Where to watch: Prime Video (2 seasons), with Epix add-on (all 3 seasons)
This blend 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 trip. This mysterious and unpredictable story of 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 stars as Roman invader Aulus Plautius, a man convinced that fate and luck are on his side during Rome’s second attempt to subjugate British lands. What they discover are warring tribes, a land steeped in Druid magic, and a young girl prophesied to save everyone from the Romans. Kelly Reilly, Zoë Wanamaker, Mackenzie Crook and Eleanor Worthington Cox also star.
Where to watch: Starz, DirecTV with Starz
Filmed using the 300 green screen effect, this historic hyper-violent, ultra-sexual, profanity-filled series is one of the most moving and rewarding action epics ever made. Tragedy of its own, Spartacus sadly lost its lead, Andy Whitfield, to cancer after only one season. His illness caused the show to delay production on a second season, instead creating a prequel season, Spartacus: Gods of the Arena. Despite the dire setbacks, the show continued for two more seasons with new star Liam McIntyre and finished stronger than most shows in TV history. Created and executive produced by Sam Raimi and Daredevil’s 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 Saxon tales about the birth of England in the ninth and tenth centuries, The Last Kingdom ran for five seasons on Netflix and is now in the works for a full-length sequel, Seven Kings Must Die. Telling the story of The Great Heathen Army (Vikings) invasion of England, The Last Kingdom shares history (and some characters) with the other shows on our list, though it’s largely told from a different perspective. Centering on Uhtred of Bebbanburg, a Saxon-born and Dane-raised man, this drama features a central character struggling with torn loyalties between his oaths, conflicting cultural identities and his quest for revenge. Alexander Dreymon, Emily Cox and David Dawson star in this bloody and brutally satisfying series.
Where to watch: Prime Video, Hulu
Created and written by The Tudors’ Michael Hirst, Vikings is a sprawling seven-season celebration of the legendary Viking Ragnar Lothbrok and his equally legendary sons. While Game of Thrones was known for its clever, quotable dialogue, Vikings (which wasn’t notoriously chatty) is a more direct exploration of ancient Scandanavian culture, religion and violence. Spanning two generations, the show takes us from the halls of England’s kings to Paris to Kiev as warriors, explorers and those who wish to please their gods by discovering and cultivating new lands lead us on a unique journey through the ages. Travis Fimmel, Katheryn Winnick, Alexander Ludwig, Gustaf Skarsgård and Alex Høgh Andersen starred in this incomparable work.
And for Vikings fans, the sequel Vikings: Valhalla, set 100 years later and created by Jeb Stuart, is on Netflix.
Shadow and bone
Where to watch: Netflix
Completely out of history, here’s the latest show of the batch, Netflix’s Shadow and Bone. Based on the “Grishaverse” book series by Leigh Bardugo, this show is pure dystopian fantasy and focuses on a young girl, Alina Starkov, who is an orphan and a cartographer for the Ravka Nation’s First Army, when she discovers that she is Grisha, who has special gifts. – in this case a “Sun Summoner” who can control light. Shadow and Bone with Jessie Mei Li, Ben Barnes, Zoë Wanamaker (who is also in Britain), Archie Renaux and Freddy Carter is gorgeous costumes, impressive world building and dark magic. The series has one eight-episode season on Netflix, with Season 2 set to premiere in late 2022 or early 2023.
Where to watch: Hulu, Starz
With its rich production, haunting drama and epic conclusion, Black Sails is hard to beat. A prequel series to Robert Louis Stevenson’s 1883 novel Treasure Island and featuring the main characters of Captain Flint, Billy Bones and John Silver (the nickname “Long” is developed in the show), Black Sails mixed these fictional characters with real historical raiders and lawmen. from the Golden Age of Piracy – including Anne Bonny, Jack Rackham (the real basis for Jack Sparrow), Charles Vane, Blackbeard and Woodes Rogers. A wonderful mix of fact and fiction with unbeatable naval 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
Yes, we are actually now in the 20th century and still dealing with a bit of history. You might wonder how Boardwalk Empire can satisfy Game of Thrones fans, but this masterful crime drama from Sopranos writer Terence Winter featured a top-notch ensemble, labyrinthine plots, cunning criminals and extraordinary intrigue. Set during the 1920s Prohibition era in the original “Sin City” of Atlantic City, Boardwalk Empire featured corrupt county treasurer-turned-gangster Steve Buscemi as its focal point, entwined in conflict, violence and real-life organized crime figures. crime like Al. Capone, Arnold Rothstein, Lucky Luciano, Meyer Lansky and Bugsy Siegel. Kelly Macdonald, Michael Shannon, Gretchen Mol, Charlie Cox before Daredevil and the late Michael Kenneth Williams helped round out the cast.
Where to watch: Prime Video
Despite going from a fantasy realm set in the past to a full sci-fi future, The Expanse , which just ended after six seasons (and a life that took it from Syfy to Prime Video Original), might be the best yet. similar to Game of Thrones in terms of its massive scope and distribution of major characters and factions. Based on the book series by James SA Corey (joint name for 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 combat space freighter, politicians on Earth, soldiers on Mars and police in the belt asteroids as a plot unfolds over the game-changing discovery of extraterrestrial life. Stars Steven Strait, Frankie Adams, Dominique Tipper, Thomas Jane, Florence Faivre and Shohreh Aghdashloo.
Want to watch Game of Thrones again instead? Check out our guide to the best episodes of Game of Thrones.