where to watch: Prime Video (2 seasons), with Epix add-on (all 3 seasons)
This mix of history and fantasy, which also uses 20th century pop songs (the opening credits are set to Donovan’s “Hurdy Gurdy Man”, T-Rex’s “Children of the Revolution”, etc.), is an absolute journey. This bizarre and unpredictable story, about the Romans’ attempt to conquer the Celts in the British Isles in AD 43, has been described as Game of Thrones on acid. The Walking Dead’s David Morrissey plays Roman invader Aulus Plautius, a man convinced that fate and fortune are on his side during Rome’s second attempt to subjugate British lands. What he discovers are warring tribes, lands steeped in druidic magic, and a young girl who, according to the prophecy, will save everyone from the Romans. Kelly Reilly, Zoë Wanamaker, Mackenzie Crook and Eleanor Worthington Cox also star.
where to watch: Starz, DirecTV with Starz
This hyper-violent, ultra-sexual and vulgar historical series, shot using 300 green screen effect, is one of the most emotional and rewarding action epics ever. carried out. Steeped in its own tragedy, Spartacus sadly lost its frontman, Andy Whitfield, to cancer after filming just one season. His illness caused the series to delay production of a second season, instead creating the prequel season Spartacus: Gods of the Arena. Despite terrible setbacks, the show lasted two more seasons, starring new star Liam McIntyre, and ended stronger than most shows in television history. Created and produced by Daredevil’s Sam Raimi and Steven S. DeKnight, Spartacus also featured John Hannah, Lucy Lawless, Manu Bennett, Jai Courtney, Katrina Law, Peter Mensah and Cynthia Addai-Robinson.
The Last Kingdom
where to watch:Netflix
Based on Bernard Cornwell’s The Saxon Stories, about the birth of England in the 9th and 10th centuries, The Last Kingdom ran for five seasons on Netflix, with a feature-length sequel, Seven Kings Must Die, currently in development. Telling the story of the invasion of England by the great pagan army (of the vikings), The Last Kingdom shares the story (and some characters) with the next show on our list, although largely told from a point of different view. Centered on Uhtred of Bebbanburg, a man born Saxon and raised a Dane, this drama delivers a central character struggling with split loyalties between his oaths, his conflicting cultural identities and his quest for retaliation. Alexander Dreymon, Emily Cox, and David Dawson star in this gory, brutally satisfying series.
where to watch: Premium Video, Hulu
Vikings, which was created and written by Michael Hirst of The Tudors, is a sprawling seven-season celebration of legendary Viking Ragnar Lothbrok and his equally legendary sons. While Game of Thrones was known for its clever, quotable dialogue, Vikings (which was notoriously not wordy) is a more straightforward exploration of ancient Scandinavian culture, religion, and violence. Spanning two generations, the show takes us from the palaces of the kings of England to Paris to kyiv as warriors, explorers and those who wish to please their gods by discovering and cultivating new lands lead us through a journey unique through the ages. Travis Fimmel, Katheryn Winnick, Alexander Ludwig, Gustaf Skarsgård and Alex Høgh Andersen titled this incomparable work.
And for Vikings fans, the sequel to the Vikings: Valhalla series, set 100 years later and created by Jeb Stuart, is on Netflix.
shadow and bone
where to watch:Netflix
Stepping away from the story completely here is the newest show of the lot, Netflix’s Shadow and Bone. Based on Leigh Bardugo’s “Grishaverse” book series, this show is pure dystopian fantasy, focusing on a young girl, Alina Starkov, who is an orphan and First Army cartographer of the Ravka Nation, as she discovers that she is a Grisha, one with special gifts – in this case a “Sun Summoner” who can control light. Starring Jessie Mei Li, Ben Barnes, Zoë Wanamaker (who’s also in Britannia), Archie Renaux and Freddy Carter, Shadow and Bone is all about gorgeous costumes, awesome world-building and dark magic. The series has an eight-episode season on Netflix, with season 2 premiering in late 2022 or early 2023.
where to watch: Hulu, Starz
With its lavish production, haunting drama, and terrific finish, Black Sails is hard to beat. A prequel series to Robert Louis Stevenson’s 1883 novel Treasure Island, and featuring the main characters Captain Flint, Billy Bones and John Silver (the nickname “Long” is developed in the series), Black Sails mixed these fictional characters with true historical looters and lawmen. from the golden age of piracy – including Anne Bonny, Jack Rackham (the real basis of Jack Sparrow), Charles Vane, Blackbeard and Woodes Rogers. A beautiful mix of reality and fiction, with unbeatable sea battles, Black Sails produced by Michael Bay ran for four seasons, gave us a fantastic finale and starred Toby Stephens, Luke Arnold, Zach McGowan, Clara Paget, Toby Schmitz , Hannah New, and Jessica Parker Kennedy.
where to watch: HBO Max
Yeah, we’re actually in the 20th century now, still sort of dealing with history though. You might wonder how Boardwalk Empire could possibly satisfy Game of Thrones fans, but this masterful crime drama, from Soprano writer Terence Winter, featured a top ensemble, labyrinthine storylines, conniving criminals and extraordinary schemers. . Set in the Prohibition era of the 1920s, in the original “sin city” of Atlantic City, Boardwalk Empire featured corrupt county treasurer Steve Buscemi-turned-gangster as a centerpiece, weaving strife, violence and real-life organized crime figures like Al Capone, Arnold Rothstein, Lucky Luciano, Meyer Lansky and Bugsy Siegel. Kelly Macdonald, Michael Shannon, Gretchen Mol, a pre-Daredevil Charlie Cox, and the late Michael Kenneth Williams helped round out the cast.
where to watch: Premium Video
Despite shifting from a fantasy realm, set in the past, to a complete sci-fi future, The Expanse, which just ended after six seasons (and a lifetime that took it from Syfy to Prime Video Original ), is perhaps the most similar to Game of Thrones in terms of its massive scope and compartmentalization of major characters and factions. Based on the book series by James SA Corey (the common name of writers Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck), and set hundreds of years in the future in a colonized solar system, The Expanse follows the crew of a freighter besieged space, politicians on Earth, soldiers on Mars and police in the asteroid belt as a conspiracy unfolds regarding the groundbreaking discovery of extraterrestrial life. Steven Strait, Frankie Adams, Dominique Tipper, Thomas Jane, Florence Faivre and Shohreh Aghdashloo star.
Looking to rewatch Game of Thrones instead? Check out our guide to the best Game of Thrones episodes in the series.