What's On: ‘Game of Thrones’ Finale, ‘The Tick,’ Whitney Houston Remembered, MTV Video Music Awards
Lena Headey, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau.
Game of Thrones (Sunday, 9/8c, HBO): As the spectacular seventh season of the epic dark fantasy comes to a close with an 80-minute episode symbolically titled “The Dragon and the Wolf,” it’s hard to know what’s a more frightening prospect: a reanimated zombie dragon working on behalf of the Night King, a vengeful Arya (Maisie Williams) turning on her own sister, “Lady of Winterfell” Sansa (Sophie Turner), or a summit meeting in Kings Landing hosted by the ruthless Queen Cersei (Lena Headey). OK, we vote dragon, but there’s plenty of opportunity for carnage all over Westeros.
The Tick (Friday, Amazon): For anyone who’s wished the latest wave of superhero shows and/or movies would just lighten up, here’s a beyond-refreshing respite in the latest incarnation of Ben Edlund’s cult comedy about the buffoonish blue-suited Tick (droll Peter Serafinowicz), who enlists mousy accountant Arthur (Griffin Newman) as his sidekick to combat evil. It’s more of a giggle than an LOL, but harmless fun.
Whitney: Can I Be Me (Friday, 9/8c, Showtime): The musical highs and tragic personal lows of the gifted Whitney Houston are examined with an unvarnished lens by director Nick Broomfield (Kurt & Courtney) and Rudi Dolezal. The film, which features rare backstage videos, also dissects her turbulent relationship with Bobby Brown.
MTV Video Music Awards (Sunday, 8/7c, MTV): This anachronism harking back to the days when the “M” in MTV stood for music used to command attention for the outrageous antics on stage and sometimes in the audience. This year, the hype seems muted as Thrones commands all the weekend’s TV buzz. Katy Perry hosts, Pink picks up the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award, and performers include Miley Cyrus, Ed Sheeran, Fifth Harmony, Lorde, the Weeknd and Shawn Mendes. Aiming for political relevance, MTV has invited active-duty transgender military service members to attend.
Ray Donovan (Sunday, 9/8c, Showtime): Another hard-luck day in the life of the Donovan family in this scattershot episode. While Ray (Liev Schrieber) continues to mope as the loneliest widower in Calabasas, brother Bunchy (Dash Mihok) has one of his worst days ever—and that’s saying something—and daughter Bridget (Kerris Dorsey) overshares with her new beau (Graham Rogers, so charming on Netflix’s Atypical). The most enjoyable subplot is also the grisliest, as calm-as-a-cucumber Mickey (Jon Voight) and Daryl (Pooch Hall) get involved in a celebrity client’s clean-up that might even make Ray gulp.
Inside Weekend TV: It might help to be under the influence to enjoy the new Netflix comedy Disjointed (Friday), starring the indomitable Kathy Bates as the hippy-dippy proprietor of a California marijuana dispensary. The shrieking studio audience is surely buzzed on something, because it can’t be the writing. … Lost’s Terry O’Quinn hosts Science Channel’s Mysteries of the Missing (Saturday, 10/9c), which opens with a look at the 2014 disappearance of Malaysian Airlines Flight 370. … The parade of Princess Diana memorials continues. Smithsonian Channel airs two more, back to back on Sunday: Diana and the Paparazzi (8/7c) explores the down side of the media’s fascination with the “People’s Princess,” while Diana: The Day We Said Goodbye (9/8c), narrated by Kate Winslet, relives the funeral the grieving world watched 20 years ago as Elton John sang “Goodbye England’s Rose.”