What to Watch This Week: June 18 to 23

From the return of Outlander to Marvel's Secret Invasion, we round up our top 10 shows to watch this week

From the return of Outlander to Marvel’s Secret Invasion, we round up our top 10 shows to watch this week

1. Outlander – Sunday, June 18, W Network | Season Premiere

The droughtlander is finally over. The penultimate season of this romantic drama finally kicks off in Canada this week, setting up the end that fans know will be here too soon. Thankfully, Claire (Caitríona Balfe) and Jamie (Sam Heughan) have plenty of adventures to partake in before that sad day.

This year the story revolves around the seventh book in Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series, An Echo in the Bone. There are 16 new episodes to look forward to, although the installments will consist of two parts, with the second part to air sometime in 2024. There’s also a new iteration of the theme song, “The Skye Boat Song,” interpreted and recorded by Grammy-winner Sinead O’Connor to look forward to. As for what to expect from the story? Well, book fans and creatives have been pretty tight-lipped. What we do know, thanks to teasers and trailers, is that there’s a lot more drama in store. A tragic fire at Fraser’s Ridge causes Brianna (Sophie Skelton) to go back in time, for one. There’s also footage of Brianna giving birth and Claire being shockingly sentenced to death by hanging. And, of course, we know there’s a war coming, with loyalties put to the test.

“The land the Frasers call home is changing—and they must change with it,” teases the network. “In order to protect what they’ve built, the Frasers have to navigate the perils of the Revolutionary War. They learn that sometimes to defend what you love, you have to leave it behind. As the conflict draws them out of North Carolina and into the heart of this fight for independence, Jamie, Claire, Brianna, and Roger (Richard Rankin) are faced with impossible decisions that have the potential to tear their family apart.”

2. The Righteous Gemstones – Sunday, June 18, HBO Canada | Season Premiere

Danny McBride’s megachurch satire returns for season three with two new episodes. As the Gemstone siblings get their chance to take control of the church at long last, they discover that leadership isn’t as easy as it’s cracked up to be.

3. Extraordinary Birder with Christian Cooper – Wednesday, June 21, Disney+ | Series Premiere

Birdwatching aficionados won’t want to miss this new series that follows lifelong birder Christian Cooper as he navigates rocky lava terrain in Hawaii to get close to elusive honeycreepers, treks into rainforests in Puerto Rico for a glimpse at parrots, scales a bridge in Manhattan for a peregrine falcon, and generally does whatever it takes to show viewers the remarkable world in the sky above.

4. Skull Island – Thursday, June 22, Netflix | Series Premiere

This new animated series follows a group of six bold adventurers who find themselves shipwrecked on Skull Island, a remote and mysterious locale in the middle of the South Pacific that’s home to giant gorilla King Kong and all manner of gargantuan prehistoric beasts. Mae Whitman, Nicolas Cantu, Darren Barnet, Benjamin Bratt and Betty Gilpin are among the actors lending their voices to the latest continuation of the story that began in 1933 big-screen classic King Kong.

5. Glamorous – Thursday, June 22, Netflix | Series Premiere

It takes a long time to look glamorous, and it turns out that it takes a long time to make Glamorous, too: this new series has been in the works for more than four years now, and while it’s finally making its debut on Netflix this week, it actually began life as a pilot for The CW. Even then, however, the lead was Miss Benny, playing Marco Mejia, a character described by Netflix as “a young gender non-conforming queer man whose life seems to be stuck in place until he lands a job working for legendary makeup mogul Madolyn Addison.”

In its original incarnation, however, Madolyn was set to be played by Brooke Shields, with the cast filled out by Peyton List (School Spirits) and John Barrowman (Torchwood, Arrow). Fast-forward four years, and now the latter two actors are nowhere to be found, while Madolyn is played by none other than Kim Cattrall.

The fact that the series is debuting in June, a.k.a. Pride Month, is certainly not a coincidence: when the website Queerty posted about the impending premiere, they did so with a headline referring to it as “Netflix’s super gay new show.” The cast also includes Zane Phillips as Chad, Jade Payton as Venetia, Michael Hsu Rosen as Ben, Ayesha Harris as Britt and Graham Parkhurst as Parker.

Offering a premise that falls somewhere between The Devil Wears Prada, Ugly Betty, and Emily in Paris, the series promises viewers that this new gig is “Marco’s first chance to figure out what he wants out of life, who he actually is, and what it really means for him to be queer.”

It’s a series that starts off with a great deal of dream fulfillment, but it also underlines the fact that it takes work to keep the dream alive.

6. Downey’s Dream Cars – Thursday, June 22, Crave | Series Premiere

Who knew Robert Downey, Jr. is a serious gearhead with a passion for muscle cars? That’s the focus of Downey’s Dream Cars, in which the Avengers icon—who’s also an environmental activist—joins a talented team of automotive experts to convert his collection of classic cars so they can run without fossil fuel. 

“The cars of the ’60s and ’70s just make your heart beat a little faster,” said Downey in a statement for the show. “We are what we drive, and having amassed a formidable collection of classic cars over the years, I was a petrol-spewing mess. And a hypocrite, as I’d founded the Footprint Coalition in 2019 to scale technologies that mitigate climate change. Fortunately, I’m a bit of a dreamer. The last three years have been an experiment in hope, as I engaged the best and brightest minds to evaluate, educate, elevate and decarbonize these vehicles in a way that demonstrates the limitless potential of creative problem-solving.”

7. The Perfect Find – Friday, June 23, Netflix

It’s never good when your work and home lives collide, except in the world of movies. Enter this Tribeca Film Festival selection, which makes its world premiere this week. Stars Gabrielle Union and Keith Powers are all about mixing business with pleasure in the steamy flick, based on Tia Williams’ 2016 book of the same name. After an epic career stumble, Jenna is on the verge of a major fashion career comeback.

The only problem? She happens to fall for her boss’ much-younger son, Eric. As they continue developing feelings for each other, Jenna must decide if love conquers all or if jeopardizing her entire career is worth it.

Watch for nods to classic films like Roman Holiday and Carmen Jones, with lots of fresh spins and, of course, all the romance. The all-star cast also includes Janet Hubert (The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air), Gina Torres (Suits), Niecy Nash (Reno 911!), and D. B. Woodside (Lucifer).

8. I’m A Virgo – Friday, June 23, Prime Video | Series Premiere

This series from firebrand director Boots Riley (Sorry to Bother You) focuses on Cootie (When They See Us Emmy-winner Jharrel Jerome), a 13-foot-tall Black man who has grown up secreted away from society, digesting a steady diet of comic books and TV shows. Encountering the outside world, he has difficulties fitting in.

9. Secret Invasion – Friday, June 23, Disney+ | Series Premiere

As companions to Marvel’s multitudes of movies, Disney+ has offered fans various television series set within the “Marvel Cinematic Universe.” These have really run the gamut, from the clever sitcom deconstruction of WandaVision to the sharp feminist comedy of She-Hulk to the time-travelling trippiness of Loki.

The latest reintroduces a fan-favourite character who’s woven his way throughout Marvel’s movies: former S.H.I.E.L.D. director Nick Fury, with Samuel L. Jackson reprising the role he’s been inhabiting for 15 years.

Secret Invasion is a direct spinoff of Captain Marvel and its upcoming sequel, The Marvels, focusing on the malevolent extraterrestrial race known as the Skrulls.

Fury uncovers the Skrulls’ clandestine attempt to take over Earth, using shapeshifting abilities that allow them to impersonate anyone on the planet.

Uncertain of who he can and can’t trust, Fury enlists a few of his closest allies: fellow S.H.I.E.L.D. alum Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders), former CIA agent Everett Ross (Martin Freeman, reprising the character last seen in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever), Skrull Talos (Ben Mendelsohn), who has carved out a life on Planet Earth, and James “Rhodey” Rhodes (Don Cheadle), a.k.a. longtime Avenger “War Machine.” Other characters include Skrull antagonist Gravik (Kingsley Ben-Adir), MI6 agent Sonya Falsworth (Oscar-winner Olivia Colman) and G’iah (Game of Thrones‘ Emilia Clarke), Talos’ daughter.

While details are being kept under wraps, clues can be found in the comic book series upon which the TV show is based, wherein it’s difficult to keep track of which characters are actually themselves and which are shape-shifting Skrulls. Probably not coincidentally, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige teased that the series “would allow us to do something different than we’ve done before.”

10. Social Currency – Friday, June 23, Netflix | Series Premiere

These days, with so many of us glued to our phones and screens, it was only a matter of time before somebody decided to pair up social media and streaming. That time is now, with the debut of this Indian series, which sounds ripe for a North American adaptation at some point.

The series is the streamer’s latest social experiment, in which eight social media influencers from India are put to the test. To do so, Netflix takes away their smartphones, verified checkmarks, and online followings to see how these influencers can handle the real world without their virtual armies.

The first season includes Ruhi Dilip Singh, Roshni Rai, Mridul Madhok, Sakshi Sagar Chopra, Vagmita Singh, Aakash Mehta, Bhavin Ashwin Bhanushali, and Parth Laghate.

This is a cast that’s bound to bring at least a few new subscribers to the streaming service’s platform. What kinds of challenges they’ll face together remains to be seen. But without any screens to hide behind, it will be interesting to see where the influencer life intersects with reality when it comes to gaining popularity.