Game of Thrones fans have a particularly rough stretch ahead: The year-long wait is extended by three months, as Season 7 will ditch its usual spring slot in favor of airing in summer 2017. Although there is a backlog of shows you should catch up on, like the criminally underrated Black Sails and the dearly departed Penny Dreadful, there are a host of shows airing this fall that might just quench that thirst for power-hungry squabbling, byzantine plotting, and immersive worlds. Here are five to keep an eye out for.
Westworld is the most obvious contender, because by its virtue as a high-concept HBO show, you can already hear the sound of a thousand think pieces asking, “Is This The Next Game of Thrones? By falling into the very specific genre of “robot western,” it isn’t likely to draw quite as wide an audience, but if you like Game of Thrones for the question it asks about human nature — particularly the dark side — this one is for you. In its trailer, Anthony Hopkins brims with a Tywin Lannister-esque sinister charm while Evan Rachel Wood’s seemingly ingenue character might just face a Sansa Stark-like awakening. The moral of the story seems to be that whether you’re trying to run Westeros or a futuristic playground of sin, power always corrupts.
Air Date: October 2 on HBO
2. The Crown
Game of Thrones might not really be history, but it has an element that strongly appeals to period piece fans. George R.R. Martin meticulously drew from real-world parallels like Hadrian’s wall and the War of The Roses. If you like GoT for those parallels and the courtly intrigue, then Netflix’s The Crown might be for you. It’s about the British royal family from the current Queen’s early years to the present day, and at cool $100 million, it’s reportedly Netflix’s most expensive show yet. With a cast that includes Matt Smith (Doctor Who) as Prince Philip and John Lithgow (Dexter) as Winston Churchill, it’s hopefully bound to be less disappointing than The Get Down.
Air date: November 4 on Netflix
3. Ash vs Evil Dead
If you are a Game of Thrones fan who reads the books too, you like the story for its scope. Each season is riddled with callbacks to little moments and easter-eggs to nitpick to your heart’s content. While the horror-comedy Ash vs Evil Dead might not quite have the gravitas or political intrigue of Game of Thrones, it shares one thing in common: epic scope. The Evil Dead movies might not offer a canon as complex as A Song of Ice and Fire but they’re classics in their own right, and this upcoming season of Ash vs Evil Dead finally has the rights to use arguably the best entry in the series: Army of Darkness. Get ready for a season filled with more clever callbacks for fans in the know to smile at.
Air date: October 2 on Starz
4. Falling Water
In its continued efforts to pivot away from The Network Your Dad Watches On The Weekends and become The Mindfuck Network, USA is running with the Mr. Robot model and giving it an Inception spin in the new show Falling Water. If you like Game of Thrones for its occasional dream sequences (RIP Three-eyed Raven) and metaphysical turns, this show might be up your alley. It looks quite dark and filled with terrors.
Air Date: October 13 on USA
Vikings has been floundering ever since it killed Athelstan without considering how to fill the hole his death created. For over a season now, it’s been a pale imitation of better shows in the genre: It is neither as character-rich or intelligently written as Black Sails nor as deft at political intrigue as Game of Thrones. Nevertheless, it got its shit together by the end of its mid-season finale by giving itself a much-needed soft reboot in the form of jumping into the future and aging-up Ragnar’s sons. And from the short glimpse we got, they’re more than capable of carrying the story forward. No longer will the burden of the narrative rest solely on Ragnar, Rollo, and Bjorn’s shoulders. Judging from its Comic-Con trailer, the show just might be a rare example of one that saves itself from veering off the rails.
Air date: Sometime this fall on History
Photos via HBO