Classic Fourth of July fare on TV
Diane WertsDiane Werts
Diane Werts writes about television for Newsday. Werts previously was
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Off the Wall wonders why.
FOR FILM FREAKS What a week! Saturday night is only the first feast -- six 1940s classics from unmatched screwball director Preston Sturges, led by his zippy Hollywood satire "Sullivan's Travels" (8 p.m., Turner Classic Movies). Then, Encore presents The Bond Collection -- 19 films of British derring-do, uncut, nightly at 8, after launching with an all-day marathon led by Sean Connery's "Dr. No" (Sunday at 7 a.m.). MSG's Movie Mondays franchise delivers Al Pacino's great '70s double dose of "Serpico" and "Dog Day Afternoon" (Monday at 8 and 10:30 p.m.). And TCM's two big July festivals start unreeling. Mondays get all-day, all-night adventure films, led by jungle action like 1931's Africa-shot "Trader Horn" (6 a.m.). Tuesdays spotlight star of the month Leslie Howard, starting with "Gone With the Wind" (8 p.m.). Full film listings, background at tcm.com/this-month.
TRASH CASTING Can't say Syfy doesn't give tubeheads cheap thrills in populating its cheesy Saturday cinema sins. "Bigfoot" (9 p.m.) stars Danny "Partridge Family" Bonaduce and Barry "Brady Bunch" Williams as rival Bigfoot battlers. The supporting cast includes Howard "WKRP" Hesseman, Sherilyn "Twin Peaks" Fenn, rocker Alice Cooper and the one sop to semi-current times, Andre Royo of "The Wire." Plus it's all directed by Bruce "Lathe of Heaven" Davison. Trailer at syfy.com/movies.
AWARDS ALERT Samuel L. Jackson hosts this year's "BET Awards" (Sunday 8-11:30 p.m., BET; preshow at 6 p.m., postshow at 11:30 p.m.). Performers include Nicki Minaj, Usher, D'Angelo, Chris Brown and "Sunday Best" winners, while presenters range from Tyler Perry to Quentin Tarantino to Taraji P. Henson. Nominees at bet.com/awards12.
UNSCRIPTED PREMIERES While awaiting Discovery's 25th annual Shark Week later this summer, try the new series "Shark Wranglers" (Sunday at 10 p.m., History), tracking an elite Great White research expedition. "Haunted Highway" (Tuesday at 10 p.m., Syfy) follows Jack Osbourne investigating claims of paranormal activity. And "America's Lost Treasures" (Wednesday at 9 p.m., NatGeo) checks out possible historical artifacts -- a reputed Civil War drum, a perhaps 150-million-year-old stegosaurus bone. More at natgeotv.com/treasures.
JULY FOURTH MARATHONS The giddy, witty British original "Top Gear" (Monday 8 a.m.-Wednesday 5 a.m., BBC America) delivers a marathon of favorite episodes testing top vehicles, including a fresh episode Monday at 9 p.m. It's followed by seasons 1 and 2 of the fanciful adventure "Merlin" (Wednesday 8 a.m.-11 p.m., BBC America). Looking for more day-off options? See our full rundown of July 4 TV marathons in Wednesday's exploreLI. "Top Gear" episode guide, video, games, more at bbcamerica.com/topgear.
SO IT'S A WEEK EARLY Whaddya gonna do? Just give in to "Friday the 13th: The Series" (Friday 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Chiller), and watch its marathon anyway. Episode titles at chillertv.com /schedule.