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

Every New Movie, TV Series, and Special Coming to Netflix in October

Charles Baker as Skinny Pete in El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie (2019).
Charles Baker as Skinny Pete in El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie (2019).
Courtesy of Netflix

It has been six years since Breaking Bad fans last caught a glimpse of Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul), as he sped away from Albuquerque and the men who held him captive there for so long (Walter White included, at least in a metaphorical sense). While we've longed to see what happened next, and what Jesse might be up to today, that it would ever become a reality seemed unlikely ... until earlier this year, when Vince Gilligan confirmed that he had secretly shot a Breaking Bad movie titled El Camino, that will catch us up on the man formerly known as Cap'n Cook.

In addition to that October 11th premiere, Netflix has plenty of other movies, shows, and specials coming your way in October.

October 1

Carmen Sandiego: Season 2
Nikki Glaser: Bangin’
93 days
A.M.I.
Along Came a Spider
Bad Boys
Bad Boys II
Blow
Bring It On, Ghost: Season 1
Charlie’s Angels
Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle
Cheese in the Trap: Season 1
Chicago Typewriter: Season 1
Crash
Exit Wounds
Good Burger
Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay
Honey 2
House of the Witch
Lagos Real Fake Life
Men in Black II
Moms at War
No Reservations
Ocean’s Thirteen
Ocean’s Twelve
One Direction: This Is Us
Payday
Rugrats in Paris: The Movie
Scream 2
Senna
Signal: Season 1
Sin City
Sinister Circle
Supergirl
Superman Returns
Surf’s Up
The Bucket List
The Flintstones
The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas
The Island
The Pursuit of Happyness
The Rugrats Movie
The Time Traveler’s Wife
Tomorrow with You: Season 1
Trainspotting
Troy
Tunnel: Season 1
Unaccompanied Minors
Walking Out

October 2

Living Undocumented
Ready to Mingle (Solteras)
Rotten: Season 2

October 3

Seis Manos

October 4

Big Mouth: Season 3
Creeped Out: Season 2
In the Tall Grass
Peaky Blinders: Season 5
Raising Dion
Super Monsters: Season 3
Super Monsters: Vida’s First Halloween

October 5

Legend Quest: Masters of Myth

October 7

Match! Tennis Juniors
The Water Diviner

October 8

Deon Cole: Cole Hearted
The Spooky Tale of Captain Underpants Hack-a-ween

October 9

After
Rhythm + Flow

October 10

Schitt’s Creek: Season 5
Ultramarine Magmell

October 11

El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie
The Forest of Love
Fractured
Haunted: Season 2
Insatiable: Season 2
La influencia
Plan Coeur: Season 2
The Awakenings of Motti Wolenbruch
YooHoo to the Rescue: Season 2

October 12

Banlieusards

October 15

Dark Crimes

October 16

Ghosts of Sugar Land
Sinister 2

October 17

The Karate Kid
The Unlisted

October 18

The Yard (Avlu)
Baby: Season 2
Eli
Interior Design Masters
The House of Flowers: Season 2
The Laundromat
Living with Yourself
MeatEater: Season 8
Mighty Little Bheem: Diwali
Seventeen
Spirit Riding Free: Pony Tales Collection 2
Tell Me Who I Am
Toon: Seasons 1-2
Unnatural Selection
Upstarts

October 19

Men in Black

October 21

Echo in the Canyon
Free Fire

October 22

Jenny Slate: Stage Fright

October 23

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Dancing with the Birds
Master Z: The Ip Man Legacy

October 24

Daybreak
Revenge of Pontianak

October 25

A Tale of Love and Darkness
Assimilate
Brigada Costa del Sol
Brotherhood
Dolemite Is My Name
Greenhouse Academy: Season 3
The Kominsky Method: Season 2
Monzon
Nailed It! France (C’est du gâteau!)
Nailed It! Spain (Niquelao!)
Prank Encounters
Rattlesnake
It Takes a Lunatic

October 28

A 3 Minute Hug
Little Miss Sumo
Shine On with Reese: Season 1

October 29

Arsenio Hall: Smart & Classy

October 30

Flavorful Origins: Yunnan Cuisine

October 31

Kengan Ashura: Part ll
Nowhere Man
Raging Bull

10 Intriguing Friends Fan Theories

Warner Bros. Television/Getty Images
Warner Bros. Television/Getty Images

Friends is a classic sitcom about twentysomethings navigating life, love, and work in New York City. Or at least that’s one theory about the beloved sitcom, which premiered on September 22, 1994. Here’s another: Friends is a glimpse inside a mental ward, where six disturbed patients are working through their personality disorders. In the 25 years since it made its debut, Friends has inspired a ton of wild fan theories on Reddit and Twitter. Here are a few of the strangest (and be careful: Mr. Heckles’s murderer is still at large).

1. Rachel dreamed the whole thing.

In the summer of 2017, this photo of the Friends season four DVD box ignited a fan frenzy. The image on the box shows the titular pals snoozing side by side. Ross, Phoebe, Monica, Chandler, and Joey all have their eyes shut, but Rachel—resting right in the middle—is wide awake and looking directly at the camera. Why is she the only one with her eyes open? Some fans suggested Rachel was plotting something sinister, or secretly very “woke.” But plenty more insisted it was proof the whole show was Rachel’s dream. According to one Twitter fan, Rachel fell into an anxiety-fueled dream the night before her wedding to Barry and imagined her own group of hip New York friends to cope with her frustration and dread. Except she woke up to reality the next morning, as shown on the DVD cover, where she’s surrounded by her dream friends.

2. Phoebe hallucinated the show.

Another popular theory suggests that Friends was all in Phoebe’s head—only this take is much darker. The basic premise is that Phoebe never got off the streets. She was a lonely, homeless woman with a meth addiction who peered into the window of Central Perk one day. She noticed five friends laughing over coffee, and imagined herself as part of the gang. In this fantasy, her pals didn’t always get her weird sense of humor, but they loved her anyway. In reality, the twentysomethings in the window were wondering why that “crazy lady” was staring at them. This theory gained so much traction that a journalist asked Friends co-creator Marta Kauffman about it at a television festival. She quickly threw water on the whole thing. “That’s the saddest thing I’ve ever heard,” Kauffman replied. “That’s a terrible theory. That’s insane. Someone needs a life, that’s all I’m saying."

3. It was one long promotion for Starbucks.

The cast of 'Friends'
Warner Bros. Television/Getty Images

According to one manic Facebook rant, Friends was not a sitcom at all. It was actually a 10-year marketing ploy, designed to make Starbucks the new go-to destination for young people. Why else do the characters spend so much time in a coffee shop? True, the shop is not called Starbucks, but the subliminal evidence lies in Rachel’s last name (Green, like the Starbucks company color) and hair (styled like the mermaid in the Starbucks logo). Then there’s Ross and Monica’s last name, Geller, which is close to the German word gellen. It means “to yell,” just like the Starbucks baristas calling out customer names. The case only gets flimsier from there, but if you really want to read about how Chandler and Moby Dick are connected, you can dive down that particular rabbit hole here.

4. Ross lost custody of Ben because he was a bad dad.

Ross’s son Ben arrives in the very first season of Friends, in the aptly titled episode “The One with the Birth.” He’s a constant character for several seasons, but as the show goes on, Ross seems to spend less and less time with his kid. Ben disappears after the eighth season, and never meets his half-sister Emma onscreen. There’s one explanation for this drop-off: Ross lost custody of his son due to increasingly disturbing behavior.

The blog What Would Bale Do lays out a bunch of examples: Ross sleeps with his students, tries to hook up with his cousin, and asks a self-defense instructor for help scaring his female friends. He’s also generally pretty jealous and possessive. According to this theory, Ross’s ex-wife Carol hit a breaking point and took full custody of their son, which is why Ben stops coming around his dad’s apartment in the later seasons.

5. Mr. Heckles was murdered.

Rachel and Monica’s mean old neighbor dies of natural causes in season 2—or at least that’s what they want you to think. By one Redditor’s account, Mr. Heckles was killed in cold blood. Moments before he dies, Mr. Heckles shows up at Monica and Rachel’s door, complaining that their noise is disturbing his birds. (He does not have birds.) Monica says they’ll try to keep it down and as Mr. Heckles leaves, he says he’s going to rejoin his “dinner party.” Minutes later, he’s dead. Ergo, his dinner party guest killed him. Of course, the likelier explanation is that Mr. Heckles was a crazy old man who wasn’t even having a dinner party. But where’s the fun in that?

6. There's a reason why the gang always got that same table at Central Perk.

The cast of 'Friends' chats with talk show host Conan O'Brien
Warner Bros. Television/Getty Images

How did the gang manage to snag the coveted center couch at Central Perk every single time? Simple: Gunther reserved it for them. It was all part of his ongoing campaign to win Rachel’s affections, and it explains why the group never had to fight for seating space. Well, except that one time.

7. There's a Parks & Recreation crossover.

In “The One With All the Candy,” Rachel insists she doesn’t sleep with guys on the first date, only for her friends to immediately call her out. Monica rattles off three names: Matt Wire, Mark Lynn, and Ben Wyatt. Could she be talking about the same Ben Wyatt from Parks and Recreation? According to Reddit, their ages check out. Ben would’ve been 26 at the time of the episode, making him a perfectly acceptable one-night stand for 29-year-old Rachel. But how does Leslie Knope feel about this?

8. Monica was the product of an extramarital affair.

Ross and Monica’s mom doesn’t even try to hide her favoritism. Judy Geller thinks Ross is a genius and Monica is, well, trying. (But could be trying harder.) One bonkers (and since-deleted) fan theory suggests Judy’s preference stems from a family secret: At some point in her marriage to Jack Geller, she had an affair, one she could never forget because it spawned Monica. Judy’s shame over this tryst is what causes her to lash out at Monica and praise Ross, her one 'legitimate' child.

9. There's all in a psych ward.

David Schwimmer, Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Matthew Perry, Lisa Kudrow, and Matt Leblanc in 'Friends.'
Getty Images

What if Central Perk wasn’t a coffee shop at all, but rather the cafeteria at a mental institution? As one theory goes, all six main characters are suffering from personality disorders. They’re confined to a facility for treatment, and can only shuffle between their rooms (i.e. their “apartments”) and the cafeteria (i.e. “Central Perk”). This situation also explains why the group is so hostile toward new people. They’re not actually teasing Monica’s new boyfriend; they’re attacking anyone who tries to take one of the friends out of the mental hospital.

10. Joey really wanted some pancakes.

This very silly—but very solid—fan theory is centered on Joey’s love of food. In “The One With Ross’s Library Book,” Joey has a one-night stand with a woman named Erin. He doesn’t want to see her again, and asks Rachel to break the news to her over pancakes. Apparently Chandler used to do this when he lived in the apartment. He’d even save extra pancakes for Joey. Rachel refuses to be a part of this, but once she’s left alone with Erin, she feels bad and offers to cook. Things escalate over the episode and pretty soon, Joey is the one who’s too clingy for Erin. Rachel has to tell him and, feeling bad yet again, she offers pancakes. Reddit claims this was all just a plot for pancakes. It kind of adds up: Joey can’t cook but likes to eat, and he has enough soap opera money to pay an actor (Erin) to play a part in this conspiracy. So he cons his roommate into making pancakes, twice, in a ruse that’s both delicious and diabolical (and, yes, a little bit silly).

This story has been updated for 2019.

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