The Game of Thrones fever is finally over. After two years of waiting for the final season, the much-raved-about show ended in barely two months. Seems unfair for such a long hiatus.
Nonetheless, it was a great and remarkable, albeit tense and painful journey, of watching deception, lies, and betrayal happen one after the other.
Eight long years of entertaining viewers and the HBO series ended with very few characters from the first season alive. Death is undoubtedly a strong theme in the show until the very end (no spoilers here, sorry).
Now our Sundays are free and this means a replacement is in order. It’s time to find another that can possibly draw out the same fervor from its viewers as Game of Thrones did. So we scour the digital world and find a few promising ones from various networks, but admit it, it can be a hassle changing channels just to satiate our binge-watching needs.
Thankfully, Netflix offers an extensive collection of shows similar to Game of Thrones. They may not exactly be at par when it comes to the former’s large-scale production but they certainly also deserve a look.
If you’re into gratuitous sword-based action sequences, graphic sex and death scenes, and take fun in watching warring families drive each other mad, then the list below should serve as your guide. The shows mentioned have a distinct visual and narrative similarity with Game of Thrones.
If the history of the British monarchy interests you then there’s The Last Kingdom, The Tudors, and more. If you thought Jason Momoa deserved more screen time as Khal Drogo, then fret no more. He returns on TV screens as an equally ruthless fighter in Frontier.
Then there are stories about the great Norse seafarers, the likes of Vikings and Norsemen, two shows that offer a unique perspective into the Viking tribe history.
Netflix offers a lot more but we have handpicked those with a resemblance to Game of Thrones. The list should help you start a new chapter in your binge-watching journey.
The Tudors is all about the struggle and thirst for political power during the reign of King Henry VIII, played by Jonathan Rhys Meyers. The show is a history-based drama that tells the story of the young and lustful English royal who goes through a handful of relationships, or wives, in his pursuit for a male heir while he battles against betrayals and plots against him.
This Showtime drama came before Game of Thrones in 2007 and lasted for four seasons. It ended a year prior to the release of the pilot for the HBO series in 2010.
It gained esteemed praises and proved the need for period shows. Suffice to say, the series laid the groundwork for the release of other period drama like Game of Thrones, Vikings, and Outlander.
The Tudors has rated R for all the bloody details, nudity, and gratuitous sex scenes, albeit it provides an entertaining perspective on the monarch’s reign and past relations with his female companions, advisers, and his adversaries.
The show also exudes cinematic beauty and offers a compelling historical narrative from its stellar cast although don’t expect an accurate interpretation.
GOT fans may be familiar with one of the stars in the show. Natalie Dormer first played Anne Boleyn in The Tudors before she starred as King Joffrey Baratheon’s wife Margaery Tyrell in Game of Thrones.
Directors: Ciaran Donnelly, Jeremy Podeswa, Dearbhla Walsh – Screenplay: Michael Hirst – Cast: Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Henry Cavill, Anthony Brophy, Natalie Dormer – Run Time: 60 min
Fresh from the success of The Tudors, Michael Hirst pens another epic saga that takes viewers to medieval Scandinavia and along with the dark and brutal adventures of the Viking tribe.
This HISTORY original series chronicles Ragnar Lothbrok’s rise to power from a warrior and mere farmer to a great conqueror.
Ragnar’s curiosity and desire to explore the distant shores across the ocean gave him immense power as the King of the Viking tribes and eventually as the king of Denmark, who is infamous for his raids across France and England.
This is no Game of Thrones by any stretch because it’s not a fantasy drama rather a historical drama. Nonetheless, both shows share a resemblance in that it follows the same theme of betrayal, deception, political wars, and familial conflict. Ragnar’s ascension ultimately brings him pain and suffering as families and friends go against each other.
This series also contains some violent fighting scenes, some nudity and sex scenes. And much like Game of Thrones, Vikings is visually enticing with its spectacular depiction of medieval Scandinavia and is compelling with its character development and plot.
Directors: Daniel Grou, Ciaran Donnelly, Ken Girotti, Steve Saint Leger – Screenplay: Michael Hirst – Cast: Travis Fimmel, Katheryn Winnick, Alexander Ludwig, Gustaf Skarsgård – Run Time: 44 min
Game of Thrones is incomparable to Spartacus when it comes to betrayals, raw violence, and countless of intense action on the battlefield or in bed. This sword-and-sandal series is hands down one of the best depiction about the life of the Thracian Gladiator Spartacus, who led a slave uprising against the Romans in his heroic quest for vengeance.
This show has more than GOT offered. Countless plot betrayals, epic battle sequences on the arena, nudity (front and back, you name it, it has lots of ‘em), and need I mention the graphic, no-holds-barred sex scenes?
Spartacus has more steamy scenes than Game of Thrones and they look downright believable that you begin to wonder if the actors are really doing the deed on camera.
Regardless, this notorious flesh-and-blood show leaves a lot to the imagination and provokes serious thought about power, love, about being humble, and the appreciation of life.
Directors: Jesse Warn, Michael Hurst, Rick Jacobson –Screenplay: Steven S. DeKnight – Cast: Liam McIntyre, Andy Whitfield, Lucy Lawless, Manu Bennett – Run Time: 55 min
Game of Thrones loves to kill its characters right after you’ve grown fond of watching them and wanting to learn more about their story. If you’re the type who’d rather see characters live long enough to have their backstories fleshed out, then The 100 is your show.
Much like the premise of GOT, this YA adaptation is set in a post-apocalyptic world where what’s left of the human population is divided by groups or tribe, one more ruthless than the other. It too has violent scenes of torture but done so tastefully with less gore.
The cast is mainly comprised of young people as this show is targeted at the younger generation. Regardless, it has plenty of dark themes that the mature audience may find entertaining.
Directors: Dean White, P.J. Pesce, Ed Fraiman – Screenplay: Jason Rothenberg – Cast: Eliza Taylor, Bob Morley, Marie Avgeropoulos – Run Time: 43 min
The Last Kingdom
Based on The Saxon Stories novels by Bernard Cornwell, this British historical fiction series is set in the 9th Century AD, when England is divided into seven kingdoms. The Norse seafarers, the Viking Danes, have conquered most of the kingdoms and Wessex stands defiant under the strong command of King Alfred.
The protagonist is the orphan Uhtred, who is raised as a Viking after he was taken as a slave by Earl Ragnar. Uhtred’s loyalties are tested when he is forced to choose between the Danes who raised him and the kingdom that shares his ancestry.
The show follows his quest to claim his birthright. But doing so means he must tread on a dangerous path and play both parts in order to recapture his country of origin.
There’s never a dull moment in this show as there is always bone-crunching action in each episode and much like Game of Thrones, there is character development and lots of deception at play.
Not to mention it packs gruesome scenes of killing: crucifixion, eye gouging, stabbing, and beheading, these are just a few. What it lacks though is the explicit nudity, which many may have grown accustomed to in Game of Thrones.
Directors: Peter Hoar, Jon East, Anthony Byrne – Screenplay: Stephen Butchard, Bernard Cornwell – Cast: Alexander Dreymon, Ian Hart, David Dawson, Eliza Butterworth – Run Time: 60 min
History and fiction come together in this American adventure series that features famous historical figures like Jack Rackman, Captain Charles Vane, Anne Bonny, Governor Woodes Rogers, Ned Low, Blackbeard, and more. Then you have your favorite Treasure Island characters Captain Flint, and of course, Long John Silver.
This Emmy-winning TV show takes us 20 years before the events in Robert Louis Stevenson’s famous classic novel and during the Golden Age of Piracy. The narrative follows Captain Flint as he leads a younger crew in search of treasure after treasure. Along the way, they must learn to fight for survival as every nation has declared the pirates of New Providence island a threat and enemies to all.
Black Sails is spectacularly entertaining with a story that may seem convoluted to some but actually piece together nicely with quite a few surprises that add to the tension. This is not just your typical seafaring drama with lots of pirate exploits. The plot is actually far more complex than it initially seems when you watch the first few episodes.
Character developments and backstories happen smoothly and slowly as the show progresses and deviates from the usual flashback trope, which can sometimes be confusing and annoying.
Visually, Black Sails is compelling in its depiction of the pirates in the 1700s (costume, props, graphics, and all…the ships are especially astonishing). This show doesn’t also lack in sex, nudity, and violence.
Directors: Peter Hoar, Jon East, Anthony Byrne – Screenplay: Robert Levine, Jonathan E. Steinberg – Cast Jessica Parker Kennedy, Toby Stephens, Hannah New – Run Time: 56 min
Into the Badlands
If Game of Thrones has the Unsullied, then Into the Badlands has the Clippers, highly trained warriors who are forbidden from marrying and having children. Then there are the Nomads, lawless homicidal bandits much like the Dothrakis.
Into the Badlands also revolves around the story of rebellion and the quest for freedom from slavery, although the show is set in a post-apocalyptic world where crossbows, swords, and melee defense become the weapon of choice instead of guns.
The series follows a warrior and his young boy companion as they journey into the Badlands in search for enlightenment. They encounter a mix of characters along the way that tests their beliefs and moral values.
If you’re into martial arts and extreme fighting sequences like Kill Bill, then this show is right up your alley. It has grit, blood, and all the amazing, badass fighting shots you can possibly imagine. It has a creative concept that some may find unappealing but nonetheless the graphics, beautiful choreography, and a great cast make each episode a must watch.
Directors: Paco Cabezas, Toa Fraser – Screenplay: Alfred Gough, Miles Millar – Cast: Daniel Wu, Aramis Knight, Orla Brady, Emily Beecham – Run Time: 42 min
Jason Momoa made such a strong impression as the ruthless Dothraki leader Khal Drogo in Game of Thrones that fans were left dismayed by his premature exit. His character’s unexpected death in the first season had fans hoping that he returns in later episodes, although this never happened.
Khal Drogo may not have lived long to see his Khaleesi turn into a strong and powerful queen, but he certainly instilled in Daenerys his promise “to kill the men in iron suits and tear down their stone houses.”
Momoa may be done playing a Dothraki but he is far from over portraying the role of a bandit. In Frontier, he plays Declan Harp, a half-Irish/half Cree Native-Canadian outlaw who vows to put an end to the corrupt and illegal activities the Hudson’s Bay Company’s fur trade engages in to enrich itself.
Similar to Game of Thrones, this Netflix original series revolves around the theme of power struggle and greed but set in the backdrop of the fur trade in 18th century Canada. This series is also narrative-heavy and moves at a leisure pace in the first few episodes but becomes intense as the plot slowly unravels.
Directors: John Vatcher, Brad Peyton – Screenplay: Brady Peyton, Rob Blackie, Peter Blackie – Cast: Jason Momoa, Landon Liboiron, Zoe Boyle, Greg Bryk – Run Time: 60 min
Who says a good Viking story doesn’t deserve a dose of humor? When you have sibling rivalry, power struggle, and betrayal as driving elements in a story, there are bound to be a few comedic moments and this is what Norsemen is all about.
This is not your typical Viking series. Sure, it treads on the same concept of political strife and social issues as with Vikings, but it looks beyond the seriousness of it all and picks out the humor in each struggle to come up with a satirical show with Norwegians cast who mostly speak English.
Set in the 8th century, the story revolves around the residents of a Viking village as they face the challenges brought about by the changing times and resolve conflicts of varying comedic degrees with warring neighbors. The characters behave like any archetypical Viking but talk with a contemporary influence.
Norsemen may be on the darker and grimier side but it is also silly and fun, definitely worth your binge-watching hours. Think The Office and the Monty Python.
Directors: John Vatcher, Brad Peyton – Screenplay: Brady Peyton, Rob Blackie, Peter Blackie – Cast: Jason Momoa, Landon Liboiron, Zoe Boyle, Greg Bryk – Run Time: 60 min
Da Vinci's Demons
Some considered this better than Game of Thrones in terms of complexity in story and scientific aspect because it’s able to tell a story about science and discovery that’s rooted in history without being tedious. Though this show lacked viewership, probably due to poor marketing, it had a solid fanbase especially those that idolize Da Vinci and his works.
Set during the Renaissance in Italy, the series explores the life of the young inventor who yearns to build a relationship with his estranged father while battling with his inner demons and unruly imagination.
Da Vinci’s Demons though is a historical fantasy about the early life of Leonardo da Vinci, so it’s not meant to be viewed with a critical mindset. A lot was put in this show in terms of creative liberties so it features a different Da Vinci, one who is a spy and a believer in the occult.
This show is perfect binge watch material since it leaves you intrigue as each episode ends. It’s a magnificent mix of action, drama, humor, and has a touch of romance captivatingly portrayed by a stellar cast.
Directors: Peter Hoar, David S. Goyer – Screenplay: David S. Goyer – Cast: Tom Riley, Gregg Chillin, Eros Vlahos – Run Time: 59 min
Time-travel romance stories, especially those of the medieval kind, never go stale and this explains the immense praises and fandom for Outlander.
Based on the series of novels of the same name by Diana Gabaldon, the narrative revolves on the time-transcending romance between a 1946 nurse and her highland warrior lover, whom she meets when she is mysteriously transported to his time and place in 1743 Scotland.
Make no mistake though this show is not a lighthearted historical drama. Like Game of Thrones, it too has elements of war, rebellion, heartbreak, and contains some disturbing and gruesome scenes: rape, torture, nudity, sex scenes, and so on.
It too has its weak moments, when you find the story moving at a slow pace, but it manages to pull you right back in with a few surprising twists and turns.
If you watch closely enough, you will find that a couple of familiar faces from Game of Thrones are also in Outlander.
Directors: Peter Hoar, David S. Goyer – Screenplay: Ronald D. Moore – Cast: Caitriona Balfe, Sam Heughan, Duncan Lacroix, Tobias Menzies – Run Time: 1h 40 min
Jeremy Irons steals the spotlight in this 9-part miniseries about a family that rose to prominence in Italy during the Renaissance period. The veteran actor plays the conniving and capricious diplomat Rodrigo Borgia, who uses his power and reach to become Pope Alexander VI.
He manipulates, bribes, and lies to ensure his family has a place in the Vatican, oblivious of the dark plan his very own children are scheming against him.
The Borgias is similar in so many ways to the Lannister family in their desire to remain in authority over the Seven Kingdoms. Cersei married off her sons to ensure a Lannister stays on the Iron Throne. Of course, this only led to tragedy, much like how Rodrigo’s greed led to his family falling apart.
Need I mention that incest plays heavily in this show too as it explores rumors of an affair between Rodrigo’s kids Cesare and Lucrezia. Not to forget, Borgias also packs nudity, violence, and murder, something all too familiar in Game of Thrones.
Directors: Neil Jordan, Kari Skogland – Screenplay: Neil Jordan – Cast: Jeremy Irons, François Arnaud, Holliday Grainger, Peter Sullivan – Run Time: 50 min
King Louis XIV would forever be known by his influence on France through his war against Spain and his construction of the Versailles, which this show is inspired from. The young royal turned Versailles into the most grandiose palace in Europe, where the rich and famous and all nobles converge.
He used this magnificent structure to observe his enemies and control the French aristocrats who start to rebel against the monarchy, with his younger brother among his prime targets. This sly move by the king puts him on dangerous grounds amid political intrigues and conflict.
Directors: Christian Langlois, Richard Clark, Thomas Vincent Screenplay: Simon Mirren, David Wolstencroft – Cast: George Blagden, Alexander Vlahos, Tygh Runyan, Evan Williams – Run Time: 52 min
Sean Bean returns to TV in another period series in the Roman Empire. This time though he lives to tell the story about the rise and fall of the Roman Republic.
This show chronicles the reign of the dictator Commodus and the emperor Julius Caesar as told in two parts. Their leadership marked the slow demise of the republic.
Betrayal, politics, and war, all the elements present in Game of Thrones are also in the Roman Empire. Although if you must watch this show, don’t use it as insight into Roman history as its depiction of the era couldn’t be more incorrect.
Directors: Richard Lopez, John Ealer, David O’Neill – Screenplay: Christian Baker, Dan Benamor – Cast: Aaron Irvin, Sean Bean, Aaron Jakubenko – Run Time: 48 min
Medici: Masters of Florence
Another familiar face from Game of Thrones resumes a role of power but this time not in a fictional world like Westeros but in Italy. Richard Madden, best known as Robb Stark, King in the North, plays the affluent Cosimo de’ Medici in Medici: Masters of Florence.
Interestingly, Sean Bean also appears in this show in a less-than-honorable character as the villain Jacopo de’ Pazzi. Hopefully, he doesn’t meet the same fate as his GOT character.
The story follows Cosimo after he inherits the family’s Bank of Medici in the wake of his father’s death. He learns later on that his father was murdered and thus, together with his brother Lorenzo, go on a secret mission to uncover the identity of the killer in order to preserve the family’s power and fortune.
This show takes creative liberties in depicting the life of the Medici family, although there are a few historical facts in place too. Politics, intrigue, treachery, and scandal, these elements drive the story to give the audience a wonderful and emotional series.
Directors: Christian Duguay, Jon Cassar – Screenplay: Nicholas Meyer, Frank Spotnitz – Cast: Richard Madden, Daniel Sharman, Annabel Scholey, Jacopo Olmo Antinori – Run Time: 60 min
Another Netflix original series that boasts excellence in storyline, visuals, cinematography and acting is Marco Polo. The show follows the Venetian explorer’s adventures in 13th century Mongolia, which ultimately entangles him in the power struggles of the Mongol empire.
Marco Polo starts out slow but the wait for the buildup is worth it. This show deserves its own credit (some compare it with Game of Thrones), since it has its own storytelling style that grips viewers emotionally. What it lacks in sexual innuendos it makes up for great action.
The only downside is this show should have been called Kublai Khan, because he becomes the focus going into the season and no longer the protagonist Marco Polo.
Directors: Daniel Minahan, David Petrarca – Screenplay: John Fusco – Cast: Lorenzo Richelmy, Benedict Wong, Joan Chen – Run Time: 60 min
What could be more similar to Game of Thrones than Merlin, a reimagining of the saga of the famous King Arthur and his wizard, Merlin. The show traces their young lives, as they struggle to realize their fate.
This series has dragons, knights, magic, and all the elements that make an epic fantasy fanfare. Don’t mistake this show as a lighthearted one though it may seem so at first. It turns pretty dark going forward and leaves you in all sorts of emotional shambles at the end. That’s how phenomenal it is and an absolute must-watch.
Directors: Jeremy Webb, Alice Troughton – Screenplay: Johnny Capps, Julian Jones, Jake Michie – Cast: John Hurt, Colin Morgan, Bradley James – Run Time: 45 min
One of the best historical shows to air on TV, Boardwalk Empire follows the intrigue surrounding the relationships of Enoch “Nucky” Thompson, a treasurer of Atlantic County, to mobsters and those in political power.
Nucky plays both sides as he deals with illegal alcohol as discretely as possible in the midst of a Prohibition. He rubs shoulders with some of the big names in mobster history including Al Capone. His lavish lifestyle doesn’t speak for his profession and thus draws the interest of the Federal Government.
Boardwalk Empire is no Game of Thrones by any measure but it packs dark violence, which is inherent to the HBO show. The talented cast, beautiful cinematography, tension-filled storytelling, and accurate historical and visual depiction of Atlantic City in the 1920s, add to the allure of this Golden Globes-winning series.
Directors: Timothy Van Patten, Allen Coulter – Screenplay: Terence Winter – Cast: Steve Buscemi, Kelly Macdonald, Michael Shannon – Run Time: 55 min
The Shannara Chronicles
If you crave to see more of the fantastical creatures and concepts in Game of Thrones, then The Shannara Chronicles is your next show. This MTV original series delves into mysticism, the occult, and female power.
This series may have its weak points (plot holes, continuity error). It’s entertaining nevertheless if you’ve read its origin of inspiration from Terry Brooks’ novels.
The story is easy to follow since the show is geared toward the teen audience. There’s betrayal, bloody fights, evil monsters, greedy queens, sex, magic, and a bit of romance, much like in Game of Thrones.
Visually, this show did a good job at recreating the magnificent world from the books. It isn’t phenomenal but certainly an enjoyable watch.
Directors: Brad Turner, James Marshall – Screenplay: Alfred Gough, Miles Millar – Cast: Austin Butler, Ivana Baquero, Manu Bennett – Run Time: 42 min
This gangster-themed series set in 1919 Birmingham, England, just months after the end of World War I, follows the exploits of the Peaky Blinders gang under the command of their sly boss Tommy Shelby. Despite attempts to apprehend the criminals, the Shelby family expands their reach in the South and North while keeping a stronghold in Birmingham, and then they ultimately go international.
However, the family faces turmoil the farther they take their criminal organization. Ultimately, they have to bear witness to the consequences brought by their greed for power and watch as the empire they built with sweat and blood collapses.
Peaky Blinders may be a crime show, but it still resonates with the elements common in Game of Thrones, such as violence and the struggle for political power.
Directors: Anthony Byrne, Colm McCarthy, David Caffrey – Screenplay: Steven Knight – Cast: Cillian Murphy, Helen McCrory, Paul Anderson, Sam Neill – Run Time: 60 min
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Salem (2014 - 2017)
This supernatural drama is loosely based on the real 17th – century witch trials. It explores the origin and reason behind the infamous historical era, which as the series tells, stems from the selfish needs of a powerful witch named Mary Sibley.
Mary (Janet Montgomery) controls the Salem witch trials by aggravating hysteria among the Puritans. She has her motive: she lets chaos and fear ran amok so she can execute her plan of summoning the devil.
However, her long-lost lover Capt. John Alden (Shane West) returns along with her feelings for him. He inevitably foils her plan when he forms an alliance with Rev. Cotton Mather (Seth Gabel), who has been defending the townspeople against witchcraft.
Stories about witches and witchcraft are nothing new but Salem gives them a new spin that is scary, well-executed, and with a surprisingly smart and engaging storyline. The series gets off to a dark and creepy start and becomes violent and filled with constant suspense.
This is not a show for the general viewing public. Much like Game of Thrones, it contains some intense scenes of violence and gore that are not suited for the young audience. But it’s sure going to satisfy fans of the horror and mystery genre.
Director: Nick Copus, Alex Zakrzewski – Screenplay: Brannon Braga, Adam Simon – Cast: Janet Montgomery, Shane West, Seth Gabel, Tamzin Merchant, Ashley Madekwe – Run Time: 60m