“Game of Thrones” Replacements On The Horizon
It’s been two years since “Game of Thrones” ended in a hugely disappointing fashion, leaving a sour taste in the mouths of fans who had, until the final season, hailed the show as one of the greatest television series of all time. The producers of the show and owners of the copyright will soon have the opportunity to make up for that disaster with the prequel “House of the Dragon,” which has recently started filming in the UK. Former “Doctor Who” star Matt Smith is in one of the lead roles in that show, which should help to boost its appeal. It remains to be seen whether it will make up for the nadir of the end of its parent show, but at least they’re trying. However, it’s no the only possible “Game of Thrones” replacement on the horizon.
The monstrous success of “Game of Thrones” taught TV producers that fantasy sells when it’s done right, and many of them are already a long way down the road of trying to find the next fantasy hit. The rewards for doing so are enormous. “Game of Thrones” spawned smash-hit video games, merchandise, and even a connected and licensed range of online slots. There have even been two different “Game of Thrones” online slots released to Rose Slots New Zealand and similar sites since the end of the series, so the finale didn’t dampen enthusiasm altogether. These companion products boost revenue significantly. A popular online slots game can take millions of dollars in revenue in just a few weeks – which is why finding good source material to tie one to is so essential.
If you miss the good old days of “Game of Thrones” and you’re wondering when something like it might appear on your television screen, here are the strongest contenders.
Lord of the Rings
No, we haven’t gone mad. We know the “Lord of the Rings” movies happened a long time ago, but you’ll soon get a new way to enjoy the tale all over again thanks to a five-season-long television show that’s heading exclusively for Amazon. In fact, it’s set to be the most expensive television show in history. It cost Amazon more than two hundred and fifty million dollars just to acquire the rights, and they’re spending tens of millions on each episode. We’re expecting five series’ worth of mini-movies, and we hope we’re not disappointed. The early news coming from the production is that it’s set in a previously-unseen time long before “The Hobbit” but will eventually catch up to the time of the original Tolkein novel, so there’s a lot of stories to be told. Filming has already started, but production is expected to be a long job.
Stop us if you think you’ve heard this one before. Twenty-one years ago, an adaptation of “Gormenghast” was made for British television by the BBC. It was fine for its time, but a BBC budget couldn’t do justice to the world that Mervyn Peake created in his original novels. Perhaps this new project, overseen by Akiva Goldsman and Neil Gaiman, will fare better. The tale of Titus Groan, Steerpike, and their battle for Castle Gormenghast will soon be told anew, and this time it should look suitably epic. Gaiman rarely makes mistakes, so we hope he isn’t going to start doing so here.
The Kingkiller Chronicle
The title “The Kingkiller Chronicle” sounds like it could have been an alternative name for “Game of Thrones,” so it’s no wonder that it’s got fans excited. Another reason to get excited is that Lin-Manuel Miranda – he of “Hamilton” fame – is thought to be overseeing the television series. Confusingly, Sam Raimi is apparently developing a movie based on the same source material at the same time. It might not be ideal if both products land simultaneously, so we hope they’re communicating with each other. This is a tale of magic and music – thus explaining why Miranda is involved – but the book series isn’t finished yet. That didn’t pan out so well when TV writers decided to try to finish George R. R. Martin’s work for him. Let’s hope Miranda has better luck.
This is a different kind of fantasy than most of the other projects we’ve looked at so far, but it has something very special going for it. The original novel was written by Iain Banks, and Banks is a master of the genre. If you know Banks, you’ll also know that “Consider Phlebas” is the first in the highly-rated “Culture” series. Some people refer to the series as “space opera,” which we think is mean spirited. There’s far more gravity and drama to Banks’ work than you’d find in most space operas. The names of the spaceships are a little wacky, but they’re supposed to act as a commentary on artificial intelligence. When you consider the fact that Banks wrote the first novel in 1987, his take on the emerging form of technology is surprisingly prescient. Perhaps you could consider this the science fiction version of “1984.” Perhaps that’s going too far. We’ll let you decide when Amazon brings it to their streaming platform.
If we’re allowed to include science fiction in this list – and we’ve just decided that we are – then we have to mention “Foundation.” This series represents Isaac Asimov at his best, and it’s been bought by Apple TV. Apple has been looking for a “draw” to persuade people to buy their television platform. Perhaps this will be it. It takes place in the far future and sees the world’s scientists trying to collaborate to stave off a threat that could result in the extinction of all of humanity if left unchecked and send us all back to the dark ages. It’s grim material, and it will run for ten episodes with David Goyer of “Dark Knight” fame involved in the production. It might not be to everybody’s taste, but we think it’s definitely one to watch.
What’s clear from all this is that we’re not going to be short of good television for the next eighteen months or so. It might take a while for the first of these shows to reach us, but once it does, we should have a steady stream of high-quality television to look forward to. If nothing on this list appeals to you, though, remember what we said about the “Game of Thrones” prequel at the beginning of this article. If nothing else will tick the old “Game of Thrones” box for you, perhaps more of the same is the best remedy!