The Witcher television series, based on the fantasy novels and short stories by Andrzej Sapkowski (which also inspired the video game series of the same name), arrived on Netflix in December. Starring the Snyderverse’s Superman himself, Henry Cavill, the show follows the the silver-haired monster-slayer-for-hire Geralt of Rivia across a crisscrossing timeline as he becomes reluctantly entangled in the politics of the realm.
The show has been a bona fide hit, with Netflix ordering a season 2 before the show even dropped on the streaming platform. The second season has already started filming and will be released sometime in 2021, with an anime movie on the way as well. If you’re anxiously awaiting more fantasy adventures, more demon slaying, or more Henry Cavill in period garb, these 11 shows should tide you over for the time being.
Xena: Warrior Princess
Xena and Geralt share two crucial characteristics: they’re both hardened monster slayers with cute bard companions (though Geralt and Jaskier don’t have quite the same romantic chemistry as Xena and Gabrielle).
Originally conceived as a spinoff of Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, Xena: Warrior Princess ran for six seasons. Lucy Lawless’ Xena was a villain in Hercules, but as the star of her own show she travels across Ancient Greece fighting evil as atonement for her past misdeeds.
Xena: Warrior Princess is streaming on NBC.com.
If Jaskier’s catchy tunes are your favorite part of The Witcher, consider checking out NBC’s short-lived musical fantasy sitcom, Galavant. Created by Dan Fogelman (Cars, This is Us), the series follows the disgraced knight, Sir Gary Galavant (Joshua Sasse), as he attempts to win back his lady love from the evil King Richard (Psych’s Timothy Omundson). With music by Alan Menken (The Little Mermaid, Little Shop of Horrors), the main “Galavant” song slaps way harder than “Toss a Coin to Your Witcher.”
Galavant is streaming on Netflix.
For more adventures of literary heroes with magical powers and mysterious destinies, look to BBC’s Merlin. Like Smallville imagined the early years of Superman, Merlin retells the legend of King Arthur, focusing on Merlin (Colin Morgan) as a young warlock new to Camelot who begrudgingly befriends the arrogant prince Arthur (Bradley James). Come for the new take on Arthurian legend, stay for the CGI dragon voiced by John Hurt.
Merlin is streaming on Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.
Okay, fine, if you just want to ogle more Henry Cavill in deep v-neck linen shirts, he also stars as King Henry VIII’s BFF, Charles Brandon, in Showtime’s sexy period drama, The Tudors. (It also stars a pre-Game of Thrones Natalie Dormer as Henry’s second wife, Anne Boleyn.)
The Tudors is streaming on Netflix and Showtime (available as a Hulu or Amazon add-on)
Our review of The Witcher already pointed out its similarities to The Mandalorian. Here’s a refresher:
A brooding hero, one of the last members of a race of legendary warriors, wanders through a wild, dangerous world, finding nothing but trouble. Violence is his livelihood, and yet his code makes him choosy about his jobs. That means he’s often so desperate for money that he’s forced to take terrible risks. He doesn’t want to connect with anyone, but his world is turned upside down when destiny makes him responsible for a very special child.
The Mandalorian is streaming on Disney Plus.
His Dark Materials
HBO released its own long-awaited TV adaptation of a fantasy novel series just a month before Netflix dropped The Witcher. His Dark Materials is based on the Philip Pullman trilogy about two children and their animal companions (daemons) on a multiverse-spanning rescue mission. His Dark Materials shares a similar dark fantasy aesthetic with The Witcher, though the former’s magical creatures are a lot cuter.
His Dark Materials is streaming on HBO (available as a Hulu or Amazon add-on).
Like The Witcher with its gory boss battles, Demon Slayer knows what you’re really here for — watching big ‘ol monsters get got. And it just won the Anime Award for Anime of the Year.
From our guide to the best new anime of the 2010s:
Demon Slayer is not a complicated anime. Everything you need to know is right there in the title. The series follows a kid whose family is killed by demons with the one exception of his sister who was transformed into a demon herself. So the kid sets out to ... slay demons. And that’s exactly what he does. Demon Slayer.
Demon Slayer is streaming on Hulu, Crunchyroll, and Funimation.
Blending Norse history and mythology, the History Channel show Vikings follows a band of warriors, led by the legendary hero Ragnar Lothbrok (Travis Fimmel), who claims to be a descendant of Odin. While Vikings is billed as historical drama (read: no Witcher-style magic), there are plenty of epic battles.
Vikings is streaming on Hulu.
Ash vs. Evil Dead
Hear me out: If Geralt was dropped off in present-day Michigan, stripped of his magical powers and equipped with a chainsaw hand, he might look a lot like Ash Williams, especially considering Ash’s detour into medieval Europe. Replace Kikimora, Striga, and dragons with the Evil Dead, and you’ve got two broody men who are very good at killing monsters.
Ash vs. Evil Dead is streaming on Netflix and Starz (available as a Hulu or Amazon add-on).
The Last Kingdom
Like The Witcher, The Last Kingdom is based on a series of rollicking novels. Written by Bernard Cornwell). It’s set in Anglo-Saxon Britain, in which sword-wielding uber-warrior Uhtred of Bebbanburg wards off Viking invasions for King Alfred. Like Geralt in The Witcher, Uhtred is something of an outsider, born to Anglo-Saxon nobility, but raised a Viking. He’s a pagan, in a Christian world. He’s also moody, popular with women and great with a sword; though he has a talent for diplomacy, when necessary.
The Last Kingdom is streaming on Netflix.