2019 will be a huge moment for fantasy TV show fans. After so long, Game of Thrones is expected to finally sign off and leave a huge hole in the fantasy world. Many shows have attempted to replicate the success of the HBO series but few have come close. Making epic sci-fi and/or fantasy work right isn’t as easy as it seems. There have been successes, such as The Expanse which is about to move from Syfy to Amazon. Starz had American Gods. Other networks are trying with their own creations. It seems to work better on cable or streaming services who can cut loose with more adult content. Many an author is realizing TV is better for adapting their works than movies with more time and freedom.
Sure, there are flops (The Shannara Chronicles) but the successes are worth nothing. Right now, there are slews of shows in development that GOT fans can appreciate. Some are ready to premiere in a few months while others are in pre-production. A few are original while others adapt or remake classic stories. Here 30 upcoming sci-fi and fantasy shows that GOT fans will love.
30 THE VAMPIRE CHRONICLES
For all her various works, Anne Rice is still famous for her series of novels on the vampires Lestat and Louis. The 1994 movie Interview With a Vampire had Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt in the roles but it didn’t become the franchise people expected. After Paramount TV had interest, it was confirmed that Hulu was working with Rice on a new series. It’s up in the air whether it will be a direct adaptation of the novels or perhaps a follow-up. Either way, it shows Rice’s characters still have plenty of bite in them today.
Greg Rucka is known for his often realistic crime comics. So it’s ironic that the one getting an adaptation is his huge fantasy series. It takes place in a future where the country is now ruled by feudal families and much of the populace is referred to as “the Waste.” The comic has a sprawling cast of characters and integrates a lot of plotlines with some major action. That’s why Amazon is a good fit to make it all work, already building up the focus on a few major storylines. Timelier than ever, this series can be a great showcase of the battle against the powerful in a modern world.
28 THE WATCH
The late Terry Pratchett is still loved for his Discworld novels. They could often poke fun at the fantasy genre even as they paid tribute to it. There have been a few live-action adaptations for the BBC but an upcoming series will play more like an anthology. It will focus on the City’s Watch, the often bumbling group of soldiers who protect this fantasy land while causing as many messes as they clean up.
27 DOOM PATROL
Before the X-Men were known, it was this team of DC Heroes that held the trophy for being a team of oddballs. Robotman had a driver’s brain in a robot body; Negative Man turned into a shadow being in rags; Elasti-Girl turns into a giant; Crazy Jane has a power for each of her 38 personalities, and the rest are even weirder. They seem too offbeat for live action but DC is ready to show them as part of their upcoming DC Universe service. Brendan Fraser has been cast as Robotman and if it captures the eccentric flavor of the comics, this may be the weirdest super-hero show TV has ever seen.
26 CARNIVAL ROW
This upcoming Netflix series promises to mix fantasy with gritty crime drama. It focuses on a group of mythological creatures forced to abandon their homes for a modern-day city. As both cultures work together, a deadly incident may create a new war. The cast is top notch. It stars Orlando Bloom and Cara Delevingne and the series is set to debut in 2019. Its mix of genres can get it attention and Netflix knows how to make such epics work so fans can expect a pretty fun ride when this comes out.
25 STAR WARS UNDERWORLD
Of the various Star Wars TV shows said to be in development, this is the one getting the most buzz. It’s been talked of since 2005 and it even looked like it was going to be a major video game. Set between Episodes III and IV, it will focus on the criminal element of the Imperial capital of Coruscant and how they operate as the Empire takes over. Fans are salivating on the potential of everything from an appearance by Boba Fett to simply the fun of the bad guys in this time period. If it does come off, expect a rich dark take on a galaxy far, far away.
As you’d expect, JJ Abrams isn’t giving many details on his upcoming HBO sci-fi/fantasy series. All he’ll say is that it’s a “world’s battle against a monstrous and evil force.” HBO must think it’s great as they ordered it right to series without even casting it. Some fans think the title is actually a code word for everything from a Cloverfield series to an adaptation of the classic Voltron cartoon. Regardless, Abrams’ name being associated with it automatically means that people are excited for it.
23 DEADLY CLASS
Syfy is already pushing trailers and promotional items for this show, set to debut in 2019. Based on the cult comic book, it focuses on a young man who is admitted to an academy. He soon realizes the place is a school run by the deadliest crime organizations on the planet to train the next generation of assassins. Thus, we have a satire of the high school series where a simple lunchroom fight can turn into a massive brawl. It may not get as dark as the comic but it promises a lot of action and dark comedy. It could be a surprise success.
22 THE WHEEL OF TIME
This is a saga so epic that it outlived its creator. Robert Jordan wrote eleven books in this series before he passed away. Brandon Sanderson then finished the last three novels. It focuses on a young man who finds himself with a power that can either save the world from darkness or destroy it. As his various friends get into adventures, he must struggle with which side he ends up on. The sheer scope of the series can be scary but Amazon has announced they will be working on a TV adaptation. It may take years to pull it off but it will be interesting to see how this epic comes to life.
21 THE BOYS
Garth Ennis is never known for quiet comic books. Case in point would be The Boys, his series about a CIA black ops team who step in when super-heroes get out of control. After talk of a movie, FX is now going ahead with a TV adaptation. It’s expected to tone down the often raunchy and dark elements of the comic but it will still be a good satire of how super-heroes would be in real life. Some fans may worry about “watering down” the edge to it, but we think it will be okay.
20 CHILLING ADVENTURES OF SABRINA
Forget the beloved 1990s ABC show. Just as Riverdale gives a dark spin on the Archie comics, this new Netflix series is a darker take on its spin-off. Kiernan Shipka of Mad Men plays Sabrina who is not a happy-go-lucky gal. Instead, she’s attending a magical school that is far eviler than Hogwarts and she is embracing her journey to become a possibly evil sorceress. The series is promising to rock fans with true horror storylines.
19 LOCKE & KEY
There have been a few attempts in the past but it looks like a TV show of the acclaimed comic is finally underway. It revolves around a group of siblings who discover that their mansion has secret rooms of everything from magical powers to evil demons inside. Hulu passed on a pilot but Netflix is now pushing ahead with production with Danny Glover joining as the caretaker. The show should capture the dark and quirky style of the comic and push fans into a fun journey in a unique home.
18 THE CONTINENTAL
Keanu Reeves resurrected his career with 2014’s John Wick. The acclaimed movie and its sequel revolve around a secret society of assassins who hold to some unique rules. Starz is now moving forward with a spin-off TV show that will focus on the title hotel where the assassins gather, meet and get assignments. Reeves is expected to appear as Wick while the show becomes an anthology. It is said some big guest stars will pop up in each episode.
17 THE NIGHTFLYERS
George R.R. Martin is of course known for Game of Thrones. But he also has another big project underway for television. This fall, Syfy is set to premiere an adaption of Martin’s novella which was already made into a 1987 movie. It focuses on a space journey that’s shifted by an alien entity that warps the ship. The upcoming adaptation promises to expand on the novel and stretch out the terror while also touching on the wider world of Martin’s “Thousand Worlds” universe. Given the success Syfy has with good adaptations, this could be just the filler Martin's fans need while they wait for GOT.
16 QUEEN OF SHADOWS
Sarah J. Maas “Throne of Glass” book series has been a huge winner with YA audiences. Instead of going to movies, the books will be getting an adaptation courtesy of Hulu. The saga focuses on a young female assassin whose fight for her freedom leads to her instigating a rebellion against an evil king. The books are hailed for their great action and characters and Hulu is promising to do justice by them. Production is slowed but Hulu has vowed it will come to life and give fans the adaptation they want of this epic saga.
The ancient Egyptian queen is famed as a conniving seductress who had the rulers of Rome at her feet. She’s been played in TV and movies by some truly beautiful women and they all emphasized her as a wicked politician. Now, Freeform is working on a version focusing on a younger Cleopatra who is exiled from Egypt, and is trying to become more powerful. It promises to throw in modern touches of music, but they want to focus on how she became the most powerful woman in the ancient world.
There have been a lot of takes on the King Arthur legend. Now, comic book creator Frank Miller is working with Netflix for a new version of the mythology. It will focus on Nimue, aka the Lady in the Lake and her quest to find one worthy of holding the blade Excalibur. The series will have darker tones, putting Arthur as a mercenary. The legend is always a hit and will always be a classic, so a TV show may just be exactly what it needs.
13 THE NEVERS
Joss Whedon is a name that means a lot in geek circles thanks to Buffy, Angel, Firefly and other beloved cult shows. Thus, expectations are high with his new HBO series. Naturally, Whedon is keeping much of the details under wraps. He has revealed the story is set in 1895 London as a group of Victorian ladies find themselves with unique powers and challenge the status quo of the time. Given Whedon’s experiences with amazing ladies, this is already getting folks excited to see what unique super-tale the geek master comes up with now.
12 THE DARK TOWER
Stephen King’s epic saga takes place in an alternate medieval/Old West world where Gunslingers take on the evil Man in the Black. A 2017 movie adaptation was a huge flop that failed to capture the storyline properly. Despite that, Amazon is still planning a TV show based on this world. It’s up in the air whether it will be a prequel or sequel and whether Idris Elba will reprise his role. However, fans would love a new take on the King classic that does far better justice to its wild story.
This will actually be the second attempt to adapt the cult series about the birth of a young man who shakes up his long staid kingdom. A 2000 BBC show had some support but changed much of the novel for viewers. Now, Neil Gaiman and Akiva Goldsman are taking on a new version, promising to be more faithful to the novels. It’s expected to hit British TV viewers by 2020 and use more advanced CGI to make the story come to life. While the first series was good, this remake may actually be better.
10 CONAN THE BARBARIAN
Ron E. Howard’s adventurer has been an icon of fantasy for decades. Arnold Schwarzenegger rose to stardom playing him in movies, and Jason Momoa later took the role. There was also a cartoon, a TV series and slews of comics. Amazon has now announced a new series which is expected to be more faithful to the classic Howard books. It’s still in the pre-production stages but with the right leading man, the classic adventurer can win over a new generation with his exploits.
9 LORD OF THE RINGS
Of course, this is getting huge buzz. J.R.R. Tolkien’s masterwork has been the backbone of fantasy literature for decades. The Oscar-winning hit movies just made them more popular than ever. After years of rumors, it’s now confirmed that a TV show set in Middle-Earth is coming on Amazon. Details are scarce with many believing it will focus on a young Aragorn and how he rises up to be a Ranger. Ian McKellan has already made it clear he wants to reprise the role of Gandalf.
Any fan of science fiction has read Isaac Asimov’s masterpiece. The sprawling narrative shows humanity establishing an interstellar empire only to have an unexpected internal threat destroy it. There have been attempts to make it into a movie series but the daunting story and scope has scared too many studios off. Apple is now planning a 10-episode series based on the first novel with the idea of then adapting the sequels. It will be produced by David Goyer, a man used to some big-budget productions and he’s promised to emphasize the themes over spectacle. Thus, sci-fi fans will finally see this classic brought to life.
7 LOVECRAFT COUNTRY
This upcoming HBO series is based on the Matt Ruff book that mixed classic horror with modern ones. Set in the 1950s, a young man goes searching for his father and is soon facing nightmarish creatures. But the book makes it clear that the real horror is the bigotry of the times. The cast has Jonathan Majors and Jurnee Smollett-Bell and promises some major dark fun. The plotline can seem timely today and its mix of horror and drama makes it a compelling entry for HBO. Whether you’re into classic scares or human horrors, this show will have both.
6 GOOD OMENS
The original novel was a fantastic teaming of fantasy super-stars Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. The upcoming Amazon adaptation sticks to the plotline as an angel (Michael Sheen) and a demon (David Tennant) forge an unlikely friendship living on Earth. When they learn the Apocalypse is coming, they team up to stop it and save the world they’ve come to love. The supporting cast includes John Hamm, and the plot has the promise of some unique takes on some powerful themes. Gaiman himself is helping to produce the series.
Fans remain divided over the 2009 movie adaptation of the groundbreaking comic book series. Now, HBO is giving it a second chance in an upcoming TV show. At first, it sounded like it would be a sequel to the comic but it now appears to be a full adaptation. The assembled cast is already big with Don Johnson, Regina King, Louis Gossett Jr, and Jeremy Irons among others. It promises to delve into segments the movie didn’t and keep to the comic's dark themes. Fans of the book would love a full-scale adaptation and HBO promises to capture the classic saga in all its gritty glory.
4 Y THE LAST MAN
The award-winning comic has an incredible hook. With no warning, every single male on the planet suddenly passes. The only survivor is Yorick, an eccentric escape artist who wants to reach his girlfriend in Australia. He’s soon joined by a secret agent and we see how a world without men operates. The comic tackles some realistic themes and showcases how women have just as many flaws as men. FX is now putting together a series based on the book with Dale Keough as Yorick and Lashana Lynch as Agent 355. If it’s half as good as the comic, it should be a fun show.
3 HIS DARK MATERIALS
Back in 2007, New Line attempted to bring Phillip Pullman’s fantasy trilogy to life with The Golden Compass. However, the movie ended up being a massive flop that killed the franchise right off. It’s now getting a second chance at life in an upcoming BBC adaptation. Dafne Keen plays a young girl searching for her father in a world where a person’s soul can walk with them as an animal spirit. The books are known for some controversial takes on science and religion and the series promises to do far better justice to give fans the adaptation they deserve.
2 THE PASSAGE
This upcoming Fox series starts like your standard conspiracy thriller before taking a wild turn. What looks like a deadly virus sweeping the world ends up being a wave of vampires who tear society apart. The trilogy of books it’s based on span a century and show how humanity deals with a conflict against the undead. The upcoming show is building buzz with a good cast (Mark-Paul Gosselaar and Emannuelle Chriqui) and the trailers promise some real thrills. Due to premiere in 2019, this can be a very fun twist on the classic vampire tales.
1 THE WITCHER
Based on the long-running video game franchise, this upcoming Netflix series is set in a dark fantasy world in constant conflict. Henry Cavill has signed on to play Geralt of Rivia, a bounty hunter who mixes combat with magic to take on a variety of threats for the right price. The games are known for some very adult themes and Netflix is the best bet to bring it to life. With its dark world of conflict, some great magic and a terrific leading man in Cavill, this could be a true major hit needed to fill the GOT hole for fantasy fans.