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July 4 Weekend TV Guide: 9 Movie and TV Marathons, 4 TV Specials to Watch

If you want to avoid the heat this holiday weekend, TV will be filled with some very, very long marathons of our favorite shows and movies.

Veep Season 5 finale Julia Louis-Dreyfus

Julia Louis-Dreyfus in “Veep”

Lacey Terrell/HBO

Are you scared of fireworks? Do you eat too much at the 4th of July family BBQ? Is summer too hot to go outside? Those are a few reasons to lounge on the couch this weekend and if you’re a movie buff or a TV binger, we’ve got many more. In the spirit of a holiday weekend, many networks are running ridiculously long marathons that we’ll applaud you for staying up for.

TV Shows

Empire” (Season 1 and 2)
TV One, July 3 at 7am to July 4 at 5pm


Check out the epic tale of a man having to decide who in his family should inherit his entertainment company with TV One’s “Empire” marathon. Airing all 30 episodes, the marathon will begin at 7am on July 3 and go to 5pm on July 4.

READ MORE: How ‘Empire’ Season 2 Raised the Stakes (Emmy Watch)

“Underground” (Season 1)
WGN, July 2 from 7am to 5pm

Cato (Alano Miller), Noah (Aldis Hodge), Zeke (Theodus Crane)

Some shows transcend simple storytelling into cultural importance and 2016 has seen some incredible series that fall into that with “Roots” and “Underground.” As its first season has just wrapped up, WGN will be airing a full rerun of the latter as production on “Underground’s” second season will begin this summer. Follow the story of a group of slave’s courageous escape, starting at 7am and running until 5pm on July 2.

Homeland” (Season 5)
Showtime, July 3 from 8am to 8pm

Claire Danes and Rupert Friend, "Homeland"

July 3 looks like a day to catch up as Showtime is running a 12 hour marathon of the latest, 5th season of “Homeland.” In a semi-normal time — for marathons that is — of 8am to 8pm, make sure to watch the latest foreign affairs of CIA agent Carrie Mathison before the show’s 6th season in January 2017.

READ MORE: ‘Homeland’ Pushed to January: Executive Producer Explains Why That’s Necessary

The Twilight Zone” (Various episodes)
Syfy, July 3 at 11:30pm to July 5 at 4am

The Twilight Zone

Starting at 11:30pm on July 3, Syfy will begin a hefty marathon of 57 episodes of the classic “The Twilight Zone,” running over 28 hours and ending at 4am on July 5th. Catch some of the most famous entries and get so tired that you might hallucinate an episode yourself.

“Blue Bloods” (Various episodes)
WGN, July 4 from 9am to 7pm

Blue Bloods

Not into the usual Fourth of July celebrations? Put a little red, white and blue into your day with WGN’s all day “Blue Bloods” marathon. Who needs fireworks when you can watch the self-proclaimed “First Family of Law Enforcement” take down criminals on the streets of New York? Episodes will air from 9am until 7pm on Monday.

READ MORE: ‘Veep’ Showrunner Explains How the First Scene of Season 5 Set Up the Finale — And The Future

Veep” (Season 5), HBO2
July 4 from 2:30pm to 7:30pm

Julia Louis-Dreyfus in "Veep" Season 5

“Veep” continued its run of success with a very well-received season 5, which wrapped up this past Sunday, June 26. Just in case you were in a hole for two months, you can celebrate the comedic side of American politics and catch all ten episodes of the latest “Veep” season this upcoming Monday, starting at 2:30pm and ending at 7:30pm on HBO2.


“All-American” Movies, Turner Classic Movies
July 4 at 7:30am to July 5 at 4am
If you bleed red, white and blue, you can go to a doctor, or you can tune into Turner Classic Movies for an “All-American” marathon of some classic movies. With “The Howards of Virginia” airing at 7:30am, the marathon will  cover “John Paul Jones,” “The Scarlet Coat,” “The Devil’s Disciple,” “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” and “Yankee Doodle Dandy” — wrapping with “1776” by 4am.

Jaws” and “Jaws 2”
AMC, July 4 from 1pm to 6:30pm and from 6:30pm to Midnight


The modern age isn’t the only time that has a problem with making unnecessary sequels. We all adore the Spielberg classic “Jaws” to death — however, some of us don’t even realize that there was a “Jaws 2” in 1978. AMC is here for a reminder, running the films back to back this Monday. If you want a gripping drama followed by, arguably, a laughable comedy, tune into the network at 1pm or 6:30pm.

Superhero Movie Marathon
FX, July 4 at 7am to July 5 at 2am

Hugh Jackman in The Wolverine

Starting with “X-Men: The Last Stand,” followed by “The Wolverine,” “Iron Man 3” and the two “Amazing Spiderman” films, and ending with a back to back showing of “Captain America: The First Avenger,” FX will screen an all day superhero movie marathon from 7am-2am on Monday. What’s more patriotic than watching the star-spangled Avenger repeatedly punch Hitler and take down an evil Nazi regime?

READ MORE: ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’ Director Jon Watts Reveals Why a Diverse Cast was Key for His Vision

“Back to the Future” Trilogy
Discovery Family, July 4 at 5pm to July 5 at 12:30am

Sometimes actors just aren't right for the role. Director Robert Zemeckis did want Michael J. Fox from the start, but wasn't able to schedule him for the shoot, causing him to cast Eric Stolz. After five weeks of shooting and slowly accepting that Stolz just wasn't right, Zemeckis figured out a way to get Fox. The decision to work on what wasn't right improved the film so much so that it, like the previous two films, became a classic.

“If you put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything,” including marathoning all three “Back to the Future” movies in a row on Monday night. Discovery Family’s marathon, which runs from 5pm to 12:30am, may be perfect for hardcore fans of the trilogy, but may be a little much for the average viewer.

TV Specials

“The Unknown Flag Raiser of Iwo Jima”
Smithsonian Channel, July 3 at 9pm

Marine Corps War Memorial in Arlington

The photo of soldiers raising the flag at Iwo Jima is one of the most well-known photographs of all time. The Smithsonian Channel, ever interested in exploring American history and the unknown, will air the documentary “The Unknown Flag Raiser of Iwo Jima” this Sunday at 9pm, which will unveil the identity of one of the six men in the picture. The documentary was produced by Lucky 8 TV, who are also behind the A&E prison docuseries “60 Days In.”

“A Capitol Fourth”
PBS, July 4 at 8pm 

Christopher Jackson in "Hamilton"

“A Capitol Fourth” will bring together the massive voices of Smokey Robinson, Kenny Loggins, Sutton Foster and recent “Hamilton” star Christopher Jackson — amongst other public figures — for the annual Independence Day concert at the nation’s capitol. To get your patriotism fix by belting out some incredible songs, tune into PBS, the PBS website or PBS’s Facebook live stream on Monday at 8pm ET.

READ MORE: How Lin-Manuel Miranda Rode His ‘Hamilton’ Star from Broadway to Hollywood

“The Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular”
CBS, July 4 at 9pm


Are you scared of fireworks, but only a little? Do you prefer to just see them rather than see them and hear them? One of the most popular shows of the sort, “The Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular,” is coming back for the first time since 2013. With performances from Demi Lovato and Nick Jonas, as well as the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra, the special will run from 9pm to 11pm on Monday night.

“Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular”
NBC, July 4 at 8pmMacy's Fourth of July Fireworks Spectacular - Season 2015

Boston and New York square off yet again as the Big Apple will hold their own fireworks special, the “Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular.” Airing at 8pm on NBC, the show is said to feature over 50,000 shells for the light show and will also host performances from 5 Seconds of Summer and Meghan Trainer.

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