HBO’s mega-hit series Game of Thrones wrapped its eighth and final season this week. And although the response to the finale rivalled the disappointment felt by fans when Lost ended, there’s no doubt that the show made an indelible impression on the world of fantasy television.
Game of Thrones had imitators (like Vikings and Knightfall) before the show was even halfway through its eight-year run. So it’s not surprising that networks and streaming sites are scrambling to fill the show’s dragon-sized void by replicating its success.
The 2019 Fall / Spring (depending on where you live) television season will see a new batch of fantasy series making their debut on traditional networks and streaming sites like Netflix, Amazon and Hulu.
Here’s a list of some of the most anticipated new series…
Good Omens (Amazon Prime / BBC)
This six-part series is based on the 1990 novel Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. Set in 2018, the series will follow the demon Crowley and the angel Aziraphale. After becoming accustomed to life on Earth the duo seek to prevent the coming of the antichrist and the seemingly inevitable final battle between Heaven and Hell. The series is directed by Douglas Mackinnon and written by Gaiman, who also served as showrunner.
The Chronicles of Narnia (Netflix)
C.S. Lewis’ iconic fantasy novel series has previously been made into TV shows and movies. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe introduced fans to the Pevensies children who discover a gateway to a magical world run by Aslan, a talking lion who needs help fending off the White Witch. The groundbreaking Netflix deal marks the first time a single company has acquired the rights to all seven of the Narnia books which include: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Prince Caspian, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, The Silver Chair, The Horse and His Boy, The Magician’s Nephew, and The Last Battle.
Cursed is based on the forthcoming illustrated novel of the same name by Frank Miller and Tom Wheeler. The show is described as a re-imagining of the Arthurian legend told through the eyes of teenage heroine, Nimue who is destined to become the powerful Lady of the Lake. After her mother’s death she finds an unexpected partner in a young mercenary named Arthur. They join forces in a quest to find Merlin and deliver an ancient sword. Over the course of her journey, Nimue will become a symbol of courage and rebellion against the terrifying Red Paladins and their complicit King Uther.
His Dark Materials (HBO)
His Dark Materials is based on the trilogy of fantasy novels by Sir Philip Pullman consisting of Northern Lights, The Subtle Knife, and The Amber Spyglass. This coming of age story follows Lyra Belacqua and Will Parry as they wander through a series of parallel universes. The novels have won a number of awards, including the Carnegie Medal in 1995 for Northern Lights and the 2001 Whitbread Book of the Year for The Amber Spyglass. The show has already been renewed for a second series of eight episodes.
This dystopian sci-fi series is based on an ongoing comic series by Greg Rucka and Michael Lark. The story is set in a world that has been divided among sixteen rival families who run their territories in a feudal system. Each family has a “Lazarus” who represents them in combat. The story will focus on Forever, a young woman who’s questioning her place in the world, as she represents the Carlyle family who controls what used to be Western North America.
The Witcher (Netflix)
This eight-episode series is based on the best-selling fantasy book series by Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski. It is described as an epic tale of fate and family. Witchers are monster hunters who (with training and body modification) develop supernatural abilities at a young age to battle deadly monsters. The show stars Henry Cavill as Geralt of Rivia, a monster hunter who is forced to travel across a fantastical realm alongside a powerful sorceress and a princess who harbours a dangerous secret.
Wild Cards (Hulu)
Wild Cards is based on a series of science fiction superhero anthologies, mosaic novels and solo novels written by a collection of more than forty authors. Set during an alternate history of post-World War II United States, the series follows humans who contracted the Wild Card virus. This alien virus rewrites human DNA and mutates survivors. Those who acquire crippling and/or repulsive physical conditions are known as Jokers, while those who acquire superhuman abilities are known as Aces, and the few who acquire minor, insignificant powers are known as Deuces.
Although having a blockbuster genre TV show has gone from being a cool bonus to a necessity, it’s uncertain if any of these shows will ever reach the level of cultural dominance of Game of Thrones. Series have evolved so much over the last decade. Entire seasons are released all at once and are quickly forgotten as viewers move on to the next big thing. Shows that air weekly just aren’t that popular anymore. And with so many diverse viewing niches available to audiences the viewership numbers of Game of Thrones might be very difficult to replicate. But only time will tell…