10 TV Shows That So Badly Wanted To Be Game Of Thrones

Brace yourself, knock-offs are coming.

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In the distant arcane past medieval and ancient-style fantasy on TV was confined to campy guilty pleasures like Xena: Warrior Princess. TV fantasy was kept in its own box far away from high budgets and awards prestige. That all changed in 2011 with the launch of Game Of Thrones on HBO.

Suddenly magic, dragons and made up languages were no longer just the preserve of a handful of nerds living in their parents' basements. They were at the heart of TV's hottest phenomenon.

For most of the 2010s Game Of Thrones was the biggest thing on the small screen. Its combination of epic fantasy, complex political machinations and HBO's usual uninhibited sex and violence - part Lord Of The Rings, part I, Claudius, part The Sopranos - may have seemed risky at the time, but soon became a template that others were keen to follow.

Once Thrones proved there was a market for it, every channel wanted their own dark and gritty fantasy world or sexed up story of medieval power struggles.

But Westeros remained supreme, while the pretenders to its crown rose and fell like Stannis Baratheon's claim to the Iron Throne.

All shows must die, though, and now that Thrones has finished (and its place atop the medieval fantasy pile perhaps taken by The Witcher) it's the perfect time to look back over a decade of programming that tried, and mostly failed, to capture a bit of its glory.

10. See

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Khal Drogo's back! And he's blind in the future!

See was Apple TV+'s attempt to muscle in on the increasingly competitive streaming market by launching with their own dark, violent prestige fantasy series.

Although this series, from Steven Knight (Peaky Blinders) is nominally set in the distant future, its conceit of humanity losing the sense of sight (and with it seemingly all modern technology and conveniences) allows for a basically Dark Ages aesthetic and a story of warring tribes, religious cults and gorily violent power struggles.

If the Game Of Thrones comparisons in that pitch weren't sufficiently apparent, Apple made sure of driving the link home by casting one of that show's popular stars. Former Khal Drogo Jason Momoa isn't exactly pushed beyond his comfort zone as Baba Voss, a skilled warrior and tribal chieftain. (Say what you like about the former Conan The Barbarian's limited acting range, he's found his niche and he's going to milk it).

Ultimately, See is too bogged down in emulating Thrones' grimdark, violent fantasy setting ever to really explore the potential of its world of the blind concept.

Muted reviews for the first season and Apple shutting down production on the second due to the current real-world global crisis have now left this sightless vision of tomorrow's own future in doubt.


Loves ghost stories, mysteries and giant ape movies