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2 epic fantasy series just gave us breathtaking new sneak peeks

Published May 14th, 2024 5:41PM EDT
House of the Dragon on HBO
Image: Ollie Upton/HBO

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Anyone who loves fantasy-oriented streaming TV series hasn’t had much to binge along those lines lately — at least, nothing that’s new. However, that’s about to change in a big way over the next couple of months with the return of two super-high-profile fantasy dramas.

HBO and Amazon’s Prime Video both unveiled trailers today offering up exciting first looks at new seasons of House of the Dragon and The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, respectively. Both shows take similar approaches to their respective franchises (in that they’re both prequels), and both are also ridiculously expensive examples of prestige TV in the streaming era.

Let’s take a look at the new trailers, starting with HBO’s — which, of course, previews a continuation of its Game of Thrones prequel series, based on creator George R.R. Martin’s encyclopedic Fire & Blood book that chronicles House Targaryen.

The eight-episode second season, which debuts on June 16, features several new cast members who’ve boarded the show — they 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.

The returning cast includes Matt Smith, Olivia Cooke, Emma D’Arcy, Eve Best, Steve Toussaint, Fabien Frankel, Ewan Mitchell, Tom Glynn-Carney, Sonoya Mizuno, and Rhys Ifans. Additional returning cast includes Harry Collett, Bethany Antonia, Phoebe Campbell, Phia Saban, Jefferson Hall, and Matthew Needham.

Story-wise, the second season picks up where we left off when Aemond’s dragon Vhagar attacked Lucerys and his dragon Arrax. Warring sides are facing off to obliterate each other, making the scenes with Rhaenyra and Alicent musing about peace seem so futile.

As for Prime Video’s Lord of the Rings series, its eight-episode second season is arriving on Aug. 29, and you can check out the first trailer for it below.

In the new season, Charlie Vickers makes his return as Sauron, while the trailer promises another​​ “action-packed journey back to J.R.R. Tolkien’s Second Age, and shows the ascending evil presence of Sauron as he continues his vengeful quest for power.”

Continues Amazon’s summary: “Showcasing the cinematic splendor that the series is known for, and heralding the return of many fan-favorite characters, including Galadriel, Prince Durin IV, Arondir, and Celebrimbor, this first-look also reveals the much-anticipated creation of more Rings.”

And again attesting to the fact that these two shows are both massively important to their respective streamers — Amazon says that the first season of its show was viewed by more than 100 million people worldwide, in the process driving more Prime sign-ups worldwide during its launch window than any other previous content to date.

Andy Meek Trending News Editor

Andy Meek is a reporter based in Memphis who has covered media, entertainment, and culture for over 20 years. His work has appeared in outlets including The Guardian, Forbes, and The Financial Times, and he’s written for BGR since 2015. Andy's coverage includes technology and entertainment, and he has a particular interest in all things streaming.

Over the years, he’s interviewed legendary figures in entertainment and tech that range from Stan Lee to John McAfee, Peter Thiel, and Reed Hastings.