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12 Best Shows Like House Of The Dragon That Fans Should Check Out

HBO's "House of the Dragon" is set well before the events of "Game of Thrones," meaning it won't have to deal with the fallout from its predecessor's divisive finale and can hopefully avoid the same mistakes. The prequel series premieres in a world vastly changed from 2019 in terms of the media landscape and our general social patterns. It's unlikely that any TV series will ever have the cultural impact that "Game of Thrones" did, as the ever-increasing number of streaming platforms and the seemingly endless amount of shows means there's no "event" potential anymore. Many more people work remotely than ever before, which means there will be much less of a "water cooler effect," with everyone analyzing the show en masse during the weeks between episodes. The best way to wait out the week might be to find other shows in the same vein to keep you in the "House of the Dragon" mood.

From historical epics to fantasy adventures, here are the best shows like "House of the Dragon" that fans should check out.


HBO's criminally underrated epic "Rome" ran for two seasons and covers the exact sort of history that "House of the Dragon" and many other shows about power struggles are modeled after. Much like "House of the Dragon" and "Game of Thrones," "Rome" is stuffed with largely unknown actors that populate lavish and expensive sets. The first season follows the rise of the famous Julius Caesar from general to "dictator for life" and his eventual unfortunate luck on a particular Ides of March. The second season charts the three-way clash for control between Cleopatra, Mark Anthony, and Caesar's nephew Augustus, which ultimately sets the stage for the future empire of Rome.

Beyond the political intrigue, the strength of "Rome" lies in its large ensemble cast. It follows characters of every rank and social strata to give you a real sense of what life was like in the vast city at that point in history. In particular, series lead Kevin McKidd is a highlight as Roman officer Lucius Vorenus, who has to balance loyalty to the country against loyalty to whichever of these tyrants happens to have taken power recently. In a time when emperors rose and fell based on the strength of how many soldiers believed in them, a soldier's-eye-view is key to keeping "Rome" a grounded and compelling story.

His Dark Materials

"His Dark Materials" is a must watch for any fan of fantasy, especially fantasy that involves loyal animal companions as part of its mythos. While it's only the Targaryen family in "House of the Dragon" that have a special bond with dragons, in this universe every human being has an animal extension of their soul called a "daemon" that can think and speak. Daemons shape-shift all throughout childhood, and settle into a final form during puberty. This is just one small aspect of the magical version of our world created in the trilogy of books by Phillip Pullman, brought to life wonderfully in this HBO series over the course of three seasons (once Season 3 is released, that is).

Dafne Keen stars as Lyra Belacqua and is a strong lead for a cast that includes big stars like James McAvoy, Ruth Wilson, Andrew Scott, and Lin-Manuel Miranda. For fans of the trilogy, "His Dark Materials" is a long-awaited second chance to adapt the material after the movie "The Golden Compass" made significant changes to the first book. The film did so poorly at the box office (relative to its $180 million budget, at least) that no sequels were ever greenlit.


The first ever scripted series from the History Channel, "Vikings" offers six seasons of all the blood and glory any "House of the Dragon" or "Game of Thrones" fan could ask for. It loosely follows the sagas of Ragnar Lothbrok, a legendary figure featured in Norse poetry. Ragnar is brought to life in a memorably visceral performance by Australian actor Travis Fimmel. A larger than life character who would be right at home in Westeros, Ragnar is a scourge to the coasts of medieval England and France, launching raids on the likes of Northumbria, Wessex, and even Paris.

Without dragons, sorcery, or undead wights to interrupt the story, "Vikings" charts a rich tapestry of betrayal and ruthlessness in its best episodes. Unlike the stolid and sometimes interminable pace of "Game of Thrones," "Vikings" employs multiple time-jumps to great effect over its run, eventually showing Ragnar's sons as they attempt to take over his kingdom and live up to his legacy. If six seasons isn't enough, it's even got a spinoff of its own called "Vikings: Valhalla," set over 100 years after the events of the first show. The spinoff follows the adventures of Leif Eriksson, a warrior and explorer from Greenland who is thought to have set foot in North America some 500 years before Christopher Columbus.

The Tudors

"House of the Dragon" is partially inspired by real-life events. It takes cues from English history, lending from the story of a king with no male heir. Check out "The Tudors" for a similar story: This hit show from Michael Hirst (the creator of "Vikings") tells the story of Henry VIII's endless search for just the right wife to bear his heir. Eventually, the famous Queen Elizabeth I would inherit the throne, but — just like Rhaenyra Targaryen — the ascension of a female ruler wasn't exactly an easy transition for the realm.

"The Tudors" plays a bit fast and loose with English history by showcasing Henry's turbulent life in as titillating a way as possible. The notoriously portly (at least in his later years) Henry is played by the dreamy and svelte Jonathan Rhys Meyers, whose chemistry with his various wives is hotter and heavier than you would imagine royal marriages of convenience to be at the time. Natalie Dormer of "Game of Thrones" fame puts in a particularly memorable performance as Henry's second wife Anne Boleyn, Elizabeth's mother. If you're at all aware of the history, you already know that it doesn't end well for her.

The Great

If there's a consistent complaint against shows that depict grandiose royal power struggles and ancient wars, it's that they tend to be punishingly serious. Rulers give big speeches, people get betrayed and beheaded, and there's very little time for anyone to crack a smile or tell a joke. If this rings true for you, then check out "The Great" on Hulu for a ribald and side-splittingly funny look at royal histrionics. Created by Tony McNamara (who mined the life of Queen Anne of England for black comedy as the co-writer of the best picture nominee "The Favourite") "The Great" takes an anti-historical look at the rise to power of Catherine the Great.

Elle Fanning stars as Catherine, opposite a perfectly haughty Nicholas Hoult as her husband, the emperor Peter III of Russia. The two alternate between animosity, begrudging affection, outright hostilities involving coup attempts, and occasional alliances of convenience as the show vaguely follows real history but feels absolutely no allegiance to it. In the second season, the great Gillian Anderson spices things up in an extended guest arc as Catherine's mother that leaves history even further behind in its absurd plot twists.


If you're disappointed that "House of the Dragon" focuses on palace intrigue at King's Landing rather than life in Winterfell, the land in the North of Westeros where the Starks originated, "Outlander" might be a great alternative for you. A sweeping and time-traveling romance, it's primarily set in 1700s Scotland, which has clans and traditions that The North in "Game of Thrones" is clearly modeled after. Caitríona Balfe plays a nurse from the 1940s who travels back over 200 years via some mystical stones. In fact, her ability to time travel is actually genetic. It's best not to think about it too hard and just enjoy the ride.

Though "Outlander" has a complicated timeline in its entirety, the show is a simple romance first and foremost. It therefore has plenty of love scenes, though they are the polar opposite of the ones on "Game of Thrones" in terms of intimacy and purpose. Instead of off-putting power dynamics or oddly shoe-horned in "sexposition," Balfe, co-star Sam Heughan, and occasionally the other co-stars steam up the screen in ways that feel natural to the story. "Outlander" is based on a long-running series of romance novels by mainstay of the genre Diana Gabaldon, so it's no wonder.


What good is the rising and falling of monarchs and emperors if nobody tweets about it? For a modern take on the idea of empires, look no further than HBO's "Succession," which charts one family's cut-throat battle to control a massive multimedia corporation — basically the closest thing to the Iron Throne in the world that we live in. "Succession" paints a harrowing, often hysterical portrait of the modern world, where no one is loyal to anyone but themselves and wealth is an all-consuming goal as well as a stifling burden.

Veteran actor Brian Cox anchors "Succession" in the role of Roy family patriarch and Waystar Royco CEO Logan Roy, a towering and bombastic man who would be right at home on "House of the Dragon" or any other epic show. Nearly every episode contains some sort of back-stabbing reversal or rise and fall in fortunes. A hostile takeover attempt is even referred to as a "bear hug" in a very medieval turn of phrase. "Succession" might not have dragons or draw much literal blood, but it makes up the difference in ways that we can all relate to in this day and age.


Probably owing to the high production costs, there just aren't very many television shows with a lot of dragons, so it's exciting that "House of the Dragon" will feature an unbelievable amount of dragons. For another dragon fix — as well as something the kids can enjoy — check out the eight seasons of "Dragons" from DreamWorks Animation. A spinoff of the massively successful "How to Train Your Dragon" trilogy of movies, "Dragons" follows Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) and his dragon Toothless on multiple adventures that all take place between the first and second cinematic installments of the story.

DreamWorks was able to snag most of the main voice cast from the films, as Baruchel is joined by America Ferrera, David Tennant, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, and T. J. Miller. In "Game of Thrones" lore, dragons are used as tools of war, which often meant they met with unfortunate fates. In the world of "Dragons," the titular creatures are no longer hunted by the inhabitants of Berk, so you can watch the show knowing that no fictional dragons will be harmed in any meaningful way. That doesn't mean the stakes are low, however — there's still plenty of fire-breathing adventure to go on, and there's a lot for grown-ups to enjoy here.

The Wheel of Time

For a viewing experience halfway between the character-based immediacy of the "Game of Thrones" universe and the more austere "The Lord of the Rings" franchise, it's worth checking out the adaptation of Robert Jordan's "The Wheel of Time" on Amazon. Rosamund Pike stars as Moiraine Damodred, who's very prone to talking in a deep, Galadriel-esque voice about the state of the world, destiny, and fate. She's part of an ancient order that can channel the One Power, and she's searching for a chosen one of sorts that can stop a big bad called the Dark One.

"The Wheel of Time" is fantasy at its straightforward best in many ways, and the central philosophy of the story deals directly with patterns that repeat throughout history. Characters are reincarnated generation after generation, and the same conflicts occur over and over. It's as much a commentary on humans and our history as it is a reflection on how stories and myths interact with themselves in the telling. What it lacks in nuance, "The Wheel of Time" more than makes up for in pure entertainment value.

The Witcher

"The Witcher" is a wonderfully fun and energetic fantasy show, kind of like "Game of Thrones" crossed with a killer '80s hair band video. Henry Cavill and a long, flowing wig star as the titular Witcher Geralt of Rivia. The story unfolds in a fictional continent — simply called The Continent — where Witchers fight monsters (and witches, obviously) using supernatural abilities. "The Witcher" is based on a series of novels that have also been adapted into several video games, and it shows: The story flows very episodically from one monster to the next. Occasionally the story cuts away to a princess or sorceress that our Witcher's destiny is intertwined with, and, eventually, a long-gestating timeline switch takes you entirely by surprise.

The first season of the show split critics, but "The Witcher" Season 2 was received far more enthusiastically, scoring an impressive 95% on Rotten Tomatoes. Unlike George R.R. Martin with "Game of Thrones," "The Witcher" author Andrzej Sapkowski has actually finished the entire series of books that inspired the show, so Netflix should be able to adapt the entire thing to the satisfaction of fans. A third season of "The Witcher" is already on the way, and the universe has expanded with an animated origin movie ("The Witcher: Nightmare of the Wolf") and a prequel series ("The Witcher: Blood Origin"). Fans of "The Witcher" are set for the next half-decade at least.


David S. Goyer's "Foundation" feels like a sci-fi show eerily designed for this moment in history, despite being based on a series of novels by Isaac Asimov that date back to the 1940s. A Galactic Empire the size of the entire Milky Way is on the verge of collapse, and a rogue scientist devises a way to preserve the knowledge of humanity's collective wisdom by creating "foundations" at either end of the galaxy, desperate to help humankind survive its own destruction. Swap the complicated series of interstellar calamities with climate change and the titular foundations with the internet, and you get the story of 21st century humanity in a nutshell.

Sadly, "Foundation" hasn't made too many waves just yet, as it exists on the still relatively low key Apple TV+ streaming service. However, the first season went down well with critics, and the show has been renewed for a second season. It's visually stunning and well acted by a cast headlined by Jared Harris and Lee Pace, best known for playing Thranduil in the "Hobbit" trilogy. "Foundation" has all the scope and gravity of a show like "House of the Dragon," but it's a unique adventure that fans of the "Game of Thrones" universe will no doubt appreciate.


HBO's classic Western "Deadwood" is like "House of the Dragon" in microcosm: Instead of an entire kingdom, a single mining encampment is the setting for power struggles, betrayal, and world-shaking events. "Deadwood" has period dialogue peppered with delightfully anachronistic swear words, and it is more committed to violence and the brutal truths of life than even "Game of Thrones" could ever hope to be. But it's also one of the warmest, most humane, and life-affirming shows ever made thanks to its commitment to complex and relatable characters.

Set in the 1880s before Deadwood was a proper city (and before South Dakota was even a proper state), "Deadwood" examines the realities behind larger-than-life Old West figures like the notorious gunslinger "Wild Bill" Hickok, memorably played by guest star Keith Carradine. An ensemble cast is headlined by Ian McShane, Timothy Olyphant, Robin Weigert, Brad Dourif, and too many other talented actors to list here. Each episode follows a single day in the rough and tumble civilization as it forms around the gold found in the streams and hills. In 2015, The Guardian dubbed it "the best drama HBO has ever made," calling for it to be revived. In 2019, a follow-up film called "Deadwood: The Movie" dropped, set in 1889 when South Dakota finally became an official state. The film holds a near-perfect score of 98% on Rotten Tomatoes.