Summer is only just getting into gear, but for Game of Thrones fans, it's the beginning of the long winter. In the show's previous seasons, it seemed like we were waiting for the story to actually begin. Not this year. With the game-changing, explosive, and unusually satisfying sixth season behind us, and a yearlong wait before us—and, adding insult to injury, a reportedly short seventh season at the end of the tunnel—you may find yourself wishing you could slip into cryonic slumber for the duration.
But it need not be so. Sure, we may have to wait for resolution to Dany's invasion of Westeros, Cersei's no-doubt draconian reign, or Jon's latest hairstyle. But with a world this populated with memorable players, backstories to explore, and six seasons of "tits and dragons" to draw from, it would be a huge waste not to dip into some of the narratives baked into the crust of the main action like a Frey pie. I'm talking about spinoffs. Is there any word more thrilling to the human soul?
Think about it. HBO will have to make up for the post-Thrones shortfall somehow, and without books telling those canny executives what to do, Westeros is rife with potential for a Norman Lear–like empire of tangential programming. Just as All in the Family gave us Good Times, The Jeffersons, and Maude;__ just as Happy Days gave us Laverne and Shirley, Mork and Mindy, and Joanie Loves Chachi;__ Cheers gave us Fraiser;__ Night Court—as we all know—gave us My Two Dads, and The Brady Bunch gave us whatever this is, the ultimate legacy of Game of Thrones might be lunchboxes bearing the familiar logo of Forever Mormont, or grown-up millennials reminiscing about sitcoms like The Brotherhood Without Manners, or Jeopardy questions about Brains Over Bronn.
Below are a tower's worth of elevator pitches conceived to answer burning questions like how Varys and Littlefinger get places so fast, what's Pod's secret, and "How can we see more of the Sand Snakes?" Submitted for your approval.
Lyanna Mormont was the breakout badass of season six, and I'm willing to bet audiences would love to follow her through the various wacky situations of ruling Bear Island… especially when a certain ex-slave trader cousin with an advanced case of greyscale shows up and turns her world upside-down. Fortunately for Jorah, Lyanna has the cure—for boredom!
Salladhor Saan by Me
It's The Odd Couple on the high seas with Yara Greyjoy and Salladhor Saan, as a mutiny lands these two fish-out-of-water stranded on a desert island. Now they have to fight—and laugh—their way back to the mainland. Landlubbers beware when Saan, a pirate who loves jokes about pirates, takes a liking to a viking, and by and by Yara overcomes her Ironborn past to sow the seeds of friendship.
Eunuch of Time
One of the big complaints about last season was how Varys and Littlefinger seem to be everywhere at the same time, unbeholden to the laws of time and space. This series explains how, as we begin with Baelish and the Spider as rival scientists perfecting time-travel technology only to wind up at each other's throats eon after eon. Westeros is only one drop in the slipstream as this mix of Quantum Leap and Dallas sees our favorite pair of kingmakers sabotaging each other's ventures throughout the multiverse, urging on catastrophes from the extinction of the giant sloth to the assassination of JFK, courting palace intrigue on a cosmic scale, and altering everything except their own imperfect souls.
Law and Order: City Watch
This King's Landing procedural follows the workaday existences of the City Watch as they struggle to uphold justice from Flea Bottom to the corrupt ranks of the High Septons. We can't all be Lord Commanders, as the beat cops and desk jockeys of the Crownlands go to show nobody is beyond the law of gods and men—whether it's raiding brothels or keeping the Milk of the Poppy trade in check. Plenty of crossover potential with The Night's Watch: Night Watch Days.
The Brotherhood Without Manners
One question remaining after "The Winds of Winter" was, hey, where did the Hound and the Brotherhood go? Well, get hype for Brotherhood Without Manners, which would feature Sandor Clegane, Thoros of Myr, and Lord Beric Dondarrion moving into a cottage in the country and upholding their Marxist principles to the chagrin of stuck-up zombie Benjen Stark as their resurrected landlord. You'd have to have a stone heart not thrill to the lessons this ragtag team of mercenaries learn about each other and themselves as they discover stealing from the rich isn't quite enough to cover the cost of student loans. Bratty big brother Gregor Clegane might even stop take time off from torturing nuns to go bowling.
A variety show where the actors amuse themselves at the expense of the audience. Grand Maester Pycelle gives rambling introductions to sketches by Izambaro's Braavosi Players that bring history lessons, slipshod reenactments, and wingnut fan theories to life in rhymed couplets that bring new meaning to the old Dothraki phrase "Shierakigori ha yeraan."
Payne and Gain
What's Pod's secret? Now we can find out, as the squire with something special under his chain-metal briefs presents lifehacks, from staying in shape and keeping our own houses in order, to topical subjects like pleasing your concubines and safely stowing wildfire. If it catches on with a niche audience of empty nesters, Payne and Gain could easily replace Maury as the Laundromat viewing of choice.
In the Red
Exiled from the side of Azor Ahai, the Prince Who Was Promised, the age-cheating Red Priestess Melisandre is ready for death. But is she ready for the Upper West Side? Because that's where she's headed, as she and Missandei of Naath are "moving on up" from advising tyrants to earn a living as a working gals, balancing Mel's struggling Chelsea gallery with Missandei's earnings as a public school VSL teacher. M&M have had strange bedfellows before, but this plucky comedy will remind us that nothing is stranger than getting by on a wing and prayer (to the Lord of Light Comedy).
Brains Over Bronn
For the fresh-faced Murder, She Wrote jet set, a mystery program in which Bronn and his overachieving and hitherto unseen kid sister Æliza-Byth travel the Seven Kingdoms finding lost wyverens and lost-at-sea blacksmiths, all while unmasking the spooky Night's King as the miserly owner of the haunted amusement park. The focus group–tested Æliza-Byth should bring a much-needed tween demographic to the table, as this fledgling detective agency shows us that no council is too small, no Casterly Rock unclimbable, with the right combination of smarts, swords, and a little luck.
Kiss and Martell
An after-hours tour of Westeros, from the delicacies of the Jade Sea to the Valyrian nightlife, hosted by the globe-trotting Oberyn Martell. Refinement is on the menu, as our dashing Dornesman dons his smoking jacket once more to guide our palettes and libidos toward a realm of such pleasures as would make even Joffrey blush.
Snake N' Bake
Everyone's favorite characters, the Sand Snakes, are back and in trouble again, as they build an illicit empire of "dragon grass" in a tragicomic descendent of Breaking Bad and beloved stoner fantasies like Your Highness. Obara just wants to keep the family business afloat, while Nymeria finds there's no antidote for fame. Meanwhile, Tyene wonders why her hands feel so big. Would ideally run as part of the Adult Swim programming bloc.
Samwell That Ends Well
In this destined-for-syndication varsity farce, Sam goes to college at the Citadel and joins a fraternity with more than just maestering on their minds. When Gilly falls in with the sorority across the Reach, the ensuing battle of the sexes will leave us asking, "Who let the direwolves out?"
Recent work by J. W. McCormack appears in_ Conjunctions, BOMB, and the New Republic. Read his other writing on VICE _here.