All season, HBO has been pointing towards tonight’s Game of Thrones with promos promising, “War is Coming.” Well, the Battle of the Blackwater commences tonight with an episode written by George R.R. Martin himself. I can’t decide whether this specific show’s timing – on Memorial Day weekend – is forgivably unfortunate or somehow appropriate, but it seems at home during a weekend of classic war films that’s then followed by a star-studded trip back to the Spanish Civil War and a reimagining of the Snow White fairy tale that almost looks influenced by Thrones.
SUNDAY, MAY 27
Game of Thrones, HBO, 9 p.m.
The season 2 finale is next week, but this is the episode fans of Martin’s second book, A Clash of Kings, have been waiting to see. Can it possibly equal the epic scenes they’ve imagined in their minds? The preview promo certainly doesn’t disappoint.
MONDAY, MAY 28
Hemingway & Gellhorn, HBO, 9 p.m.
Clive Owen’s “Papa” and Nicole Kidman’s Martha Gellhorn head to Spain with their typewriters to document the bloody 1930s civil war that would foreshadow World War II. Like the historic events they covered, the couple’s romance proved tumultuous and combustible.
TUESDAY, MAY 29
Cougar Town season finale, ABC, 8 p.m.
Rest assured, the sitcom has already been rescued by TBS, but its final appearance on ABC after three seasons promises to be sweet. Jules and Grayson’s plans for a secluded wedding are disrupted when the gang invites itself, but they aren’t even the most exciting wedding crashers – David Arquette plays a hotel employee assigned to help the lucky couple.
WEDNESDAY, MAY 30
Stanley Cup Finals, Game 1: Los Angeles Kings at New Jersey Devils, NBC, 8 p.m.
Last year, Boston’s Cup-clinching victory over Vancouver in Game 7 was the most watched NHL game in nearly 40 years. Now with teams from the country’s two biggest TV markets in the finals, NBC is hoping to score even bigger numbers this week. Prepare to learn how to pronounce Ilya Kovalchuk in a hurry, or you go to the box and you feel shame.
THURSDAY, MAY 31
The Daily Show, Comedy Central, 11 p.m.
After an extended vacation, Jon Stewart returns this week, beginning with an appearance from Michelle Obama on Tuesday night. On Thursday, Jim Parsons pops in presumably to discuss his new Broadway show, Harvey.
FRIDAY, JUNE 1
Snow White and the Huntsman opens in theaters
Typically when two rival films race into theaters, first is best. But the more lighthearted Snow White film, Mirror Mirror with Julia Roberts, underachieved, and Kristen Stewart’s militant fair maiden seems more in touch with recent can-do heroines of the Katniss variety. It also doesn’t hurt that the film’s two costars – Charlize Theron and Chris Hemsworth – are putting in double-duty face-time on other enormous summer blockbusters.
SATURDAY, JUNE 2
Kenny Chesney and Tim McGraw kick off their Brothers of the Sun tour in Tampa, Fla.
Summer officially doesn’t begin until June 20, but when these two old country boys kick off their joint stadium tour on Saturday in Tampa, consider it sun and suds season. You might not be able to catch the pair in Tampa, but they’ll be on the road for the next 88 days, clocking more than 19,000 miles as they fill America’s biggest football stadiums. The summer essentially won’t be over until they say so.
SUNDAY, JUNE 3
MTV Movie Awards, MTV, 9 p.m.
There are dozens of reasons to watch MTV’s sophomoric but always entertaining take on the year’s most popular movies. Host Russell Brand is sure to shock a grandma or two. In what amounts to MTV’s version of Sean Penn versus Mickey Rourke for Best Actor, Colin Farrell (Horrible Bosses) is up against Jon Hamm (Bridesmaids) for Best On Screen Dirtbag. And the entire Batman braintrust will be on hand to unveil some new footage of The Dark Knight Rises.