The Game of Thrones series finale may have divided fans, but most can agree that when the HBO epic was at peak performance, it was one of the most compelling shows on the air. For many viewers, the drama's exit after Season 8 left a big hole in their hearts and TV schedules. Luckily, the ever-growing list of streaming services makes finding a worthy substitute for the fantasy hit a bit easier.
For this list, we selected TV shows that had some major element in common with Game of Thrones, whether it be the genre, story-arcs, or overall themes. This list includes a variety of series that mainly exist in the crime drama, fantasy, and historical fiction realms, but with a comedic show sprinkled in for diversity.
House Of The Dragon (HBO)
This one is an obvious no-brainer, especially for viewers who continued to keep up with the on-screen world of George R.R. Martin and all of the upcoming Game of Thrones TV shows that are being worked on since the end of that famed series, seeing as how the focus of this section is the first one to debut. House of the Dragon takes us back in Westeros history, to look at a time 300 years before the events of the main series, when the Targaryens were still in power and there were a lot more dragons.
Obviously, while none of GOT's main players are involved, we still get a look at the dangerous political machinations of their ancestors, the similarity of the general setting, and, you know, more incest. Season 2 is on the way, but not for a while.
The Witcher (Netflix)
Ex-Superman Henry Cavill stars in Netflix's fantasy series, The Witcher, which released its first season in December 2019 for those with a Netflix subscription, and immediately polarized viewers in a Thrones-esque way. It follows three main characters: the monster hunter Geralt of Rivia (Cavill), the young princess Ciri (Freya Allan), and the sorceress Yennefer of Vengerberg (Anya Chalotra). Based on Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski's saga of the same name, with some nods to the popular video game series, The Witcher Season 3 will arrive on June 29 and show the trio try to protect Ciri from those looking to use her powers for nefarious purposes.
The Witcher and Game of Thrones use fantasy elements to tell stories grounded in real life issues. For example, both series discuss the confining nature of a class system, and each show shines a big bright light on societal prejudices. Like GOT, The Witcher has plenty of book source material, though that can admittedly make the storytelling a little more complicated for those completely unfamiliar with the books. For viewers looking to know more about the story, there are plenty of books in the saga to read.
Vikings (Hulu) And Vikings: Valhalla (Netflix)
History's Vikings tells the story of Ragnor Lothbrok (Travis Fimmel) and his rather large family, exploring the tumultuous life and adventures of this legendary Viking king. While that Michael Hirst-created historical hit wrapped with its sixth and final season in 2020, Netflix took that warrior-filled ball and ran with the sequel, Vikings: Valhalla, set 100 years after the events of the original show and following a new generation of leaders, schemers, and deadly fighters.
Game of Thrones and the Vikings shows share the concept of watching the rise and fall of kings and queens, and while the power struggles begin with Ragnor (on Vikings), they carry on to include all his heirs and, as noted, a generation many years into the future. As such, being a generational saga is also something all three shows have in common, and they also explore the complexity of female and male warriors. All six seasons of Vikings are available on Hulu, while there are two seasons so far of its spinoff, with Vikings: Valhalla Season 3 expected in 2024.
The Last Kingdom (Netflix)
The Last Kingdom follows Uhtred of Bebbanburg (Alexander Dreymon) as he faces his conflicting heritage; he was born an Anglo-Saxon but raised by Vikings. Viewers see his story, and a fictionalized birth of England, as it's set in the 9th century A.D. and based on Bernard Cornwell's The Saxon Stories series, with each season following two books from the series.
The Last Kingdom and GOT share in their love of long battle scenes. Both series also deal with the question of birthrights, and familial blood versus adopted culture and traditions. They also deal with the hero's journey of accepting his or her destiny. All five seasons of the action-packed drama are available on Netflix, along with the finale film, The Last Kingdom: Seven Kings Must Die, which was released after the series was cancelled.
The Tudors (Showtime)
The Tudors follows the Tudor dynasty of Henry VIII (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) and his six wives, with Game of Thrones’ Natalie Dormer – who played Margaery Tyrell on the hit HBO series – portraying one of these wives. The historical drama aired on Showtime for four seasons and ran for 38 episodes in total.
The Tudors and GOT both brought huge ratings for their perspective cable networks during their run, and both series were not afraid to use that TV-MA rating to push boundaries of nudity and sex scenes. The Tudors took a very sexy approach to fictionalized history, and Game of Thrones sometimes took a similar path, with varying responses from viewers. These series also share a depiction of how absolute power corrupts.
Succession follows the Roy Family as they battle for control of the Waystar Royco Company. Brian Cox plays the aging patriarch Logan Roy, whose family includes his wife and four children, with impeccable actors such as Hiam Abbass, Kieran Culkin, Alan Ruck, Sarah Snook, and Jeremy Strong serving as part of the Succession ensemble cast.
Succession and GOT share both a network and the theme of toxic family dynamics. Succession is what Game of Thrones would be if the latter was comedic, based in reality, and set in modern day, with slightly fewer deaths by eye-gouging. Succession ended with its fourth season finale at the end of May 2023, and you can watch the entire, award-winning series on Max.
Animal Kingdom (Amazon Prime)
Animal Kingdom begins with J Cody (Finn Cole) reuniting with his estranged family after his mother's death. Immediately, J tries to carve his place in the Cody family criminal enterprise, which is headed up by Ellen Barkin's cold and calculating matriarch, Smurf. GOT and Animal Kingdom both explore the family feuds that result when everyone believes that they should be king. The original main cast also includes Scott Speedman, Shawn Hatosy, Ben Robson, and Jake Weary.
J is a very ambiguous character whose motives are never quite clear. Is he trying to join the family business, take it over, or destroy it? This puts J on the same level as infamously dubious GOT characters like Lord Baelish (Aidan Gillen). While not as extreme as Game of Thrones, Animal Kingdom also dips its toes in the incest pool, as Smurf (Ellen Barkin) often flirts with her sons and grandson. The crime drama is based on the Australian film of the same name, and Amazon Prime has all six seasons as part of a regular Prime Video subscription package.
Peaky Blinders (Netflix)
Peaky Blinders follows the Shelby crime family, led by Tommy Shelby (Cillian Murphy). Set in Birmingham, England in 1919, it showcases the creation of a criminal dynasty, and wrapped with six seasons.
Peaky Blinders and GOT share a love of morally corrupt characters who are also really likable. The families on the HBO hit do pretty terrible things to others and each other, but some of the morally challenged characters still make you root for them. The same can be said for the Shelby clan on Peaky Blinders. Additionally, both series explore the beginning and progression of a kingdom, but on the Netflix drama, the kingdom comes in the form of the criminal empire. All six seasons are available right now.
The White Queen (Starz)
The Starz miniseries, The White Queen, aired in 2013 and had 10 episodes, with Philippa Gregory’s best-selling novel of the same name about England's War of the Roses in the 1400s serving as the source material. Spinoffs The White Princess and The Spanish Princess both followed on the network. Rebecca Ferguson plays the titular character, Elizabeth Woodville, Janet McTeer portrayed her mother, Jacquetta, Faye Marsay appears as Anne Neville, and Amanda Hale plays Margaret Beaufort.
The White Queen follows sympathetic female characters as they manipulate events and situations to gain power and liberation. Like with GOT, the Starz series creates ambitious, brave, and smart female characters who make dangerous decisions in order to protect themselves and their families. Both series also show the female leads to be just as powerful and vital to the power struggle as their male counterparts. The White Queen is only available through a Starz subscription, which Amazon Prime subscription or a Hulu subscription can easily add.
Love/Hate (Apple TV+)
Irish crime drama Love/Hate aired on RTE television from 2010 to 2014. It follows John Boy (Aidan Gillen) and four friends, Darren (Robert Sheehan), Nidge (Tom Vaughan-Lawlor), Robbie (Chris Newman), and Tommy (Killian Scott). Throughout Love/Hate's five seasons, viewers witness how the criminal world changes these characters, usually for the worse.
Love/Hate is an unapologetic crime drama that doesn't hesitate to show violence, corruption, and the gritty nature of the underworld. GOT and Love/Hate share the extremely talented Aidan Gillen and a story of how a series of devastating events can lead a relatively kind character towards darkness. Darren and GOT's Sansa (Sophie Turner) start in similarly innocent, but both go through a major devastating transformation, only Darren doesn't become ruler of the North in the end. All five Love/Hate seasons are available with an Apple TV+ subscription.
Game of Thrones was a one-of-a-kind series, so it’s impossible to find a direct replacement, but the listed shows offer fans of the HBO series something to binge as they wait for the latest book.
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Spent most of my life in various parts of Illinois, including attending college in Evanston. I have been a life long lover of pop culture, especially television, turned that passion into writing about all things entertainment related. When I'm not writing about pop culture, I can be found channeling Gordon Ramsay by kicking people out the kitchen.