BY Brandon Voss
December 31 2010 11:40 AM ET
4. TV: Pretty Little Liars
Part Gossip Girl and part I Know What You Did Last Summer, this wickedly addictive teen drama — based on Sara Shepard’s young adult novels — returns for a second season January 3 on ABC Family. So, like, blackmail and secrets abound, but it’s no mystery why we love Shay Mitchell as Emily, who’s learning to embrace her lesbian leanings with her sexy new neighbor. If the show sticks to the books, Emily’s folks are about to flip.
3. DVD: United States of Tara: The Second Season; Big Love: The Complete Fourth Season
It was a very big season for gay characters on two of our favorite high-concept cable comedy-dramas. In Showtime’s Tara, Keir Gilchrist’s teen Marshall experimented with a girl but was ultimately more drawn to a militant gay classmate and a friendly gay neighbor couple. In HBO’s Big Love, Matt Ross’s Mormon fundamentalist Alby got an unlikely boyfriend in Ben Koldyke’s Dale, a relationship that had an exquisitely unhappy ending.
2. TV: Bette Midler: The Showgirl Must Go On
With all her hits — “Wind Beneath My Wings,” “Friends,” “The Rose” — and lots of glitz, Bathhouse Betty is back with her fifth HBO special and first since Diva Las Vegas in 1997. This celebrated concert event ran for two years at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace until January 2010, but if Miss Otis regrets she’s unable to catch its New Year’s Eve TV debut, the Divine Miss M will be on HBO and HBO on Demand all month long.