10 Best Fantasy TV Shows: Warriors, Wizards, Monks, and Swords

Categories: Blogs, Film, TV

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​With the recent airing of HBO's new high-fantasy miniseries Game of Thrones, we became inspired to let our geek flags fly and reminisce about days when men were warriors, and women were noble ladies; when swords battled sorcery, and titans clashed -- the good ol' days of fantasy. We delved deep into the caves of our memories and come out bearing a trove of classic TV fantasy. You know, the ones that remind you why you have that replica-quality sword in the garage next to your old Monster Manual. We hear you, wizards and warriors. We hear you.

10. The Tudors

Showtime never claimed that its 2007 production was based on historic fact, and maybe that's why this show is so terr-awesome. It's supposedly about the reign of King Henry VIII of England, and it sort of is, even if it's not strict, shall we say, in terms of factual accuracy. But who cares if the plotlines are all about lust and ego? It's Dynasty with swords, which is more than enough for us. And the formula works -- it built a considerable audience over its four seasons, and it was nominated for several awards, including a Golden Globe for Best Drama in 2007. And after all, he's "Henery the Eighth," he is! (Are you singing the song? We are, we are.)


9. Rome

This notoriously expensive HBO series (which is purportedly why it was canceled after only two -- sorry, II -- seasons) focused not only on the lives of the privileged, but also the soldiers and lower classes that supported and enabled the luxuries of the realm in the first century BC. Though it didn't last long on the air (this Rome fell in 2006), it was one of the most beautifully filmed and sexiest series on pay cable. If you check this out on DVD, remember to enjoy the Roman Empire in traditional fashion: with a eunuch fanning you and feeding you grapes. (Craigslist is a great place to find a eunuch.)


8. Camelot

Forget Richard Gere's First Knight. (Richard Gere would probably appreciate it.) This is a new foray into Arthurian legend, and it premiered on Starz on April 1. And it makes sense that this is one knightly story to which we keep returning -- the love triangle between Arthur, Guenevere, and Lancelot is one of the best in literature. Add sword-fighting, sex, and chivalry, and suddenly, for one brief, shining moment, the draw of Camelot makes total sense. And here's a bonus: It's scripted by Chris Chibnall, a writer who also worked on Torchwood and Doctor Who. Serious geek-cred.


7. Pillars of the Earth

Nominated for three Golden Globes, this 2010 miniseries was based on the Ken Follett novel of the same name. It follows 12th-century characters through the romance, violence, tragedy, and triumph surrounding the construction of a cathedral. We know, we know, a movie about architecture -- sounds thrilling, right? But it is, due in no small part to the acting of Deadwood's Ian McShane. And did we mention that none other than Donald Sutherland makes an appearance? It's worth tuning in just to see if he flashes his ass, Animal House style!


6. Legend of the Seeker

This TV series, produced by Sam Raimi and based on Terry Goodkind's massively popular Sword of Truth novels, premiered in 2008. It was then canceled last year after a deal with SyFy fell through, and a campaign to save the show didn't work (yet, at least). Of all the shows on this list, this one perhaps most resembles a Dungeons and Dragons game; in it, a small and diverse party bands together to defeat a great evil. Okay, don't throw your 20-sided dice at us -- we know it's not completely the same. But seriously, aside from the '80s D&D cartoon, you're not going to get much closer than this.

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21 comments
bigmikeatky
bigmikeatky

What about Game of thrones!  Charmed? Buffy? 

bigmikeatky
bigmikeatky

What about Game of thrones!  Charmed? Buffy? 

bigmikeatky
bigmikeatky

What about Game of thrones!  Charmed? Buffy? 

TV Series
TV Series

I absolutely loved this series. I surelly think that the most beautifull part from the series it was when Anne Boleyn was still alive. It was and is my most favorite series.

Parr3001
Parr3001

Game of Thrones didn't even make the list??? i know theres only been 1 season so far but that is truely the greatest fantasy show ever..

Karthik Gowda
Karthik Gowda

can't believe u've missed out game of thrones

Hubert
Hubert

What the hell is wrong with your Rome trailer?! There's not a gay vibe in that whole show! 

alex
alex

1,2,3, and 6 do not belong in any list of quality television shows... ESPECIALLY Legend of the Seeker. It was a clichéd fantasy show with terrible production value for such a high budget, a ridiculous script, and painfully awful actors. SyFy made the right choice in dumping it.

Perhaps add the '10th kingdom' miniseries. It was ridiculously popular when it came out.

justinbachiu
justinbachiu

I think legend of the seeker is one of the best television shows of all time your right they could have done better but the could have done worse the acting was amazing your just a hypocrite that puts others down to make yourself feel better

jason cline
jason cline

Yeah for real! I read the rave reviews on this page for LotS and went to watch a few episodes. I had to give it up before I could get through the third episode. I mean honest how can anyone not notice the ABSOLUTELY HORRIBLE ACTING? I love fantasy and that show simply pisses me off, could of been so much better. For christ's sake npc's in skyrim do a better acting job.

Sybil
Sybil

Legend of the Seeker was by far the best fantasy show going. People found this show by flipping through channels and/or work of mouth. The show wasn't promoted properly, but when people found it they loved it. And to this day is still getting new fans, eventho', its been canceled. LotS was for all ages and families loved it as did teens and grown ups. TV is stupid for not picking this show back up.

CELTICBEAR4
CELTICBEAR4

Legend of the Seeker is by far the best bring it back

Kristine
Kristine

way to go Legend of the Seeker! at least were at the #6! Bring our Seeker BACK!

Vholma_dif
Vholma_dif

Legend of the seeker all the way! Bring it back!

A11kat
A11kat

Legend of the Seeker is the only show out of that list i'd watch.. I'm not a fantasy fan, but Legend of the seeker is AMAZING.. should've so gotten a 3rd season.. Its the only fantasy show that non fantasy lovers would even love.. seriously if 4 a bunch of geeks they sure are stupid not 2 have picked the show up already *Syfy!* .. just sayin..

Joshua D'souza
Joshua D'souza

Can't imagine a series based on one of the worst fantasy series in the genre being much good. But they probably took a lot of liberties.

Vio
Vio

LOL The Sword of Truth series was one of the BEST series that genre has ever seen...

dungeonmaster
dungeonmaster

Um.....

You do realise that most of those were HISTORICAL series don't you?!?!?!?!Believe it or not the Tudors didn't live in a world of sword and sorcery, they lived in OUR WORLD in something we like to call: The Past <h2>:D</h2>

I know it's not as if they were accurate, but seriously period drama isn't fantasy, and I feel somewhat cheated by your claim that they are lol

J/K really, but I got all excited thinking there had been 10 fantasy series, let alone 10 good ones! Also, the fantasy series you did include were all terrible, not as bad as Xena/Hercules/Conan (actually that Conan series wasn't so bad....), best fantasy series EVER has to be Knightmare surely? :D

<h2>Dungeons N Dragons</h2>

Alan Scherstuhl
Alan Scherstuhl

My favorite fantasy-related TV weirdness was all those Geraldo specials in the mid 80s about how D&D inevitably led to Satan worship.

If he were to follow up on the D&D kids I'd knew, he might be surprised to see that it actually led them to advanced communication and organizational skills -- and some seriously good jobs.

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