13 Fantasy Shows Like The Lord Of The Rings: The Rings Of Power You Should Check Out

J.R.R. Tolkien fans are finally getting to return to Middle-earth after the conclusion of Peter Jackson's franchise. Prime Video's "The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power" is set many generations before Frodo Baggins (Elijah Wood) and the Fellowship set out on their quest to destroy the One Ring and bring down the dark lord, Sauron. "The Lord of the Rings" and "The Hobbit" trilogies take place within the Third Age of Middle-earth, but "The Rings of Power" goes back to the Second Age. We finally get to see how Sauron rose to power the first time and the creation of the rings themselves.

"The Rings of Power" features some familiar characters from "The Lord of the Rings." We get to see younger versions of Elrond (Robert Aramayo) and Galadriel (Morfydd Clark), who were originally played by Hugo Weaving and Cate Blanchett, respectively. These characters are very different from who they become. Galadriel is not an ethereal fair lady, but a fearsome warrior who sets out to destroy the orcs. Elrond hasn't adopted his signature cynicism quite yet; he's a charismatic politician, who has friendly relationships with the dwarves. 

Although we know how this story will end thanks to the opening flashback in "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring," it will be exciting to see how the new characters' stories will conclude. In the meantime, here are 13 fantasy shows like "The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power" that you should check out.

The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance

Tolkien's dedication to building out the history and languages of Middle-earth paved the way for other fantasies that dared to construct their worlds from the ground up. Jim Henson, assisted by artist Brian Froud, crafted the "The Dark Crystal" universe from scratch, basing everything on a trinary system. Its three suns, three moons, and three races — the Skeksis, Mystics, and Gelflings — circled around each other for years, with Mother Aughra, the heart of Thra itself, chronicling every step.

In the '80s, the "Dark Crystal" film showed what happened in the aftermath of a years-long genocide, but it wasn't until 2019's "The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance" that we saw a thriving world full of Gelflings. Like "The Rings of Power," this prequel delves into unexplored history, walking fans through the beginning of the conflict that led to the dark world in Henson's original production. Unfortunately, it's only a portion of the story, as Netflix cut the acclaimed series short. Still, "The Lord of the Rings" fans should binge this next, and add their voices to the chorus of those who want to return to Thra at least one more time.


UK television loves drawing from the Arthurian well, and the best modern effort is still 2008's "Merlin." Ironically, Tolkien disregarded Arthurian legend when he crafted Middle-earth, displeased by how much of this English legend borrowed from French and Germanic myth, as well as its reliance on Christianity. But he did also love the stories, attempting to craft his own epic poem in the unfinished "The Fall of Arthur." The poem lacks the magic of "Merlin," but an essay by Christopher Tolkien ties fragments of it to the "Silmarillion" and thus, the pre-"The Lord of the Rings" era of Middle-earth's history.

"Merlin" also provides its own riff on the old legend, with Colin Morgan playing the young wizard, who must help Arthur earn his destiny as the once and future king. But this is a kingdom that's purged and outlawed most magic, and the action is often balanced by careful diplomacy as Merlin must continually talk himself out of corners. Like "The Rings of Power," it's a kind of prequel. In the case of "Merlin," though, the mission is to safeguard a future that hasn't yet come. With 65 episodes that spin a complete epic yarn, "Merlin" is a bingeable delight.

Record of Lodoss War

Before Vin Diesel turned his D&D campaigns into movies, there was Ryo Mizuno. Mizuno was the Dungeon Master of a campaign whose popularity exploded as fans followed along with written transcripts of the gaming sessions, which were serialized in the Japanese magazine Comptiq. Mizuno later novelized these stories, turning them into the stand-alone fantasy saga, "Record of Lodoss War." Then, in 1990, Madhouse developed a 13-episode OVA series out of the material, and it's so good that it's still a go-to recommendation for new anime fans eager to explore Japan's views on Western fantasy tropes.

The "Lord of the Rings" seasoning retains its full flavor in the series' breakout character, Deedlit. Immortal, naive, and more than a little arrogant, fans of a young Galadriel in "The Rings of Power" will probably fall in love with her immediately. Lighter and more hopeful than "Berserk," the OVA adapts Mizuno's "Grey Witch" novel, with the witch herself, Karla, haunting the story until a greater evil comes to the fore. It's a classic rise of darkness story, making "Record of Lodoss War" a timeless suggestion for fantasy fans.

Station Eleven

Even in the darkest of times, stories have the power to inspire us to emerge from the challenges that we face. The words of J.R.R. Tolkien have provided inspiration to readers for generations; there's nothing that will cure your sadness like reading about the best that we can be. "The Rings of Power" shows the same respect for the art of storytelling itself. We hear legends about the heroic Elves that fought against the dark lord Morgoth. Elrond takes pride in writing prose for the Elven High King, Gil-galad (Benjamin Walker).

Emily St. John Mandel's novel "Station Eleven" is a beautiful story about the inspirational quality of art. HBO Max's brilliant adaptation brought the narrative to life and served as a reminder that the best stories can be adapted into any medium. "Station Eleven" takes place two decades after a pandemic sweeps the globe, forcing society to collapse. Although it was written before the COVID-19 pandemic, the story feels particularly eerie in its similarities. However, that's also why it's so powerful.

Both "Station Eleven" and "The Rings of Power" are ensemble shows that emphasize their female protagonists. In "The Rings of Power," we get to see Galadriel go on her own path when she realizes that the Elven leaders aren't treating the threat of Sauron seriously. In "Station Eleven," the young Kirsten Raymonde (Matilda Lawler) is taken in by the kind-hearted Jeevan Chaudhary (Himesh Patel). An older Kirsten (Mackenzie Davis) becomes an actress with the Traveling Symphony troupe.

Star Wars: Rebels

There are many similarities between the "Star Wars" and "The Lord of the Rings" franchises. Both universes are quite sprawling and tell mythological stories of good and evil. Yes, "Star Wars" is a science fiction saga, but it's steeped heavily in fantasy. The union of those two genres is part of the reason that the original film felt like such a breath of fresh air compared to other science fiction films in the same era.

While there are many "Star Wars" television shows, "Rebels" deals with the fantasy elements explicitly. The series takes place between the events of "Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope" and "Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith." The Galactic Empire rules the galaxy with an iron fist, and the Rebel Alliance has yet to come together. Former Jedi padawan Kanan Jarrus (Freddie Prinze Jr.) leads a small band of outlaws on the ship Ghost. Kanan discovers the young, force-sensitive boy Ezra Bridger (Taylor Gray), and begins training him as an apprentice. The series shows how Kanan and Ezra discover the mythological roots of both the Jedi and Sith.

In the Season 2 finale, "Twilight of the Apprentice," Kanan and Ezra join former Jedi Ahsoka Tano (Ashley Eckstein) as they search through an ancient Sith temple that's similar to Mount Doom. They are forced to make an unlikely alliance with the former Sith Lord, Darth Maul (Sam Witwer), in order to escape from the villains known as The Inquisitors.

Shadow and Bone

Based on Leigh Bardugo's sprawling Grishaverse, "Shadow and Bone" takes place in Ravka, a world of magic inspired by the real-world history of Eastern Europe. Though it's gaslamp fantasy, not the frozen-in-time medievalism of "The Lord of the Rings," the series' political intricacy and similarly pessimistic approach to industrialism and militarization makes it a fantastic choice for new Tolkien fans.

The first season of "Shadow and Bone" splits the spotlight between the unhappy chosen one, a young woman named Alina who has a rare magical power, and the elite band of criminals known as the Crows, who are among those sent to counter her. But those are only two of the factors influencing the shifting power dynamics in Ravka, and the amount of already-written Grishaverse material means that there are plenty of enthralling struggles to come. Given that the second season has yet to receive a premiere date, there's still plenty of time to take in the first eight episodes and enjoy a world that's nearly as well-crafted as the one in "The Rings of Power."

The Underground Railroad

"The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power" deals with a grand journey to a form of paradise. Galadriel and the other Elven warriors who fought bravely against the Orcs are sent to live for eternity in Valinor, a sacred realm that is also known as "The Undying Lands." We see that Galadriel chooses to forsake this honor, swimming back to Middle-earth in order to make sure that Sauron is defeated permanently.

"Moonlight" director Barry Jenkins examined the quest for a perfect society in his 2021 miniseries "The Underground Railroad," based on the 2016 novel of the same name. "The Underground Railroad" uses magical realism to blur the line between history and fantasy. While the Underground Railroad was an actual organization of abolitionists that helped African American people escape from enslavement, the series imagines it as a literal railroad system. Using fantasy to examine a dark period in American history could have easily been disrespectful, but Jenkins' gentle direction shows the inherent beauty of African American culture.

Like "The Rings of Power," "The Underground Railroad" is so visually sensational that it deserves to be seen on the big screen. The series was shot by Jenkins' signature cinematographer, James Laxton, who received critical acclaim for his work on both "Moonlight" and "If Beale Street Could Talk." Similar to "The Rings of Power," there are moments of beauty that rely on nothing but visuals and music; Nicholas Britell's heartbreakingly gorgeous score makes the series even more emotional.


Hopefully fans are enjoying "The Rings of Power" so far, because it doesn't look like this journey is ending anytime soon. According to the showrunners, the series already has a five-season story arc mapped out. Given the response so far, it's safe to say that the fans should not be worried about it being canceled anytime soon. However, some intriguing fantasy shows never got the chance to complete their narratives. This was the case with the criminally underrated series "Forever," which was canceled after its first season.

Although most television fans recognize that network shows aren't generally as ambitious as the ones that air on streaming services and premium channels, "Forever" explored surprisingly complex themes. It deals with the nature of immortality, and the surprising drawbacks of being able to live "forever." This is a major theme in "The Rings of Power." In the second episode, "Adrift," Durin IV chastises Elrond for being ignorant of his own privilege. Elrond is immortal, but Durin IV is destined to grow older. Even though two decades feel like a short time for Elrond, they've been a lifetime for Durin IV.

"Forever" follows New York City medical examiner Dr. Henry Morgan (Ioan Gruffudd), who has secretly been alive for over two centuries. Morgan was critically wounded in the 19th century when he was shot aboard an African slave ship. However, he's able to return to life anytime he supposedly "dies." Morgan decides to use his powers for good to solve crimes.

Dungeons & Dragons

If Chris Pine doesn't make a Venger joke in the upcoming "Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves," we riot. The old "Dungeons & Dragons" cartoon, which ran from 1983-1985, has a ton of old-school D&D charm, and it's an obvious pick for "The Rings of Power" fans by virtue of just how much of Middle-earth's DNA is in the earliest versions of the tabletop role-playing game. It was certainly enough for D&D co-creator Gary Gygax to make substantial changes after receiving a cease-and-desist order from the Tolkien estate.

"Dungeons & Dragons" is a portal fantasy that puts a bunch of kids — six, just the right number for an adventuring party  — into the Forgotten Realms, D&D's default setting. It can be surprisingly dark for a kids show — a few episodes sparked epic battles with CBS' standards and practices department — and is full of callbacks to the tabletop game. Tiamat sits on her throne as the terrifying dragon queen, and the kids run into oodles of familiar monsters. This is a good pick for "The Rings of Power" fans who want to introduce their children to epic fantasy, as it has just enough action, lore, and jokes to keep them intrigued.

Angels in America

There is an undercurrent of Christian themes within the work of J.R.R. Tolkien. While neither "The Lord of the Rings" nor "The Rings of Power" is overtly allegorical to the Bible, some Christian archetypes are recontextualized within the world of Middle-earth. The Elven paradise of Valinor is essentially Heaven; in "The Rings of Power," the Elves set sail for the "Blessed Realm," where they will live in eternal bliss.

Playwright Tony Kushner took Christian themes and worked them into his stunning play "Angels in America." Similar to Tolkien's work, "Angels in America" isn't making an argument for any one religion, as it emphasizes compassion more than anything. Legendary filmmaker Mike Nichols transformed Kushner's words into a gorgeous miniseries. It's one of the most powerful stories about the AIDS crisis ever told.

Like "The Rings of Power," "Angels in America" tells an interconnected narrative about a group of different characters whose fates become intertwined. Roy Cohn (Al Pacino) is an outspoken right-wing lawyer who secretly hides his homosexuality in order to advance his political career. Cohn advises the Mormon attorney Joe Pitt (Patrick Wilson) to take a job at the U.S. Department of Defense, not realizing that Pitt is also a closeted homosexual man. Pitt struggles to admit his true desires to his wife, Harper (Mary-Louise Parker), and his mother, Hannah (Meryl Streep). Their stories are brought together as the characters are visited by religious manifestations, including Death (Jeffrey Wright) and The Angel (Emma Thompson).

The Dragon Prince

"Avatar: The Last Airbender" and "The Owl House" prove that one should never count out animation as a source for rich fantasy worlds. Netflix, for example, has their own powerhouse of a fantasy epic in "The Dragon Prince," which is set in the world of Xadia. The various races of Xadia are uneasy with each other, and, as in Middle-earth's political landscape, much of the world is uncomfortable with the way humans have mercilessly forced their way into magical abilities. "The Dragon Prince" is high fantasy, but there are shades of a darker world to come, should humanity stay on its current path.

As the series opens, a human king has slain his dragon counterpart, upsetting what little peace remains in these realms. The elves prepare an assassination to retaliate, and the king's children discover that the dragon left an egg behind. With three seasons under its belt and more on the way, "The Dragon Prince" may not be quite as intricate as "The Rings of Power," but it makes up for it with heart, empathy, and oodles of fascinating magical critters.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer

While "The Rings of Power" has a large ensemble, the characters that are the most interesting so far are the young people who are growing into their responsibilities. Even though Galadriel and Elrond have lived for generations, they're struggling to accept their new roles as leaders. The young boy Theo (Tyroe Muhafidin) begins his adventure after discovering a mysterious sword that's cursed with dark magic. It will be interesting to see how the series emphasizes its coming-of-age elements.

If you're looking for the quintessential fantasy coming-of-age series, you really can't go wrong with "Buffy the Vampire Slayer." Like "The Rings of Power," "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" found the perfect mix of compelling characters, exciting action, necessary humor, and genuine emotion. "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" tells the story of Buffy Summers (Sarah Michelle Gellar), a high school student who secretly works to protect the world from vampires, monsters, and other dark creatures. Buffy is trained by her Watcher, Rupert Giles (Anthony Stewart Head), who also works as a librarian at her high school.

Although Buffy's responsibilities make it hard for her to adjust socially, she is able to form a friendship with the shy geek Willow Rosenberg (Alyson Hannigan) and the goofball slacker Xander Harris (Nicholas Brendon). Buffy shares her secret with her two friends, and they begin helping her on her adventures. Buffy also forms a romantic relationship with the vampire Angel (David Boreanaz), who has been given a soul.

The Outsider

Evil is lurking in the shadows in "The Rings of Power." While the Elves believe that the forces of darkness have been purged from Middle-earth following the defeat of Morgoth, Sauron is slowly beginning to emerge. Sauron's symbol can be seen on the body of Galadriel's brother, Finrod (Will Fletcher), and on the mystical sword that Theo discovers. We know from "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy that Sauron amasses a giant army of Orcs that the humans, Elves, and Dwarves must work together to defeat.

The concept of a mysterious dark entity that masks its appearance is a common idea in the work of Stephen King. It's particularly present in King's novel "The Outsider," which was adapted into an excellent 2020 miniseries of the same name. The series follows the grieving Cherokee City police detective Ralph Anderson (Ben Mendelsohn), who is struggling to mourn the death of his son, Derek (Wes Watson). Anderson begins to investigate the murder of a young boy, Frankie Peterson (Duncan E. Clark), whose mutilated body was discovered in the woods.

After interviewing local witnesses and analyzing security footage, Anderson deduces that the murderer is the local Little League coach Terry Maitland (Jason Bateman). Although Anderson arrests Terry, he claims that he is innocent. He provides testimony that says he wasn't in the same location during the murder. Anderson doesn't understand how that's possible; how could one person be in two places at once? It turns out a supernatural evil could be stalking their community.