I must admit, it was not until the 4th season of GOT that I actually decided to see what everyone was talking about. So, I watched the first season, and like the millions of other viewers, I started to binge to catch up. Sure, some seasons were rather pedestrian with sparks of grandeur and some episodes were simply boring, but overall the mythical setting and backstabbing plot kept me wanting more. As more and more strange characters and beasts entered into the fray, it simply became better and the Army of the Dead along with the dragons just made it irresistible. The only downside of the whole series was that if you just watched episodes out of sequence or season, you were left wondering about the past and what happened. With the last season, eight, being the last one, one episode (#3) can be watched just for the pure cinematic adventure with it being 90 minutes long and entirely a bloody, dire, dark, battle. It is perhaps the most engaging for a viewer of all the episodes because it certainly looks like a Brutus vs. Popeye fight, where Brutus is simply pounding and decimating Popeye. Brutus, in this case, is the Army of the Dead, which is nearly unstoppable, and Popeye, the Stark confederation of tribes. The whole episode is relentless for the viewer whose eyes cannot veer off the action. And when it is finally over and disaster is avoided from a most surprising kill and person, the viewer is just speechless. Even afterwards, the silence of the battlefield is heard and lingers on. Epic TV.
After searching for awhile, the best GOT replacement, with five years under its belt is Vikings, from the History Channel. It has a similar great blend of characters, all pretty odd, queens, kings, plenty of backstabbing among allies. I am guessing it is loosely based on history because the Vikings do invade England and move onto Paris, both providing very good battle scenes that are equally graphic and of cinematic quality in scope The series offer plenty of strong willed queens doing dastardly things and some crazy men that really creeps you out in their performance (check out Season 5). The one thing absent is fantasy. Unlike GOT, which is fantasy, Vikings is rooted in historical events in dramatic fashion. So, you will not see dragons or the Army of the Dead but you will see how the Vikings were: generally rude, crude, grotesque, as a culture from the North compared to the civilized and proper European dynasties of their time.
Like GOT, it uses the family as its core development through the episodes, with great character development as seasons pass. You will have your favorites here also. I have found that unlike GOT, you can see episodes out of sequence and enjoy it as a “stand alone” without knowing much about the characters, but if you watch, pick a season to start with and binge sequentially. Even better, Vikings will have Season 6, a whopping 20-episode run before it will end.
Enjoy Vikings, it’s a solid, good replacement for GOT.