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14 Breathtaking TV Shows Like Spartacus That Will Hook You Right Away

Updated on November 24, 2018
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Rahul is a TV addict who can never get enough of good shows. His all-time favorites are 'The Wire', 'Breaking Bad', and 'The Sopranos.'

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Shows similar to Spartacus

It's fair to say that Spartacus isn't a show for everyone. There is no dearth of blood, gore, brutal fights, and half-naked people on screen. It has received its fair share of criticism for its boldness. While it's far from perfect, it does a lot of things right.

The acting and cinematography are breath-taking. The plotline never strays too far off main story arc. The focus is always on expanding on the initial storyline.

Being a huge fan, I compiled a list of some other TV shows like Spartacus to quench your thirst for violence, blood, gore, and some gritty drama. Let’s take a look -

1. The Shannara Chronicles

Based on a series of novels of the same name, this new kid on the block was off to a rocky start this year. It didn’t take long for it to pick up the pace, though. So, if you avoided this series after watching 2-3 episodes, it’s about time you picked it up again.

I know MTV is not famous for developing gritting dramas that appeal to older audiences. They are more teen-oriented. “The Shannara Chronicles”, however, is pretty different from rest of the shows airing on that network.

As someone who is very fond of Shannara series, I was pretty anxious when I heard that MTV is picking it up. I’m glad to report that they’ve outdone themselves. While the scale and depth is not close to TV shows like Spartacus and Game of Thrones, it still is pretty colorful and fun to watch

If you can stomach some cliche teenage love triangles (because MTV), you’re in for a big surprise. Here is hoping that it would overcome all the deficiencies in its second season.

2. Game of Thrones

The story takes place in the fictional land of Westeros where seven kingdoms are clashing with each other, trying their best to bring each other down and getting to the Iron Throne. And with the undead lurking just on the other side of walls, things are only going to get uglier. Who’d rule the lands? Are White Walkers a stoppable force?

Over the course of 6 seasons so far, we’ve gotten only a few answers to the above questions. It answers a few and raises a few more. The story trudges along swiftly, making you fall in love with its characters and then killing them off just like that. It's brutal to witness the death of someone you'd grown to love.

While it can be depressing, and at times, suffocating, this is what Game of Thrones one of a kind. It’s not afraid of killing its most lovable characters. You don’t know when their end is coming. Anyone could be next.

A few characters shall always be safe, though. They wouldn’t risk alienating a huge fanbase by killing Tyrin Lannister or Jon Snow – two of the most loved characters on the show right now.


Snow was killed in the season 5 finale. As predicated, though, he came back to life.

The rumor has it that it’s going to end with season 8. The writers don’t want to drag the series too far. Nothing is conformed as of now, though. No matter how much life it has got, there is no doubt that whatever is to come next is going to be as riveting as its previous seasons, if not more.

Everyone is watching it. And if you somehow still haven’t, you should get on it. Once you are done binging on it, take a look at some similar shows to GOT that will keep you hooked.

3. Vikings

Airing on History channel, Vikings tells the story of Ragnar Lothbrok, a farmer, who goes on to become the king of Norway and lead a series of invasions on England and France.

Being a history buff, I was pretty excited to see someone finally making a TV series revolving around Vikings and their relentless raids. Being on a network with not much experience under its belt meant, however, that it could go either way. Thankfully, it turned out to be just fine. If you have any doubts about it, I’m sure you won’t as soon as you get a taste of the first few episodes.

As is the case with many historical dramas, it was only a matter of time before people started comparing it to the legendary Game of Thrones. While it may not be a match for the GoT in terms of epic battle scenes, Vikings can easily give the former a run for its money when it comes to storylines. Besides, it has its own devoted fan base. And if the recent extended season orders are anything to go by, that fan base is only getting bigger.

I might get a lot of flack for this, but I think Vikings does a lot better job in telling a gritty, focused story and tying up its loose threads by the end- something I find lacking in GoT. Nevertheless, both of them are pretty good shows. If you're looking for more of this sub-genre, check out some similar shows to Vikings

4. Arrow

A spoiled billionaire goes missing. When he mysteriously returns home after 5 years, he’s not quite the same guy anymore. For better or for force, the last 5 years has changed him, turning him into something he himself barely recognizes. Equipped with a bow and arrows, he embarks upon a mission to right all the wrongs and brings culprits to justice.

Oliver always seems to get into the worst of situations. With the help of his friends, though, he manages to get the upper hand.

What’s a superhero show doing here? For starters, it’s gritty, mature, and at times, depressing - just what one would expect from a show like Spartacus. There might not be a lot of similarities at the first glance. Still, I think the idea of an ordinary man transforming into a vigilante would appeal to all Spartacus fans.

5. Rome

HBO’s Rome is set during the Roman Republic as it’s coming to an end, chronicling the lives of everyone living under that regime.

If you want to get a pretty accurate idea of how things worked back then, this is the show you should be watching. Props to showrunners for paying such close attention to costumes, sets, sceneries, and dialogues. You’d be hard pressed to point out any inaccuracy.

Its obsession with being too accurate is what got it cancelled, though. Just after 2 season, HBO pulled the plug, stating that it's leaking too much money. Nevertheless, you still have 2 amazing seasons to binge!

6. Hell on Wheels

Hell on Wheels takes us back to the 1860s in US – right after the civil war. The plot revolves around a former soldier, who’s on a quest to find the killers of his wife. On his way, he comes across the transcontinental railroad project, connecting the Wild West to the Eastern side. Inadvertently, he gets involved in some affairs, making matters more complicated.

This show has it all – gruesome murders, passionate sex, love affairs, and a dark sense of humor. There are no good or bad guys here. Everyone is simply doing what they can to survive. You’d be able to relate to even the most loathed characters at times.

Overall, a pretty gritty show that has a lot going for it. With last part of the final season just about around the corner, you have some time to catch up with the show.

Update - It has come an an end in emphatic fashion. Amazing!

7. Black Sails

Set 20 years before Robert Louis' “Treasure Island “, Black Sails tells the story of Flint and Silver from the very beginning. It chronicles both their lives as they go on to become some of the most feared pirates of all time.

Those who watched the first few episodes and quickly gave up on it missed out on one of the best fictional dramas of all time. It can feel quite flashy in the beginning, it becomes a better show by the 4th episode. Frist season is so-so, second was amazing, and the third absolutely nailed it! If anything, Captain Flint and his adventures have gotten more daring and worth watching with every passing season.

Black Sails has gotten more than its fair share of criticism for its graphic nudity. I for one think that nudity plays its crucial role in making for an immersive show.

Toby Stephens brings new life to the Flint character with his seal of authenticity. Zach McGowen's portrayal of Charles Vane is not too far behind in terms of popularity. You might think he’s a bad guy. In the later episodes, though, you realize that he is the most badass pirate in the show. Similarly, there are a few characters you’d love in the beginning, only to realize that they’re selfish and self-centered.

There’s a lot to look forward to. If you’re looking for some gritty TV shows like Spartacus, Black Sails should keep you busy for a while.

With only 10 episodes per season, though, you’d be looking for more soon. Read on!

8. Hannibal

Hannibal doesn’t exactly fit in the category of historical/fantasy TV shows. I have decided to include it here because it's amazing and more people need to watch it. It’s pretty amazing how a series as graphic and gory managed to survive on a network channel for 3 full seasons. Trust me; it’s better than most of the premium TV shows popping left and right.

The chemistry between Wills and Hannibal is something you have to witness first hand. They both know that one of them wiould kill the other sooner rather than later. Still, they spend time together like nothing has happened, realizing that the enemy is the only friend they’ve got. It might seem puzzling at first. Once you understand the intricacy of their relationship, though, you’d be totally invested in their story.

It’s a shame that it had to be canceled this soon. While it was praised all around the world by everyone, it never quite found its audience. Good thing is, you still have 3 brutal, violent season to binge. If you like all the graphic killings and executions in shows like Spartacus, Hannibal should be a pleasant surprise.

9. Da Vinci’s Demons

Again, far from being historically accurate. But the question is, are you going to pass on this show just because it’s not what you read in the history books? Yes, they didn’t use to bleach teeth back then. It’s pretty easy to notice that. If you can overlook these inconsistencies, though, you’re in for a treat. There’s a lot of action and drama waiting for you on the other side.

Honorable mentions

Once you’re done watching above shows, you should give “The Last Kingdom”, "Legend of The Seeker", "The Tudors", "The Borgias", and "Boardwalk Empire" a go. Did I miss out on any good shows? Let me know in the comments section.


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    • MadeleineWrites profile image

      Madeleine Hagen 

      5 weeks ago from Oslo, Norway

      This is such a great list, and I have seen multiple of these shows already and I absolutely love them!

    • profile image

      Dr Arshad Shaikh 

      2 months ago

      Spartacus then game of thrones then Viking...

      In a decreasing order...

      Going to watch now Rome and Tudors

    • GetitScene profile image

      Dale Anderson 

      7 months ago from The High Seas

      Interesting list you have here. I'm a Spartacus fan and liked Rome and Vikings but could never get into Game of Thrones. Everyone that I know raves about the show but, to be honest, it bored me to tears. Some good entries on the list that people should give a chance though.

    • profile image


      12 months ago

      Spartacus is amazing when compared to blood gore violence type category...

      U can't compare it with anyone

    • profile image

      zaky hindi 

      12 months ago

      Game of Throne then Spartacus

      i ever watch the best series

      i m unhappy with Spartacus because they ended up the series too quickly

    • profile image

      John Kovy 

      13 months ago

      Nikita and Spartacus this two TV series is the best I think

    • Justin Spiegel profile image

      Justin Spiegel 

      15 months ago from Long Island

      Da Vinci demons was amazing and so was black sails thanks so much for this list

    • profile image

      Hardik Upadhyay 

      19 months ago

      Game of Throne is good but when we compare with Spartacus.

      Spartacus win.


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