The 10 Best Fantasy TV Shows on Netflix Right Now
With fan-favorite series, the witcher, racking up awards and nominations, a prequel to the monster hunting phenomenon Supernatural in the works, and the new season of powerhouse romance Foreign (hopefully) coming soon to the service, it’s clear that Netflix is in a strong position with its fantastic TV lineup.
And with Netflix making headlines for all the wrong reasons, the streaming giant will need some of those shows to become hits as its empire is besieged on all sides by sleek new competition.
Loosely based on Arthurian legend, Merlin aired on the BBC from 2008 to 2012. One of the highlights of the show is the performance of the two leads, Bradley James and Colin Morgan. They play respectively Prinse Arthur and a sorcerer’s apprentice, Merlin. Both actors bring a sense of humor and sincerity to their roles, and as the show progresses, their chemistry is undeniable.
A coming-of-age story with a twist of swords and spells, Merlin is the definition of a comfort show. Scenes or even episodes that are very action/plot driven are nicely separated by more comedic and slice-of-life offerings. Though lighthearted, the series’ themes of acceptance and tolerance, driven by Arthur’s progression from someone who fears and mistrusts magicians to becoming Merlin’s closest friend, still rings true. today.
For 15 seasons, Supernatural told the story of the Winchester brothers, Sam and Dean, battling monsters and ghouls. The show is inspired by mythological traditions from around the world, allowing Supernatural to stay fresh until its series finale in 2020.
In addition to multiple Primetime Emmy and GLADD Media Award nominations, Supernatural has been a mainstay of the Canadian Constellation Awards (the show is filmed in Vancouver), winning 18 awards since its inception. Supernatural is 100% an action show, and despite being a cable show, the action sequences punch above their weight in terms of realism. Another surprise is the writers’ comedy chops, which provide a welcome respite from the show’s darker moments.
locke and key
locke and key follows the Locke family, who have moved to their spooky family home of Keyhouse after a traumatic death. The Locke children, Tyler, Kinsey and young Bode, find keys that grant powers ranging from super strength to mind reading.
While a fantastic show, locke and key has serious horror elements that go beyond simple jump scares. But it’s the special effects and sound design that really elevate the series above its competition. The series uses these advantages to increase the tension during its horror sequences and bring to life some of its most fantastical moments. At times, it can get bogged down by romantic subplots that aren’t fully realized, and its examples of teen drama can be a bit overworked. But locke and key handles themes of loss and grief more deftly than you might expect from a YA show.
Standing on both sides of the sci-fi/fantasy fence, Greedy is set in post-apocalypse America after a virus called the sick man has killed most of humanity and all babies are born part human and part animal. The series follows a clever young hybrid named Gus, who searches for his mother in Colorado.
Despite some heavy themes and scenes, Greedy is elated by its tenderest moments, such as 12-year-old Christian Convery’s portrayal of Gus, which has more depth than is usually seen in such a young actor. A very loud soundtrack is another highlight and Of Monsters and Men’s use of “Dirty Paws” at the end of the first episode nails the show’s aesthetic perfectly. Greedy also deserves credit for its engaging world-building, and that, along with its visual choices, makes it easy for viewers to immerse themselves in the universe.
Disenchantment was created by Matt Groening, the creative force behind the legendary animated comedy shows, The simpsons and Futurama. Set in the totally magical world of Dreamland, Disenchantment follows the disgruntled Princess Bean, who opposes her father’s plans for her to be married in the traditional medieval manner.
His animation style will be very familiar to fans of Groening’s other works, as will his quirky humor. Dubbing can often make or break a show, and Disenchantment knocks it out of the park. Comedy veterans Nat Faxon and Eric Andre fill their roles perfectly and bring a ton of life to their characters. The ninth episode of season two, “The Electric Princess,” really shows the growth and depth of Matt Groening’s latest effort.
the witcher follows monster hunter (referred to as a “witcher” in-universe) Geralt of Rivia, played magnetically by Henry Cavill. While the witcher has a well-deserved reputation as a show that isn’t afraid to portray sex and violence, the more subtle plot points are also very well executed, thanks in large part to the strong acting of others series protagonists, Freya Allan (Princess Cirilla) and, the sometimes chilling, Anya Chalorta (Yennefer of Vengerberg).
The fight choreography is another factor that deserves special attention; the limited cuts during the action scene lock viewers into the often brutal violence of the Witcher, while the actors do a great job of making the movements look natural. After three Saturn Award nominations in 2021, the witcher continued that momentum, already winning awards for sound design, makeup, and visual effects. With Emmys voting set to begin in the coming months, only time will tell if the witcher will add more glamorous material to its collection.
shadow and bone
Bringing a universe as complex as Leigh Bardugo’s Grishaverse to television is no easy task, but shadow and bone did exactly that. shadow and bone is a classic coming-of-age story, depicting how orphan Alina Starkov learns to use her latent magical powers to save her homeland and her friends from the terrifying darkness called The Fold.
Often YA media fall into the trap of watering down heavy issues they want to address. shadow and bone skilfully avoids these pitfalls, without being over the top. Shadow and Goode’s solid costumes do a great job of transporting viewers to a fantasy world that still has plenty of real-world trappings. A cast of Jessie Mei Li, Archie Renaux and Freddy Carter completes the winning formula that has left fans wanting more.
Since Foreign created in 2014, star trek alum, Ronald D. Moore, has done a masterful job of bringing Diana Gabaldon’s work to the small screen. Foreign tells the story of Claire Randall, a WWII nurse who eventually travels back in time to 1740s Scotland and falls in love with Highlander, Jamie Fraser.
The show expertly weaves together historical fiction, drama, fantasy, and a heavy dose of romance to make it one of the most enduring fantasy shows of the past decade. Foreign carries a TV-MA rating for graphic violence and sexuality, but the series is defined by the romantic chemistry of the two leads – and Caitríona Balfe (Claire) and Sam Heughan (Jamie) are nothing short of electric.
The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance
A spellbinding mix of practical effects, stunning CGI and puppetry has created a show truly unlike any other. The black crystal: age of resistance follows Rian, Deet and Brea as they fight to save their world from the evil Skeksis.
Along with the stunning visuals, a star-studded cast of comedians including Mark Hamill, Simon Pegg, Anya Taylor-Joy and a litany of others help bring the characters to life in a captivating way. Critics also gave age of resistance Lots of Love: The show earned a Saturn Award nomination for Outstanding Fantasy Television Series in 2021 and an Emmy Award win in 2020 for Outstanding Children’s Program.
For a magic school story in the Harry Potter vein, look no further than magicians. It follows two young magic users, Quentin Coldwater and Julia Wicker, and their divergent paths to developing their abilities.
While it doesn’t always handle its heavier themes as deftly as other YA shows, magicians is full of heart and an almost sardonic humor that sustains the show. Merging a magical world to our real world is a bit of world building that magicians handles better than most. Some of the series’ more repetitive aspects are saved by a solid script, eye-catching visuals, and performances from Jason Ralph and Olivia Taylor Dudley.
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