It’s comforting to know that even in this day and age of racial and cultural division, Star Wars fans can agree on one thing: The Mandalorian. Featuring Pedro Pascal as an anonymous bounty hunter in the post-imperial galaxy, the Disney+ exclusive series has won over fans and critics alike, inspiring an endless stream of Baby Yoda memes.
Is there anything special about this Star Wars spin-off series, which will enter its second season in October (aside from the fact that it stars an adorable baby Yoda)? In my opinion, The Mandalorian’s success is due to its departure from the typical Star Wars themes and tones, fusing science fiction with elements of action, drama, western and even dark comedy to give viewers something that appeals to everyone.
As a result, there are virtually no limitations to the shows that can be recommended to fans. However, I only found nine shows that closely resemble The Mandalorian that are currently available to stream.The Witcher (Netflix)
When their first seasons aired at the end of 2019, The Witcher and The Mandalorian had already established themselves as the top fantasy series about a lone warrior facing off against monstrous creatures and evil humans. This eliminated any need for a competition. Except for Mando’s helmeted anonymity and obvious affection for Baby Yoda, Geralt of Rivia and the socially apathetic Mando are virtually identical.
Henry Cavill, who plays Geralt of Rivia in The Witcher, swaps his Superman red and blues for a sword and armor. It has been proven that video game adaptations can tell good stories thanks to the Netflix original fantasy series, which has finally broken the curse. To be fair, the show is more based on Andrzej Sapkowski’s novels than the widely popular video game series it inspired, so this is understandable. You can watch it on Netflix right now.
1. Star Wars: The Clone Wars (Disney+)
It goes without saying that if someone asked us to recommend Star Wars-related TV shows, we’d have to say a Star Wars spin-off. The seventh and final season of this Disney+ animated series, which follows the events between Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith and was created by Genndy Tartakovsky, is currently airing.
As Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker lead the Clone Army against the oppressive Separatists, they are joined by familiar faces from the Star Wars films as well as some newcomers. This action-packed series, animated in a style that portrays the galaxy far, far away in a fresh light, is a must-see for Star Wars fans. Disney+ has it available for viewing here.
2. Farscape (Amazon Prime)
Mando’s greatest advantage in his job as a planet-hopping bounty hunter is that he has been exposed to the various bizarre creatures and known dangers of the Star Wars universe since birth, which is understandably unspoken. Although he was in an alternate universe, the protagonist of the popular science fiction series Farscape did not have that luxury.
It’s a long way from Earth, but astronaut John Crichton (Ben Browder) ends up in a remote part of the cosmos, where he must join forces with a race of aliens fleeing an oppressive military regime. A small but dedicated following of fans (including Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn) still supports Farscape, which ran on the SyFy network when it was still known as “Sci-Fi,” and which is still praised for its unique space opera aesthetic and the use of puppetry from the Jim Henson Company rather than relying on CGI aliens in its four seasons and concluding miniseries. You can watch it for free with Amazon Prime by clicking here.
3. Watchmen (HBO NOW)
Watchmen, director Zach Snyder’s 2009 adaptation of Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ groundbreaking graphic novel, has its admirers and its harsh critics, much like Star Wars (the new trilogy in particular). A new story is told within the same universe as the original property in Damon Lindelof’s HBO series, which has been widely accepted as a worthy successor to Alan Moore’s novel.
When Adrian Veidt (aka Ozymandias, played by Jeremy Irons) and Sally Jupiter (aka Silk Spectre II, now an FBI agent going by Laurie Blake, played by Jean Smart) are old enough to be Ozymandias, they see a new generation of superheroes trying to live up to their reputation as outlaws. The nine-episode series continues Alan Moore’s subversive commentary on heroism through a modernist lens, making it one of the most refreshingly original comic book stories ever published. You can watch it on HBO NOW by clicking here.
4. Firefly (Hulu)
When discussing Jon Favreau’s western influences on The Mandalorian’s science fiction setting, it’s impossible to avoid bringing to mind the first, authentic space western. Firefly was an adventure series unlike any other, which is probably why it was doomed from the start and canceled before it could finish its 14-episode first season.
One of Buffy the Vampire Slayer creator Joss Whedon’s most acclaimed projects is this space opera about a sort of intergalactic A-Team of fugitives aboard a ship called Serenity, after which the spin-off films were named. If you haven’t already, whenever you listen to Nathan Fillion’s heroic Captain Mal Reynolds speak, see if you can hear Mando’s sarcastic charm. Visit Hulu to watch it now.
5. The Expanse (Amazon Prime)
If you’re looking for a character with a lot of heroic charm, consider The Expanse’s Jim Holden (Steven Strait), the captain of an ice freighter in an apparently perfect society. A dark discovery gives Holden, like Pedro Pascal’s character in The Mandalorian, an excuse to rebel and become the reluctant hero of his story.
Before Amazon Prime saved The Expanse from cancellation and launched its fourth season in December 2019, it was a Syfy original series. Based on James S.A. Corey’s ongoing series of novels about a government conspiracy threatening the (mostly) peaceful colonization of the entire Solar System, it has been praised by fans and critics and one of the brainiest sci-fi on TV. Just ask those who compare it to Game of Thrones. You can watch it for free with Amazon Prime by clicking here.
6. Killjoys (SyFy)
Another show that used to be on SyFy, but at least was able to end on its own terms after five seasons, is Killjoys: the adventures of a trio of bounty hunters (Hannah John-Kamen, Aaron Ashmore, and Luke MacFarlane) who trying to remain independent in the wake of interplanetary conflict. Hmmm. The Mandalorian has nothing to do with a show about space bounty hunters, so how could they be related?
The Mandalorian is a far cry from Killjoys, a fast-paced comedy featuring protagonists who enjoy a little hard partying in between retrieving bounties, so don’t go accusing Jon Favreau of plagiarism just yet. A little comic relief is good for the soul, and this is just the thing for someone on an intergalactic bounty hunting spree. Although it isn’t currently available on any major streaming services, you can still view it on the SyFy website. You can watch it on SyFy right now.
7. Justified (Hulu)
Before Raylan Givens shoots a bar patron who is clearly not a good man, Raylan mentions Han Solo’s fatal meeting with Greedo at the cantina in an advertisement for FX’s Justified, which is known for its signature brand of unique promotional material for its series. Now, I promise that this Star Wars allusion isn’t the only connection I’m making to The Mandalorian. As a western-influenced story about one man’s unconventional methods of running a business, I believe the two films are comparable because Justified is a full-blooded western about one man’s unconventional business methods.
Olyphant has previously played a southern lawman on Deadwood, The Crazies, and before that, Once Upon a Time in Wonderland. He was reassigned to his childhood home in rural Kentucky after serving as a U.S. Marshal in Hollywood. When it comes to writing and producing TV shows like Raylan Givens’ homicide procedural, Graham Yost brings an old-school spaghetti western flair to his Justified crime drama by infusing it with an old-school wild west style of justice. Visit Hulu to watch it now.
8. Westworld (HBO NOW)
Considering how much I’ve talked about sci-fi drama and western action, it’s only natural you’d want to know about this one-of-a-kind pairing. Actually, the critically acclaimed series Westworld is more of a futuristic cautionary tale dressed up as a 19th-century spaghetti western, just like the series’ titular world.
A darker reimagining of a 1973 film of the same name written and directed by Jurassic Park scribe Michael Crichton, the title of Westworld refers to a theme park, created by Dr. Robert Ford (Sir Anthony Hopkins), in which guests are able to live out their deepest desires in a highly realistic western-style setting, inhabited by unsuspecting, human-like androids who truly believe they exist in an ear prior to Western Civilization. This HBO series may technically be a remake, but it is creatively one of a kind with its bizarre erotica, epic gunfights, and Black Mirror-level technophobic intensity. You can watch it on HBO NOW by clicking here.
Your initial reaction may be to say that this show would benefit from an addition of more Baby Yoda. The answer to this question is probably no, but these movies and TV shows should keep you occupied while you wait for the return of The Mandalorian to Disney+ in October. Be sure to check back for more updates on Star Wars spin-off series as well as additional streaming recommendations here at CinemaBlend.
With his first washable marker, Jason wrote his first illustrated children’s story before moving on to a short-lived comic book series and (very) amateur filmmaking before deciding to pursue a career writing about movies instead of making them. Almost any piece on Batman will have his name on it.