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With eight exciting seasons and 73 episodes under its belt, the pop culture sensation known as Game of Thrones has finally hung up its hat. Year after year, we were treated to some of the best acting, direction, and character moments ever seen on TV. The series will be sorely missed.
But fear not. If you’re aching for another epic TV series to fill the void left behind by Game of Thrones, you have several excellent options—some which are still running, and some that have long since wrapped up, allowing you to binge through them at your leisure.
Here are my favorite TV series recommendations for Game of Thrones fans and why these shows fit the bill.
1. The Last Kingdom
Set in the 9th century, Uhtred of Bebbanburg—a man born a Saxon but raised by Danes—is caught up in a war between Alfred the Great, king of England, and Danish invaders.
How is it like Game of Thrones? I like to think of The Last Kingdom as “Game of Thrones lite” because the scope isn’t as grand and the cast isn’t as enormous, but the general feel of it is similar. The stakes are much more personal, and there’s a deeper focus on character themes like identity, allegiance, honor, etc. And in some ways I like this show more because it more accurately portrays the “medieval fantasy” feel.
2. The Expanse
In a future where Earth has colonized Mars and the Asteroid Belt, a police detective’s investigation uncovers a vast conspiracy that threatens mankind and possibly the universe.
How is it like Game of Thrones? Tons of political intrigue, wrapped up in world-threatening stakes, but without ever sacrificing the individual stories of its sprawling cast. It’s hard sci-fi—one of the most scientifically rigorous TV series ever produced—with a few fantastical elements, especially starting in the third season. It’s often described as “Game of Thrones in space” and I wholeheartedly agree.
3. The Wire
A team of Baltimore police and detectives are tasked with bringing down the criminal mastermind that drives the city’s drug trade.
How is it like Game of Thrones? The Wire is the king of politics, intrigue, complex plots, heartwrenching interpersonal drama, and worldbuilding. No fantasy or sci-fi here, but who cares? Arguably the deepest and most intricate TV series ever made, The Wire is a must-see no matter who you are—but fans of Games of Thrones will have a special appreciation of it. I highly recommend watching with subtitles because the true-to-life dialogue can be hard to parse at times.
When a transpacific flight crash lands on a deserted tropical island, the survivors must work together if they want to survive—but along the way discover that the island is not what it first seems.
How is it like Game of Thrones? Lost was one of the first mainstream TV series to feature an ensemble cast with multiple thematically linked plotlines per episode. It’s ripe with inter-character drama, with characters that are fully fleshed out with compelling backgrounds. But the key distinction is that Lost isn’t just a show about surviving an island; there’s a whole of lot of mystery involving the island, which is sure to appeal to Game of Thrones fans who have always been caught up in the show’s lore and mythology. Lost has its own supernatural mythology that will keep you hooked to the end.
5. Battlestar Galactica
Hunted by the Cylons, an old race of murderous robots, the crew aboard the Battlestar Galactica must lead and protect humanity’s last known fleet as they search for the fabled planet known as Earth.
How is it like Game of Thrones? Military drama, political intrigue, ensemble cast, mystery, suspense, romance, complicated mythology—Battlestar Galactica has it all, and manages to pull it off on a miniscule budget. Don’t expect the same level of production quality as Game of Thrones, but if you can’t get past that, you’ll be in for a ride. Battlestar Galactica has some of my favorite season finales of any TV show.
Welcome to Westworld, a theme park like no other, where human-like robots driven by artificial intelligence exist for the sole purpose of enabling visitors to live out their wildest fantasies.
How is it like Game of Thrones? In a lot of ways, Westworld rode on the coattails of Game of Thrones in establishing its success. While I wouldn’t say it’s as good, I do enjoy it quite a bit. It’s an extremely imaginative show with a huge cast, excellent acting, and tight plotlines heavy with mystery. It’s philosophical in its exploration of various sci-fi themes, and it’s one of the most beautifully shot TV shows ever. HBO is known for this kind of stuff.
A true-to-history depiction of Rome’s leaders, soldiers, and civilians in the last days of the Roman Republic under the rule of Julius Caesar.
How is it like Game of Thrones? Rome is an older HBO show that, in some ways, was the precursor to Game of Thrones. In fact, there’s a good chance HBO never would’ve picked up Game of Thrones if it weren’t for the critical success of Rome, which paved the way for expensive ensemble series that rely heavily on large sets and tons of costumes. The acting is superb, the stories told are mature, and you’ll spot some familiar faces among the cast.
What are you watching now that Game of Thrones has ended? Are there any other epic TV series that I missed that might scratch the same itch? Let me know in the comments below!