Netflix’s Game Of Thrones Alternatives Are Downright Weird

Netflix’s Game Of Thrones Alternatives Are Downright Weird

As every single one of you is doubtlessly aware, Netflix officially launched in Australia this week with pricing starting at a very reasonable $8.99 per month. There are currently 1100 titles to choose from, which should be enough to keep most people happy (even if it’s a pittance compared to what’s available in the US.) One thing you won’t find, however, is the fantasy drama Game Of Thrones. But fear not, Westeros fans — Netflix has assembled a list of “related” TV shows for your viewing pleasure. Unfortunately, the similarities range from laughably vague to entirely non-existent.

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Game Of Thrones is arguably the biggest and brightest feather missing from most streaming entertainment services around the globe. The swords-n-saucepots favourite remains exclusive to HBO and its partners, which means you need a Foxtel subscription to legally watch its maiden broadcast in Australia.

For new Netflix customers who know nothing about the ins-and-outs of licensing, the absence of Game Of Thrones may have come as a rude shock. To help salve the wound, Netflix’s inbuilt search tool provides a range of “related” titles. Below are the suggestions you receive when you do a search for “Game Of Thrones”:

Hmm. We can see why Spartacus was chosen (indeed, it featured on our own GoT alternatives list last year.) And Marco Polo has a vaguely similar Medieval-road-trip vibe. If you were feeling generous, you could even make a case for House Of Cards with its political manoeuvring and Machiavellian lust for power.

But Mad Men? What does a chauvinistic 1960s-era advertising agency have to do with the fantasy genre? I suppose adverts are used to sell a fantasy, but come on. And Orange Is The New Black seems to be there just so Netflix can promote its own product.

It gets worse. The Starving Games is a dire spoof of The Hunger Games and isn’t even a TV show, while Arrow is a DC superhero series set in the modern word. These two titles are about as far away from Game Of Thrones as you can get. As far as we can tell, the only similarity is that all of them feature bows and arrows. That’s a pretty tangential connection.

In conclusion, it would seem Netflix’s search filters may need a bit of work. There are certainly more suitable GoT-esque titles available on the service that were excluded by the search, including Vikings, The Borgias and Rome.

Naturally, your options for GoT-style fare broadens significantly if you swap over to a US account. Check out our guide to see how it’s done.

Lifehacker’s weekly Streaming column looks at how technology is keeping us entertained.


  • Unless you have been hiding under a rock then you would know that HBO is not on Netflix as they are doing their own streaming service. And before you tell people to region hop to the US Netflix you should make it clear that HBO is not on any Netflix region at all. Foxtel hold the rights here. Yes, I believe they rights being locked up like they are is crap. So maybe you should inform readers to how to get a VPN to use HBO now.

  • I haven’t seen starving games, but given the nature of those spoofs, I’d bet there’s a handful of GoT gags in it.

  • But Mad Men? Presumably, the only reason that’s suggested is because it’s also produced by HBO.

    Mad Men isn’t produced by HBO; it’s from AMC, the people behind Breaking Bad, The Walking Dead, Halt and Catch Fire, and now Better Call Saul. You’ll notice that none of these are on Netflix AU, because of the exclusive licensing deal with Stan.

  • Arrow is pretty damned good. It’s spin offs less so, but the core show has had me on the edge of my seat.

  • Netflix search doesn’t need work, their library needs work. In America, the matching also ends up being hilarious – their suggestions for me are stuff I’ve seen and stuff I don’t want to see. That’s what happens when the Hollywood studios still have plenty of distributors to play off each other in negotiations. But as Netflix grows and drives competitors out of the distribution business, it’s clout will inevitably grow. That’s the only way their library will ever get better.

    • I hope one day all Hollywood is as ubiquitous on the internet as nerdrage comments.

  • More likely the results are based on shows that people that watch GoT also watch, or cast/crew similarities and not just the broad genre of the show.

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