One ought to cherish those moments deeply when any piece of artistic work surpasses its expectations and ‘The Witcher’ is a show that does exactly that. Netflix’s adaptation of Andrzej Sapkowski’ series of stories of the same name has outdone its ridiculously high promise and viewer expectations by a huge margin. The series that was touted to be the next ‘Game of Thrones’ manages to distinguish itself in the overcrowded arena of fantasy series quickly and justifies every penny spent by the streaming platform.
It follows Geralt of Rivia, a “witcher” with magical powers who kills fantastical creatures for money. The character, played by Henry Cavill soon finds himself coming into contact with a powerful witch and a princess harboring a revolutionary secret, thanks to the forces of destiny. If you managed to finish watching the entire show in a single day like we did (in our defense, the season’s roughly eight-hour run-time is still lesser than twenty-four hours), you must be feeling a huge void in your life right now. While we impatiently wait for the next season, here is the list of similar shows that you might enjoy. You can watch several of these shows like The Witcher on Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Prime.
7. The Handmaid’s Tale (2017-)
Science fiction and fantasy go hand-in-hand as the primary distinctions of speculative fiction. But both the genres retain several core components of the broader category’s appeal, the most obvious one being that of fictional worldbuilding. Hulu’s ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ is an adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s novel of the same name and is set in a dystopic world where social classes are rigidly defined and women are heavily subjugated, with many being forced to live as sex slaves and vessels of reproduction for the men of higher classes.
‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ is obviously feminist in nature but it treats its core gender-based social commentary with expertise. ‘The Witcher’ offers surprisingly brilliant commentary on feminism as well with its depiction of gender roles and the notion of beauty.
6. Watchmen (2019-)
‘Watchmen’ is not the easiest show to watch. It is definitely not a series that we recommend watching casually due to its sheer complexity of characterization and cultural commentary. While it is based on Alan Moore’s comic book series of the same name, the show carries its source material’s plot forward and manages to become a tour-de-force in its own right.
It is not your run-off-the-mill superhero story and has been hailed as one of the best television productions of all time due to its depiction of America’s troubling racist past. It follows masked vigilantes who start to be regarded as criminals by the government leading to many attempting an open rebellion.
5. Undone (2019-)
There is simply no other television series that plays around with narrative time as well as ‘Undone.’ It equals (and arguable exceeds) the way that ‘The Witcher’ does so, which is no less revolutionary. Moreover, its usage of the rotoscoping technique, wherein animation is traced over live-action recording proves to be a visual treat. The very same technique might be slightly off-putting at first, but it manages to wow viewers progressively.
It follows the character, Alma who forms a novel relationship with time after being in a car accident and uses her special ability to figure out the truth behind her father’s death. Although it is set in the “real” world, the show manages to be extremely surreal and fantastical. The plot is weaved together intricately and painstakingly and the makers’ efforts are hard to not notice.
4. The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance (2019-)
‘The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance’ is another Netflix series that succeeds in pleasing new viewers and fans of its source material equally. This gem of a TV show offers an immersive experience that is unmatched and I find it quite surprising that it hasn’t gained as much popularity as it deserves. Perhaps its eccentric visual style and fictional universe make it look amateurish at first glance, but the series is richly realized and begs more attention.
It serves as a prequel to the 1982 movie, ‘The Dark Crystal’ and follows fantastical elf-like creatures who realize that their race is being oppressed by their overlords and embark on a coup d’etat mission. The story’s worldbuilding is craftily handled and engrosses viewers spectacularly. Its animation has been hailed as an artistic feat and the series manages to be humanistic at heart despite its otherworldly nature.
3. American Gods (2017-)
While ‘The Witcher’ has a pretty formidable tale to tell, one thing that it has done well is allow viewers moments of respite from its heavy storytelling. For example, Geralt says ‘fuck’ at the end of a major revelation and I haven’t cracked up that intensely watching any fantasy show. ‘American Gods’ is a fantasy series that revels in its stylish visualization of Neil Gaiman’s novel of the same name. The author’s book and characteristic tone is definitely a big contributor to the show’s style.
The themes are complex while the feel of both, the book and the show is extremely fluid and simply put…very cool! It might be urban fantasy, but the masterful storytelling makes it extremely modern in nature. The same can be said for ‘The Witcher’ as well. The plot follows an ex-convict who is hired by a god masquerading as a human in the backdrop of a war between old deities and new ones.
2. His Dark Materials (2019-)
BBC’s ‘His Dark Materials’ received a second season order before the release of its first installment like ‘The Witcher.’ Apart from that, the most obvious similarity is the genre of the two TV shows: epic fantasy and the fact that they are both based on a popular series of written fiction. However, it must be noted that ‘His Dark Materials’ has been tailored to be suitable for younger audiences as well and features significantly lesser violence and sex. However, its alternate historical-cum-fantasy world is equally engaging and grand.
The show follows the orphaned girl, Lyra who embarks on a quest to rescue her kidnapped friend only to discover a larger conspiracy. Similar to ‘The Witcher,’ the writers of ‘His Dark Materials’ have taken lots of creative liberty to tweak its source material’s narrative so that it suits the television medium better. And both the shows prove that some degree of “unfaithfulness” could actually be a better idea (only if executed well).
Moreover, ‘His Dark Materials’ has some novel, fictional concepts like daemons (dynamic animal companions that every character has) that require time and attention to explain to unknowing viewers. So far, the show has excelled in doing that similar to how ‘The Witcher’ effortlessly depicts its rich world without shoving heaps of information.
Read More: Shows Like His Dark Materials
1. Game of Thrones (2011-2019)
We almost decided to not have ‘Game of Thrones’ on this list just because of the sheer obviousness in their similarities and the frequency with which the two shows were being compared even before ‘The Witcher’ was released. But that would have been highly unfair. The epic fantasy series adapted from the ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ series by George R. R. Martin is arguably the most popular television series of recent times.
With a sprawling fictional universe that is slated to expand into multiple other projects in the future, ‘Game of Thrones’ might sound daunting to catch up to if you haven’t already watched it (in that case, please complete this BuzzFeed quiz to find out if you’ve been living under a rock). However, it is also one of the most critically acclaimed shows out there which only gets bigger and better with every season (except the last one), thanks to its effective pacing. What starts out as a whodunit in an intensely political medieval fantasy world soon turns into a bloodthirsty contest for power, depicted with HBO-level production value.
One would be highly mistaken to discount it as a ‘Dungeons and Dragons’ tale for its portrayal of political tension, war strategy and characterization is not only nuanced but also reflective of several socio-historic phenomena. Honestly, every second you waste reading this article could be better spent watching ‘Game of Thrones.’ Hence, we shall stop here and let you get into binge mode right away.
Read More: Movies Like Game of Thrones