8 Greatest Fantasy TV Shows of All Time, That Aren’t Game Of Thrones

Game of Thrones dominates the fantasy genre right now, but don't sleep on these shows.

By Douglas Helm | Updated

Game of Thrones is one of the greatest and most popular fantasy series of all time — well, at least until the last couple of seasons that we don’t talk about. But hey, we still have the books and House of the Dragon, so it’s not all bad. But, while we wait for House of the Dragon to return and George R.R. Martin to finally release the next book, here are some other great fantasy shows to watch to fill the Game of Thrones-shaped hole in your heart.

1. Avatar: The Last Airbender (2005-2008)

Best Fantasy TV Series


Avatar: The Last Airbender is not only one of the best fantasy shows of all time — it’s one of the best shows of all time period. The series follows a young boy named Aang, who is the Avatar. The Avatar is able to bend all four elements and is supposed to bring balance to the world, but Aang disappeared for 100 years and woke up to a world that is at war.

Game of Thrones fans will appreciate the deep world-building of this series, the geopolitical intrigue, and the sweeping storytelling. Come for the beautifully animated bending action sequences, stay for the great character arcs and satisfying story. Oh, and it also nails the ending, which is something Game of Thrones fans might not be accustomed to.

2. Outlander (2014-Present)



Those who are looking for another great series based on a set of novels should look to Outlander. The series, which is based on the books by Diana Gabaldon, follows World War II British Army nurse Claire Randall, who is mysteriously transported back to 1743 Scotland. She must marry a Scottish warrior to survive while also trying to get back to her own time.

Game of Thrones fans will appreciate Outlander‘s faithfulness to its source material and its large ensemble storytelling. Outlander delves into politics and power too, so you’ll be getting plenty of that. If you like how graphic Game of Thrones is, Outlander doesn’t shy away from the graphic stuff either. While the worlds are pretty different, Outlander definitely fits that historical fantasy epic niche.

3. Merlin (2008-2012)


Game of Thrones has plenty of magical elements, but Merlin might have it beat on that front. If you like Game of Thrones for the dragons and ice zombies, Merlin has plenty of magical creatures and magical battles to keep you entertained. Merlin follows the titular wizard (Colin Morgan) during his younger years as he befriends Prince Arthur and helps defend the kingdom from magical threats and other attacking kingdoms.

Merlin also has political intrigue and an interesting medieval setting. It may not be as hyperviolent as Game of Thrones, but the endearing characters and power struggles are worth tuning in for.

4. Once Upon a Time (2011-2018)


Once Upon a Time is a great watch for fans of fairy tales. The series reimagines classic characters by introducing us to Emma Swan, a bail bonds collector who finds out she’s the daughter of Snow White and Prince Charming. The series follows her as she works to save the residents of Storybrooke, Maine, where fairy tale characters are trapped in our world.

Once Upon a Time is decidedly more family-friendly than Game of Thrones, but it does have a large ensemble cast and magical elements. As a bonus, if you like Once Upon a Time there’s a spin-off series Once Upon a Time in Wonderland that has 13 more episodes for you.

5. The Magicians (2015-2020)


The Magicians manages to be the complete fantasy package for both Game of Thrones fans and Harry Potter fans. It’s got the adult themes and stories that you would expect from a show like Game of Thrones with the secret magical school setting of the Harry Potter franchise. The Magicians follows a group of college students attending Brakebills College for Magical Pedagogy.

The show also explores heavier themes than you would expect from a magical school show, like mental health and addiction. Overall, if you like deep world-building and rich character development, The Magicians should hit the spot for you.

6. The Witcher (2019-Present)

henry cavill witcher


Now we’re starting to get to the more contentious entries on the list. Everyone knows that Game of Thrones went off the rails when it started straying from the source material (out of necessity, but still). The Witcher has definitely struggled to please fans of the books and the games, but it’s not completely without its merits.

Anchoring The Witcher is Henry Cavill’s great performance as Geralt of Rivia, a mutated monster hunter who ends up being tasked with a ward that could change the fate of the world. Like Game of Thrones, The Witcher definitely nails its casting. You also get plenty of political intrigue, swordplay, and magical creatures. Unfortunately, the storytelling just hasn’t lived up to expectations, and Cavill will even be leaving after the next season. So, fantasy fans may find some enjoyment in the series, but it might not be the best show you’ve ever seen.

7. The Wheel Of Time (2022)

wheel of time


The premise of Game of Thrones is right there in the title — people are battling for power so they can sit on the throne. The Wheel of Time is another series that focused on a struggle for power. It follows Moiraine (Rosamund Pike), a member of the Aes Sedai, a powerful organization of women who are seeking the Dragon Reborn, who is prophesied to either save the world or break it.

Game of Thrones has more strong women characters than your average fantasy series, but The Wheel of Time definitely has a leg up in that department. The Wheel of Time also had the world-building, the magical elements, and the political intrigue to keep things interesting. With that being said, some fans of the books feel like the show rushes the story at times and that it doesn’t live up to the Robert Jordan-penned series.

8. Lord of the Rings: The Rings Of Power

rings of power review


Finally, we have the contentious return of the granddaddy of fantasy — Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power. The Lord of the Rings fanbase is a dedicated one and any new entries to the franchise outside of the Tolkien books and the Peter Jackson trilogy are usually met with pretty harsh pushback.

Like Game of Thrones, Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power has a massive budget, which means the show looks undeniably incredible. The show isn’t perfect, but if you’re hungering for a big-budget return to Middle Earth, this might be the perfect show for you on TV right now.

  • GFR Score calculated using averages of audience and critical reactions across multiple platforms.