If you’re like me, you’re suffering from a sever case of the post-season finale blues after Game of Thrones seventh season ended last week. Include the fact that the new season probably won’t come out until 2019 (18 months!), and you’re down right depressed.
You need a show (or shows) to fill the giant void that Game of Thrones has left in your life. To help, I’ve compiled a list of recommendations for you to help ease your pain, because I’m such a nice guy.
I’ve made a conscious decision to avoid other shows in the fantasy/medieval genre because I think watching a show that just reminds you of Thrones won’t help you get over it.
So here are four shows that you can watch instead.
1. Peaky Blinders
Where to watch: Netflix (seasons 1-3)
This badass show will have you swearing in a terrible English accent for days after binge watching it (for a week after, I said “by order of the Peaky FOOKIN’ Blinders” at least 3,000 times). Starring Cillian Murphy (Batman Begins, pretty much every Christopher Nolan movie) as Thomas Shelby, the head of the Shelby family crime organization in Small Heath, England, Peaky Blinders is a lovely gangster series about power, family, and crime that takes place in the era between World War I and World War II. It’s got violence, back-room power-grabbing, and really thick British accents; everything you could ever want in a TV show. Its funky, bluesy soundtrack also gives it a raw, modern energy few period shows have.
It starts off with a London lawman (Sam Neill, Jurassic Park) being sent into Small Heath to bring down the Shelby’s. Meanwhile, Thomas maneuvers family business to takeover even more territory and consolidate their power. Naturally, things get ugly. Its brutal, dirty, and visceral. It’s bloody fantastic.
A great thing Blinders does is keep itself feeling fresh by adding new characters and incredible actors to the cast each season. Additions like, Tom Hardy, Paddy Considine, and (for the upcoming fourth season) Adrien Brody, make each season feel new and original. Now’s a great time to binge watch Blinders as the new season should return before 2017 is out.
Where to watch: Hulu (season 1)
Preacher is such an amazingly weird show that it’s difficult to describe. Basically, Jesse Custer (Dominic Cooper) is a preacher in a small town in Texas with a troubled past (used to be an hit man or assassin or something) and a dwindling faith. One day an unknown force gives him the power to command anyone to do his bidding with his word. His ex-girlfriend, Tulip (Ruth Negga), shows up to bring him back to the life of crime and killing he left behind. Also, there’s Cassidy (Joseph Gilgun) who is a vampire and becomes Jesse’s best (and only) friend.
I left a lot out (like the angels trying to reclaim the force back from Jesse, or the saint of killers), but I could write probably 5,000 words about it and I don’t think anyone wants to read that.
It borrows and is influenced a lot by classic western movies and shows, while also carving itself into something wholly original. Preacher is profoundly strange, gruesome, and darkly hilarious. I love it. (And that’s just the first season; the second has been even better so far)
3. Rick and Morty
Where to watch (Hulu, seasons 1-2)
If you don’t love this show I have no respect for you.
4. American Gods
Where to watch (STARZ app, Amazon Prime with STARZ subscription, season 1)
If there is one show on television right now with the potential to inherit the Game of Thrones audience and its place in pop culture, it is American Gods. A show with an outlandish premise — gods are alive and live among us — which remains grounded with gritty realism and violence and sex.
Like Thrones, Gods is based on a best-selling book from over a decade ago. Written by Neil Gaiman (who also is an executive producer of the series), Gods follows Shadow Moon, a recently released convict who falls into work with a man while flying home, Mr. Wednesday (Ian McShane). Wednesday hires him and exposes him to a world where gods, the old and the new, mingle among mortals.
Its one of the most visually rich television shows I’ve ever seen. Gods checks all the same boxes that made Thrones such a massive hit. Gratuitous violence? Check. Unabashed nudity and sex? Check. Impressive production values? Check. Compelling characters and confounding storylines? Check and check. Plus, there are so many scenes where afterwards you just go “wow”. (I don’t want to give too much away, but there’s a scene where a guy gets kicked in the balls SO HARD he splits in half and his spine goes flying.) (It’s awesome.)
I love the cast almost as much as the show. Ian McShane (Deadwood, John Wick), my pick for the best actor alive today, as the devilishly charming conman Mr. Wednesday? Oh hell yes. Peter Stormare (Fargo, 22 Jump Street) as a psychotic Polish god who bashes people’s brains in with a giant hammer? Yes please. Crispin Glover (Back to the Future, Charlie’s Angels) as Mr. World, the main antagonist who is just creepy as hell? Checks out.
Words fail to describe how absurdly bizarre and great this show is. You just have to experience it, you know? I didn’t even get around to mentioning the seven-foot tall leprechaun named Mad Sweeney (Pablo Schreiber). The problem is it’s only on the STARZ app, and most people don’t have a subscription. But, you can do what I did and use that free one-month trial and cancel when you’re done.
If you honestly watch the first episode and have no interest in continuing to watch the series I will pay you out of my own pocket (not really, I’m poor). Gods wrapped its first season over the summer and was picked up for a second. I think this show will become a massive hit so my advice is hop on the bandwagon before it gets too crowded.