Fantasy TV shows are now big business.
Game of Thrones has become the most expensive show per episode of all time, while Amazon is hurling billions at Lord of the Rings and Netflix is acquiring rights to shows like they're going out of fashion. It really could be coined as the Game of Thrones phenomena, but recent rises in love for fantasy fiction may also be playing a role.
Whatever the cause, fans of the genre are soon to be spoilt for choice. But there is a catch. Most of these fantasy TV shows are coming soon, with only a few anywhere near close to completion.
So what is nearly ready?
With 2018 fast approaching a close, what fantasy TV shows of 2019 can we expect? The answer is, not too many. However, there are a few very exciting, epic properties on the cards for next year. Below are five you simply cannot miss.
Recent news of Hollywood’s own Superman, Henry Cavill, being cast as the lead of The Witcher series has only stirred up interest in the upcoming fantasy TV show. Announced back in May, The Witcher TV series is based on both the books of Andrzej Sapkowski and the world-famous video-game titles.
A true high-fantasy tale featuring epic conquests, monsters and magic, The Witcher promises to be a massive undertaking and a series to rival the big Lord of the Rings release scheduled by Amazon for some time in 2020.
Details are sketchy on the release of this upcoming fantasy TV, but Netflix doesn’t wait around on stuff like this, so with their lead actor locked in, it is likely production will begin very soon. This means most anticipate a release of late 2019.
That's just in time to beat out Amazon’s Lord of the Rings series, replace the hole left by Game of Thrones, and get people hooked on a new fantasy series while the market is still open.
It's no secret that Netflix is perpetually developing some new series and one such outing will be in the form of Cursed, a fantasy TV show coming soon to your (possibly) favourite streaming service.
Revolving around the legend of King Arthur, the series will be a re-imaging of the tale, based not on the man himself but a female protagonist named Nimue. Netflix have released details of the show, stating:
“After her mother’s death, she [Nimue] finds an unexpected partner in Arthur, a young mercenary, in a quest to find Merlin and deliver an ancient sword. Over the course of her journey, Nimue will become a symbol of courage and rebellion against the terrifying Red Paladins, and their complicit King Uther.”
It certainly sounds like an interesting take on the old story, and moving the character perspective will undoubtedly offer new chances for expanding on this beloved legend. Given the production values often associated with Netflix, and the writers that have been brought on board (Frank Miller of Sin City fame, and Tom Wheeler) there is huge potential in this new fantasy TV show of 2019.
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The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance
Now, unlike others on this list, The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance is one we know is going to be a new fantasy show of 2019. The third in this list, and the third series being produced by Netflix, this upcoming fantasy TV show is set to be a prequel to Jim Henson’s The Dark Crystal.
Not a lot is known about the series, but what we do know is that filming began in 2017, which means this one is well and truly on its way already. A recent panel at DragonCon also outlined some new details of the show, revealing that the world has really taken a fantastic shape artistically, and that filming will likely be finished by the end of September 2018. In terms of plot though, we have very basically nothing. However, the official Netflix synopsis reads:
“In this prequel to the fantasy classic, three young Gelflings inspire a rebellion against the cruel emperor when they discover a horrifying secret.”
It should be noted that The Dark Crystal was a family film, if not quite dark thematically. Netflix also lists this as a kids programme, so it will likely take a similar route. Although, there are plenty of kids shows that are popular amongst adult audiences, so we certainly won’t write this one off.
His Dark Materials
The Golden Compass was a bit of a blowout, leaving many fans of the Philip Pullman’s fantasy epic thoroughly disappointed. However, there was no way this franchise was going to stay dead, despite the controversy and religious rows that follow it wherever it goes.
Chatter about production surfaced as long ago as 2015, yet things really started to ramp up in February of this year, when the BBC confirmed they had their cast and the series was ready to start filming. Those names involved include James McAvoy, known for his roles in the X-men films, and Dafne Keen, of 2017’s Logan. Apparently they’re into their X-men actors.
The BBC released an official synopsis of the series, which is spoilerific but can be read here.
In short and non-spoilery words though, this is a fantasy series guaranteed to absorb and enthral many fans of the genre. With actors confirmed earlier this year, and production having been well underway for a long time, 2019 is looking like a fairly safe bet for the release of this upcoming fantasy TV show, although no official date has been given.
Game of Thrones
Obviously, we couldn’t mention fantasy TV shows of 2019 without bringing up that powerhouse of the industry, Game of Thrones. The show has officially been confirmed to return with an April 2019 release date. In the culmination of eight years of some of the most epic and engaging drama ever put to screen, millions will watch as the final moments of G.R.R Martin’s adapted series unfolds.
Yet when the last episode finally airs, that isn’t the end for Westeros. Spin-off shows have been announced, with production underway for at least one, and rumours of a 2020 air date already circulating.