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Over the last eight years, Game of Thrones has dominated television. Now, as the multiple Emmy-winning series comes to a close with its series finale on Sunday, fans are likely looking for more fantastical and epic shows to get lost in as the battle of the Seven Kingdoms wraps up for good. From magical colleges to imperial zombies to stylish British witches in academia to historical horror, The Hollywood Reporter has your post-GoT viewing options sorted.
Based on Lev Grossman’s best-selling fantasy book series, Syfy’s popular adaptation was renewed for a fifth season ahead of its fourth-season premiere earlier this year, which is no surprise as it has consistently been a ratings hit for the network. Focused on a group of graduate students attending an exclusive magical academy, the show acts as a sort of adult Harry Potter, but ramps up the creativity as The Magicians‘ biggest twist comes from the fact that much of its lore is based around a series of in-universe fictional fantasy books that actually turn out to be real. With an inclusive cast and allegorical exploration of real-world themes, The Magicians offers up a refreshing take on the often overdone “chosen one” narrative.
The Magicians is available on Syfy’s digital platforms and Netflix.
This prequel to Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island offers up the gritty grimness and violence of Game of Thrones, but with a swashbuckling high-seas setting. Toby Stephens (Lost in Space) stars in the Michael Bay-produced series as Captain Flint, leader of a band of cutthroat pirates, beginning two years before the events of the classic novel. His daily life of thieving, piracy and pillaging is turned upside down by the arrival of Luke Arnold’s John Silver, and together the unlikely crew begins a sprawling battle for the Island of New Providence. If dense storytelling, brutal action, and Machiavellian political maneuvering are what drew you to Game of Thrones, then the complete four seasons of Black Sails will likely sate your appetite.
Black Sails is available to stream on Hulu and Starz.
With a fifth season currently in production and a sixth already greenlit, this rambling romantic period series continues to be one of Starz’s most successful shows. When Claire Randall (Caitriona Balfe), a former World War II nurse, is pulled into the past on her honeymoon, she becomes swept up in the drama and intrigue of 18th century Scotland, ending up married to a Highlander, Jamie Fraser (Sam Heughan), with whom she quickly falls in love. Trapped between time and men, it only gets stranger from there on out, as the star-crossed heroine travels through time and history, split between her two fates. Based on Diana Gabaldon’s popular series of books, Outlander’s mix of romance, violent struggle, and eclectic period settings makes it a logical next step for fans of Game of Thrones.
Outlander is available on Starz.
Though it may be based in fact, this retelling of the life of Henry VIII is nothing if not entirely fantastical. Shunning the repression of classical period dramas, this Showtime production is a lavish, sexy, silly show about the 40-year reign of England’s most notorious king. It was also the series which launched the career of Natalie Dormer — who plays Henry’s (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) love interest and later, one of his six wives — Anne Boleyn. But she’s better known to Game of Thrones fans as Margaery Tyrell, the one-time queen of the Seven Kingdoms. It also stars Henry Cavill and is packed with corsets, murder, sex and deceit galore. Essentially, The Tudors walked so that Game of Thrones could run.
The Tudors is available to stream on Netflix.
Netflix’s third Brazilian original series, The 3% is an exploration of the realities of the planet’s ever-growing wealth divide, but set against a harsh dystopian future that sees society split — with most of the population barely surviving in the impoverished slums of “Inland” and a small elite thriving in a near-utopian society known as “Offshore.” When they hit 20 years of age, each of the second-class citizens are given one chance at ascending to a better life as they go through a trial known only as “The Process”; the titular percentage represents the few who make it through. Like any good dystopian story, there’s a rebellion rumbling in the world of The 3%, and this juxtaposition makes for a bleak and often brutal slow burn story which still is worlds away from Westeros but is just as inventive and ambitious.
The 3% is available to stream on Netflix.
After beginning its life on Syfy, this serious science-fiction show recently moved to Amazon for a fourth season after being canceled by the cabler. The Expanse has been lauded for an inclusive cast and intelligent storytelling, and as it moves into its newest season fans will be eager to see if the series can deliver on this new platform. Another politically driven offering, the saga is set in a future where Earth has colonized the solar system, leading to a tense intergalactic political landscape. Viewers follow the adventures of a ragtag group of rebels who find themselves in the center of a sprawling conspiracy, one which threatens the survival of the solar system and potentially humanity itself.
The Expanse is available to stream on Amazon.
Netflix’s first original series from South Korea, this period horror offering is one of the most unusual and original on this list. Set during the medieval age of Korea’s Joseon dynasty, Kingdom is a sprawling historical fantasy that uses zombie tropes as a smart way to explore the socio-political impact of a monarchy, as well as a whole lot of undead sword fights. When rumor gets out that the king of Joseon is deathly ill, his son decides to embark on a mission to discover what’s behind the mysterious sickness, causing him to lead the fight against the oncoming invasion of the once-dead. With high production values, extravagant costuming and a uniquely strange central concept, Kingdom will offer some warmth as winter comes.
Kingdom is available to stream on Netflix.
A Discovery of Witches
This witchy series originally debuted on Shudder/Sundance Now before hitting AMC and BBC America in April in an attempt to widen its viewership. Based on Deborah Harkness’ best-selling series of novels, this British production centers on an academic historian, Diana Bishop (Teresa Palmer), who also happens to be a very reluctant witch. While studying in Oxford’s Bodleian Library, she happens upon an enchanted book which sparks a shock wave throughout the magical world, dragging her back into the fray alongside the handsome and stoic vampire, Matthew Clairmont (Matthew Goode). Though the brutality of Westeros is nowhere to be seen, A Discovery of Witches has enough sorcery and spirit to please both the old gods and the new.
A Discovery of Witches is currently airing on AMC and BBC America and available to stream on Shudder and Sundance Now.
Ridley Scott’s The Terror established a chilly historical-horror that took the real world story of The HMS Terror and The HMS Erebus as they embarked on their search for the Northwest Passage. History scholars will know how the real-life story ended, but the series added a supernatural bent, forcing the desperate sailors to not only face down the wilds of the Arctic and their ever-more-desperate shipmates, but also a terrifying specter which adds an entirely new level to the survival-horror series. Season two of The Terror is on its way, but it focuses on a different era, centering around an odd set of deaths in a Japanese-American internment camp during World War II.
The Terror is available to stream on AMC’s digital platforms.
Into the Badlands
Into the Badlands, which just wrapped its third and final season, takes the traditional legend of the Monkey King and spins it on its head, weaving a post-apocalyptic martial arts tale that pulls from both science fiction and historical drama. It centers on Daniel Wu’s Sunny, a talented assassin who ends up taking a young teenage boy with mysterious powers under his wing. Epic in scope, the show is set in an alt-America where a huge war ravaged the land and threw humanity into a Western-futuristic era where guns are banned, so hand-to-hand fighting has become the key to survival in the brutal gangland known as the Badlands.
Into the Badlands is available to stream on Netflix and AMC digital platforms.
Guy Pearce is probably the biggest name in this atmospheric Netflix series, which is a surprisingly grounded take on sci-fi. What begins as a Romeo and Juliet-style story of a young couple on the run takes a swift left turn when June (Sorcha Groundsell) begins to manifest powerful and chilling abilities. Though it’s a British production, this unexpected thriller feels more like a Nordic detective show than your average genre series. Spooky, original, and with more twists than the ninth episode of a series of Game of Thrones, The Innocents presents a sharp and savvy take on prestige fantasy.
The Innocents is available to stream on Netflix.
Helmed by Indonesia’s Joko Anwar, the first season of HBO Asia’s horror-fantasy series introduces western audiences to a roster of traditional spirits known here as “Demit,” who it turns out have been living alongside humanity in Jakarta. But a mysterious supernatural event known only as “The Gift” breaks the thin membrane between the two worlds, unleashing the beasts into the realm of mortals. The second season moves the action to Bangkok, where a researcher uncovers a similar secondary world filled with ghosts and demons. The anthology style will likely appeal to fans who enjoy a more eclectic viewing experience, and the mythology and lore of Halfworlds open up an entirely new spiritual plane for Game of Thrones fans to enjoy.
Halfworlds streams on HBO Go and HBO Now.
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