It’s over. No matter how you feel about the last episodes of Game of Thrones, it certainly was a show that became a truly global pop culture phenomenon. The final episode that aired on Sunday night was the biggest show in HBO history, with a total of 19.3 million viewers (that includes streaming users via HBO Now).
Now that the saga has come to an end, HBO and its new parent company AT&T faces a huge problem. Tons of people will likely dump their subscription to the premium cable network, or cancel their HBO Now streaming subscription service because Game of Thrones is now over. Sure, there is that upcoming prequel to the series that’s currently in the works, but we have no idea when that will air yet.
If you are debating whether or not to cancel your HBO or HBO Now subscription, you may want to keep it for a while (or I guess you could cancel and simply return later).
HBO wants to compete more directly with the big streaming video services, particularly Netflix, and it has a deep range of upcoming HBO series that could become the next Game of Thrones in terms of popularity. It also has a number of current HBO series that will return with all new seasons in the coming months as well.
Let’s take a look at just some of what HBO and HBO Now subscribers can expect in the next year or so.
Watchmen – Fall 2019
This is our personal pick for the next big thing from HBO that could bring back the massive Game of Thrones audience. Based on the classic DC Comics series from writer Alan Moore and artist Dave Gibbons, Watchmen will actually be a sequel of sorts to that series. It takes place in an alternate Earth, where masked vigilantes and actual superheroes exist. Not much is known about the plot of the show as yet, and the teaser trailer only serves to generate more questions about what Watchmen may really be about.
We do know that the main writer for the series is Damon Lindelof, who co-created Lost and adapted the novel The Leftovers as a series for HBO. The cast of Watchmen is also pretty spectacular. It includes Regina King, Jeremy Irons, Don Johnson, Jean Smart and others. It’s due sometime in the fall of 2019.
His Dark Materials – Late 2019
Game of Thrones fans who want another major fantasy series to binge on might want to check out His Dark Materials when it debuts. Based on the series of book by Philip Pullman, it chronicles the story of two kids who travel between parallel worlds. It also has an impressive cast, including James McAvoy, Ruth Wilson and Lin-Manuel Miranda. Co-produced with the BBC, the series will debut with an eight-episode first season, and a second season has already been commissioned.
Lovecraft Country – 2020
If horror is more up your alley, HBO also has an upcoming show that comes from one of the modern masters of terror, Jordon Peele. The creator of the hit movies Get Out and Us is an executive producer, along with J.J. Abrams, on this adaptation of the novel by Matt Ruff. Set in the 1950s, it centers on a black family that not only explores the real terrors of racial bigotry at that time but throws in some supernatural horrors as well. It’s due to be shown on HBO sometime in 2020.
The Outsider – 2020
This upcoming HBO mini-series is based on the most recent novel by the biggest horror writer of all, Stephen King. It begins as a murder mystery, as a teacher and baseball coach is arrested for the murder of an 11-year-old boy. However, the investigation into this crime soon turns into a search for a true monster who tempts people to kill for him. The miniseries stars Jason Bateman and Ben Mendelsohn and will be shown on HBO sometime in 2020.
Westworld: Season 3 – 2020
Our last show to convince you to keep your HBO or HBO Now subscription is one that has already had two seasons on the network. Westworld began as a TV version of Michael Crichton’s 1973 movie about human-looking androids who populate a futuristic Wild West amusement park, and who slowly revolt against their makers. The first season mostly was set in Westworld, but the second season expanded the reach of the show to include other parks and even the outside world.
Based on the first teaser trailer for season three, it looks like Westworld will leave the park behind for the most part. It appears the season will look at how robots and advanced technology have changed the planet. It’s basically a refresh of the show, and it might bring in new viewers who may have gotten annoyed by some of the plot twists and puzzles of the first two seasons. Plus, Breaking Bad’s Emmy Award winner Aaron Paul is joining the cast for this season, so that’s a big plus in our book.
Admittedly none of these shows can truly fill the void left behind by the absence of Game of Thrones, but at least it’s nice to know that there is still plenty to look to on HBO. Is it enough to keep a subscription? That’s up to you, but even if you leave, it’s easy enough to subscribe again later.