No matter whether youre watching for the first time or are on yourlatest rewatch, catching up withGame of Thronesoften ends with one big question (amid all of the other things we want to be answered): Are there other TV shows likeGame of Thronesto tackle next?
Game of Throneshas, for better and for worse, changed television drastically since its 2011 debut on HBO. The fantasy series, which is based onGeorge R.R. MartinsA Song of Ice and Fireseries, has turned into a worldwide phenomenonone that HBO and rival networks havetried to replicate. Weve seen hints ofGame of Thronesin shows thatkilled off big characters,offered plenty to theorize on, relished in the gore and violence, or put a major focus on the main characters as TV budgets became more ambitious. Amazon, whichwanted its ownGame of Thrones, went literally by greenlighting a TV adaptation ofLord of the Rings(a series that heavily influenced Martin).
Some shows might appeal toGame of Thronesfans because they cover common ground. Others might have more of a thematic resonance, even if it falls under a thematic genre. But until season 8and any of the prequel seriesarrives on our TVs, weve got more than enough TV shows likeGame of Thronesto start exploring. Here are our top recommendations, listed in no particular order.
The best TV shows likeGame of Thrones
- Seasons available:6
Lostfollowed a group of plane crash survivors more connected than they ever realized who came up against monsters, human and supernatural foes, and forces beyond their control as they tried to survive on a deserted island. It was both a breakout hit for ABC and a cult show with enough intrigue and mysteries to uncover in a time before those conversations played out on Twitter andReddit, but it also featured an ensemble cast and emotional arcs that could tug at your heartstrings. The best episodes could juggle all of it with ease. With a few exceptions (sorryNikki and Paulo),Lostwas even able to introduce compelling characters well after we became attached to the original roster who crashed onLosts mysterious island.
It also represents a potential scenario forGame of Thronesfans.Lostis remembered for what it did for television, but perhaps even more so for how it ended. While not the most-hated series finale in recent years, its one that still has fans divided more than eight years later. (For what its worth, I loved itand no, they werent dead the whole time.) The ending was more about emotional closure over the mysteries, which left some of the fans who were invested in the latter hanging. The end ofGame of Thronesmay be even more highly anticipated, and for those with high hopes, apotentially disappointing endingmight be even more devastating.
From the outside,Black Sailslooked like one of the many, manyGame of Thronesknock-offs that emerged in the wake ofGame of Thrones success. It was a big-budget drama on a prestige network (Starz instead of HBO) with a big name behind it (Michael Bay produced) and an ensemble cast of mostly unknown actors. It leaned in both on its historical and literary rootsit took place in the early 18th century and included severalTreasure Islandcharacterswith plenty of sex and violence mixed in. And sure, it had a lot of that in its first season. But season 2 onward made it clear thatBlack Sailswas a very different show, and the breadcrumbs only proved that was part of the shows design from the beginning. It tackled politics, sexuality, and the downside of monarchy largely with characters on the outskirts of power, and at times, it arguably does so better thanGame of Thrones.
- Seasons available:2
- Status:Ongoing; season 2 ended June 24, 2018
- Streaming:HBO Go/HBO NOW
Westworld, which is loosely based on the 1973 Michael Crichton movie and takes us to a theme park where humans can interact with, seduce, and kill lifelike robots called hosts, was alsoinitially written offfor its use of sex and violence at the expense of its female characters. But throughout the first two seasons, its turned those tropes on their heads as a group of hosts gain consciousness and take over the park. As the humanspush technology to the edgein search of immortality, the hosts are trying to discover their own humanity in the midst of their narratives, creating a complex and messy portrait of who they really are.
- Seasons available:1
- Status:Ongoing; season 1 ended May 27, 2018
- Streaming:BBC America(with a cable log-in); Hulu (late 2018)
Written byFleabagcreator and star Phoebe Waller-Bridge,Killing Eveupends a classic story, the cat-and-mouse game, and places two flawed women at the center of itbut its much more than its genderbent premise suggests. On one end is Eve Polastri (Sandra Oh), an MI5 officer who is recruited by MI6 and becomes obsessed with the assassin shes tracking, but the assassin Villanelle (Jodie Comer) ends up being just as intrigued by her. (Fiona Shaw also has an excellent turn as Eves boss Carolyn Martens.) Rife with fast-paced action, suspense, and plenty of sexual tension, the eventual meeting of the leadsalready with high stakesmore than pays off.
- Seasons available:1
- Status:Ongoing; season 1 finished airing May 21, 2018, while a second season of the anthology series willfocus on a new story
- Streaming:AMC(with a cable log-in)
The AMC miniseries, which is based on a novel of the same name, has its basis in one of historys great unsolved mysteries: the disappearance of the Franklin expedition. But the real horror and drama ofThe Terror(also the name of one of the crews ships) is often not with supernatural creatures that lurk in the arctic wasteland. Instead, its the paranoia, the illnesses, the bitter cold and boredom, and just how ill-prepared the men were for this particular journey. Its also the rare story mostly about men that doesnt treat its female characters solely as plot devices or make them completely two-dimensional.
With winter now in Westeros and the Army of the Dead on its way south of the Wall, its possible we may see some of that desperationwhich does appear inA Dance of Dragonsplay out on our screens.
6)The White Queen / The White Princess
Martin famously took part of his inspiration forA Song of Ice and Firefrom thereal-life conflict of the War of the Roses, civil wars that saw two rival houses with claims to the English throne play the game in court and on the field. After years of in-fighting, the war ended with a political marriage between Henry VII and Elizabeth of York, which would eventually lead to the reigns of Henry VIII and Elizabeth I. While its too early to tell ifGame of Throneswill have a similar political alliance, with Jon Snow and Daenerys new alliance (as well as romance), the possibility is there.
The White Queen(10 episodes) depicts the War of the Roses from the women who watched and schemed in it whileThe White Princess(eight episodes) follows the fallout of that war and the fragility of that truce.
- Status:Ongoing; season 4 debuts Nov. 10, 2018, on Starz
Outlandershows much of the big picturewith the series taking place in the 1940s, 1960s, and 18th century Scotlandas a woman accidentally travels back in time during a series of Scottish rebellions against the English crown. But its also very much a show that takes the time to focus on its character as the central relationshipbetween Claire Randall and Jamie Fraserface external and internal forces. Its one of the best TV shows likeGame of Thronesyoull find.
- Seasons available:5
- Streaming:Amazon Prime
At the heart ofOrphan Black, a thriller that explores bodily autonomy, cloning, and a persons identity, is the women at the center of it. The womenprimarily a group of clones all played by Tatiana Maslany, who makes you forget shes playing all of themeach come in with their own beliefs, drives, and goals. It shows that the personal is political but also highlights just how fantastic it is to see all of those characters come together and pull it off, whether its sneaking out vital data or imitating one another at a function.
9)Into the Badlands
- Seasons available:3
- Status:Ongoing; season 3 ended June 17, 2018
- Streaming:AMC(with a cable log-in);Netflix(seasons 1-2)
LikeGame of Thrones,Into the Badlandsoften turns genres on its head as it blends a post-apocalyptic world with feudal states, martial arts, and a mythological kingdom. Its got plenty of mythology on its side, and amid all of the action and violence is a story about one man trying to discover who he really is.
- Seasons available:3
- Status:Ongoing; season 3 ended June 27, 2018
- Streaming:SYFY(with a cable log-in); seasons 1-2 onAmazon Prime(season 3 is available for purchase)
Based on the novels by James S.A. Corey,The Expanserevels in its own complexities. It evolved from a fine but well-produced mystery sci-fi drama to something much deeper, exploring the kinds of themes we dont often get in sci-fi.Martin is among its fans, and although SYFY canceled the series after three seasons, Amazon Prime has swooped in to bring a fourth season to life.
- Seasons available:3
- Status:Ongoing; season 3 is in-progress on SYFY
- Streaming:SYFY(with a cable log-in); seasons 1-2 onNetflix
Wynonna Earp, which is based on the IDW comic series, follows the great-great-granddaughter of the legendary gunmanWyatt Earp,whos tasked with fighting the same people that Wyatt once battled, which are known as revenants, and the supernatural. It has hints ofSupernatural, but it also mixes in a supporting cast of female characters, secret government agencies, and a gun that can send revenants to hell.
- Seasons available:2
- Status:Ongoing; season 3 will debut Sept. 27, 2018, on NBC
- Streaming:NBC(with a cable log-in); seasons 1-2 onNetflix; recent episodes onHulu
WhileGame of Throneshad the benefit of several books and years of swirling fan theories to fuel it beforehand,The Good Places big twist (which I wont spoil here) came out of nowhere, although there are plenty of hints for viewers on a rewatch. It took a very funny show about a woman who wakes up in the shows depiction of heaven (The Good Place) and discovers that she was sent there by mistake. She then teams up with her ethics professor soulmate to teach her how to be good.
The Good Placeis funny, but it also doubles as the kind of comedy thats interested infar bigger life conundrums(for an example, look no further than season 2sTrolley Problem) and what it means for not only the characters we follow but for all of us.
- Status:Ongoing; season 2 dropped Dec. 8, 2017
Netflixs prestige political dramaThe Crownis more contemporary than many of the shows on this list, but the fine line that Queen Elizabeth II has to work should be more than familiar forGame of Thronesfans. She might sit on the throne, but she has to appease many of the men who serve her (including her own husband) without fracturing any of their egosand when she does, its usually in private. Whenever she suffers, she has to do it with more grace than a man would in her position. And with season 3 looking at a middle-aged Elizabeth, well get to see how the men in her life treat her now that shes older.