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 programming airing Sunday, Monday and Tuesday 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 Dallas.
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“Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular,” airing live at 7 p.m. Tuesday on NBC, will showcase a huge pyrotechnics presentation over the East River (using more than 60,000 shells to light up the New York City skyline). The show features music from Lady Antebellum, Brad Paisley and Hailee Steinfeld. “American Ninja Warrior” co-hosts Akbar Gbaja-Biamila, Matt Iseman and Kristine Leahy will emcee.
“A Capitol Fourth” from the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol airs live at 7 p.m. Tuesday on PBS. In addition to the National Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of conductor Jack Everly, the 90-minute special features performances by the Beach Boys, the Blues Brothers (fronted by Dan Aykroyd and Jim Belushi), the Four Tops and Sofia Carson. John Stamos (who will play drums for the Beach Boys) is host.
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. Musical acts include country crossover artists Delta Rae, “Muser” George Dunham and his band the Bird Dogs and Holly Tucker of “The Voice.”
“The Words That Built America,” a special premiering at 6 p.m. Tuesday on HBO, features all six living U.S. presidents among a cast of more than 100 as they read passages from the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights.
The lineup also includes all six living vice presidents, three Supreme Court justices, more than four dozen U.S. senators, a dozen U.S. congressmen and congresswomen, and a half-dozen Cabinet secretaries.
Celebrity readers include Robert De Niro, Robert Duvall, Morgan Freeman, Caitlin Jenner, Duane Johnson, Robert Redford and Meryl Streep. Pulitzer Prize-winning author David McCullough narrates.
Colorful looks at America
Smithsonian Channel launches two new series that are uniquely American.
“America in Color,” premiering at 7 p.m. Sunday, looks back at the country from the 1920s to the 1960s, using rare and unseen footage in vibrant color for the first time. Among the iconic imagery: illegal drinking in speakeasies in the 1920s, shocking scenes during the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor and Elvis Presley on “The Ed Sullivan Show.”
“First Ladies Revealed” follows at 8 p.m. The show profiles the most prominent and influential Presidential wives, including Dolley Madison, Eleanor Roosevelt, Jackie Kennedy and Michelle Obama.
AXS TV celebrates the Fourth with a quintessentially American rock ’n’ roll band: the Beach Boys. The lineup of concert shows and documentaries includes the 2012 documentary “The Beach Boys 50 — Doin’ It Again” (8 p.m. Sunday), the 1985 doc “The Beach Boys: An American Band” (8 p.m. Monday) and 2015’s “Brian Wilson and Friends: Live From the Venetian” (1 p.m. Tuesday).
Proud to be an American moviegoer
Turner Classic Movies celebrates America’s birthday with a red, white and blue movie lineup that includes “Yankee Doodle Dandy” at 7 p.m. Tuesday, “1776” (9:15 p.m.) and “The Music Man” (12:15 a.m.).
FX devotes the day to American superheroes, which fittingly includes a couple of “Captain America” movies from 2:30 to 10:30 p.m. Tuesday.
Tuesday is “Independence Day” all day on E!, with the 1996 alien-invasion blockbuster running eight straight times, beginning at 5 a.m. Meanwhile, “Independence Day: Resurgence,” the 2016 sequel, will be at 4 p.m. Tuesday on HBO.
History channel dusts off one of its best documentary series, 2010’s “America the Story of Us,” for a 12-hour lesson that’s entertaining as well as educational. It begins at 6 a.m. Tuesday.
It has been a Syfy tradition for two decades to celebrate the Fourth with a “Twilight Zone” marathon. This year’s lineup of Rod Serling classics begins at 11 p.m. Monday and concludes at 6 a.m. Wednesday.
BBC America counters with a 20-hour “Star Trek: Next Generation” marathon, from 9 a.m. Tuesday to 5 a.m. Wednesday.