Whether you celebrate July 4th with backyard fireworks, beach barbecues or a low-key day on the couch, chances are you'll encounter a television at some point over the Independence Day holiday weekend, so we've rounded up the best TV specials and marathons to entertain you over the fourth of July and beyond.
From nostalgic fare like "Boy Meets World" and "Beverly Hills, 90210" to educational series like "Through the Wormhole" and "Parts Unknown," all the way through to movie marathons of "Die Hard" and "Pirates of the Caribbean," there's something for everyone on the small screen this weekend. Read on for our highlights. (All times ET/PT.)
THURSDAY, JULY 4
"Cake Boss" (6 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., TLC)
Tempt your sweet tooth with a marathon of baker Buddy Valastro's elaborate creations.
"Fear Factor" (6 a.m. to 6 a.m. Friday, Chiller)
24 hours of hair-raising obstacles and stomach-turning food challenges as couples, best friends and other contestants compete to win prizes by facing their fears.
"Back to the Future" Trilogy (Every six hours from 6:15 a.m. to 5:40 a.m. Friday, Encore)
Visit the past and the future with Marty McFly and Doc Brown. The first movie kicks off repeated marathons from 6:15 a.m., 12:05 p.m., 6 p.m. and 11:50 p.m., so you've got multiple chances to get your time-travel fix.
"NCIS" (8 a.m. to 4 a.m. Friday, USA)
Celebrate July 4th with the "Stars, Stripes and Badges" marathon, comprised of episodes from Seasons 7, 8 and 9.
"Star Trek: The Next Generation" (8 a.m. to 6 a.m. Friday, continues 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday, BBC America)
Spend your holiday boldly going where no one has gone before with "TNG" Season 3. If you want to see the season straight through, watch from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Thursday and pick up again at 11 a.m. on Friday to avoid repeats.
"The Twilight Zone" (8 a.m. Thursday to 6 a.m. Friday, Syfy)
Relive the creepy classic which originally ran from 1959-64, and see if you can spot some of the show's notable guest stars, which included Robert Redford, William Shatner, Burt Reynolds, Robert Duvall, Dennis Hopper, Carol Burnett, Buster Keaton, Mickey Rooney and John Carradine.
The Real-Life Murder Movie Marathon (8 a.m. to 10 p.m., Lifetime)
It might sound like a morbid way to spend a holiday, but we're not here to judge -- Lifetime is offering a day of movies based on real crimes, including "The Capture of the Green River Killer" at 8 a.m.; "Karla" at 12 p.m.; "The Elizabeth Smart Story" at 2 p.m.; "Blue-Eyed Butcher" at 4 p.m.; "The Perfect Husband: The Laci Peterson Story" at 6 p.m. and "Jodi Arias: Dirty Little Secret" at 8 p.m.
"Beverly Hills, 90210" (10 a.m. to 7 p.m., SOAPnet)
"Life's a Beach" with this Independence Day marathon that takes you back to West Beverly High.
"Castle" (10 a.m. to 11 p.m., TNT)
Get your fill of your favorite crime-solving duo with a marathon of classic episodes.
"The Price is Right" (11 a.m., CBS)
This special episode salutes the men and women of the armed forces and their families.
"The Walking Dead" (Season 1 airs 1 p.m. to 8 p.m Thursday.; Season 2 airs 1 p.m. Friday to 3 a.m. Saturday; Season 3 airs 1 p.m. Saturday to 12:30 a.m. Sunday, continuing from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday, AMC)
Whether you're catching up with AMC's zombie hit for the first time or just want to relive the deaths all over again, all three seasons are airing in their entirety (with a couple of random repeats in the middle) over the Fourth of July weekend. You can also catch Season 1 in its stylized black and white form from 8 p.m. to 3 a.m. on Thursday night.
"Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular" (8 p.m., NBC)
Hosted by Nick Cannon, the show will feature performances from Mariah Carey, Tim McGraw, Taylor Swift, Selena Gomez and others.
"A Capitol Fourth" (8 p.m., PBS)
Live from the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol and hosted by Tom Bergeron, the show has performances scheduled from Barry Manilow, "Smash" star Megan Hilty, "American Idol" alums Scotty McCreery and Candice Glover, and Darren Criss.
FRIDAY, JULY 5
"Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman" (5 a.m. to 4 p.m., Science)
Pondering the mysteries of the universe, including "Did We Invent God?" and "Can We Resurrect The Dead?"
"Law & Order: SVU" (6 a.m. to 12 a.m. Saturday, USA)
The first part of a two-day marathon that continues from 9 a.m. Saturday through to 12 a.m. Sunday.
"America's Next Top Model" (6:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Oxygen)
Revisit Cycle 11 with Tyra and another crop of wannabe catwalk queens. Smize!
"Warehouse 13" (8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Syfy)
Refresh your memory with the second half of Season 4 ahead of Monday's finale.
"Cold Case" (1 p.m. to 3 a.m. Saturday, ION)
The cases don't stay cold for long with this team on the job.
"Die Hard" Marathon (3:30 p.m. to 10 p.m., Cinemax)
Dust off your vest and join Bruce Willis for a barefoot chase through the first three action classics.
"The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" (6 p.m. to 3 a.m Saturday., Style)
Revisit Season 3 of "RHOBH" and all the drama that went with it.
"Life's Too Short" (6:30 p.m. to 10 p.m., HBO Signature)
The complete series of Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant's mockumentary series about the fictionalized life of Warwick Davis, culminating in the premiere of the one-hour series finale special at 10 p.m. on HBO.
"Magic City" (9 p.m. to 12 a.m. Saturday, Starz)
Catch up with the first three episodes of Season 2 to discover all the seductive and seedy goings on at the Miramar Playa hotel and the gangsters who frequent it.
SATURDAY, JULY 6
"Saved By the Bell" and "Boy Meets World" (6 a.m. to 10 a.m., and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. respectively, MTV2)
If you're feeling particularly nostalgic, spend the morning with Zack and the rest of the Bayside gang before visiting Cory and Topanga to prepare yourself for "Girl Meets World."
"Pirates of the Caribbean" Marathon (9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., ABC Family)
Spend the day at sea with Captain Jack Sparrow courtesy of the first three "PotC" films -- "Dead Man's Chest" starts at noon, while "At World's End" begins at 3 p.m.
"Roseanne" (10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Logo)
Log some quality time with the Conner family in these classic episodes.
"Top Gear" (12 p.m. to 5 p.m., BBC America)
Get your motor running with the best of this British staple.
"Top of the Lake" (1 p.m. to 8 p.m., Sundance)
See a very different side of "Mad Men's" Elisabeth Moss in this slow-burning mystery miniseries from Jane Campion, which you can watch from beginning to end.
"Princesses: Long Island" (2 p.m. to 7 p.m., Bravo)
Move over, Honey Boo Boo -- these spoiled Long Island ladies are the latest in trainwreck TV.
"The Big Bang Theory" (7 p.m. to 11 p.m., TBS)
They might be awkward, but it's always a pleasure to spend a few hours with the boys of the "Big Bang." (Yes, even Sheldon.)
SUNDAY, JULY 7
Wimbledon Men's Final (9 a.m. ET/6 a.m. PT, ESPN)
With top seeds Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal eliminated from the competition early, is this finally Andy Murray's year?
"Sex and the City" (12 p.m. to 5 p.m., Style)
The first 10 episodes of the hit HBO series' final season.
"Breaking Amish: Brave New World" (12 p.m. to 8 p.m., TLC)
The Amish and Mennonite cast head down to Florida to begin a new life outside of their traditional communities in the show's spin-off series.
"Portlandia" (3 p.m. to 8 p.m., IFC)
An extended trip into Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein's surreal rendering of Portland, OR.
"Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown" (7 p.m. to 11 p.m., CNN)
The intrepid chef explores the culture and flavors of Tangier, Libya, Peru and the Congo.
"How I Met Your Mother" (7:30 p.m. to 10 p.m., WGN America)
Take a step back from discovering the titular mother with these classic episodes from way back in Season 1.
"CSI: Miami" (4 p.m. to 11 p.m., WeTV)
Head back to 2006 with these Season 5 episodes, featuring the MDPD's particular brand of crime-solving.
What will you watch this holiday weekend?