Let’s turn back the clock. It’s 2011. David Benioff and D.B. Weiss created a fantasy series on HBO, based on George R.R. Martin’s eponymous ongoing novel series, that revolutionised the genre. People are hooked. For eight long seasons, the tradition continues, and Game of Thrones carves its own legacy with 59 Emmys that celebrate its complex narrative structure, compelling characters, blood, violence, gore, smut and more. After a rather anti-climactic ending, however, HBO announced a prequel series, House of the Dragon.
House of the Dragon condenses the 19-year-long history of the Targaryen family into ten episodes. Based on Martin’s Fire & Blood, the series is set two centuries ahead of the events of Game of Thrones and 172 years before the birth of the Mother of Dragons, aka Daenerys Targaryen.
Created by Ryan Condal and Martin, the series stars Paddy Considine, Emma D’Arcy, Matt Smith, Rhys Ifans, Steve Touissant, Eve Best and Fabien Frankel, among several others. The show has already received widespread acclaim for relying heavily on the novels, which makes it a way more compelling narrative than the last two seasons of its predecessor. However, many have complained about the lack of fleshed-out characters and intrigue as that of Game of Thrones.
While Condal has promised a season two, fans now have a huge House of the Dragon-shaped hole in their hearts, now that the series has come to an end. Here are the five best shows on Netflix they can now enjoy binge-watching:
The best shows to watch on Netflix for ‘House of the Dragon’ fans
5. Outlander (Ronald D. Moore, 2014)
Based on Diana Gabaldon’s ongoing book series, Outlander is set in 1945, where a nurse named Claire Randall is mysteriously transported back in time to 1743. She finds herself to be a part of a Highlander clan who are being pursued by British redcoats. Amidst ensuing battles, Claire falls in love with a Highlander and finds herself caught between various obstacles in her path and the dichotomy in her heart.
Set amidst the Jacobite rising, the series is rooted in fictionalized history. According to Moore, it “was not as easy” to adapt the show given the “complicated structure” of Gabaldon’s books, but having the author as a consultant was super helpful. With a large cult-like fanbase and a very strong cast, the show will definitely appeal to every House of the Dragon fan.
4. Vikings: Valhalla (Michael Hirst, Jeb Stuart, 2022)
Following the success of his 2013 series, Vikings, Michael Hirst decided to expand the universe by creating a new series with Jeb Stuart that is set nearly a century after the events of the original series. Vikings: Valhalla records the near obliteration of the Vikings with the English kingdom fighting the Scandinavian raiders. With the Vikings uniting at Kattegat to lash out against the English and avenge genocide, the series also deals with several other overarching themes, including the war between Christianity and paganism, sexual assault, revenge and more.
Starring Sam Corlett, Frida Gustavsson, Leo Suter, Johannes Hakur Johanesson, Laura Berlin, and Caroline Henderson, among others, Vikings: Valhalla has been dubbed as Netflix’s very own version of Game of Thrones and has amassed impressive viewership since its premiere this year. It has been renewed for two more seasons and offers plenty of violence, blood, gore and sex while upholding a brutal pursuit of glory, courage and vengeance.
3. The Last Kingdom (Stephen Butchard, 2015)
Butchard based the series on Bernard Cornwell’s Saxon Storie. The episodes detail the turbulent political backdrop during brutal Nordic invasions that threaten the position of the English monarch, who struggled to protect the Saxon empire while aiming to create the United Kingdom. The story focuses on Uhtred, who is forced to choose between his birth country and the people who raised him.
Bloody and violent, the series focuses on unwavering loyalty, bravery and intense battles. After its fifth and final season run, the story will continue in a spin-off film, Seven Kings Must Die, which will focus on Uhtred’s life. Often compared to the House of the Dragon, predecessor, Game of Thrones, The Last Kingdom is known for its costly production, brilliant cinematography and complexity of characters that add to an incredible viewing experience.
2. Barbarians (Andreas Heckmann, 2020)
Michael Hirst’s 2013 series Vikings recounted the lore of the legendary Vikings and became an absolute sensation. Set in 9 AD, Barbarians is the German version of the same. It focuses on the notorious Teutoburg Forest battle, where women led the Germanic warrior front and stood against the Roman Empire.
Starring Jeanne Goursard, David Schutter and Laurence Rupp, among others, the show has recently launched its second season. Despite the success of the show, Netflix’s lack of promotion for the second season is pretty concerning; however, it has not daunted viewers from bingeing on the blood and gore that Barbarians has to offer. More popular than the widely-acclaimed German-language series on Netflix, Dark, the show offers the complexities of tribal politics, bravery and loyalty like no other.
1. The Witcher (Lauren Schmidt Hissrich, 2019)
The Witcher universe is constantly expanding under the leadership of Lauren Schmidt Hissrich, who adapted Andrzej Sapkowski’s widely-acclaimed novels into a fan-favourite Netflix series. The books have also been developed into highly-acclaimed CD Projekt Red games. It is one of the most popular franchises on Netflix.
Currently, besides the books and the video game series, the Witcher universe has two seasons under The Witcher, a Netflix Original show, and an animated film which serves as an immediate prequel to the series. The third season is currently in production, while another six-part prequel series The Witcher: Blood Origin is up for release sometime this year. This show will deal with the story of the origin of witchers.
Starring Henry Cavill as the gloomy and brooding Geralt of Rivia, the show also stars Freya Allen as Princess Ciri and Anya Chalotra as Yennefer of Vengeberg, besides other actors like Joey Batey, Eamon Farren, Mimi M. Khayisa, Anna Shaffer etc. The epic cinematography and the grandeur of production is worth examining as Gerald engages in bloody and violent battles with monsters amidst a turbulent socio-political, fantastical landscape.