It's been nearly 20 years since the first installment of Peter Jackson's classic Lord of the Rings hit screens, but fans of fantasy, fellowship and good old-fashioned nerdery still revere the trilogy and recognize it as one of the great film classics of our time. Of course, 20 years is a long time, and plenty of other solid series have hit screens big and small since the premiere of The Fellowship of the Rings. Fans, rejoice -- we've compiled a list of 10 TV series you can watch right now if you like Lord of the Rings.
Note that although some expected titles made the list, you'll find plenty of unexpected picks too. Whether or not they're a good new watch list addition for you depends on what you liked about that series. No matter what drew you to Lord of the Rings originally, though, you'll be able to find something here to fill that Frodo-shaped hole in your heart.
10 Game Of Thrones
The most obvious pick on the list, Game of Thrones is heading into its final season with millions of fans guessing at who will end up on the Iron Throne. Its epic-scale battles, strong lineup of characters, and fantasy world make it a clear choice for any Tolkien fan. If you aren't already watching, you've probably heard the pitch from plenty of your friends, and for good reason -- the series' high production quality and edge-of-your-seat storytelling have captured the imaginations of viewers worldwide.
Though they have many similarities, the two series have a few key differences, perhaps most notably the more adult nature of the HBO series. Lord of the Rings didn't exactly have a low body count, but the deaths, fights and other events of Game of Thrones can get pretty graphic. However, for the viewer who wants their fantasy media to grow up with them, Westeros is a natural transition from Middle Earth.
9 Avatar: The Last Airbender
This animated Nickelodeon series is widely regarded as one of the best series ever made, animated or otherwise. It's not hard to see why; its loving exploration of its lore, thorough world-building and well-developed characters, endeared it to the hearts of kids and adults alike during its original run, and it continues to be a fan favorite years after its explosive final episode.
It also shares many important themes with Lord of the Rings, including the importance of companionship and the fragility of the lines between destiny and choice. In addition, as the Middle Earth trilogy follows the quest of Frodo and his traveling crew, Avatar: The Last Airbender tracks the world-spanning journey of its own young hero, Aang, who shares his quest with a team of his own.
8 The Magicians
This Syfy original starts off at a grad school for magicians (it's not as much like Harry Potter as it sounds). That concept serves as a doorway to fantasy worlds, centaur doctors, flying boats, and ridiculously high-production musical numbers. Alongside all these magical elements, though, are more human concepts, such as depression, regret, love, grief, friendship, and more. The show's main characters embark upon quests both fantastical and deeply personal, and viewers get the chance to see a group of truly flawed young adults navigate through life with magic as a backdrop.
Fans of Lord of the Rings will love the character development, ensemble setup and ever-evolving plot of The Magicians, while enjoying a more modern fantasy world.
Fans of The Hobbit will recognize Poldark's leading man, Aidan Turner, as the lovesick dwarf Kili. But there's more than an actor connecting Jackson's fantasy series and the period drama. Like the fantasy movies, Poldark features detailed costumes and lush landscapes, along with some truly breathtaking cinematography.
Poldark is heavy on the romance, but even for those not seeking out a period drama, its complex depiction of a flawed protagonist and complicated supporting cast, set against a backdrop of class conflict and local political and economic divides, provides an engaging watch.
This lighthearted (usually) musical comedy has no right to be as good as it is, but its winking self-awareness and over-the-top musical numbers make for an enjoyable fantasy adventure set to song. As with Lord of the Rings, Galavant follows the quest of a band of misfit heroes as they try to save the day. It's also set in a quasi-medieval world, albeit with a few modern upgrades.
Galavant is good for Lord of the Rings fans who are looking for something a little funnier and buoyed by catchy tunes throughout. Keep an eye out for celebrity cameos in the most unexpected of places.
With a dedicated fan following of its own, Merlin has long been a beloved show for those looking for a little magic. The title wizard spends a lot of the series looking out for Prince Arthur, talking to a wise but demanding dragon and hanging around with a group of knights who at some point make up the first Round Table. The show's five seasons were full of highs and lows, but Merlin never lost its sense of fantasy.
Like Frodo, Merlin is an earnest young hero burdened by great responsibility, and relies on his friends to help him along the way. Fans of Lord of the Rings will also appreciate mythical creatures, swordfights, and some pretty fantastic armor.
4 Adventure Time
The second cartoon to grace this list, Adventure Time ended its tenth and final season just last year. This cartoon's complicated post-apocalyptic mythology and absurdist storytelling gear it slightly more toward adults than its cutesy animation style would suggest, but it's that complexity that makes it stand apart in its genre. The series follows the adventures of human child Finn and his shape-shifting dog best friend Jake as they hero up in the Land of Ooo. Whether battling huge monsters or hanging around with candy people, the duo remains inseparable and keep a sense of humor throughout.
Like Lord of the Rings, this series focuses on heroes trying to do the right thing, no matter what it takes, and embarking on quests to help others. In addition, its themes of friendship and duty echo the lessons learned in Middle Earth.
After a one-season run, this space western ascended to cult status and has remained a convention favorite since its cancellation 16 years ago. Led by a tough-but-fair captain, the crew of the ship Serenity find danger, love and plenty of hijinks at every stop on their smuggling operation, complicated further by the arrival of an awkward young doctor and his mysterious sister. It's equal parts funny and thrilling, action-packed and heartbreaking.
If your favorite part of Lord of the Rings was watching its core group of characters fight their way through Middle Earth, Firefly is a natural fit. Well-defined, lovable characters and an expansive in-series universe make for an exceptional (but much too short) season. Make sure to catch the movie when you're done.
2 Jonathan Strange And Mr. Norrell
Many of the titles on this list fall squarely into the fantasy genre, and Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell is no exception. The magical world of this series is dark and whimsical, with the two title characters and their approaches to magic at odds with each other through much of the series' short, complete run. As beautiful as it is unpredictable, the show relies on an evolving lineup of supporting characters to show the impacts of the two magicians' choices.
For fans of fantasy, Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell is a delightful journey into the nature of magic -- a natural fit if you love the high fantasy world of Lord of the Rings.
1 The Living And The Dead
As the ghostly title implies, this show dives into some dark and spooky concepts. Not fully horror, sci-fi, period drama or fantasy, this series borrows elements from each and tells its story with breathtakingly gorgeous visuals and a deep mystery that slowly unravels through each episode. It helps that the main characters, a couple who are deeply in love and starting a new chapter of their lives at the beginning of the series, are so likable, though they both are changed by the many things, good and bad, they experience.
The Living and the Dead is a good choice for fans drawn to the more somber elements of Lord of the Rings, as well as those looking for beautiful storytelling with artistic cinematography to back it up.