Man, it seems like July 4 has gotten almost as dangerous now as it was for our forefathers back in the Revolutionary Era! If your neighborhood is anything like mine during the Fourth of July, with nuts setting off fireworks at all hours of the night and blowing off various appendages, you might be safer just sitting in the house this Independence Day weekend and watching some of these patriotic specials and general marathons:
Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular — July 4, CBS, live 10pm ET, tape-delayed PT. All-American rocker John Mellencamp joins the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra in this special broadcast from the Charles River Esplanade in Boston. The final 23 minutes offer the commercial-free fireworks display.
Macy’s Fourth of July Fireworks Spectacular — July 4, NBC, 9pm ET. America’s largest fireworks extravaganza features nearly 35,000 shells exploding over New York City, perhaps only marginally less than the number of shells that go off in the city on any other day, all set to music by the New York Pops. Joss Stone, Martina McBride, Jordin Sparks, Blake Lewis and Melinda Doolittle perform, and the festivities are hosted by Natalie Morales and Tiki Barber.
A Capitol Fourth — July 4, PBS, live 8pm ET, repeat 9:30pm ET. The annual live celebration from Washington, D.C., celebrates America’s birthday with a concert featuring top artists, with the National Symphony Orchestra under the direction of top pops conductor Erich Kunzel. Capping off the show is a rousing rendition of Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture,” complete with live cannon fire. Since this is also airing in HD, you’d better duck!
El Reventon del 4 de Julio — July 4, Telefutura, 11am ET/PT. Escándalo TV’s Charytín Goyco, Marisa del Portillo and Felipe Viel host this blast from Miami Beach, with satellite feeds from Los Angeles, Chicago, San Antonio, New York and Mexico. The holiday picnic is filled with comic sketches, music, dancing, celebrity guests and, per the press release, “lots of beautiful people.” In other words, “no fat chicks” — America’s unofficial second motto.
July 4: Exploding the Myths — July 4, National Geographic Channel, noon ET.
2007 Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest — July 4, ESPN, noon ET. What better way to honor America than to watch people do what our nation does best — stuff their faces full of food in record time! Ironically, the record in this legendary eating competition is actually held by a Japanese man, who has won the event six years in a row. Come on, America, step up and eat like I know you can!
American Hero marathon — 6am ET July 4 through 1am ET July 5, AMC. A day of butt-kicking, red-blooded, all-American action flicks — Bataan; Tora! Tora! Tora!; Patton; Force 10 From Navarone; Red Dawn; and Patriot Games.
Twilight Zone 4th of July Marathon — SCI FI Channel, July 3 at 8am ET/PT through July 5 at 4:30am ET/PT. The annual favorite, featuring classic episodes like “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet,” with William Shatner as an airplane passenger with good reason to be jittery; and “To Serve Man,” one of the most famous shockers in a series known for its twist endings.
John Ratzenberger’s Made in America — July 3, Travel Channel, 3pm-7pm ET/PT. A mini-marathon of episodes from the series in which “Cliffy” continues his know-it-all ways by taking us on a nationwide tour of products and services made in the good ol’ USA.
The States — July 2, The History Channel, 8am-1pm and 2pm-7pm ET/PT. A fascinating trip through the states of our Union that makes even Kansas seem interesting.
The Revolution — July 4, The History Channel, 10am-11pm ET/PT. A thorough look at the pivotal events that gave us an America to celebrate.
July 4th Summer Menu Marathon — July 4, Food Network, 9:30am-3pm ET/PT. Summer-themed episodes of shows such as 30 Minute Meals, QuickFix Meals with Robin Miller, Guy’s Big Bite and Tyler’s Ultimate.
Greatest Patriotic Songs — July 4, CMT, 4pm ET/PT. Spans American history to look at music created from the tragedy of war, from the World War II classic “There’s a Star-Spangled Banner Waving Somewhere” to the angry beat of “Courtesy of the Red, White & Blue.”
Sounds of the Seasons: Patriotic Music — June 30-July 4, Music Choice. John Philip Sousa and Kate Smith are among the artists featured in this musical celebration of America.
Natural America programming — July 4, Travel Channel, 9am-8pm ET/PT. Several shows looking at the natural beauty of America by visiting its National Parks and other stunningly scenic areas.
The Revolutionary War — July 4, Military Channel, 6am-6am ET. A marathon of the fascinating series chronicling the triumphs and dark days of the American Revolution.
E! Events — Two of our blog readers’ favorites — 25 Most Memorable Swimsuit Moments and Sunset Tan — show up again on July 4 to demonstrate just how great America is. Where else could you make a living being a scantily clad sun worshipper? Swimsuit airs at 10am ET/PT, while the entire season run of Sunset Tan airs back-to-back beginning at 1pm ET/PT.
Red, White and Bloo — July 4, Cartoon Network, 6am-10pm ET/PT. A daylong airing of Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends episodes.
“Is It Real?” Marathon — July 4, National Geographic Channel, 1pm ET through 6am ET July 5. A whole bunch of eerie mysteries are examined, though the “reality” of each is never really answered.
“Mythbusters” Marathon — July 4, Discovery Channel, 9am-midnight ET/PT. Jamie and Adam help you declare independence from belief in urban legends.
“Project Runway” Season 3 Marathon — July 4, Bravo, 10am-1pm ET/PT. I’m glad my office is closed today, otherwise this would be on all day long.
Flagstones to Flintstones Marathon — Boomerang, 6am ET July 4 through 5pm ET July 7. Classic episodes of The Flintstones, including the pilot, in which they were known as The Flagstones. Notable episodes include “Ann-Margrock Presents,” with guest voice provided by Ann-Margret; “Bachelor Daze,” which details how Fred and Barney hooked up with Wilma and Betty; and “The Snorkasaurus Hunter,” in which Dino the snorkasaurus (a species currently not recognized by paleontologists) makes his debut (and talks!).
Independent America — The Two-Lane Search For Mom & Pop — July 4, Sundance Channel, 7:15pm ET/PT. Husband-and-wife TV news veterans take a cross-country road trip to see how independent retailers are faring in an American landscape littered with big-box corporate chain stores.
The American Ruling Class — July 4, Sundance Channel, 8:05pm ET/PT. Two actors playing recent Yale graduates are introduced to privileged holders of power in America’s presumed classless society. Part documentary and scripted drama/satire (with even a musical number thrown in for good measure).
The Presidents — July 3, The History Channel, 8am-1pm and 2pm-7pm ET/PT. Spotlight of the heroes, the losers and the insignificants who have occupied the White House from the very beginning through 1945.
Godzilla Invasion! — July 4, Encore Action, 9am-midnight ET/PT. Recent flicks starring the Lizard King include him battling King Ghidorah, Mechgodzilla, Spacegodzilla and Destroyah.
Wimbledon — Ladies’ Quarterfinals July 3, NBC, live and same-day coverage 10am-1pm ET; Gentlemen’s Quarterfinals July 4, NBC, live and same-day coverage 10am-1pm ET
“Clean House” Marathon — July 4, Style Network, 1pm-11pm ET/PT. Episodes of the series culminating in a look at “The Messiest Home in the Country.” Yikes, I’d better not be home when they show up at my doorstep.
“Law & Order” Marathon — July 4, TNT, 8am-11pm ET. You know, is several hours of L&O really much different from any other day of TNT programming?
“Married With Children” and “King of the Hill” Marathon — July 4, FX, 8am-midnight ET/PT. ’Nuff said!
A Day in Twin Peaks Marathon — July 4, Chiller, 10am-7pm ET, and 9pm-6am ET. Catch Season One of David Lynch’s brilliantly bizarre (and eventually just bizarre) series.
“My Super Sweet Sixteen” Celebration — July 4, MTV, 3am-10am ET/PT. Actually, having a Roman candle placed in your ear might be more desirable than listening to these spoiled brats for seven hours.
Cantinflas Movie Festival — July 4, Telemundo. The comedian often referred to as the “Charlie Chaplin of Mexico” is celebrated with airings of three of his classics: Soy un Profugo at 6am ET; El Ministro Y Yo at 1pm ET; and El Senor Doctor at 3pm ET.
Yankee Doodle Dandy — July 4, TCM, 5:30pm ET. James Cagney is in wonderful, Oscar-winning form as George M. Cohan in this rousing look at the life of the man who gave us such memorable songs as “Give My Regards to Broadway,” “You’re a Grand Old Flag,” “Over There,” and, of course, the title tune.
“Monk” Marathon — July 4, USA Network, 6am-3am July 5 ET/PT. If you’re as obsessive as Mr. Monk, you’ll want to catch each and every minute of these episodes of this excellent mystery/comedy series.
Black Hills Gold Independence Day Special — July 4, QVC, 12am ET, 10am ET, 10pm ET. American capitalism at its finest! If you want to spend your day buying stuff off of television, that is certainly one of your unalienable rights.
“City Confidential” Marathon — July 4, The Biography Channel, 8am-8pm ET. Sorry, I was hoping to report that Biography Channel was showing some interesting bios about notable Americans, but you’ll have to do with reruns of this series dumped off from A&E. At least they’re not airing Night Court anymore.
Let Freedom Ring Marathon — July 4, Sleuth, 6am-6am ET. All day long, heroes battle injustices and protect freedoms. Bandit races to clear his name in Bandit, Bandit; James Garner plans a rescue mission in Tank and then gets thrown in jail for not answering a grand jury’s questions in The Rockford Files; young DAs go to work in a four-hour marathon of Conviction; Crockett does jail time for protecting an informant’s identity in Miami Vice; Bayliss must reunite a convict with his daughter to get the convict to testify in Homicide; and Magnum attempts to clear his friend wrongly accused on drug charges in Magnum, P.I.