And so it's time to wave goodbye to the old year (you know, the one where it rained all the time) and welcome the new one (in which there'll probably be a hose-pipe ban by June after a day of sun in May). Traditionally it's time to party – not only so that you have an iron-clad excuse to snog someone at midnight, but also because it's the last big knees-up before the boring monotony of work begins again!
With 2013 just a few hours away and the pressure on to find the most happenin' party in town, Jayne Nelson rounds up a few likely bashes you can go to – these people have lives way more interesting than our own, after all...
With: The Avengers
Where: Tony Stark’s pad
Why we’d like to go: The food! The booze! The company! When you’re a billionaire you can throw a New Year’s Eve party to end all New Year’s Eve parties – although, given the Avengers’ penchant for attracting planet-destroying trouble, that could actually be literal...
Entertainment: Tony Stark books U2 to play, not because he likes them but because they’re incredibly expensive and hard to get (and he's a show-off). He also wants to introduce Bono and Bruce Banner, so they can whinge about the state of the world with each other all night and stop depressing everybody else.
Highlights of the evening: Watching Black Widow downing endless vodka shots and not passing out (despite everybody in the room having a sweepstake on the exact time she'll hit the floor). Captain America being rather sweetly amazed that he can watch the New Year break all around the world live on TV (they never had satellite coverage in his day). Pepper and Tony endlessly finding excuses to disappear into a closet for some New Year hanky panky. Oh, and that quiet moment just before midnight when the Avengers raise a glass to those who have fallen...
Lowlight of the evening: A night spent with a sulking Thor isn’t what we’d call fun. Why’s he sulking, you ask? Because his brother Loki bought him a plastic dog poo for Christmas, and when Thor picked it up it exploded and covered him in real dog poo.
With: The Winchester brothers
Where: Some random motel room in the middle of America.
Why we'd like to go: Dean Winchester's a borderline alcoholic anyway, but on New Year's Eve he excels himself and gets properly, amusingly drunk... and so does Sam. Hilarious tales of prank wars, comedic hunts and general saving-the-world tomfoolery ensue.
Entertainment: Two hours of American rock played way too loudly until the motel manager knocks on the door and asks them to turn it down. Ten minutes later she's in the room with the guys drinking tequila because Dean doesn't like the idea of her seeing in the New Year on her own in the crummy motel office. Plus, as he tells Sam in a stage whisper she can't help but overhear, “She's a MILF – 'motelier I'd like to...'”
Sam's response is: “Where did you learn the word 'motelier'?”
Highlight of the evening: Castiel stopping by and the motel manager shrieking and spilling her drink because he appeared out of nowhere.
Lowlights of the evening: Castiel giving them all a lecture on how the passing of one year into another is a purely human invention and means nothing in the greater order of the cosmos, particularly when he's seen so many years come and go in his thousands of eons on the planet that he's learned not to count them because it's ultimately depressing how little changes – people still fight each other, demons still try to manipulate everybody, and God still won't show His face.
While everybody's recovering from Cas being such a downer, who should knock on the door but Crowley? After making some wisecrack about how he's there to see if the brothers will snog at midnight, he tries to kill them.
So basically a New Year's Eve with the Winchesters is the same as every other night of the year. Can't say we're surprised.
With: The Fringe Team
Where: Walter Bishop’s lab at Harvard.
Why we’d like to go: After being frozen in amber for 20-odd years, there are a multitude of New Year's Eves to make up for tonight. Plus, Walter might be a few screws short of a full toolkit but he can dish out the best party punch – although we suspect he’s mixed some LSD into the bowl, judging by the way the walls are… moving… and the colours are, like, whoa… and check out the way the pigeons are melting, man!
Entertainment: Walter de-ambers all his favourite prog rock vinyls from the ’60s and ’70s so the room is soon thumping to some truly trippy beats. Astrid's timid suggestion that they play some Kaiser Chiefs is studiously ignored.
Highlight of the evening: Midnight, when Olivia and Peter have a gorgeously romantic old snog. Awwww.
Lowlight of the evening: Having a party in a laboratory means there’s a lot of cool gadgets to play with while you’re pissed, but Walter and Astrid have cut up enough dead bodies in this room to make you feel just a little bit creeped out. There's also the sneaking feeling that the Observers are going to stumble in at any moment...
With: The crew of the Serenity (pre-movie)
Where: Serenity, somewhere in space.
Why we'd like to go: Who wouldn't want to make merry with the Firefly gang?
Entertainment: Shepherd Book recites some jolly poetry. Jayne looks bored and asks if he can recite some of his favourite limericks instead. “No!” says everybody else in unison.
Highlights of the evening: Stories are shared of times gone by; Kaylee flirts subtly with Simon and thinks nobody notices (everybody does, apart from Simon); River dances a very impressive jig; Wash and Zoe tease each other like only a married couple can; Book wonders who the designated driver is, because everybody's drunk and they're all in trouble if the autopilot malfunctions; Inara has a little too much liquid merriment and accidentally belches like a trucker – much to her eternal embarrassment – and Mal sits at the head of the table and smiles proudly because this is his crew and they're his family and everybody's happy.
Lowlight of the evening: Just three seconds after that thought has crossed Mal's mind, the Serenity gets attacked by pirates and they end up marooned on a desert world as their ship flies off into the sunset without them.
Mal says something very rude in Mandarin that isn't “Happy New Year”.
With: The Doctor
Where: Earth, the Ponds' house.
Why we'd like to go: Because before they were trapped in the past and left us for good, the Ponds were just about the nearest thing the Doctor ever had to a happy family. A New Year's Eve with the Doctor and his family would be a thing of great joy. (Up until all hell breaks loose, because he is the Doctor, after all.)
Entertainment: The Doctor brings along a small group of Ood who sing a very festive “Auld Lang Syne” to the Ponds. The only trouble with hearing an Ood sing, however, is that because they communicate telepathically the song literally gets into your head... and stays there. Rory and Amy are still humming “Auld Lang Syne” in July.
Highlights/lowlights of the evening: Naturally with the Doctor you have the most wonderful time and the most miserable time all at once, and New Year's Eve is no exception. At 11.30pm he sees the lightbulbs flicker and soon uncovers a sinister conspiracy by the Raxtils to take over the Earth using all the energy generated by New Year's Eve kisses. To thwart their plan he must take the Ponds around the world as the clock strikes midnight across every dateline, in order to neutralise the Raxtils' kiss generator. It's a long, terrible night, but at least Rory and Amy get to share lots of midnight snogs.
Another lowlight of spending a New Year's Eve with The Doctor: if Steve Moffat was on writing duty, someone you love would probably be dead by 12.01am.
With: The merry band of adventurers from The Hobbit
Where: Bag End, Hobbiton.
Why we'd like to go: As hobbits set great store in being good hosts, the food and drink (and pipeweed) provided by Bilbo would be quite magnificent. The tales of derring-do provided by the dwarves would be quite magnificent, too, although you'd have to expect them to eat their way through all the food in Bag End in an extraordinarily fast amount of time. Bilbo would be quite frazzled by the end of it all.
Entertainment: Hobbits love any excuse for a party and love music and dancing, so once the dwarves bring out their fiddles and flutes, the entire Shire crams into Bag End to share the joy. Bilbo performs an amazing magic trick where he vanished in front of everybody’s eyes.
Highlight of the evening: Gandalf turns up out of the blue, ordering everybody outside, and letting off his fabulous magical fireworks as the hobbits and dwarves count down to midnight. BOOM!
Lowlight of the evening: As is their wont, Gandalf's fireworks wreak as much destruction as they do wonder. A stray spark lands on the roof the Green Dragon pub and the New Year is seen in with hobbits throwing buckets of water over the building to stop the flames from spreading. Oh well. And Bilbo seems oddly subdued and snappy after his vanishing trick…
With: The residents of Camelot (post-series finale)
Why we'd like to go: Er... actually, we wouldn't. You know how in Monty Python And The Holy Grail Camelot was described as “a silly place”? Ever since Arthur died and Merlin vanished, it's not. Saying that, however, Queen Gwen has decreed the night to be one of celebration and remembrance, fully aware that while she is grieving, her subjects still need to let off steam after a stressful few years.
Entertainment: Jugglers, acrobats and dancers fill the great hall at Camelot, performing for the Queen and her Knights. All the performers go home that night and tell their families, “Phew, tough crowd. Didn't smile once.”
Highlight of the evening: The reading of the late King Arthur's will, in which he thoughtfully left Sir Percival some shirt sleeves.
Lowlight of the evening: Everybody weeping as the clocks strike midnight. After all, their dear Queen has nobody to kiss now... Excuse us while we grab a tissue...
With: The residents of Bon Temps
Where: Merlotte's Bar And Grill, Bon Temps.
Why we'd like to go: Let's face it, this is True Blood territory, so we're BOUND to see in the New Year having some dirty sex.
Entertainment: A trip to Merlotte's for some New Year's Eve karaoke sees Sookie crooning a surprisingly rousing version of “Wild Thing” (at which Alcide, Bill and Eric look rather offended and/or pleased), Jason trilling “Like A Virgin” (he can't keep a straight face and neither can the crowd) and Sheriff Andy surprising everybody by belting out Bon Jovi's “Wanted: Dead Or Alive” like a true rock god.
Only Bill refuses to get up and sing, but that's because he's a Dolly Parton fan and doesn't want anybody to know.
Highlight of the evening: The all-pervading sense of relief that everybody's managed to survive life in Bon Temps for another year.
Lowlight of the evening: This is Bon Temps, after all, so a dead body is found on the pool table as the clock strikes midnight. As the young woman was drained of blood, all eyes turn to the vampires. “What?” asks Jessica, annoyed. “Don't look at me, I was out back with Jason havin' sex!”
And that's the one bit of the evening we missed. Dammit.
With: The residents of Mystic Falls
Where: The Mystic Grill
Why we'd like to go: Mystic Grill is a town that knows how to party. They have a party, celebration, social soiree of anniversary every week.
Entertainment: Elena uses her newfound vampire skills to do a bit of a circus act. Matt has booked some bland indie rock band to perform insipid love songs. Damon compels April to do a striptease. Klaus puts on an display of his art. Bonnie lights some candles with the power of her mind.
Highlight of the evening: Caroline has created a special party game called “Fulfill The Prophecy”. Splitting the partygoers into two teams, she sets the Gatecrashers – lead by Klaus, Rebekah and Professor Shady – against the Funseekers – lead by Elena, Damon and Stefan – in a challenge to discover a bottle of Vodka that contains a magic serum that will give the victors the power of dominion over all supernaturals… and a set of glittery wings she’s made all by herself (Klaus also offers to throw in one of his paintings, but no-one’s particularly impressed).
There are clues to whereabouts of the bottle hidden around the Mystic Grill, but as soon as the game starts, it soon becomes clear that this is the most convoluted treasure hunt in human history. Rebekah discovers that the bottle can only be opened by a dagger of ice that has been used on an Original and stakes Klaus with an icicle. This adds a countdown element to the game as the bottle has to be found before the icicle melts. Until Rebekah remembers their in a bar and sticks the icicle in the freezer, and compels some hybrids to guard it.
Elena then discovers that the icicle must be cursed with dark magic, so has to make a secret alliance with Professor Shady. Bonnie discovers this treachery and in a rage kills Professor Shady and is consumed by Dark Magic and joins the Gatecrashers, resurrecting Klaus in the process.
Damon and Stefan argue for hours on end about a clue that says, “The serum can only be consumed by the one true love of a recently-turned vampire…” until Damon finally spots the PTO on the clue card, and turns it over to read, “who doesn’t have a D in his name.” He then goes into a Bourbon-aided sulk, and compels a council member to legally change his name to Norman.
Stefan then discovers that Elena and Klaus are in league, but Elena explains she’s double-crossing the Professor. But Klaus is double-crossing them all – he’s compelled Caroline to give him the location of all the clues, and has been merrily swigging the Vodka for the past half hour. But then Elena reveals she swapped the vodka an hour before (having worked out the clues but not having the magic icicle). Klaus is actually drinking Hybrid urine… which seems really funny when you’re all pissed.
Lowlight of the evening: Matt isn’t horribly killed.