What to Watch the Week of June 16: House of the Dragon Season 2, The Tonys, and Black Barbie

Getty Images; Netflix; HBO

House of the Dragon returns to HBO and Max tonight for its second season as Westeros is on the brink of a bloody civil war with the Green and Black Councils fighting for King Aegon and Queen Rhaenyra. I hope that made it sound like I know what I'm talking about, because the truth is, I've never seen Game of Thrones or House of the Dragon. However, I know how big this fandom is, so here I am, doing my best to at least bring you the goods.

Executive producer Ryan J. Condal revealed at a recent press conference that season two picks up a couple days following the events of the first season finale, "and off we go to the next horrible tragedy." (Yep, sounds exactly how I want to spend my Sunday nights.)

All kidding aside, Condal says there are less nerves going into HOTD's sophomore season, but now there's the pressure to outdo themselves. As a result, there are two battle scenes in the new season that Condal says are the biggest production he's ever been a part of, and they “kind of outstrip the size and scale of anything we did in season one.” (He better get used to it, because HOTD was just renewed for a third season.)

If House of the Dragon isn't your thing (or even if it is), then how about the Tony Awards, which also air tonight and will be star-studded as usual? Presenters include Cynthia Erivo, Sean Hayes, Taraji P. Henson, Jennifer Hudson, Angelina Jolie, Nick Jonas, Idina Menzel, Ashley Park, Jim Parsons, Andrew Rannells, Jeffrey Wright, and many more. For a list of who's performing on the telecast, see below.

Moving on to other highly anticipated premieres this week, Black Barbie drops on Netflix on Juneteenth this Wednesday. The must-see documentary will celebrate how the first Black Barbie came to be in 1980, thanks to Beulah Mae Mitchell, a Mattel employee who was brave enough to ask company co-founder Ruth Handler, "Why don't we make a Barbie that looks like me?” Director/producer Lagueria Davis explores the impact of that question and launches viewers into a discovery of the history of Black dolls, their impact on civil rights and Black entrepreneurship, and the significant role of imaginative play in shaping children's identity.

Elsewhere, if you're just now catching up on part 2 of Bridgerton season 3 this weekend, then check out my interviews with showrunner Jess Brownell about the major departure from the books as well as who will be the focus for season 4. And will Dame Julie Andrews return? Here's the surprising answer.

And with that, I'll see you back here for the surprising new series that I didn't have high hopes for but now can't wait to tell everyone to watch.

Sunday, June 16

House of the Dragon (HBO/Max): Based on George R.R. Martin’s Fire & Blood, the series, which tells the story of House Targaryen, is set 200 years before the events of Game of Thrones. Matt Smith, Olivia Cooke, Emma D’Arcy, Eve Best, Steve Toussaint, Fabien Frankel, Ewan Mitchell, Tom Glynn-Carney, Sonoya Mizuno, and Rhys Ifans will return, in addition to Harry Collett, Bethany Antonia, Phoebe Campbell, Phia Saban, Jefferson Hall, and Matthew Needham. New cast members include: Abubakar Salim as Alyn of Hull, Gayle Rankin as Alys Rivers, Freddie Fox as Ser Gwayne Hightower, Simon Russell Beale as Ser Simon Strong, Clinton Liberty as Addam of Hull, Jamie Kenna as Ser Alfred Broome, Kieran Bew as Hugh, Tom Bennett as Ulf, Tom Taylor as Lord Cregan Stark, and Vincent Regan as Ser Rickard Thorne. 9 p.m. ET/8 p.m. CT and streaming on Max

The 77th Annual Tony Awards (CBS/Paramount+): Tony nominee Ariana DeBose returns to host for the third time. Performances during the show include: Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club with nominees Gayle Rankin and Eddie Redmayne; Hell’s Kitchen featuring the music of producer Alicia Keys, with nominees Shoshana Bean, Brandon Victor Dixon, Kecia Lewis and Maleah Joi Moon; Illinoise, featuring the music of Sufjan Stevens, directed and choreographed by Justin Peck; Merrily We Roll Along, a Stephen Sondheim classic with nominees Jonathan Groff, Lindsay Mendez and Daniel Radcliffe; Suffs, a new musical whose producers include Hillary Clinton, with nominees Nikki M. James and Shaina Taub; The Outsiders, based on the book and the film, whose producers include Angelina Jolie, with nominees Joshua Boone, Brody Grant and Sky Lakota-Lynch; The Who’s Tommy featuring music of Pete Townsend and The Who; Water for Elephants, based on the bestselling book and film, featuring Grant Gustin and the astonishing acrobatic cast. For a full list of nominees, click here. 8 p.m. ET/7 p.m. CT/5 p.m. PT and streaming on Paramount+

Hotel Cocaine (MGM+): In this eight-episode crime thriller (which will air every Sunday through August 4) Danny Pino plays Roman Compte, a Cuban exile and general manager of the Mutiny Hotel, which is the glamorous epicenter of the Miami cocaine scene of the late ‘70s and early ‘80s. In the first episode, Compte is forced by the DEA to spy on his estranged older brother, Nestor Cabal, the city's biggest importer of cocaine. Michael Chiklis, Mark Feuerstein, Yul Vazquez, Tania Watson, Corina Bradley, and Laura Gordon also star. Streaming

Monday, June 17

AFI Life Achievement Award: A Tribute to Nicole Kidman (TCM): Oscar and Emmy-winner Nicole Kidman is the first Australian actor to receive the AFI Life Achievement Award. The show includes tributes from Cate Blanchett, Russell Crowe, Zac Efron, Jimmy Fallon, Morgan Freeman, Hugh Jackman, Joey King, Mike Myers, Zoe Saldaña, Aaron Sorkin, Meryl Streep, Miles Teller, Keith Urban, Naomi Watts, and Reese Witherspoon. 10 p.m. ET, 9 p.m. CT

Monday, June 17

My Life is Murder (Acorn TV/BBC America): The fourth season of the crime drama starring Lucy Lawless (Spartacus, Xena: Warrior Princess) as investigator Alexa Crowe debuts with two episodes today. The new season features a slew of puzzling cases ranging from homicidal hairdressers and wicked widows to brutal ballet and deadly soufflés. Virgin River's Martin Henderson also stars as Lawless' brother, Will. In episode 401 (titled “To Dye For”), a wealthy socialite dies in suspicious circumstances, leaving her entire fortune to her cat. To uncover the truth Alexa investigates a heady world of high society gossip and hostile hair stylists. Then in episode 402 (titled “Tough Love”), Alexa investigates the death of a tough tennis coach, but she’s not the only one on the case. A glamorous private investigator is determined to solve the case before Alexa. 9 p.m. ET/8 p.m. CT

Maine Cabin Masters: Building Italy (Magnolia Network): The Maine Cabin Masters test their skills in Italy as Chase and Sarah Morrill, along with their four teenagers, bring the team to a remote village to renovate their dream home Cabin Masters style. Streaming

Tuesday, June 18

Outstanding: A Comedy Revolution (Netflix): This is the first feature-length documentary to examine the history of queer stand-up comedy. Per Netflix, “It considers the importance of LGBTQ+ stand-up as an instrument for social change over the past five decades, actively reflecting and challenging cultural norms and values. Ultimately, the film reveals that queer comedians—whether they intended to or not—helped change the world, one joke at a time.” Lily Tomlin, Sandra Bernhard, Wanda Sykes, Eddie Izzard, Hannah Gadsby, Tig Notaro, Rosie O'Donnell, Margaret Cho, Bob the Drag Queen, and Trixie Mattel, and more are featured. Streaming

I Used to Be Funny (Utopia): The dark comedic drama follows Sam Cowell (Rachel Sennott), an aspiring stand-up comedian and au pair struggling with PTSD as she decides whether or not to join the search for Brooke (Olga Petsa), a missing teenage girl she used to nanny. The story exists between the present, where Sam tries to recover from her trauma and get back on stage, and the past, where memories of Brooke make it harder and harder to ignore the petulant teen’s sudden disappearance. On digital

Here to Climb (HBO/Max): The sports documentary follows professional climber Sasha DiGiulian as she takes on summit after summit, inspired and mentored by female climbing icon Lynn Hill. 9 p.m. ET/8 p.m. CT and streaming on Max

Wednesday, June 19

Black Barbie (Netflix): From Shondaland, the documentary directed by Lagueria Davis celebrates the momentous impact three Black women at Mattel had on the evolution of the Barbie brand as we know it. (The first Black Barbie was introduced in 1980.) Streaming

Hope in the Water (PBS): The three-part docuseries from four-time James Beard Award and Emmy winner Chef Andrew Zimmern also features environmental activists Shailene Woodley, Martha Stewart, Baratunde Thurston, and José Andrés. Zimmern travels the globe to discover the creative solutions and breakthrough blue food technologies that could not only feed humans but help save threatened seas and fresh waterways. The series highlights the stories of innovators, aquafarmers, and fishers who are working toward a sustainable future for the planet. 9 p.m. ET/8 p.m. CT, and on PBS.org and the PBS App

Thursday, June 20

Blue Lights (BritBox): Episodes three and four of the Northern Irish romantic drama premiere today. In episode 203, titled “Love Knows,” tensions grow on Mount Eden, and a response call forces Steve to confront his past. Meanwhile, Annie deals with the consequences of an impulsive decision. Then, in episode 204, titled “The Stamp of Nature,” Shane leads Tommy into danger as a result of being under pressure from Canning to get results, while Lee is the new boss in Mount Eden. Streaming

Blue Lights on BritBox.


Blue Lights on BritBox.
Christopher Barr/BritBox

Friday, June 21

Thelma (Magnolias Pictures): June Squibb plays Thelma Post, a feisty 93-year-old woman who gets conned by a phone scammer pretending to be her grandson (The White Lotus' Fred Hechinger). Richard Roundtree, Parker Posey, Clark Gregg, and Malcolm McDowell also star in this comedy/action film. In theaters

Kinds of Kindness (Searchlight Pictures): Emma Stone reunites with director Yorgos Lanthimos, and stars opposite Jesse Clemons, Willem Dafoe, Margaret Qualley, Joey Alwyn, and more. Here's the synopsis: It's a triptych fable, following a man without choice who tries to take control of his own life; a policeman who is alarmed that his wife who was missing-at-sea has returned and seems a different person; and a woman determined to find a specific someone with a special ability, who is destined to become a prodigious spiritual leader. In theaters

Trigger Warning (Netflix): Jessica Alba returns to her action roots as a skilled Special Forces commando who takes ownership of her father's bar after he suddenly dies and she finds herself at odds with a violent gang. Mark Webber, Jake Weary, and Anthony Michael Hall also star. Streaming

Saturday, June 22

Two Scoops of Italy (Hallmark Channel): Hunter King and Michele Rosiello star in the latest Passport to Love movie that's basically meant for anyone who loves Italy and gelato (that's all of us, right?) Here's the logline: When an American chef (King) travels to a quaint village in Italy for inspiration, she falls in love with the flavors, culture, gelato, and the Italian man (Rosiello) who helps her discover it all. 8 p.m. ET/PT, 7 p.m. CT

Originally Appeared on Glamour