What to watch while you’re waiting for ‘Game of Thrones’

Winter isn’t coming until this summer.

Game of Thrones’ seventh season is starting later than usual this year, because of production schedules and real-life weather. For fans of the show that are used to scheduling every Sunday at 9:00 p.m. ET for swords, drama and dragons at this time of year, you might find yourself with a little more time on your hands.

But while there’s nothing quite the same as Game of Thrones, there are plenty of shows that hit the themes that make up the HBO juggernaut. If you’re missing Westeros, we recommend these substitutes. And don’t forget that Thrones returns on July 16.

If you want a dragon-filled fantasy epic: Merlin

The world of Westeros is a draw to Game of Thrones, with its own politics and gods and weather. If you’re looking for another high-fantasy story with its own world and rules, King Arthur has you covered. British show Merlin reimagines the classic story through the young warlock’s eyes. It has all the medieval hallmarks of a big fantasy show. Including, of course, dragons.

Stream Merlin on Netflix.

If you prefer your fantasy with a lot of soapy drama: The Magicians

Sometimes Game of Thrones has battles on huge scales, and sometimes it’s got a really well-placed slap across your spoiled nephew’s face. If you’re looking for another fantasy where the magical and political mixes with the petty and personal, try SyFy’s The Magicians, based on the books by Lev Grossman. The series follows a group of adult magicians in what is effectively a magical grad school as they discover a Narnia-like fairytale land and the evil within it. But there is plenty of time for relationship drama that would make fan-fic writers on Tumblr proud.

Stream The Magicians on Netflix.

If you dug the swords but are less into the sorcery: The Last Kingdom

If you’re one of the Game of Thrones fans that’s into the well-shot battles sequences but less into the births of shadow creatures, The Last Kingdom is a good option for you. The British historical drama is an adaptation of Bernard Cornwell’s historical novels series The Saxon Stories and follows the Anglo-Saxon wars in England in the ninth century. It has battles and dirty long-haired men galore.

Stream The Last Kingdom on Netflix.

If you like the multi-generational family story: The 100

One of the unique aspects of Game of Thrones is the way it weaves multiple generations of characters together to tell a singular story. If you like the adult vs. kid aspect, try The CW’s The 100. The show follows a post-apocalyptic Earth devastated by nuclear war when survivors from a space station touchdown to try to forge a new life. The first to go? 100 juvenile delinquents that are considered expendable, some of whose parents are the leaders of the community.

Stream The 100 on Netflix.

If you like a high-concept genre show with a big cast and many fan theories: Battlestar Galactica

It’s no secret that HBO was dipping into the Game of Thrones well with its complex, sci-fi Westworld, but if you already hit that train last fall, allow us to point you to another sci-fi show that will get you thinking really Big Thoughts: Battlestar Galactica. The show, which follows the last survivors of humanity after a deadly attack from the robotic Cylons, is one of the more thought-provoking shows you’ll watch. Its titular Battlestar is the home of the last remnants of the military and government after the Cylon attack, and the series sees ethical and moral questions abound.

Stream Battlestar Galactica on Hulu.

If you love political wheeling and dealing (and beautiful gowns): Outlander

If you love everything that Dany and Cersei wear as well as the political intrigue in their respective courts, try Outlander. The show, based on a series of novels from Diana Gabaldon, follows a nurse from 1945 who is magically transported back in time to 18th-century Scotland. Season 2 finds our heroine and her new husband involved in court politics in pre-revolutionary France, which means the most fabulous costumes you’ve seen and a lot of back deals made at brothels. Remind you of any shows you know?

Stream Outlander on Starz.

If you just want a movie to satisfy your Game of Thrones craving: Stardust

If you’re missing Game of Thrones but only have two hours, we recommend the utterly delightful Stardust. Adapted from a Neil Gaiman graphic novel, the film stars Charlie Cox (aka Daredevil) as a 19th-century man who journeys to a magical land in search of a fallen star, who ends up being Claire Danes. The film has sword fights and evil witches even its own mini “game of thrones” involving brothers fighting to be heir to a kingdom.



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