Here are the fantasy shows that may soon replace Game Of Thrones on TV

With G R R Martin’s epic tale surrounding The Seven Kingdoms drawing to a close, TV’s biggest players are looking for more fantasy-narratives to fill the void.

Anoop Menon Published :  19th April 2019 12:00 AM   |   Published :   |  19th April 2019 12:00 AM

Good Omens

A decade ago, no TV executive had any hope for a show set in a mythical land about warring noble families. Naturally, eyebrows were raised when HBO—the powerhouse behind The Sopranos and The Wire—brought the rights to a sword and sorcery series referred to as Game Of Thrones in 2008; just as ratings were dipping on BBC’s Merlin. 

Due to this dicey situation, many A-list actors like Gillian Anderson, turned down lead roles on it. Three years later, the American premium satellite channel put on their game faces and risked millions of dollars by airing a pilot episode, Winter is Coming; just as the hottest fantasy show of the time, Legend of The Seeker, was cancelled. The response was lukewarm. 

However, the well-written, big-budget production slowly started gaining prominence in the pop-culture lexicon. By the time episode nine, Baelor, aired (*wink #NedStark wink*), global viewership skyrocketed. Today, eight seasons and a staggering 38 Emmy awards later, over 18 million people watch the show live—and untold millions pirate it worldwide.

Worldbuilding 101

Kingkiller Chronicles

Now, everyone wants a piece of the proverbial fantasy cake. While bigger players like Amazon are premiering Neil Gaiman’s Good Omens next month, indie networks like Showtime, are getting in on the act—having optioned Patrick Rothfuss’ Kingkiller Chronicles. Major Hollywood behemoths like Sony Pictures Television, which previously hesitated to venture into speculative fiction on TV, are collaborating with Amazon to recreate what is arguably the greatest fantasy saga ever published: Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time. 

The Dark Tower series

Amazon is also reportedly spending upwards of $1 billion on their five-season adaptation of J R R Tolkien’s magnum opus: Lord Of The Rings. That’s not all, to compete with established players, the e-commerce bigwig is also adapting Stephen King’s The Dark Tower series.

Netflix, however, remains unphased and continues to rack up brownie points amongst nerds. The platform’s exhaustive list of pipelined original series’ includes a contemporary twist on the Arthurian legend in Frank Miller’s Cursed; Leigh Bardugo’s Grishaverse novels; and the evergreen children’s fantasy series, The Chronicles of Narnia. Another interesting trend is how A-listers who once shied away from the genre are lining up to act in such shows—as was apparent when Henry Cavill jumped on the opportunity to play Geralt of Rivia on Lauren Hissrich’s adaptation of The Witcher.

The BBC—which famously backed out of GoT as a production partner before the show began—is also attempting to make amends for past mistakes, by producing an adaptation of Philip Pullman’s classic trilogy, His Dark Materials.

Amazon’s map of Middle Earth

Expanding the universe
Besides signing on Joss Whedon’s The Nevers and Nnedi Okorafor’s award-winning novel Who Fears Death, HBO announced that they are greenlighting a GoT prequel spin-off. With creators George R R Martin and Jane Goldman (of Kingsman fame) on board, the current cast includes Oscar-nominee Naomi Watts. 
As leaked by Martin on his blog, the show is rumoured to be called The Long Night—a reference to the White Walkers’ first invasion of Westeros. The network’s only hint is as follows: “Taking place thousands of years before the events of Game of Thrones, the series chronicles the world’s descent from the Golden Age of Heroes into its darkest hour.”