LIST: 5 fantasy series to watch post-'Game of Thrones'
MANILA, Philippines — After 8 seasons and countless dead bodies, Game of Thrones is finally over. Whether the series finale was satisfying or not is largely up to the individual. But one thing is certain — the show’s exit left a big gulf for other fantasy shows to fill.
That isn’t to say there haven’t been any other good fantasy shows on TV — far from it, actually. The last few years have brought us some pretty awesome fantasy programs, some of which gleefully buck the swords-and-sorcery template.
With Game of Thrones done, it’s time to explore some of those series. Here’s a list of old, current, and upcoming fantasy shows you should check out.
American Gods (Starz)
American Gods is a modern fantasy series based on the Neil Gaiman novel of the same name.
In Gaiman’s world, gods need human belief and worship to sustain their power. (Readers of Gaiman’s Sandman comics will be familiar with this concept.) But due to the changing times, people have abandoned most of these gods. Many of the gods resort to desperate measures to sustain themselves. Bilquis, a goddess of love, uses a dating app to get random hookups. And Odin, one of the show’s central characters, is a grifter and confidence man. Odin attempts to set off a chain of events to regain people’s faith in the old gods.
The series takes its name from the fact that these gods were brought to America by generations of immigrants. Part fantasy story, part road trip through the heart of America, American Gods is a fantastic exploration of faith.
Season 2 dropped last March. While reviews for that season were mixed, American Gods is still a compelling watch overall.
Good Omens (Amazon Video and BBC Two)
Premiering on May 31, Good Omens is based on the beloved novel by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. Good Omens is about the end of the world and the coming of the antichrist. Heavy stuff, but Pratchett and Gaiman infuse the story with so much irreverent humor. The story features the unlikely duo of the angel Aziraphale and demon Crowley. The two had gotten comfortable living on Earth, and work together to prevent the end of the world. Good Omens also introduces us to Adam, who is destined to become the antichrist. There’s just one problem: the wrong family took the baby Adam home from the hospital, and the boy lives a totally normal life in an idyllic village in England. If the TV series is even half as good as the book, we’ll be in for a devilishly good time!
The Expanse (SyFy and Amazon Prime Video)
I’ve written about The Expanse a couple of times already. But the series totally deserves to be on this list — sci-fi and fantasy fans have even described The Expanse as Game of Thrones in space (it’s also worth pointing out that Ty Franck, one of the co-authors of The Expanse novels, is a former assistant to George R. R. Martin).
While the description isn’t exactly accurate, The Expanse, like Game of Thrones, tackles the tensions between warring factions. In the show, humans have colonized Mars and the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. Each colony has its own culture and political structure — and both have quite a bit of resentment towards Earth, which is portrayed as a sort of interplanetary superpower.
Da Vinci’s Demons (Starz, Fox)
Da Vinci’s Demons, a historical fantasy about Leonardo Da Vinci, aired for three seasons from 2013 to 2015, and is one of the most underrated fantasy series around. The show mixes gorgeous set pieces with intriguing, almost steampunk, gadgetry.
It tells the story of Da Vinci during his early life, and his work as a weapons designer for the Duke of Milan and Cesare Borgia. But Da Vinci isn’t just a renaissance Tony Stark. Da Vinci’s Demons also showcases the conflicts between prominent houses as they try to gain control over Florence — this is something that is sure to please Game of Thrones fans undergoing intense withdrawal.
Westworld isn’t a fantasy show. But it trades in complex, multi-layered storytelling, which is something viewers of Game of Thrones will be sure to appreciate. Westworld is about androids (called “Hosts”) who are put to work in a sprawling, western-themed park. The first two seasons of Westworld explored what happens when these artificial beings gain sentience.
The story focused on the awakening of two hosts, Dolores and Maeve, and what each one did with their newfound self-awareness. The story unfolds in a non-linear manner, with multiple timelines seemingly happening at the same time. The series is definitely a puzzle box. (READ: Recap: 'Westworld' season one)
It could be argued that season 2 went a bit too far with its non-linear storytelling. But the end of that season did leave us with an intriguing premise.
Season 3 won’t arrive until 2020, but the teaser trailer just dropped (which features Westworld newcomer Aaron Paul), and you’ve got about 1 year to digest the intricacies of the first two seasons. – Rappler.com
Iñigo de Paula is a writer who lives and works in Quezon City. When he isn't talking about himself in the third person, he writes about pop culture and its peripheries.