Upcoming TV Shows That Could Become the Next ‘Game of Thrones’
The search for the next Game of Thrones is on. At the beginning of this decade, nobody was certain whether HBO’s new fantasy series would catch on, but it ended up becoming arguably the biggest television phenomenon of the 2010s. Now, Game of Thrones is about to end, leaving a void for another show to fill.
So what will be the successor to Game of Thrones? What series will be able to take over its mantle as the next “big thing” that millions of people discuss at the water cooler? Just about everyone who makes TV has an expensive project in development that they hope could be it, especially Amazon. After all, Amazon Studios Chief Roy Price has indicated that he wants the next Game of Thrones.
Here’s a look at some of the shows currently in development that are strong contenders for that title.
1. The Wheel of Time
The Wheel of Time is a series of high fantasy novels by Robert Jordan (although the last three were written after Jordan’s death by Brandon Sanderson). They’re quite popular, having sold 80 million copies worldwide.
It’s tough to imagine a Wheel of Time TV show being possible in a pre-Game of Thrones world. After all, the series is absolutely massive, consisting of a whopping 14 books. But the success of Game of Thrones means that a show adaptation is now in development. Sony Pictures Television is currently working to adapt The Wheel of Time into a TV series, Variety has reported. Rafe Judkins (Hemlock Grove) will executive produce.
No network has picked up the show yet. But seeing as Amazon is clearly interested in finding the new Game of Thrones, it wouldn’t be surprising to see it end up there.
Next: This new show is based on a novel series that were already adapted into massively popular films.
2. The Lord of the Rings
One show we do know Amazon is making, though, is The Lord of the Rings. This is an absolutely massive investment on Amazon’s part. According to Deadline, the budget of each season of this show is expected to be between $100 million and $150 million. That’s much more expensive than Game of Thrones; the most expensive Thrones season only cost $60 million.
In addition, just securing the rights cost Amazon between $200 million and $250 million. To put that in perspective, it only cost $281 million to make the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy.
This apparently will not just be a re-adaptation of the novels that we already saw in the movies. Instead, it will be a prequel series (but not an adaptation of The Hobbit, either). The Lord of the Rings movies are obviously incredibly popular; counting the Hobbit trilogy, they’ve grossed about $6 billion worldwide. So if Amazon’s show can draw in even a fraction of that audience, it has potential to be huge.
Next: This series will be based on a series of science fiction novels.
The next Game of Thrones doesn’t necessarily have to be another fantasy show. It could also be something like Ringworld, a science fiction series based on the novels by Larry Niven.
Ringworld takes place in a future version of Earth where a man celebrating his 200th birthday travels to a remote artificial ring in space. This is yet another show that Amazon Studios is producing.
Already, Westworld has emerged as a possible successor to Game of Thrones, though whether it fully becomes that will depend largely on the second season. The problem with Westworld is that it’s unclear whether the premise will sustain itself for a lengthy run. Meanwhile, Ringworld is a series of five books (plus four prequel books), meaning there would be plenty of material for a full show to last about as long as Game of Thrones.
Next: This new HBO show will deconstruct the superhero genre.
Must the next Game of Thrones be anything like Game of Thrones at all? After all, it’s not as if Game of Thrones closely resembled many shows that came before it. All we’re really looking for here is a show that could capture the public’s imagination and become the next big thing that everyone is talking about.
So could Watchmen potentially be that show? Based on the graphic novel of the same name, Watchmen takes place in an alternate United States in which superheroes emerged decades ago but are currently outlawed. It’s very much a deconstruction of the very idea of superheroes.
The new series is coming from HBO, so we can rest easy knowing that they’re going to give it a big enough budget to do the source material justice. It comes from Damon Lindelof, whose last series, The Leftovers, was not particularly popular, although his first show, Lost, was a huge hit.
This one is based on a popular graphic novel and comes at the perfect time, as superhero movies and TV shows are sweeping the industry. The stage is set for Watchmen to find an audience and be incredibly successful.
Next: This show will be based on a series of novels that have already become a video game.
5. The Witcher
Moving over to Netflix, the streaming service now has a show based on The Witcher in the works. The Witcher started as a series of short stories and then as a series of novels, but it’s now best known as the video game franchise. It takes place in a fantasy world and follows a monster hunter with supernatural powers.
The project is still in its very early stages, but its showrunner will be Lauren Schmidt Hissrich, who has previously written for shows like Daredevil, The Defenders, Parenthood, and The West Wing.
Next: This science fiction series will come from the producer of some of the best movies ever made.
6. Snow Crash
Going back to science fiction, Neal Stephenson’s acclaimed novel, Snow Crash, takes place in a future in which most of the United States has been ceded to private organizations. The protagonist is a pizza delivery driver who leads a life as a warrior inside the “Metaverse,” a virtual world that a computer virus threatens to destroy.
This adaptation of Snow Crash will be an hour-long drama from Amazon Studios. The executive producer is Joe Cornish, director of the 2011 science fiction film Attack the Block and co-writer of Ant-Man. Also serving as producer will be Frank Marshall, the legendary producer behind films like Back to the Future and Raiders of the Lost Ark.
With Amazon desperately looking for its own Game of Thrones, this is definitely a contender. One issue, though, is the fact that it’s not a book series; there was only ever one Snow Crash novel.
Next: These novels were recently adapted into a failed movie, but hopefully the show is an improvement.
7. The Dark Tower
It probably would have been best to adapt The Dark Tower into a TV show in the first place. The Stephen King book series follows a gunslinger’s quest to find a tower that is said to hold all universes together. It consists of eight books released from 1982 through 2004.
We did recently get an adaptation of The Dark Tower, but it was a movie. Weirdly, the film was not really a straight adaptation of any of the books, and it was only about 90 minutes long. The plan was for the movie to launch a TV show, and although the film was a critical and financial failure, that show is apparently still happening.
Recently, Deadline reported that The Dark Tower is headed to Amazon. Although the movie was a failure, if done well, The Dark Tower could still be big. And Stephen King described the show as being a “complete reboot,” so hopefully, they’ll get things right this time.
Next: This show will be based on a book series that influenced George Lucas when he was making Star Wars.
Yet another popular series of novels that will soon become a TV show is Isaac Asimov’s Foundation. This hugely influential series takes place in a future in which the Galactic Empire rules humanity, which is spread out among the stars. The protagonist foresees the Empire’s collapse, and so he sets out to preserve mankind’s knowledge. It seems to have been an influence on Star Wars, as well as many other science fiction movies.
There have been attempts to turn Foundation into a movie series, most notably by New Line in the 1990s, but none ever got off the ground. Now, Deadline reports that Skydance Television is working on an adaptation. It doesn’t yet have a network attached, but it wouldn’t be surprising if it ends up on Netflix, as that’s where Skydance’s previous show, Altered Carbon, aired.
Next: This new Hulu show has all the makings of a hit.
9. Castle Rock
If we go back to the idea that the next Game of Thrones doesn’t have to really be anything like Game of Thrones, Castle Rock is worth taking a look at.
This new Hulu show is an original series that takes place in a town, Castle Rock, that shows up in many of Stephen King’s novels; although it’s not a direct adaptation of anything King has done, the whole trailer feels very King-esque.
Stephen King media is hot right now, whether it shows that his work inspired like Stranger Things or actual adaptations of his work like It. Castle Rock even has two of the cast members from It: Bill Skarsgård and Chosen Jacobs. If it’s any good, Castle Rock really has potential to blow up in the same way It did in 2017.
Next: One last Amazon show with a premise somewhat similar to Game of Thrones
Finally, yet another Amazon show with potential to be the hit they’re looking for is Lazarus. Based on the comic book series, Lazarus takes place in a world in which 16 rival families rule the planet in a feudal system. Each family has a Lazarus, a warrior that defends the family.
Our main character is a young woman, Forever Carlyle, who is the Lazarus for the Carlyle family. So here we have a new show based on a popular series about warring families. It makes sense why Amazon’s interested.
According to Deadline, Greg Rucka, the author of the comic book series, is set to executive produce the show.
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