WASHINGTON, July 3, 2013 —Rather than carpet bomb our avid fans with four separate articles that will, in the end, primarily consist of a long list of reruns and reality shows, this TV recap will highlight the best of what is airing through July 6.
Our reasoning is simple. Traditionally, the networks use long holiday weekends like this one to burn off shelved episodes of their acknowledged failures, and this weekend is certainly no exception. Since the Independence Day 2013 holidays will be filled with food, family, fireworks and fun, it really doesn’t matter all that much what is on TV does it?
Unless you’re baseball fans, of course. But that’s why you subscribe to local sports nets and ESPN’s 500 different channels, right?
Otherwise, enjoy your favorite Grill Sergeant’s masterpieces, adult beverages and the local fireworks this long weekend. But if you must watch your flatscreens until your eyeballs fall out, we’ve listed our favorite TV picks and pans below.
We’re taking a couple of days off ourselves. But fair warning: we’ll be back on our regular schedule Sunday, July 7, so tune us back in again for up-to-the-minute viewing observations and recommendations.
Have a happy and safe 4th of July holiday!
July 3rd viewing:
At 8 p.m. “Big Brother” evicts the first housemate. Too bad we can’t evict the whole show from CBS in a TV version of urban renewal.
Also at 8 p.m. on FOX, “MasterChef” contestants deal with a mystery-box challenge that involves an unusual ingredient and a limited pantry. In keeping with the spirit of the holiday, the Travel Channel will also be airing back-to-back episodes of “BBQ Crawl” starting at 8 p.m.
At 9 p.m. there’s a semifinal showdown featuring a double elimination on “The American Baking Competition.” Also at 9 p.m., “Ghost Hunters” on Syfy will be investigating strange goings-on at a historic mission in San Juan Capistrano, Calif. Ghost swallows, anyone?
If paranormal entertainment isn’t appealing, TNT is airing a new episode of “Franklin & Bash” for those of us who prefer a good drama.
There’s also a new episode of “Toddlers & Tiaras” on The Learning Channel, but unless each tiny contestant has an on-the-set therapist, this cringe-inducing program should probably be avoided at all costs.
Any mother who thinks a five-year old face caked with makeup is adorably cute should probably seek therapy as well.
Worse than any monster movie. Ever.
“Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman” at 10 p.m. on Science Channel examines the possibility of brain hacking, a skill that would definitely come in handy when dealing with reality show producers, though they’re likely brain dead anyway. But why do they make all that money?
July 4th viewing:
There’s more competitive cooking tonight at 8 p.m. on FOX when the “Hell’s Kitchen” contestants must prepare three dishes in 30 minutes—with only one chef in the kitchen at a time. We wonder why Dante didn’t include a similar torment in “The Inferno.”
The 8 p.m. hour also includes a couple of 4th of July celebrations featuring fireworks and big name entertainers. NBC will be airing “Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular.” Nick Cannon will be anchoring with performances by Mariah Carey, Tim McGraw, Taylor Swift and Selena Gomez. Hopefully, this one will feature more content and less advertising than Macy’s now nearly-worthless Thanksgiving Day Parade extravaganza.
Not to be outdone, PBS will be airing “A Capital Fourth” starting at 8 p.m. as well. Tom Bergeron hosts a celebration of America’s birthday, and no, we don’t think he’ll be showing clips and outtakes from “America’s Funniest Home Videos.”
The show will conclude with a spectacular, taxpayer-supported display of fireworks along with live performances by Barry Manilow; “American Idol” winners Candice Glover and Scotty McCreery; Darren Criss (“Glee”); classical crossover singer Jackie Evancho; Megan Hilty (“Smash”); the “Motown: The Musical” cast; composer John Williams, who conducts music from “Lincoln”; and Jack Everly and the National Symphony Orchestra, which will cap the show with its annual but ever-shrinking excerpts from Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture” complete with real cannon fire.
Live from the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol. Interesting sidelight: Check out the Washington Monument during the fireworks display. It’s still surrounded by scaffolding built to help with repairs to the memorial due to damage caused by the surprise earthquake here a couple of years ago.
There’s also a marathon of “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo” on TLC, but again, there should be a therapist on hand for the cast, and for anyone who actually finds this show entertaining. Honey herself may soon be a candidate for a girth control intervention. Shameless.
July 5th viewing:
Apparently all the net heads had a secret meeting and agreed they would air absolutely nothing new that’s worth watching on this particular day. There’s a “Buckwild” marathon from 1 to 10 p.m. on MTV, but considering the tragic demise of several cast members of this show, there should be, (you guessed it) yet another therapist on hand during viewing.
This series, of course, has been canceled due to real-life reality, but that doesn’t keep MTV from winnowing its last few bucks from this show’s misguided carcass.
AMC is also running a marathon, but this is one actually worth watching during breaks from grilled burgers and fireworks displays. Starting at 1 p.m. each day through Sunday, AMC will be airing back-to-back episodes of “The Walking Dead.” Worth catching up on if you aren’t already fully involved.
July 6th viewing
Beginning at 9 a.m. ESPN will be covering the Wimbledon women’s final. For those who miss the live coverage on ESPN, ABC will air a three hour encore starting at 3 p.m. The men’s final will follow the same schedule on Sunday, also on ESPN, and also encored on ABC.
That brings us to one of the most storied sports events traditionally held on the Fourth of July weekend; the “Firecracker 400” NASCAR race from Daytona International Speedway. The race will air on TNT and begins at 7:30 p.m. E.D.T.
Since 1959, the best of NASCAR have headed to Daytona Beach, Fla. to test their nerves and their machines in this 160 lap showdown. In 2008 Coca-Cola and International Speedway Corporation made one of those nauseating deals that included renaming the race the “Coke Zero 400.” But for purists it will always and forever be the “Firecracker 400.”
More than one late, great NASCAR driver is turning over in his grave because of the race’s new name, but corporate America has left little untouched in its quest to own and rule everything it hasn’t already ruined.
When a sport that began with a bunch of good old boys outrunning the law while hauling moonshine sells out to corporate America, it is a sure sign that the apocalypse must be close at hand.
Because of this, maybe we should all be taking notes and brushing up on our zombie slaying skills by watching some of “The Walking Dead” marathon. It’s always good to be prepared for the worst. (Ask Brad Pitt who’s “World War Z” turbo-zombies, now at a theater near you, are both faster and worst-er.)
My regular column will return on Sunday. But meanwhile I’ll be celebrating the fact that I’m a citizen of what’s still the greatest country in the world, and acknowledging the sacrifices of the many that made it all possible. Hopefully every American will join me in this.
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