PopWatch Planner: Plenty of fireworks with 'Spider-Man' and 'The Walking Dead'

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Image Credit: John Schwartzman

Happy Fourth of July Weekend, Part I. It remains to be seen whether July 4 falling on a Wednesday is the best or worst possible scenario for festivities celebrating our nation’s 236th birthday. But at least we have a returning hero who wears the red, white, and (black and) blue on his sleeve. Spider-Man swings back into action after disappearing for… well, only five years. Andrew Garfield might be a Brit, but he was born in Los Angeles, so his Spidey is more All-American that the current Batman and upcoming Superman. U – S – A! U – S – A!!

Sunday, July 1
Euro 2012 final, Spain vs. Italy, ESPN, 2:45 ET p.m.

The most-watched sporting event this weekend won’t be at Yankee Stadium or the grass courts at Wimbledon. It will be a soccer match played in Ukraine, where two powerhouses square off for the European championship. Spain is the defending European and World Cup champ, and Italy hasn’t won a European title in 42 years — despite winning two World Cups during that span. The two teams squared off earlier in the tournament just three weeks ago and tied, 1-1. Another thrilling nail-biter might be in the works, and since it’s not yet the Fourth of July, patriotic Americans are allowed to watch.

Monday, July 2
Web Therapy
season premiere, Showtime, 11 p.m.

Lisa Kudrow is back serving mankind as Fiona Wallice, the web’s most useless “therapist.” Once again, her own hilarious foibles are showcased in sessions with some amazing guest stars, including Meryl Streep and Rosie O’Donnell. Those appearances are mere appetizers, though, for this season’s reunion with Friends star David Schwimmer, who plays a man who was sexually imprinted by Fiona years ago and wants to be cured.

Tuesday, July 3
The Amazing Spider-Man swings into theaters

What did Spidey ever do to deserve to be the superhero genre’s ignored middle-child? Sandwiched between May’s The Avengers and the upcoming The Dark Knight Rises, the rebooted Spider-Man has been a relative afterthought all year. (No matter that the three previous Spider-Man films were the most successful superhero hits ever after the threequel’s release in 2007.) But with some critical buzz, an avalanche of dynamic clips that promise to look even better in 3-D, and the unassailable Emma Stone, suddenly The Amazing Spider-Man might be the runaway smash we should have recognized from afar.

Wednesday, July 4
A Capitol Fourth, PBS, 8 p.m.

Nothing is as underwhelming as fireworks on television, so why not surround the fizzle with the kind of star-spangled awesomeness that only our nation’s capitol can put together. Tom Bergeron will host the festivities on the west lawn of the U.S. Capitol building, joined by Phillip Phillips, Matthew Broderick, and Kool & the Gang. (Free hot dogs to anyone who can guess what song Kool’s going to perform…) Meanwhile, NBC will air New York’s light show, and CBS will televise the patriotic events in Boston. (Fire your agent, Philadelphia!)

Thursday, July 5
Katy Perry: Part of Me opens in theaters

Perry is headlining the Macy’s July 4 celebration in New York, which makes double sense, since the “Firework” chanteuse’s concert documentary opens in theaters the next day. It’s a personal look at Perry’s rise to fame, and it’s also in 3-D, which will certainly add some pizazz to her famous exploding brassieres.

Friday, July 6
Savages opens in theaters

Taylor Kitsch, who weathered two big-budgeted alien-adventure misfires already in 2012, is hoping the third time is the charm. The only aliens in Oliver Stone’s violent drug thriller might be illegal aliens, as Kitsch is the muscle in a prospering pot business that draws the attention of a Mexican cartel. Of greater interest to movie fans, Savages might be the first legit “Oliver Stone movie” that Stone has directed in 15 years.

Saturday, July 7
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, Starz, 9 p.m.

Yes, it’s a thrilling adaptation of an engrossing best-seller. But to be honest, I’m mostly drawn to this cable premiere simply because the bitter-cold Swedish setting now seems like a splendid vacation from the sweltering city heat.

Sunday, July 8
The Walking Dead marathon, AMC

All 19 episodes of the show’s first two seasons are airing Saturday and Sunday — with sneak-peek intros before each show — culminating in a primetime block that will include a live Talking Dead chatfest, followed by a stylish black-and-white version of the initial pilot. (Sorry, Dish Network subscribers.)

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