ByKristi Roe-Owen/Oct. 27, 2022 1:56 pm EST
After 15 seasons of saving people and hunting things, "Supernatural" finally came to an end in 2020, leaving fans with a Castiel-sized hole in their hearts. But that doesn't mean the Winchester story is finished. Premiering in fall 2022, "The Winchesters" tells the story of Sam and Dean's parents, John and Mary, in their younger, pre-kid years. Set in the 1970s and narrated by Dean Winchester himself (Jensen Ackles), the prequel series chronicles John and Mary's first meet cute and the paths their lives take as a result of that encounter. "The Winchesters" stars Meg Donnelly as Mary Campbell, Drake Rodger as John Winchester, and Jojo Fleites as the scene-stealing Carlos Cervantez.
Where "Supernatural" is a tale about brothers following their family legacy, the prequel series is part origin story, part love story, and part "Scooby-Doo" Mystery Machine gang adventure. Of course, if you can't wait for more sigil-slinging action, there are plenty of great supernatural stories out there to fill the void in between episodes. Check out these other great shows if you can't get enough of "The Winchesters."
Although "The Winchesters" could easily stand alone as a supernatural fantasy drama, the new series is also a perfect excuse to go back and watch all of the "Supernatural" episodes you may have missed out on. With 15 seasons, there's a lot to watch, and there's a lot to love about the journey of hunter brothers Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean Winchester. One seedy roadside motel at a time,they travel around the United Statesin pursuit of every type of monster imaginable. And they do it all in a black 1967 Chevy Impala named Baby.
Along the way, they tangle with demons, vampires, rugarus, shapeshifters, skinwalkers, djinn, wendigos, wraiths, and more. In the world of "Supernatural," everything otherworldly is potentially dangerous -– even angels and the artist formerly known as God. With its increasingly complex mythology and memorable characters like hunter Bobby Singer (Jim Beaver), demonic Hell boss Crowley (Mark Sheppard), witch Rowena (Ruth Connell), and the angel Castiel (Misha Collins), it's easy to see why this series has one of the most committed fandoms in the genre, complete with dedicated "Supernatural" conventions.
The show is set to a classic rock soundtrack and pumped full of pop culture references and urban legends. With self-referential humor, a stellar cast, and plenty of monster-of-the-week episodes grounded in an overarching story arc, it's easy to see why "Supernatural" has gone down as one of the best dark fantasy dramas ever made.
The Vampire Diaries
Another dark teen fantasy drama originally aired on The CW, "The Vampire Diaries" is one of those guilty pleasures that's just a whole lot of fun to watch. Based on the YA book series of the same name by L.J. Smith, the series was one of the most-watched shows on the network during its original run and earned loads of accolades, including 30 Teen Choice Awards.
With a storyline that bears a few superficial similarities to "Twilight," the series centers around the experiences of orphan Elena Gilbert (Nina Dobrev), who lives in a Virginia town where all sorts of supernatural beings seem to be thriving. The drama begins when the teenager meets and becomes romantically involved with a vampire more than 162 years her senior (talk about an age gap). The series stars Paul Wesley and Ian Somerholder as dysfunctional vampire brothers Stefan and Damon, who get tangled up in exactly the kind of messy love triangle we've come to expect from The CW. However, this show is far better than just a soapy vampire saga. Where "The Vampire Diaries" truly shines is in its brooding portrayal of a dark, strange town filled with even darker secrets. Factor in the show's high production quality, and you've got a pretty binge-worthy supernatural drama with eight seasons to sink your fangs into.
A spin-off of "The Vampire Diaries," "The Originals" is a supernatural fantasy filled with drama and romance. Like its CW predecessor, the series revolves around a messy vampire family –- in this case, Rebekah (Claire Holt), Elijah (Daniel Gillies), and Klaus (Joseph Morgan) Mikaelson. According to the series lore, the trio of siblings are the first three vampires known to exist, despite the fact that exactly no one seems to give them the due deference that status would surely assign.
The story is set in New Orleans, where the Mikaelsons return home and immediately get caught up in near-constant vampire politics and various turf wars with werewolves and witches. The fact that Klaus is a hybrid werewolf-vamp only serves to amplify the dramatics. Tying into events from "The Vampire Diaries," Klaus has a baby hybrid on the way, and every supernatural being in the Big Easy seems to want in on that action. The storylines are soapishly absurd in all the right ways, and regular appearances from Daniella Pineda as Sophie Devereaux and Todd Stashwick as tormented priest Kieran O'Connell add to the watchability of this wild ride.
Like the 2013 film "The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones," "Shadowhunters: The Mortal Instruments" is a TV adaptation of Cassandra Clare's YA fantasy novel series "The Mortal Instruments." The series revolves around a young woman named Clary Fray (Katherine McNamara), whose 18th birthday comes with an unexpected surprise. After a night at the club turns dangerous and bloody, Clary learns that she's a nephilim -– an angel-human hybrid –- known as a shadowhunter, and that those like her are tasked with hunting and vanquishing demons. Once initiated from the world of the Mundanes (regular humans) into the world of the other shadowhunters, Clary begins the difficult task of learning the truth about who she is with the help of fellow shadowhunters Isabelle (Emeraude Toubia), Jace (Dominic Sherwood), and Alec (Matthew Daddario), and her dear friend Simon (Alberto Rosende).
Like "The Winchesters" and "Supernatural," the world of "Shadowhunters" is filled with all sorts of supernatural beings, including werewolves, vampires, warlocks, and fair folk. The lore and worldbuilding are rich as well, and the series won numerous awards during its run, including a GLAAD award for its outstanding dramatic storytelling and LGBTQ representation,
College is a time for new experiences, experimentation, and personal growth. For most students, that comes in the form of beer pong and a "freshman 15." But for delinquent student council president, orphan, loner, and track and field champion Jack Morton (Jake Manley), it means initiation into the ultra-goth Hermetic Order of the Blue Rose, a super secret fraternity allegedly located in a hidden basement under the library of Belgrave University. According to Jack, the organization is tied to "presidents, captains of industry, and more than one celebrity," with ranks that include Oprah, Michelle Obama, Warren Buffett, George W. Bush, and Benito Mussolini. Aiming to take down his own estranged father with guidance from his grandfather Pops (Matt Frewer), Jack enrolls at the fictional university and promptly gets his blue rose.
If the show was just a straightforward supernatural horror story, it wouldn't be half as good as it is. Instead, it's a surprisingly funny and satirical look at the more privileged side of university life, which Samantha Nelson ofThe Verge called "an absurdist match for 'What We Do in the Shadows'" and a "flat-out hilarious mashup of college and horror comedy." The cast includes sci-fi and horror veterans like Hiro Kanagawa, Jewel Staite, and Sam Tramell, as well as Devery Jacobs of "Reservation Dogs" fame and "Beverly Hills 90210" alums Jason Priestley and Ian Ziering. Add in some dark magic and werewolf action, and "The Order" is a wickedly good recipe for fun.
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina
"Chilling Adventures of Sabrina" is a dark supernatural drama based on the 2014 Archie comic book series of the same name, which offers a macabre interpretation of the original "Sabrina the Teenage Witch." As the title indicates, the story follows the life of Sabrina Spellman (Kiernan Shipka), who lives in the care of her two witch aunts Hilda (Lucy Davis) and Zelda (Miranda Otto). Half witch and half human herself, Sabrina's 16th birthday means it's time for her to get serious and officially decide if she wants to give herself over to the Dark Lord Lucifer Morningstar through a "Dark Baptism." When she decides to follow her own will instead, the decision has serious ramifications for herself and her family.
The series is a brooding horror story with plenty of supernatural shenanigans that's heavily influenced by classic occult horror films Series creator Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa told Entertainment Weeklythat he set out to produce a "slow-burn horror, like 'The Exorcist' and 'Rosemary's Baby' and all those great satanic horror movies from the 1960s and 1970s." Included among the cast are "Doctor Who" veteran Michelle Gomez, Bronson Pinchot of "Perfect Strangers" fame, and Alessandro Juliani, who played Gaeta on "Battlestar Galactica."
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Starring Shannen Doherty, Holly Marie Combs, Alyssa Milano, and Rose McGowan, "Charmed" is a wonderfully spirited fantasy show about the Halliwells — three sisters who come into their powers as good witches known as "The Charmed Ones" only to immediately realize they live in a world of supernatural beings that frequently require vanquishing. And they have to manage all of that vanquishing while holding down jobs.
Each sister has a unique ability theymust learn to control. Piper can freeze time, Phoebe has the power of premonition, and Prue has telekinesis. The trio of good witches take up residence in their family home, a Victorian San Francisco manor, and begin working overtime to learn their craft. With the help of their Book of Shadows and Whitelighter Leo Wyatt (Brian Krause), they learn to harness the Power of Three. The series aired for eight seasons from 1998 through 2006 and garnered a massive cult following during its run. But one of the best things about a "Charmed" binge is spotting the dozens of famous faces, many of whom were just getting started in acting when they appeared on the show. Misha Collins ("Supernatural"), Norman Reedus ("The Walking Dead"), Daniel Dae Kim ("Lost"), and John Cho ("Star Trek") all appear at different points, and that's just to name a few.
The Secret Circle
Like many of the best supernatural teen dramas, "The Secret Circle" aired on The CW. Although the series was short-lived, it had a lot of potential and is still a fun watch for anyone who loves the genre. Developed from L.J. Smith's book series of the same name, "The Secret Circle" revolves around a secret coven as the name suggests and is told through the perspective of hereditary witch Cassie Blake (Britt Robertson).
As with many supernatural stories, Cassie is an orphan. After moving in with her grandmother in Chance Harbor, Washington, she's invited to join up with a coven of five witches so she can assume the full strength of her power. Like the Halliwell sisters of "Charmed," Cassie's encounter with a magical book unlocks a whole new world for her -– a world where magical abilities come with a whole new set of dangers from dark forces. After the series was canceled, its fandom launched an intense letter-writing campaign called "Save the Circle" aimed at bringing the show back, but the bid failed, leaving viewers to forever wonder what might have happened if the series had made it to a Season 2.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
"Buffy the Vampire Slayer" is one of those culturally important shows that everyone should watch at some point. The supernatural teen fantasy drama centers around the eponymous vampire slayer Buffy Summers (Sarah Michelle Gellar), a high school girl with a calling to battle dark supernatural beings including vampires, demons, and various other evil entities. Under the leadership of her "Watcher," Giles (Anthony Stewart Head), she begins to hone her abilities and learn about the tasks before her while doing her darndest to balance life as a high school student. Fortunately, Buffy has the support of her "Scooby Gang," AKA the "Slayerettes" — a group that includes her good friends Willow Rosenberg (Alyson Hannigan) and Xander Harris (Nicholas Brendon).
Like "Xena: Warrior Princess," the series inspired a generation of women with its depiction of a strong female hero. "Buffy the Vampire Slayer helped change TV, not only through its long-term story arcs, but also in its groundbreakingLGBTQ representation. It's still a fantastic (if campy) watch all these years later.
A direct spin-off of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," "Angel" centers around the experiences of the eponymous vampire, who's forced to come to terms with the harm he's caused and devotes his life to making amends for his crimes. Played by David Boreanaz of "Bones," Angel is a centuries-old Irish vampire whose monstrous rampage came to an end when he was bestowed with a curse that renewed his soul and left him riddled with guilt and grief. First introduced in "Buffy," Angel moves to Los Angeles, where he hopes to find some type of absolution by helping lost and helpless souls. The series includes "Buffy" regular Charisma Carpenter as Cordelia Chase, demon hunters Charles Gunn (J. August Richards) and Wesley Wyndam-Pryce (Alexis Denisof), and a half-demon seer named Allen Francis Doyle (Glenn Quinn), among other colorful characters.
Like many of the best spin-off series, "Angel" manages to find its own tone and style apart from its parent series. Where "Buffy" deals with high school and coming-of-age, "Angel" exists in the adult world and is more of a noir procedural. As such, many of the topics and themes are of a more adult nature and revolve heavily around Angel's search for redemption, but with all of the fun and camp that fans came to love in "Buffy."
Created for The CW by Archie Comics Chief Creative Officer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, who also developed "Chilling Adventures of Sabrina," "Riverdale" is a teen drama series that centers on the lives of Archie Andrews (K.J. Apa), Veronica Lodge (Camila Mendes), Betty Cooper (Lili Reinhart), and Jughead Jones (Cole Sprouse). After one of the popular Blossom twins dies under mysterious circumstances, the students of Riverdale High are forced to begin the new year with the cloud of his death and all of the related gossip hanging over their school year. Archie and his friends work together to solve the mystery of Jason's death, which leads them down a dark path toward many more local secrets.
"Riverdale" plays wildly with genre, painting an eerie, dark, and brooding mood over a soapy teen melodrama in a world where curses, ghosts, and resurrections are part of the community's DNA. The series is also a smorgasbord for fans of Easter eggs as it's brimming with pop culture references, such as the shout-outs to Alfred Hitchcock in "The Wicked and the Divine" and the bus bound for virtual "Black Mirror" resort San Junipero in "Anatomy of a Murder."
Loosely adapted from the 1985 Michael J. Fox film of the same name, the MTV series "Teen Wolf" revolves around the supernatural adventures of socially awkward high school student Scott McCall after an encounter with a werewolf turns him into one himself. Although Scott initially perceives his werewolf existence as a cursed one, he begins to realize it comes with benefits. Scott soon learns to use his new abilities as a superpower as he adapts to his sharpened senses and learns to control his lupine urges. Unlike the world of the 1980s film, the series is set in a richly developed mythology, with "True Alpha" Scott encountering a number of supernatural beings as he protects his hometown of Beacon Hills from dark forces.
The timeline of "Teen Wolf" is populated with banshees, hellhounds, chimeras, werecoyotes, werejaguars, skinwalkers, ghost riders, berserkers, wendigos, various types of kitsune (a Japanese fox spirit), a shapeshifter called a Löwenmensch, and the ominously-named Dread Doctors, as just a handful of examples. And like many of the best supernatural teen dramas, the teenagers of Beacon Hills somehow manage to keep just being kids as if they aren't under constant threat from all manner of supernatural entities. During its six-season run, "Teen Wolf" became known for its committed fandom, with the series winning numerous awards including several Teen Choice Awards and three Saturn Awards over the years.