12 TV Shows You Can Stream Right Now to Fill the Game of Thrones Void

Jason Momoa stars in Frontier
Jason Momoa stars in Frontier
Netflix

After eight seasons of hype, dread, dragons, and fan theories, we finally said goodbye to Game of Thrones. So what’s next on your streaming schedule? What TV show could possibly replace the incredible battles, roster of duplicitous schemers, and unpredictable plotlines of George R.R. Martin’s bleak and brutal fantasy saga? Thankfully, you’ve got options—and plenty of them.

Below, we’ve compiled a list of 12 series you can stream right now that should help as you’re going through Westeros withdrawal. Some of these shows feature complex plots and power struggles like in Game of Thrones but in completely different settings, while others are different takes on the fantasy genre, just in case dragons are really your thing. One even takes the familiar Game of Thrones themes and sets the whole thing in space. So check out our choices below, because no one should be without a series to binge. 

1. The Last Kingdom

Based on the series of historical-fiction novels by author Bernard Cornwell, BBC/Netflix’s The Last Kingdom checks plenty of the boxes that Game of Thrones fans will be looking for—most notably a roster of colorful villains, brooding heroes, sword-clanging battle scenes, and blood-soaked quests for power. And while it’s easy to view the whole thing as a poor man’s take on the HBO hit, the series separates itself by being rooted in actual historical events, namely the 9th-century rule of Alfred the Great, King of Wessex. The series is seen through the eyes of Uhtred of Bebbanburg (Alexander Dreymon), a man who grew up in the beer halls of the Danes but now fights against them for Alfred’s Saxon armies in the pursuit of a unified England.

Where to watch it: Netflix

2. Deadwood

Despite being off the air for 13 years, HBO’s foul-mouthed Western drama still ranks among the network’s greatest achievements. It’s based on the actual town of Deadwood, South Dakota, a mining camp that was established in the late 1870s and attracted vices of all shapes and sizes. The series, created by David Milch, examines the town as it evolves from a patchwork of disreputable businesses and outlaws into a more integrated community where law and order attempt to prevail. At the center of it all sits Al Swearengen, owner of The Gem saloon, a profane force of nature who manipulates the town and its people to ensure he remains at the top of the heap. Like Game of Thrones, Deadwood is an examination of power and the necessary lengths one needs to go to seize control and maintain it. Once you blow through the first three seasons, you’ll only have to wait until May 31 for the much-too-long-awaited Deadwood: The Movie to premiere on HBO. 

Where to watch it: HBO GO, Amazon Prime Video

3. Rome

The brainchild of Bruno Heller (Gotham) and the inimitable John Milius (Apocalypse Now, Conan the Barbarian), the ambitious Rome proved to be a success with critics in the mid-2000s and helped lay the groundwork for what the future of the network would look like. The series brought historical events to life with a realistic (and oftentimes ruthless) touch, including the assassination of Julius Caesar (played by Game of Thrones star Ciarán Hinds).

Though the series met a premature end due to its cost, the twisting plots, sprawling cast of morally questionable characters, and the old-world brutality of the series set the stage for what HBO could do with Game of Thrones once the network was in the position to produce a show with a budget to match its ambitions.

Where to watch it: HBO GO, Amazon Prime Video

4. The Expanse

The Expanse has been described as “Game of Thrones in space” so many times online that the comparison has lost all meaning, but both shows do share many trademarks, including mounting tensions between factions, separate narratives that slowly weave together with chess-like precision, top-notch world-building, and a cast of maladjusted characters trying to navigate their way through all of it. The simmering conflict between Earth, Mars, and the Belt should echo Westeros just enough to leave fans intrigued without feeling like they’ve been there, done that.

Where to watch it: Amazon Prime Video

5. The Tudors

This one is simple: If you’re drawn more to the political intrigue of Game of Thrones rather than the pervasive gore and fantasy, then The Tudors will fit you like a slipper. This one chronicles the vicious reign of King Henry VIII (played by a not-nearly-fat-enough Jonathan Rhys Meyers), who moves from wife to wife seeking an heir to the throne and leaving plenty of heads in his wake. There’s also the requisite political fare to deal with, such as traitors in his inner circle, rebellions, assassinations, and Henry VIII’s own growing paranoia.

Where to watch it: Netflix

6. Vikings

This is a no-brainer for the Game of Thrones fan. Vikings has the power struggles, bloody battles, and repulsive villains you love to hate, but it ditches the fantastical and instead opts to be (loosely) based on the exploits of a real (though even that’s up for debate) Norse figure, Ragnar Lothbrok, played by Travis Fimmel. Here, Lothbrok is portrayed as an everyman farmer who finds himself commanding armies, leading raids against England, and etching his name into legend. Though not as hardcore as Game of Thrones (hey, it’s The History Channel, after all), Vikings still offers up plenty of bloody chaos that’s well worth your TV time.

Where to watch it: Amazon Prime Video, Hulu

7. The Crown

There’s not a sword or dragon or White Walker in sight, but The Crown’s meticulous waltz through history shares plenty of DNA with the goings-on in the fantasy realm of Westeros. This bingeable masterpiece is a meditation on power done right—it examines the sacrifices that need to be made as a queen, the inevitable personal suffering that goes along with it, and the near-impossible decisions that must be made on an everyday basis. Throughout the show, the Sword of Damocles is always right above Queen Elizabeth’s (Claire Foy) head, as she’s torn between her duties to herself, her family, and her people, all while dealing with conflicts from within her own inner circle that threaten to undermine her. Season 3, which will see Olivia Colman replace Foy as Queen Elizabeth II (and Game of Thrones's Tobias Menzies take over the role of Prince Philip from Matt Smith), is due to premiere some time this year.

Where to watch it: Netflix

8. Frontier

Jason Momoa has become one of Game of Thrones’s most successful alums after he broke out as Khal Drogo in the first season—even doing the unthinkable and turning Aquaman into a $1 billion global smash. But if you really need a binge fix, it’s his role as the moody outlaw Declan Harp on Netflix’s Frontier that should scratch that itch. Set during the 18th-century North American fur trade, focused specifically on the Hudson Bay Company’s ruthless dominance over the market, Frontier showcases Momoa doing what he does best: brooding to excess, taking down bad guys, and looking like he kind of needs a shower the entire time. All with that trademark Momoa charm, of course.

Where to watch it: Netflix

9. The Shannara Chronicles

Based on author Terry Brooks’s Sword of Shannara trilogy, this MTV-produced fantasy drama was obviously created in a post-Thrones world, but it still managed to do enough things right to carve out its own niche. Rather than being set in a Middle Earth-esque second world, The Shannara Chronicles takes place on our Earth thousands of years after a nuclear war devastated most of humanity. Downer though it may be, this gives life to a world full of wonders, including winged demons, lavish kingdoms, and the half-human/half-elf Wil, who must save the world from an impending evil once thought long vanquished.

Where to watch it: Netflix

10. Outlander

Fantasy blends with history in Outlander, a show about a WWII combat nurse named Claire Randall (Caitriona Balfe) who falls backward in time to 18th-century Scotland. If having to deal with both the Axis Powers and British redcoats in a single lifetime sounds stressful, add the fact that Claire is married to Frank Randall (Tobias Menzies) in the 20th century and falls in love with, and marries, Jamie Fraser (Sam Heughan) in the 1700s. This genre-packed mashup, based on the ongoing book series by Diana Gabaldon, leans on the romance more than Game of Thrones ever did, but its engrossing plots, stylish action, and impressive period-piece visuals should win over anyone looking for a new series to stream.  

Where to watch it: Starz, Starz on Hulu

11. Merlin

After spending eight seasons trudging through the bleak, unforgiving battlefields of Westeros, it might be a good idea to lighten the mood a bit—and BBC’s Merlin is the perfect fantasy romp to remedy the GRRM blues. This series tweaks the King Arthur legend by reimagining the timeless wizard (Colin Morgan) and the once and future king (Bradley James) as young contemporaries finding their way in a kingdom where magic has been banned, legends are in their infancy, and a talking dragon is always hanging around to dole out some sage advice. It won’t pack the dramatic punch of Game of Thrones, but Merlin delivers enough heart and whimsy to prove that brighter fantasy still has a place on television. 

Where to watch it: Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu  

12. The White Queen/The White Princess

George R.R. Martin may have created a fantasy world for his A Song of Ice and Fire series, but real events from our own history helped its formation. One of the key events that Martin borrowed from was the famed War of the Roses, a series of civil wars between the Houses of York and Lancaster for the claim to the English throne. Starz’s The White Queen and its sequel, The White Princess, retell this story, from its beginning all the way to the start of King Henry VII’s reign. The two miniseries are based on the historical fiction book series by author Philippa Gregory, and they feature all of the betrayals, strong-willed women, and royal drama of Westeros—but in a fast-paced two seasons you can blow through in a week.

Where to watch it: Starz

Harry Potter Fans Are Waiting 10 Hours or More to Ride Hagrid’s Roller Coaster

Universal Orlando
Universal Orlando

Muggles will do anything to be a part of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

Universal Orlando opened up its newest ride this week at its version of Hogsmeade, the village that surrounds Hogwarts castle. Hagrid's Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure takes wannabe wizards and witches on a twisting, high-speed flight through the mystical Forbidden Forest.

Diehard fans began waiting overnight outside the park in anticipation of the ride, and it looks like just about everyone had the same idea. At 8:30 a.m. on opening day, the line was already eight hours long, and quickly stretched to 10 hours long by 10:30 a.m., CNN reports.

The line is worth the wait for many fans of the franchise. As Potterheads already know, Rubeus Hagrid, beloved friend of Harry Potter and the gang, has a special affinity for mysterious creatures. So who better to see the beasts of the forest with than the half-giant?

Participants on the ride can choose to sit in Hagrid’s sidecar or in the driver’s seat. The winding track includes appearances by some of our favorite wizards, like Arthur Weasley, and creatures benevolent and otherwise, such as Cornish pixies, massive spiders, and the three-headed dog, Fluffy.

Fans aren’t the only ones wanting to experience the ride. Some of the stars of the film series had a little reunion in Orlando this week to celebrate the opening, including Rupert Grint (Ron Weasley), Tom Felton (Draco Malfoy) and Evanna Lynch (Luna Lovegood).

Unlike the fans, however, they have magic (fame) to keep them from having to wait in 10-hour lines.

Happy riding, Potterheads!

[h/t CNN]

Chernobyl Creator Craig Mazin Urges Visitors to Treat the Exclusion Zone With Respect

Sean Gallup/Getty Images
Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Following the success of the HBO miniseries Chernobyl, one tour company reported that bookings to the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone located in Ukraine rose 35 percent. Now, series creator Craig Mazin is imploring the new wave of tourists to be respectful when snapping selfies at Chernobyl, Gizmodo reports.

A 2500-square-kilometer exclusion zone was established around the Chernobyl nuclear power plant shortly after its reactor exploded in 1986 and flooded the area with harmful radiation. The abandoned towns are still too radioactive for people to live there safely, but they have been deemed safe to visit temporarily with the supervision of a guide.

Chernobyl has supported a dark tourism industry for years, but thanks to the miniseries, photographs taken there are gaining new levels of attention online. News of influencers posing for irreverent selfies at the site of the nuclear disaster quickly went viral. Mazin tweeted:

Regardless of why people are visiting the site, being respectful in the presence of tragedy is always a good idea. It's also smart to resist leaving a tour group to snap the perfect selfie in some abandoned building: Tour companies warn that breaking rules and wandering off approved paths can lead to dangerous radiation exposure.

[h/t Gizmodo]

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