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

Alexander Skarsgård Could Have Played Thor in the Marvel Cinematic Universe

Larry Busacca, Getty Images
Larry Busacca, Getty Images

Marvel fans may have trouble imagining Thor played by anyone other than Chris Hemsworth, but apparently, Alexander Skarsgård was pretty darn close to getting the role. How close, you ask? He tried on the costume, held the hammer, and even filmed an audition in the garb.

In 2009—just a year after True Blood premiered—the actor told MTV that he met with Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige and Thor director Kenneth Branagh about the part. “Yeah, I met with Kevin [Feige] a few times and the director,” he said. “There was definitely some truth in that, yeah.”

When the MTV interviewer said he thought the actor had the perfect look to bring Thor to life, Skarsgård simply replied, “So did I.”

But before you start to feel too sorry for Skarsgård, let's not forget the number of impressive roles the True Blood alum has landed. At the moment, he’s playing Perry Wright in HBO’s Big Little Lies, for which he won both an Emmy and a Golden Globe.

As for the Thor role, Hemsworth went on to play the God of Thunder in multiple films, and although his future in the MCU is not certain after Avengers: Endgame, the Australian actor confirmed he’d love to keep playing the character.

Watch the Stranger Things Cast Recap the First Two Seasons in 15 Minutes

Priah Ferguson stars in Stranger Things.
Priah Ferguson stars in Stranger Things.
Netflix

While we can't wait for the third season of Stranger Things to premiere next month, many of us have also probably forgotten what happened in the series' first two seasons—especially the tiniest of details, which might prove to be significant in the upcoming episodes. Coming up with fan theories can get difficult when we can’t remember everything, but watching all 17 episodes before July 4 isn't feasible for everyone. That's why this new video, in which the cast of the Netflix hit provides the ultimate recap, is a lifesaver.

The video features Sadie Sink (Max Mayfield), Noah Schnapp (Will Byers), Caleb McLaughlin (Lucas Sinclair), Gaten Matarazzo (Dustin Henderson), and Finn Wolfhard (Mike Wheeler) recalling all the key moments of seasons 1 and 2, in just over 15 minutes.

The actors first go through the main characters of the series, explaining how each of them are intertwined, such as Hawkins's sheriff Jim Hopper, and Nancy's then-boyfriend Steve Harrington. They introduce the Upside Down, which Will was trapped in during the majority of the first season, resulting in his mom Joyce relying on a few nontraditional strategies to get him back. The cast also explains who Eleven is and how she's able to help get Will back.

The recap pinpoints all the major moments of the first season, and then goes into the second season, where everything in Hawkins appears to be normal again. The latest season, as the cast recalls, explores Eleven's backstory and introduces new characters like Max Mayfield, Billy Hargrove, Bob Newby, and sadly, the baby Demogorgon named D'Artagnan. The video concludes with the school Snowball dance, but things don't exactly end on a happy note, as the season's final moments show a monster is still very present in Hawkins.

As action-packed as Stranger Things is, a recap like this is truly a must. We'll rewatch it a few times before season 3 debuts on July 4.

[h/t Highsnobiety]

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