Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

It’s time to celebrate America’s birthday

Here’s what’s up in the world of TV for Thursday, July 3, Friday, July 4, and Saturday, July 5. All times are Eastern.


Macy’s 4th Of July Fireworks Spectacular (NBC, 8 p.m., Friday): Since TV is mostly taking a break for the Fourth Of July, we’re rounding up highlights of this long holiday weekend before promptly ignoring our responsibilities, grabbing a beer, and lighting some sparklers. Those who don’t enjoy setting things on fire in their backyards or traipsing through large crowds can conveniently enjoy all the excitement of fireworks from the comfort of their couches thanks to NBC’s Fireworks Spectacular. Just be careful not to embarrass yourself by “oohing” when others are “ahhing.”



Undateable (NBC, 8:30 p.m., Thursday): NBC unceremoniously burns off the final three episodes of Undateable. Despite being a pretty good multi-camera sitcom with a talented ensemble, Undateable was unable to uncover an audience making it unlikely to be renewed for a second season. How unfortunate.


Bad Teacher (CBS, 8 p.m., Saturday): Despite also offering a surprising amount of promise, Bad Teacher was cancelled early into its first season. After pulling the show from the air for a while, CBS starts a summer burn-off with two new episodes airing tonight. The remaining six episodes have yet to be scheduled meaning CBS gets an A for effort but an F for not showing their work.

Sailor Moon Crystal (Hulu and Neon Alley, 7 p.m., Saturday): The beloved Japanese anime series Sailor Moon returns in rebooted “crystal” form. The first episode premieres in the U.S. and Japan simultaneously, with a new episode airing every other week. Hulu and Neon Alley will both stream the show in Japanese with English subtitles. Genevieve Koski transforms into Sailor Critic to check it out.



Adventure Time (Cartoon Network, 7 p.m., Thursday)
Regular Show (Cartoon Network, 7:30 p.m., Thursday)
Defiance (Syfy, 8 p.m., Thursday)
Rectify (Sundance, 9 p.m., Thursday)
Comedy Bang! Bang! (IFC, 10:30 p.m., Thursday)



Gang Related (Fox, 9 p.m., Thursday)
Dominion (Syfy, 9 p.m., Thursday)
Maron (IFC, 10 p.m., Thursday)



Monty Python’s Flying Circus (1 p.m., Thursday): Zack Handlen honors our country’s British roots by continuing his coverage of Monty Python’s third season.


Friday Night Lights (3 p.m., Thursday,): Meanwhile Sonia Saraiya embraces the Americana with Friday Night Light’s first season finale. Since we’ve already covered seasons two-five, this will be her final FNL review. We salute her with one last “Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose.”


In a brand new TV Roundtable, some of our TV Club writers start out looking at an episode of the little-remembered Nickelodeon comedy, My Brother And Me, and end up having a fascinating discussion about race on television. Joshua Alston writes:

The shortcoming of a show like My Brother And Me is that calling attention to similarities does nothing to prepare us for differences, and that’s the hard, worthy work. Broadly, human beings are the same, but there are also a shitload of differences predicated on all manner of influences. So while there’s value to the “other people are just like me” idea My Brother trades in, that has to be supplanted by “other people actually aren’t just like me, but that’s okay too.” Without the second phase, the audience is left with the insidious message that there’s a direct relationship between another person’s humanity and their similarity to you, which is obviously a dangerous idea.


Elsewhere Phil Dyess-Nugent has a pre-air review of The ’90s: The Last Great Decade, a three-part National Geographic Channel miniseries. Even Rob Lowe’s Bill Clinton impression can’t save this one. Then on Friday our staff recounts the hometown entertainment that makes us beam with pride. A few Midwest-set sitcoms top the list for TV editor Erik Adams.


Aerial America (Smithsonian, 6 a.m., Friday): Sure the Fourth Of July is a day for parades, BBQs, and fireworks, but more importantly it’s a day off from work (godspeed to those in the service industry). Enjoy this rare weekday break with our comprehensive guide to the best American-themed programming of the day. Start with the Smithsonian’s all-day marathon of aerial photography of 24 states. It might not be the most riveting thing on TV, but it’s still better than fixing the broken copier for the umpteenth time.


Philly 4th Of July Jam (VH1, 8 p.m., Friday): Those who prefer something a bit livelier than geographical documentation can enjoy VH1’s three hour live concert featuring performances from The Roots, Nicki Minaj, Ed Sheeran, Jennifer Hudson, Ariana Grande, and Aloe Blacc.

A Capitol Fourth (PBS, 8 p.m., Friday): While those looking for a special with a little less Top 40s-flair can turn on this PBS live celebration, which includes performances from Frankie Valli, Patti LaBelle, Kelli O’Hara, the National Symphony Orchestra, and a brand new arrangement of the “Star Spangled Banner” from John Williams.


Independence Day Marathon (Encore, all day, Friday): Cinephiles can settle in with a huge supply of provisions and watch 10 airings of Independence Day thanks to this all-day Encore marathon.

1776 (TCM, 1:30 p.m., Friday): Or take a break from the endless repetition of Will Smith punching aliens in the face to watch the founding fathers sing and dance their way through the writing of the Declaration of Independence.


Captain America: The First Avenger (FX, 8 p.m., Saturday): And then flip over to FX’s airing of Captain America to round out the evening with Chris Evans punching Nazis in the face. 

2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil: Brazil vs. Colombia (multiple networks, 3:30 p.m., Friday): The World Cup stops for no American holiday. Brazil plays Colombia in this quarterfinals match.



Chopped Canada (Food Network, 9 p.m., Thursday): The Canadian version of Chopped airs its second season finale (delightfully titled “Who Gives A Geoduck?”) just in time to clear the airwaves for America’s Fourth Of July TV takeover.


Killing Daddy (Lifetime, 8 p.m., Saturday): Those who experience a bit too much family togetherness during the holiday weekend can live vicariously through this brand new Lifetime original movie about a young woman exacting revenge against her father.

My Dysfunctional Family (CMT, 10 p.m., Saturday): Or gain some perspective on your family as compared to the dysfunctional ones seeking help from an “experienced counselor” on this new CMT reality show.


Wimbledon: Women’s Semifinals (ESPN, 8 a.m., Thursday): Those who haven’t caught World Cup fever may prefer an international sporting event of a different genre. With former champions Serena and Venus Williams and Maria Sharapova out of the competition, a set of younger players will be vying for a spot in the finals.

Tour de France: Stage One (NBCSP, 6 a.m., Saturday): Or enjoy the international sportsmanship of the 101st Tour de France, which kicks off in England this year. Chris Froome will once again aim for the Yellow Jersey after winning last year’s race.



Lost: Myles McNutt takes over Todd VanDerWerff’s Lost TV Club Classic reviews. In his first two episodes Myles looks at heroin addiction and torture because that’s just the kind of welcome you get to a new beat at The A.V. Club.


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