TV

How to celebrate the Fourth of July from your couch

Name of show "A Capitol Fourth". Photo of the National Symphony Orchestra performing in front of the Capitol.
Name of show "A Capitol Fourth". Photo of the National Symphony Orchestra performing in front of the Capitol. PBS

Televised fireworks displays. Patriotic music. Movies that celebrate Americana. An all-day Twilight Zone marathon. It must be Independence Day again.

Here’s a look at the special Fourth of July programming airing Sunday and Monday across the TV landscape.

Bombs bursting in air

This year’s live network telecasts of big-city fireworks and heavy-hitter musical performances originate from New York, Washington and Boston. There’s also a more modest show coming from Dallas, if you prefer to keep it local.

Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular, airing at 7 p.m. Monday on NBC, will close with a 25-minute pyrotechnics presentation (using more than 56,000 shells to light up the New York City skyline). The show also will feature music from Kenny Chesney, 5 Seconds of Summer and Meghan Trainor. Today show co-hosts Willie Geist and Tamron Hall will emcee.

The Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular, a viewer favorite until CBS dropped the special in 2013, is back. The two-hour show will be broadcast from Boston at 8 p.m. Monday. Demi Lovato, Little Big Town and Nick Jonas will perform, accompanied by the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra under the direction of Keith Lockhart.

A Capitol Fourth from the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol airs at 7 p.m. Monday on PBS. In addition to the National Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of Jack Everly, the 90-minute special will feature performances by Gavin DeGraw, Smokey Robinson, Kenny Loggins, Cassadee Pope, Amber Riley, Jackie Evancho, Sutton Foster and the cast of On Your Feet! Tom Bergeron hosts.

One hour of Fair Park Fourth coverage from the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, airing at 9 p.m. Monday on WFAA/Channel 8, is hosted by News 8 anchor Cynthia Izaguirre and sports anchor Joe Trahan. The telecast also will include a pre-recorded performance by the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, the Lake Highlands High School Wranglers dance team and a choir made up of Dallas Police Department officers.

You’re a grand old flag

Smithsonian Channel presents a new documentary that settles a 70-year military mystery: The Unknown Flag Raiser of Iwo Jima, premiering at 8 p.m. Sunday, will confirm the identity of an unidentified flag raiser pictured in one of the most reproduced photographs in history.

The documentary uses forensic evidence to determine that U.S. Marine Corps Pfc. Harold Schultz was the unsung man pictured in Joe Rosenthal’s iconic photo, taken Feb. 23, 1945.

Proud to be an American moviegoer

Turner Classic Movies celebrates America’s birthday with patriotic films, beginning and ending with two American Revolution-themed titles: The Howards of Virginia at 6:30 a.m. Monday and 1776 at midnight.

In between, the lineup includes James Stewart in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (2 p.m.), Robert Preston in The Music Man (7 p.m.) and James Cagney in Yankee Doodle Dandy (9:45 p.m).

FX devotes the day to a celebration of American superheroes. The lineup: X-Men: The Last Stand (6 a.m.), The Wolverine (8 a.m.), Iron Man 3 (11 a.m.), The Amazing Spider-Man (2 p.m.), The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (5 p.m.) and Captain America: The First Avenger (8 p.m.).

On AMC, a great white shark takes a bite out of Amity Island’s holiday tourism in Jaws (“We’ve got a panic on our hands on the Fourth of July”). The 1975 classic airs at noon and 5:30 p.m. Monday, followed by lesser sequels: Jaws 2 (3 and 8:30 p.m.), Jaws 3 (11 p.m.) and Jaws: The Revenge (1:15 a.m. Tuesday).

And if you want to check out the original Independence Day, the 1996 alien-invasion/Ooh Rah-patriotism blockbuster, it’s at 7 p.m. Monday on HBO.

TV that’s revolutionary

History channel dusts off Sons of Liberty, a six-hour Revolutionary War miniseries that originally aired in 2015. It differs from the norm by turning the Founding Fathers into younger, hunkier men. It’s at 10 a.m. Sunday.

Also on History: America the Story of Us, an offbeat documentary that wedges more than 400 years of American history into 12 hours. It’s at 7 a.m. Monday.

American Heroes Channel takes a stand with the six-hour Patriots Rising: The American Revolution (beginning 10 a.m. Monday) and the eight-hour The Revolutionary War (4 p.m. Monday).

More marathons

It has been a Syfy tradition for two decades to celebrate the Fourth with a Twilight Zone marathon — not that one has anything to do with the other. The 57-episode lineup of Rod Serling classics begins at 10:30 p.m. Sunday and concludes at 3 a.m. Tuesday.

It doesn’t get any more Americana than these marathons: Smithsonian Channel provides a bird’s-eye view of the country in Aerial America (from Nevada at 1 a.m. Monday to Texas at 4 a.m. Tuesday), while Travel Channel takes a 20-hour Bizarre Foods America tour (beginning at 7 a.m. Monday).

And marvel at the differences between these uniquely American polar opposites: 11 hours of feel-good TV with The Andy Griffith Show (8 a.m. Monday, TV Land) vs. drunken catfights in Bravo’s Real Housewives of New Jersey (5 a.m. Monday) and Real Housewives of Orange County (1 p.m. Monday).

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