Game of Thrones is gone for another year. Jon Snow is maybe gone forever. Or maybe we know nothing.
Despite the desperate anxiety of having to wait a whole 12 months before we get any answers, there are some bright lights ahead.
Perhaps most exciting is that everyone’s favorite bearded creep George R.R. Martin (author of the book series A Song of Ice and Fire, upon which the series is based) has said that he hopes to release the next book, titled The Winds of Winter, before the sixth TV season drops. So, we, in fact, do not have to wait a whole year for more GoT. If Martin and his team are as industrious as I think they are, we probably only have to wait until Christmas.
If you haven’t read the books yet, now would be an excellent time to start. As Martin prepares to release the next installment, he has announced he will not pen a single episode of the sixth season. Showrunners David Benioff, D.B. Weiss and Bryan Cogman will be doing that legwork. As such, the storylines of the book series and the TV series may start to diverge even more so than they already have. Martin has told Benioff et al. how the story will end, but not necessarily all details on how to get there. It’s like Choose Your Own Adventure, but with more sex and death.
If you’re not interested in investing in what is, to be fair, an exhaustive adventure that makes the complex politics, violence and explicit sexuality of the TV show seem tame, you’re still in luck. Next Sunday, June 21 is the biggest premiere night of the summer. There are seven new or revived series to choose from, with something for nearly every taste. Choose Your Own Adventure, indeed!
BattleBots (ABC, 8 p.m.)
ABC aims to bring summer popcorn fun to the small screen with the six-episode return of BattleBots, a series that ran on Comedy Central for five seasons and was cancelled in 2002. It’s a battle of robot versus robot, featuring stories of the pursuit of technical greatness. No word if Bill Nye will return as the “technical expert.” He’s busy these days, but is still showing up here and there on TV.
Celebrity Family Feud (ABC, 9 p.m.)
The original celebrity version of this classic game show was hosted by Al Roker and had a short run on NBC in 2008. Now, ABC is bringing it back with host Steve Harvey and a wide array of match ups, including (with their respective families) Anthony Anderson vs. Toni Braxton, Dr. Phil vs. Penny Marshall, Kevin McHale vs. Fred Willard and the American Stars from the NFL Players Association vs. the National Stars from the NFL Players Association.
The Last Ship (TNT, 9 p.m.)
Sunday also marks the return of TNT’s The Last Ship for a second season. The series follows the crew of the fictional U.S.S. Nathan James as they fight to survive a global pandemic that has wiped out 80 percent of the world’s population. It’s based on a novel by Bill Brinkley, (so it’s probably well written) produced by Michael Bay (so there are probably explosions) and stars Eric Dane and Rhona Mitra, aka Lara Croft (so there is probably some McSteamy eye candy for all in between the panic and death). You can catch up on season one (only 10 episodes) on Hulu Plus.
True Detective (HBO, 9 p.m.)
The GoT timeslot on HBO will be filled by the second season of True Detective. Since it’s an anthology series, you needn’t have watched season one to start season two. It’s a whole new story with a whole new cast, including Taylor Kitsch, Colin Farrell, Rachel McAdams and Vince Vaughn. Set in California, the eight-episode second season begins with the murder of a corrupt politician. A career criminal on his way to cleaning up his act may have had something to do with it, and the investigation brings together three cops from different precincts.
Ballers (HBO, 10 p.m.)
Following True Detective on HBO is an hour of new comedies. Ballers is about the world of athletic recruitment, which means lots of dude jokes, bling, cars and ladies lounging by the pool. It is produced by and stars Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, in his first non-wrestling TV venture since 2013’s failure The Hero.
The Brink (HBO, 10:30 p.m.)
Second in the 10 p.m. time slot is The Brink. It follows a team of slipshod American government workers who will deal with a new international crises each season. Tim Robbins is the Secretary of State, Jack Black is a Foreign Service agent and Pablo Schreiber is a fighter pilot. Heaven help us.
The Crimson Field (PBS, 10 p.m.)
If you’re not into the half-hour comedy vibe, maybe you’re into British war dramas. The Crimson Field, airing at 10 p.m. on PBS, is about medics and their patients at a hospital in France during World War I. It stars Oona Chaplin, aka Robb Stark’s wife Talisa Maegyr, for those still mourning the Red Wedding. It first aired last year on BBC One, so it looks like it will scratch some of your Downton Abbey itches, too.