The long winter that is Game of Thrones‘ hiatus is upon us, and it’s only getting colder, guys. While there is some comfort in re-watching old episodes — “Battle of the Bastards” is an actual masterpiece — it’s also nice to tune in to something brand new that’s capable of getting you just as hyped as the action in Westeros does. There are quite a few shows out there that are perfect for Game of Thrones fans (think Rome, Vikings, and the early seasons of The Walking Dead), but most of them have been around so long that you’ve probably already seen them.
If you’re looking for a show that’s new and just as intense, brutal, and exciting as Game of Thrones is, then this is the list for you. None of these nine shows are exactly like the hit HBO series, because let’s face it, there’s nothing quite like it on TV. However, each one of these series create intricate and dangerous worlds that viewers can’t look away from.
- American Gods (Starz)
Based on Neil Gaiman’s epic American Gods, this Starz series is creatively stunning and features just the right balance of political intrigue (in this case between gods) and character drama. Ex-con Shadow and the mysterious Mr. Wednesday embark on a road trip across America to rally the old guys in a battle against the new ones, like Media. With a war brewing, and Shadow realizing that there’s magic in the world for the first time, this show has some serious Game of Thrones vibes.
This Starz series is creatively stunning and features just the right balance of political intrigue (in this case between gods) and character drama. There’s never a dull moment when you’re following Shadow and Mr. Wednesday across the country, but there are quite a few bloody ones.
- The Terror (AMC)
AMC’s miniseries follows a group of men whose journey to find the Northwest Passage goes horribly wrong. They find themselves stranded in a frozen tundra with little hope for survival as something menacing lurks just out of sight.
Not only is this survival story riveting, it also stars two major Game of Thrones alums: Tobias Menzies and Ciarán Hinds.
- Westworld (HBO)
HBO has another major genre show that’s every bit as sprawling as Game of Thrones, and that show is Westworld. Set in a nightmarish version of a theme park for the disgustingly wealthy, people enter the old west style world alongside hosts — robots, who aren’t meant to be conscious or have any will of their own. However, not all is as it seems with these hosts, and as they begin to gain consciousness, the virtual world becomes less of a fantasy and more of a dangerous reality for guests.
The sci-fi series touches on the themes of consent, consciousness, and what it means to be human while also serving up genuinely thrilling gun fights.
- The Handmaid’s Tale (Hulu)
The women of The Handmaid’s Tale would have a lot to discuss with Arya, Sansa, and Cersei. This dystopian story follows Offred, played by the exceptional Elisabeth Moss, as she deals with life in Gilead. In this new regime, a woman’s worth is tied entirely to her body, and Offred serves as the handmaid — a woman who is meant to provide children in this dark new world — to a powerful couple. As she navigates the dangers of Gilead, her one constant is a unwavering desire to find a way back to the daughter that was ripped out of her arms.
This dystopian story is never easy to watch, but it’s a rewarding series that never shies away from examining humanity’s darkest side.
- Versailles (Netflix)
If it’s the battle for the throne that keeps you coming back, then try checking out Versailles. The series follows the story of King Louis XIV and the drama that surrounded his court as his opulent palace is constructed. This sexy import doesn’t have any magic, but there’s more than enough backstabbing to make up for that, as the always suspicious King Louis XIV fights to preserve his power from those who seek to take it from him.
This sexy import doesn’t have any magic, but there’s more than enough backstabbing to make up for that.
- Troy: Fall of a City (Netflix)
Look, no one is saying Troy: Fall of a City is a great show. Sometimes, it’s not even a good one. But it is a whole lot of fun thanks to some truly awesome battle sequences and David Gyasi’s performance as Achilles. Troy follows the familiar tale of Helen’s capture and the war that follows, but there are just enough twists added in to make this classic story worth revisiting.
- The Alienist (TNT)
TNT’s Victorian serial killer drama takes place on a much smaller scale than Game of Thrones, but it scratches many of the same narrative itches. Set in 1896 New York, the series begins with a ritualistic killing that brings together a psychologist, Dr. Laszlo Kreizler, illustrator John Moore, and a police department secretary named Sara Howard to investigate these heinous crimes in an era when there was no name for serial killers.
It takes you into a dark world that’s not so unfamiliar from our own, and then it forces the viewer to examine the lies people tell themselves, as well as the ugliness they try to hide.
- Altered Carbon (Netflix)
Netflix hit it out of the park with this sci-fi series about a world where a person’s consciousness can be uploaded into a different body after their death. After centuries of his mind being in limbo, an interstellar soldier named Takeshi Kovacs is given a new body and another chance at life — with a catch: he must solve a murder for his wealthy benefactor.
At once cerebral and addictive, this is a show that knows a thing or two about world-building.
- Counterpart (Starz)
J.K. Simmons gives a masterclass in acting as he plays two versions of the same man. Howard Silk is just a mild-mannered employ of a spy agency when he becomes to privy to the information that there’s an alternate world out there where another version of himself exists. Once Howard discovers that his employers are hiding the barrier between the two worlds, he becomes part of a thrilling espionage plot with his other self.
Counterpart has everything you could ask for from a show — mystery, action, and a twisty plot that will keep you guessing until the very end. Hey, it’s not Game of Thrones, but it’s still pretty damn good.