TV lights up the night (and day) on the Fourth of July
Television never misses the chance to help America celebrate its independence, and so it is again this year.
As usual, holiday specials, movies and series marathons will mark the occasion Thursday, July 4 – including two traditional offerings guaranteed to be enough to set off fireworks, literally.
NBC will televise its Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular, with music accompanying the visuals, some of it provided by performers on site in New York. Among scheduled participants are Luke Bryan, Maren Morris and Brad Paisley.
PBS will present the annual, largely musical showcase “A Capitol Fourth” (check local listings), with John Stamos in his third consecutive year as host. Based in Washington, D.C., the show will spotlight veteran singer-songwriter Carole King – performing herself, and joined by the Broadway cast of the stage hit inspired by her life and songs, “Beautiful” (which has just welcomed Vanessa Carlton as King). Colbie Caillat, Vanessa Williams and Yolanda Adams also are on the bill.
On the July 4th film front, Turner Classic Movies also maintains tradition with two appropriate features typically shown there on that date. “Yankee Doodle Dandy” celebrates George M. Cohan, the showman “born on the Fourth of July,” with James Cagney in an Oscar-winning performance. Then, “1776” brings to film the stage musical about the signing of the Declaration of Independence, with much of the original Broadway cast.
Showtime offers Harrison Ford as a U.S. president fighting hijackers aboard “Air Force One,” and also presents the Civil War drama “Glory,” featuring Denzel Washington in the performance that earned him his first Academy Award.
Tom Cruise soars among “the best of the best” as Paramount Network presents “Top Gun” – and this is a good time to catch up with it, since the actor will reprise the role of pilot Maverick in a sequel slated for release next summer.
As for another all-American hero, Rocky Balboa goes several rounds on EPIX, which shows Sylvester Stallone’s first five “Rocky” movies in order. Out-of-this-world heroes also have their day on the Fourth, with TNT exhibiting several of the “Star Wars” adventures that followed the original trilogy. And FX gives the holiday over to heroes of the Marvel kind with a movie marathon that includes “The Amazing Spider-Man 2,” “Captain America: The First Avenger” and “X-Men: Apocalypse.”
And July 4th series marathons run from K to Z (“Keeping Up With the Kardashians” on E! Entertainment Television, and zombies on “The Walking Dead” on AMC), with “Law & Order” (Sundance), “Two and a Half Men” (IFC), “Gilmore Girls” (UP) and “Last Man Standing” (WGN America) also in the mix.
Wherever your patriotic tastes run this Fourth of July, then, TV should have you well-covered.
Brad Paisley performs on Thursday’s NBC broadcast of the Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular.