiere of Shameless, which comes on at 9 p.m. That's the show with the crazy Chicago family led by a drunken William H. Macy (but really run by Emmy Rossum). You'll probably want to spend some time catching up on demand before you watch, but it might be worth it. Shameless isn't a perfect show by any means — it relies too heavily on the zippy nihilism that far too many Showtime shows traffic in, there are too many storylines, only about half of which work — but it really deepened and relaxed in its second season, mining unexpected emotional depths while still satisfying our prurient hunger for graphic sex and squalor. This could definitely be considered counter programming for an otherwise high-class evening. If you really want to get down in the muck, House of Lies and Californication come on after.
If your parents are in town you should probably stick with Downton Abbey, at 9 p.m. on PBS. We're really conflicted about skipping this to watch the Golden Globes, as the third season just started last Sunday and we waited so long to see it. So maybe if you don't sadly care about the Golden Globes as much as we do, or if you have mixed company at home that wouldn't really be into all that premium cable filth, Downton Abbey is the right choice. It's gentle, there are no swears, and sex is merely whispered on the wind. But it's pretty darn entertaining despite its lack of smut and sleaze, so you won't have wasted your hour. Some documentary about abolitionists comes on afterward, so maybe you could, I dunno, learn something on a Sunday night for once.
If you're some sort of weirdo there's always Once Upon a Time and Revenge on ABC, starting at 8 p.m. What are you still watching those shows for, huh? They've both gotten awfully silly, haven't they? It's hard to imagine that someone who regularly watches either of these programs won't be DVRing so they can watch the Golden Globes live, but there might some of you especially weird weirdos out there. So sure, go ahead, do you. Watch these dumb shows. We were once you, so we cannot judge too harshly. Just be aware that your mom might make you switch over to The Good Wife at 9.