Game of Thrones has ushered in a renaissance of sci-fi and fantasy TV shows, with shows like American Gods, Outlander, The Magicians, and Shannara Chronicles taking over basic and premium cable. But as dedicated Game of Thrones viewers already know, the HBO series is set to conclude next year.
Don’t worry, though. Winter isn’t coming to sci-fi and fantasy TV. There's a wealth of programs on the horizon to fill the dragon-sized hole that Game of Thrones occupies. We're already seeing some pop up, like the recent Charlaine Harris show, Midnight, Texas, which ties in loosely to her hit True Blood, and the Stephen King adaptation, Mr. Mercedes.
Here are some other programs we're looking forward to in the coming years.
Good Omens (Coming in 2018)
Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett’s comic look at the apocalypse was stuck in development hell for over 20 years, bouncing between studios and directors (Terry Gilliam was once attached to it) until streaming services offered a new outlet. Gaiman is writing and showrunning this adaptation for Amazon Prime video, and recently announced Doctor Who’s David Tennant and Underworld’s Michael Sheen in the roles of the demon Crowley and angel Aziraphale, respectively. Now if Gaiman could just get Sandman out of development hell, too. (Hint: make it an animated series!)
The Passage (Coming in 2018)
Justin Cronin’s terrifying post-apocalyptic vampire novel is not only one of the finest horror novels of the past 20 years, but one of the finest vampire novels of all time. Reminiscent of Stephen King’s The Stand and Cormac McCarthy’s nihilistic The Road, it follows a secret government experiment on death row inmates to create a race of super-soldiers. When society falls to nuclear war, only a gifted young girl is able to save humanity. The show, starring Brianne Howey and Zach Howey, is due on Fox in 2018.
Stranger in a Strange Land (In Development)
Bringing Robert Heinlein’s magnum opus to the small screen is a bold undertaking. The novel about Valentine Michael Smith, a human raised by Martians who becomes a sort-of free-love messiah, was a beloved and prophetic work in the 1960s. It was also considered unfilmable. But if anyone can grok this, it's SyFy. After much derision for its dubious B-movie schlock over the past decade, the network is coming off a string of hits, including the space opera The Expanse, the time-bending Twelve Monkeys, and the modern-day weird western Wynonna Earp. And with a well-received adaptation of Arthur C. Clarke’s Childhood’s End in 2015, SyFy has shown they know how to treat the classic with reverence as well.
The Fifth Season (In Development)
N.K. Jemisin’s “Broken Earth” trilogy has been one of the most acclaimed fantasy series of recent years. The Fifth Season won the Hugo Award for best novel last year, making Jemisin the first African-American person to take home that honor. The second volume, The Obelisk Gate, and the final volume, The Stone Sky, hit the New York Times bestseller lists. The story is a harrowing examination of prejudice and subjugation, following three magically gifted women — a young girl, a student, and a mother — as they navigate a post-apocalyptic world being torn apart by earthquakes. The series is in early stages of development for TNT.
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The Kingkiller Chronicles (In Development)
Lionsgate is certainly ambitious with its plans for Patrick Rothfuss’s acclaimed (and as yet unfinished) trilogy, planning TV, movie, and video game tie-ins. While it is still in the development stages, Rothfuss has a high-profile backer on the project, as Hamilton’s Lin-Manuel Miranda is producing the series and will be writing music for the story’s magical bard, Kvothe. Sadly, there is no word yet on a release date or network.
Wild Cards (In Development)
Before Game of Thrones made him a superstar, George R.R. Martin was best known for editing this series of superhero anthologies, inspired by a long-running role-playing game Martin ran with a group of fellow New Mexico authors. Set in an alternate America where an alien virus has transformed humanity into either superhumans, known as Aces, or hideous mutants, known as Jokers. Because of his contract with HBO, Martin is not directly involved in the production. His Wild Cards co-editor, Melinda Snodgrass, is shepherding this project. It’s still too early to know when or even if it will make it to TV screens, but with Martin’s name and Snodgrass’s Hollywood experience (she wrote several acclaimed episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation) the odds are in its favor.