Instead of 'Game of Thrones,' there are appropriate alternatives to mature content

By Chris Vander Kaay

For the Deseret News

Published: Saturday, March 8 2014 10:02 p.m. MST

Though the series was eclipsed in popularity by its more successful spin-off, “Xena: Warrior Princess,” the New Zealand-produced show ran for a full six seasons, exploring every corner of the world of Greek myth, and occasionally making use of Asian, Egyptian and medieval British concepts as well. The show was as much a winking nod to audiences as a straightforward adventure series with constant modern-day references and inspired comic supporting characters, including Bruce Campbell of “Burn Notice” as Autolycus, the King of Thieves. Sharp-eyed viewers will recognize young actors who later found fame elsewhere: Lucy Liu (“Elementary”), Karl Urban (“Almost Human,” “Star Trek”), and Gina Torres (“Firefly,” “Suits”) all had recurring roles.

"Legend of the Seeker"

Number of episodes: 44

Based on fantasy author Terry Goodkind’s "Sword of Truth" book series, “Legend of the Seeker” is a serialized, and serious, fantasy adventure story that relies on excellent characters and effective imagery to carry the viewer through the series.

Taking events and characters from the books, but altering them slightly for television audiences — a similar technique to the one used by writers of “The Walking Dead,” another book adaptation — the series ran for two seasons before being canceled in 2010. With supporting turns from character actors Bruce Spence (seen in everything from “Mad Max” and “Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith” to his voice work in “Finding Nemo”) and Craig Parker (accustomed to period fantasy after roles in “Xena: Warrior Princess” and “Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers”), the series has a refreshingly straight-faced take on the genre, helping the audience to buy into a fantastical premise.

"Roar"

Number of episodes: 13

Shedding light on an interesting period of actual history while blending in elements of mythology and magic for the sake of entertainment, “Roar” is a great adventure series that unfortunately aired on network television and failed to find its audience fast enough.

Based loosely on the historic era when the Celts of Ireland were struggling to free their country from Roman rule, the series follows Conor (a young Heath Ledger, in his first American acting role), an orphan heir to leadership of a Celtic clan. An impressive cast of soon-to-be famous actors, including Vera Farmiga (“Bates Motel”), Melissa George (“The Good Wife”) and Keri Russell (“Felicity,” “The Americans”) does great work with the excellent action and drama of the scripts, with beautiful location photography to top it all off.

So sharpen your swords, don your armor and enjoy these 300 hours of fantasy-adventure television that are good viewing for the whole family.

Chris Vander Kaay is a screenwriter and author who lives in Central Florida with his wife and co-writer, Kathleen.

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