Our weeks are now missing our dose of Westerosi action, as the fantastic sixth season of Game of Thrones is now wrapped up. Of course, the hype and speculation for season 7 is now underway, but we need something to replace that weekly addiction.
So, here are just some of the shows that are starting again soon, or have already begun, that you should watch in the absence of HBO’s fantastic series.
This is one of Netflix’s many originals, which should already point to the high standard of the production. The second season of this show is now available in full, so if you’re a newcomer to the show, you have hours worth of content to get through.
This is a retelling of classic history, the tale of Marco Polo and Kublai Khan, descendant of Ghengis Khan. This series has some serious production value on display, with immense sets, costumes, and talented actors.
Not every actor on the show brings top tier talent, but there is talent where it matters, the leading roles of Marco and Kublai are excellent, and the main cast are also all interesting to watch. While there are some characters who aren’t as interesting, almost all the main cast have their own story going on in the background of Kublai’s quest to unite all China.
You have a Game of Thrones-esque vibe here, with political machinations combined with all out warfare with the Mongol hordes. While the show has undoubtedly dramatised the history to make it more watchable, it makes me interested in the actual history.
Season one was fantastic, with great storylines and bombastic fight scenes, so season two is definitely one to watch.
There will be a theme of returning shows here, as we have the return of strong contenders from last year, such as Marco Polo and Mr. Robot. Mr. Robot is a show with a brain, and focuses on a young hacker named Elliot.
I will admit, in the first episode he is a bit insufferable, as he goes on and on about how tortured he is and his morphine addiction, but it’s worth pushing through as the later episodes see a drastic improvement from him. The story starts off simple: Elliot hacks people he feels “deserves” it and threatens to expose their dirty secrets – for example, he finds out someone is cheating on a friend of his, and hacks him to get him to either stop or break up with her.
Think digital Robin Hood, with 100% more surrealism and drug abuse. The story quickly takes a darker, deeper tone as things escalate and Elliot gets involved with a group of hackers called FSociety.
The scripts are intelligent, the characters interesting and well portrayed, and this is the first show that made me feel like I was seeing what hacking was actually like. In a lot of films and shows, there are a lot of spinning graphics and fancy things on screen when hacking, when in reality it’s probably just a series of command lines. Here we have a slightly more realistic show of hacking, coupled with a dark and twisted storyline.
You can find Mr. Robot on Amazon’s streaming service.
The pitch for this, at least at the start is “like The Walking Dead but with vampires”, except it rapidly escalates from there and goes into almost biblical territory. The creatures in The Strain are not really vampires, but vampires are their closest approximation. They spread their condition through a kind of virus, and most of the people infected become mindless killing machines.
The show focuses on the humans trying to survive this sudden “plague”, as people conspire in the background to allow it to spread. Here we have a conspiracy theorist’s dream as officials work with the “vampires” to ensure the spread, for promise as a place as one of the vampires who retain their higher thought. Things take on biblical tones when an old vampire hunter comes onto the scene, and sets our survivors on a path to taking out the leader.
The Strain is a bit silly, as you can tell by the descriptions, but the show embraces that without going too tongue in cheek. It also does not shy away from the gruesome horrors that humanity is facing, or by showing multiple human characters as “evil”, as well as showing us the multiple sides to the vampire leaders.
The main set of human characters are a bit of a mixed bag, with some stand out characters and some ones that make you want to throttle them before too long. Thankfully, even the annoying characters aren’t enough to bring down the show, but the second season especially has one of the most insufferable child characters in recent years.
This show does not shy from the grisly details, so it’s definitely not for the squeamish.
It may have a silly, schlocky premise, but The Strain goes much deeper than that.
So there you have it, just a small sampling of shows to help fill the void left by Game of Thrones. Other shows that I would recommend checking out: Narcos, Orphan Black, Gotham and if you’re into your anime – Terra Formars.