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9 Captivating TV Shows Like "Game of Thrones" That’ll Hook You Instantly

Updated on February 20, 2017
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Rahul is a TV addict who can never get enough of good shows. His all time favorites are "The Wire", "Breaking Bad", and "The Sopranos."

TV Shows Like "Game of Thrones"

We get enough brain-dead TV shows every week. Every once in a while, though, a show like Game of Thrones lands on our screens and hooks us.

It’s gripping, gory, and beautiful. From dark dungeons to snowy mountains, the contrasting landscapes are captivating, each with a new story to tell. With its strong narrative and jaw-dropping visuals, there is no wonder that it has broken all sorts of records. The acting might seem a little wooden at times, but this is perfectly in keeping with the medieval look and feel of the show. Yes, it is dark and gloomy, but again in keeping with the narrative. Yes, some scenes can be hard to stomach for some people. If you can digest a lot of nudity (which is awesome), heart-wrenching deaths, and shocking betrayals, though, Game of Thrones is just the thing.

It also happens to be one of the most pirated TV shows ever. No wonder they premiered the 6th season in 172 countries simultaneously (by far the largest TV simulcast ever)! The only problem with Game of Thrones is that there isn’t enough of it. With only ten episodes every year (only seven in 2017), we are left craving more.

So of course, a lot of people are looking for TV shows like Game of Thrones, including me. I decided to take a look around and compile a list of some other shows similar to GOT.

How'd you rate Game of Thrones out of 5 stars?

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Rome

Rome could easily have achieved Game of Thrones's popularity. It’s a shame that it was canceled after only two seasons. Rome never got the audience it needed to keep it on the screen and it was crazy expensive to produce.

Good news is, you can still watch 22 episodes of this excellent series on HBO Go or Amazon on Demand. Everything you need to know is covered in those few episodes. It doesn’t feel unfinished. You’ll know who is standing and who has fallen by the end of the second season.

Rome lacks in nail-biting fights, but it more than makes up for it with its gritting storyline and convincing acting. If you are looking for a great storyline like Game of Thrones, Rome is your best bet.

Vikings

Vikings follows the story of Ragnar Lothbrok, a farmer who ultimately becomes the king of Denmark, as he terrorizes France and England with his constant raids. He is joined by his troubled brother Rollo, his first wife Lagertha, and the shipbuilder Floki in his quest.

Although it’s not Game of Thrones by any stretch of the imagination, I still love its storyline that has managed to captivate for four seasons. As you watch, you'll find yourself pulling for guys you loathed in the first season and booing last season's heroes. The plot and character development is artful, and as far as the depiction of medieval Scandinavia goes, I’d say it’s pretty accurate. If you love Game of Thrones but its nudity and violence are sometimes a bit too much to handle, you should defiantly give Vikings a shot.

Black Sails

Sex, violence, and nudity – Black Sails doesn't lack in these elements.

Airing on Starz and set as a prequel to Treasure Island, the plot follows the adventure of one of the most feared and infamous pirates of golden age, Captain Flint. On an island overrun with thieves, pirates, and prostitutes, Flint has to maintain control. The first season helps you get acquainted with the characters and style of storytelling. You might think that everything is a tad flashy, but the second and third seasons will help change your opinion.

If you are looking for some action, Black Sails is a good bet.

House of Cards

If plot twists, back-stabbing, and political intrigue are what you love most about Game of Thrones, then House of Cards is for you. The plot follows politicians of various rank and influence in Washington D.C. With familiar faces like Kevin Spacey and Kate Mara, the whole cast thrives under Fincher’s direction. Fincher has pulled off this drama in the best way possible. Taking the plunge of 13 episodes per season is not easy.

House of Cards is a serious political drama. What if someone is not into politics? Would they like it? The short answer is ‘yes'. Even if politics is not your cup of tea, you should find House of Cards enjoyable. The writing is to the point, sharp, and accurate. It never goes over the top or underwhelms, either.

One advantage House of Cards has is that you can watch one episode after another without any commercial breaks or programming schedules. You could even watch the whole season in one sitting (wouldn’t recommend it) if that’s your thing. On top of that, episodes don't include any flashbacks or recaps, thus freeing up significant time for more stories, conspiracy, and action. However difficult it is to get used to this kind of program scheduling, once you start paying attention, House of Cards grows on you.

One of the best things about this show is the removal of the fourth wall. You’ll find Frank Underwood talking to the camera every once in a while as a way of explication and expressing his opinion. Actor Kevin Spacey pulls those scenes off in style.

The Tudors

The Tudors is the story of Henry VIII’s reign over England. It’s about his political control over the region.

Just like Game of Thrones, this show is all about politics and the struggle for power. It might not be historically accurate, but it still is a lot of fun to watch all the four seasons. If you’re looking for historical accuracy, skip this entry. Then again, I don't think historical inaccuracy is a problem for a Game of Thrones fan. You’re here for some serious, gritty drama, and The Tudors has plenty of that in the store.

Spartacus

Spartacus is a series crammed with some intense action, violence, and drama – everything you’d expect from a TV show like Game of Thrones. Though this show doesn’t dwell in fantasy, it has gladiators with swords. Did I mention that there are tons of plot betrayals? You can stream the entire thing on Netflix.

Boardwalk Empire

Taking place amidst a thriving illegal alcohol business during the era of Prohibition, when the political landscape was laced with violence and corruption, Boardwalk Empire is a story about Nucky Thompson, a politician who also happens to be a mobster, playing both sides to his gain. Due to his lavish lifestyle, the federal government starts looking into him, making life a little bit harder for our man than it already is.

What surprised me is how far the makers of this series were willing to go with every little detail. It’s beyond accurate. Every furnishing, every corner, every street looks and feels authentic, as if everything was shot in 20s. In this show, a new standard is set for storytelling with everything far beyond perfect. With a talented and experienced cast, amazing cinematography, and twisting story lines, Boardwalk Empire cements its place as one of the best historical shows to ever air on TV.

The Bastard Executioner

The Bastard Executioner started airing September, 2015. After watching the one season aired before it was canceled, I was convinced that this medieval epic deserved a place in this list of shows like Game of Thrones.

It cost a whopping $10 million to make the two hour premiere, and subsequent episodes cost almost $2 million each. Judging by the quality of content and ratings, though, I’d say it was money well spent.

The story is set in Wales somewhere around 1300. It’s about Wlikn Brattle, a soldier who has had enough of the war and is looking to live rest of his life in peace. Unfortunately, he finds out that he has no option but to pick up the sword again, this time as a badass executioner. The first few episodes don’t reveal much, but it’s certain that The Bastard Executioner isn’t going to be a weekly execute-bad-guys episode. It’s trying to tell a larger story.

This might be the ultimate cure of Game of Thrones withdrawal. Less fantasy, and perhaps less nudity, but we have a lot of gore, blood, story line, and violence crammed in every episode.

The Last Kingdom

It’s a shame that more people don’t know about this series or the story it's based on. Just like Game of Thrones, The Last Kingdom is based on a series of books called The Saxon Stories. Set during 10th century AD in England at the time when Viking invasions were at their peak, The Last Kingdom is a story about Uhtred, an orphan born in Northumbria who must choose between the people who raised him and his native country.

Eye-gouging, beheading, stabbing, and crucifixion, amongst other things, is all here for your pleasure. There are a lot of bone-crunching battles with ever so satisfying clings of swords. The only thing lacking is explicit nude scenes, something we have grown accustomed to in Game of Thrones. It’s not surprising as the show is aired on BBC, which is not a premium channel. Still, a show well worth your time.

Once you're done with above shows, give Westworld and Wayward Pines a shot as well.

Are there any other TV shows like Game of Thrones that should have been on this list? Let me know in the comments section, and I’ll be sure to check them out!

Comments

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    • profile image

      kxka 9 days ago

      found VIKING sooo good......

      watched all 4 season in 5 days.....

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      Jeff 3 weeks ago

      The Last Kingdom is incredibly good. So good, it gets better every time you see it. It's historical fiction rather than fantasy but I think it's as good or neAR as good as GOT. Alfred the great is as brilliant as Uhtred is skilled with a sword, the books provide a clear story with great characters, and no chance of a red wedding. I would predict now if there turn out to be 5 seasons or more it will become a rival of the great shows in modern history.

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      shami 4 weeks ago

      which season is closed to the last kingdom? i really liked it ..

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      RAHUL VASHISHTHA 5 weeks ago

      some new shows to learn of .. thanx for the listing ... Rome & Tudors held me for long .. Reign must have been in the listing ... i wish there was something like GOT

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      Mohsin A shaikh 6 weeks ago

      Some shows in the list are good........But No Show come close to Game Of Thrones.

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      Mohsin Shaikh 6 weeks ago

      Some shows here are Good.........But No Show come Close to Game of Thrones....

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      Mark 6 weeks ago

      sons of anarchy

      ... 7 series, awesome

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      Jennifer targaryen 6 weeks ago

      In my opinion, nothing compares to game of thrones. There's a reason it's the #1 show in the world. The story is multi faceted and complex, there's a lot of character building and just a great and interesting story line like no other. I have checked out many of these shows above and really enjoyed bastard executioner but was disappointed it was cancelled. The last kingdom, black sails and Vikings were good. Spartacus is good but I prefer game of thrones. I'd recommend Medici, Marco Polo, The frontier (actor who plays khal drogo), and Borgias on Netflix (way better than the showtime version). Reign and Versailles are also very good shows. Btw whoever said there are no attractive actresses on both tudors and the borgias is clearly blind or has bad taste. I.e hollliday grainger and Natalie dormer are beautiful. Additionally, people shouldn't be watching a show purely for the eye candy, it should be about the storyline and the acting in general but either way none of these shows lack eye

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      dd 6 weeks ago

      I rate house of cards above game of thrones. better intrigue, better acting and equally gripping plot.

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      Tiff 7 weeks ago

      Reign is amazing, not as much sex and stuff but it's so good and Borgia defos deserves to be here - it has sex, politics, violence and backstabbing and you see it all

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      Boss Polo 7 weeks ago

      Try Marco Polo

      Into the badlands...u wont be disappointed.

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      rames 8 weeks ago

      nothing comes to close to game of thrones

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      Rob barnard 2 months ago

      Da Vinci's demons

      And Salem to other greats

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      koboi9 2 months ago

      Thank you for writing this article. Now I got a long list to watch. Hopefully there will be series that on par with Got. Btw, GoT is the best ever series i'd watched so far. Everyone can die in GoT. . It's so emotional when Robb Stark and his mother got killed in the wedding ceremony and when tyrion speech to defend himself in silence everyone.

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      Bruno Rodrigues 2 months ago

      Comparing these tv shows to GoT is ridiculous. Only one comes close, Spartacus.

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      Peter 2 months ago

      Great list and great comments, no one seems to have mentioned Camelot, The Pilars of The Earth or Wolf Hall, which are all very enjoyable too

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      Shabbir 2 months ago

      Should add Legend of the Seeker to the list. Fantasy-Action-Drama as well

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      Ryan 2 months ago

      American Gods on Starz

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      chris 2 months ago

      I was watching Last Kingdom on Netflix before I got into GoT and I described as saying a lesser version of Game of thrones hahahaha

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      Terri G 2 months ago

      Try watching, Versailles and Reign these will hook you.

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      Yannis 3 months ago

      NOTHING IS AS NEAR AS GAME OF THRONES!!!!

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      Jaja Japitana 3 months ago

      I have a thing for this kind of series. I've watched GOT, The Tudors, Rome, Black Sails, The Last Kingdom, & Vikings. I highly recommend The Borgias. Everything is also there. Sex, violence, politics, drama, gripping story lines, historical basis, incest, crimes, heart-wrenching deaths, families fighting, & struggle for power. It's set in the renaissance era when Rodrigo Borgia (Pope Alexander VI) has claimed the papacy. The 2nd season is where it will trully start to grip you. It only has 3 seasons though.

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      derow 3 months ago

      Last Kingdom is intelligent, but also gritty, and is historically accurate.

      Sort of like a more serious vs of Vikings.

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      Erick 3 months ago

      You have great taste! Watched most of these and I agree with everything you said.

      shame that the bastard executioner show was canceled. It was excellent. Had no idea cost that much to make each episode. Thanks for that bit of info.

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      Ash 3 months ago

      "Medici: Masters Of Florence" on Netflix is pretty good. It has Richard Madden(Dude who plays Rob Stark) in it.

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      Anon 4 months ago

      Into the badlands is an amazing show with gritty violence and amazing action.

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      Wizard 5 months ago

      Very good list, I'm pleasantly surprised that you have Rome and The Last Kingdom on here - they are just as good if sometimes not better than GoT. GoT can get wooden and too negative. Peakey Blinders is quite top notch too which you haven't mentioned, but it's a gangster show. I couldn't get into Vikings and some of the other shows you mentioned.

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      Kelsea 5 months ago

      Reign would be a good one as well

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      Patson 5 months ago

      Borgias deserves a shout

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      johnny 6 months ago

      i like all t he shows of the lists

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      Vishal 6 months ago

      I found vikings to be more interesting as this is a historical drama rather than a fantasy drama like game of thrones

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      Jebeth D. Bonggot 7 months ago

      I am going to try some of your lists. Thank you for these suggestions, though I can't deny the fact that I love Game of Thrones the most.

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      Dave 8 months ago

      Sopranos

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      Rahul sanap 8 months ago

      I like the Spartacus and game of thrown very good series. Must watch

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      vamsi777leo 8 months ago

      thanks for the list do you have any other series to recommend i already watched all these series

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      DC 9 months ago

      I thoroughly enjoy most of these shows, however I just recently binge watched all of Black Sails and now I feel empty that it's over...final season in 1 2 weeks!

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      hari 10 months ago

      NO ONE BEAT SHERLOCK HOLMES MASTER PEICE OF ACTING.....

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      Talrak 11 months ago

      Try Penny Dreadful and Preacher as well. They are fantastic.

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      Brianna 12 months ago

      Can't wait to try some of these. Tudors was great. Bastard executioner was great too but cancelled after the first season.

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      Adrenaline 12 months ago

      Truly GOT is one of the best, and then try Spartacus..you won't regret. Two of the best series of all time. Then comes Viking..

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      mandella 13 months ago

      game of thrones spartacus and house of cards are my favorite.

      you can also watch Narcos it is very good

    • vidgotv profile image

      Vidgo 13 months ago from Menomonee Falls, WI

      The last episode of The Last Kingdom was hilarious... I'm sure it was completely unintentional, which only makes it funnier.

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      Tim 13 months ago

      The Last Kingdom is also very good, as well as Marco Polo. Both must see's if you like GOT's, Vikings and Spartacus

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      Historical TV show lover 13 months ago

      Spartacus and Vikings are just SPECTACULAR!!!!! If you never watched them you're missing the best of the best!!!!!

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      Manjunath 14 months ago

      I love Spartacus series

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      Game of Thornes and Vikings, and Rome Love. 14 months ago

      The Tudors and The Borgias has the the most unattractive women of all tv series!!!!!!

      How do think anyone can watch such ugly women for such a long series?

      Who casted for those two TV series have no idea of what an attractive woman look like.

      I just refused to watch either of those series because of so many ugly women; not one attractive woman, not one!!!!!!

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      fitse 14 months ago

      I remember watching spartacus. i knew then it was a once in a life time kind of movie!!!!! and i thought right. NO ONE WHO WATCHED THE WHOLE SPARTACUS SERIES WILL EVER BE SATISFIED BY ANY OTHER SERIES. I hope in my life time there comes another movie that will give me similar experience but Game of thrones although entertaining doesn't even begin to compare to SPARTACUS...

      honestly if you have not seen IT go now. i envy you I can never see Spartacus for the first time again....

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      Kristi 15 months ago

      The Tudors is the closest thing you'll get to game of thrones. After a fee episodes, I got immediately hooked! It's basically GOT without dragons and whitewalkers. It lacked battle scenes but the fourth season had a brilliant battle scene , which made me wish they had more, but I seriously recommend The Tudors!

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      Lisa 15 months ago

      I loved Vikings and Black Sails and I am half way through The Tudors. Other shows to try are Outlander and The Borgias.

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      mounirarfi 15 months ago

      why not Spartacus Series!

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      thatlibrarianlady 15 months ago

      I don't understand why people think the acting on GoT is "wooden." I think these might be the same people who would score low on empathy tests - they don't notice the subtle changes in facial expression that the GoT actors excel at. Sometimes it's even all in the eyes (Maisie Williams!). I think the actors are extraordinary, and convey so much with just the tiniest motion or change in expression. The little things Peter Dinklage does with the props, what Lena Headey and Emilia Clarke can convey with a single eyebrow - all amazing. If you want over-the-top acting, go watch The Big Bang Theory or some other ridiculous sitcom.

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      babette_47@yahoo,com 16 months ago

      Games of thrones is number one to me and Daenerys and Tyriyon are my favorite characters. Vikings and Da vinci's demons and Nikita are also great.

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      Scott McAllister 16 months ago

      The Peaky Blinders is. Great show as well sith Cillian Murphy and what his name who played Dr grant from Jurassic park

      I just finished both black sails and Peaky blinders until next years seasons, and waiting for game of thrones to complete this years season so I can view them all at once,

      Think I might try Broadwalk empire today

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      Jen 16 months ago

      Great list! Thanks!

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      Sherry Hewins 17 months ago from Sierra Foothills, CA

      I love Game of Thrones, and several of the other series you recommended. Vikings is my next favorite, but I also enjoyed Rome, The Tudors and Boardwalk Empire. I think I will try some others on your list.