There’s no doubt that it’s a very good time to be a fan of the fantasy genre. Sometime in the last decade or so, studios and showmakers realized the earning potential and fan desire for all kinds of fantasy shows.
Now we’re in what can only be described as a golden age, and the ratings back this up. Both Game of Thrones prequel House of the Dragon and the Amazon prequel Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power have been smashing viewing records.
But now that you’ve finished both shows, what else is good out there? So much. The answer is so much good stuff. Let’s take a look at some of the best fantasy shows to watch right now.
If you haven’t seen the first two seasons of The Witcher, stop everything you’re doing and go watch right now. The show has a lot going for it. It stars Henry Cavill in his best role to date (sorry Superman fans) as Geralt of Rivia, a supernatural being that hunts monsters for coin.
The show’s source material was first a book and then a ridiculously popular video game, but this show is a gem all on its own. Besides having a really interesting narrative and tons of compelling characters, it has top notch special effects.
Everything from the music to the extras are meticulously thought out and executed to perfection. The tension feels real and Geralt is the perfect mix of sarcastic, dour and hero-like. The show has no business being as good as it is, and besides the occasional plodding world-building scene, it’s practically perfect.
It even produced a viral song. Catch up with Geralt before season three drops sometime in the summer.
The Sandman, from the brilliant mind of fantasy writing legend Neil Gaiman, is another one of those ‘can’t miss’ shows. It manages to take a pretty complicated story that’s taken directly from its source material: The Sandman comic book.
One of the greatest things about this show is how it introduces the main character, named Dream and played by the excellent Tom Sturridge. Dream is the ruler of Dreamland, the place we all go when we fall asleep.
Through the machinations of an amateur magician, Dream is captured and imprisoned for 100 years. This is how we meet Dream, naked in a glass ball waiting patiently to be released.
It’s heartbreaking and tragic right off the bat, and while difficult to watch it envelops you into the story in a way that makes it impossible to stop watching. After that first episode, Dream must try and put his kingdom back together from scratch.
The supporting characters in this world, which include Gwendoline Christie (Game of Thrones), David Thewlis (Harry Potter), Patton Oswalt (Ratatouille) and a number of other notable actors and actresses.
There’s also a bonus episode with two separate storylines from the comics and they are worth the price of admission by themselves. Fans are waiting with bated breath to hear if the show will be renewed for another season.
There’s probably a pretty good chance that you’ve seen Stranger Things, one of the biggest shows ever. But on the off chance you haven’t, boy you’re in luck. The show regularly broke viewing records on Netflix and became a cultural touchstone in the process.
It’s a love story to those old ’80s coming of age movies like The Goonies and Stand By Me, and it has one of the best premises for a sci fi/fantasy show in recent memory. A group of friends discover a portal into another dimension, but that dimension is exceedingly evil.
Deadly terrifying creatures haunt the kids and one of them gets kidnapped and lost in the other dimension, called the Upside Down. In later seasons, we learn more and more about why there’s so much evil there and who’s in control.
This is the show that made Millie Bobby Brown a household name, but almost everyone in the cast has found worldwide fame since the show debuted. It’s tense, people die and it’s dark but that darkness is perfectly offset with humor and hijinks.
The fifth and final season of the show probably won’t air until 2024, so there’s a lot of time to catch up.
This one’s a bit of a throwback, but there are eight seasons to binge if you decide to go down that route. Debuting in 1998 on the now defunct WB Network, the show starred a trio of sisters who are all witches. But good witches, not the bad kind. That’s an important distinction.
They’re known as “the charmed ones,” hence the name. Each sister has a unique power and they live together in a manor house. As good witches, they are forced to constantly fight demons, warlocks and other witches to jeep the world safe.
This came out during a time when shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and and Angel were popular, and it became a huge hit for the network. For a while there it was the most watched show ever featuring female leads, until Desperate Housewives came along and took the title.
While not the highbrow fantasy we’re used to seeing from streamers, the show was nonetheless entertaining despite its flaws. It didn’t hurt that its stars were all beautiful women, with Rose McGowan eventually replacing Shannen Doherty.
The entire run of the show is currently streaming on Peacock (but might not be depending on when you’re reading this.)
Avatar: The Last Airbender
Yes, it’s a cartoon. No, it’s not only for children. Yes, it’s incredible despite originally airing on the Nickelodeon network. Avatar: The Last Airbender is another one of those stories where the all-powerful hero ends up disappearing for a hundred years and then has to deal with the fallout.
The main character Ang is an “avatar,” or the physical body for an all powerful being that protects mankind. Only he’s also just a kid that wants to hang out with his friends. They go on various adventures while trying to grow their powers and I’m probably not doing it justice with this pedestrian explanation.
It’s smart, poignant when it needs to be, incredibly humourous and just a lot of fun to watch. And rewatch. The idea of martial arts based on the four elements of the earth is incredibly well done and creates very real stakes.
Do yourself a favor, step out of your comfort zone and watch one of the greatest shows of all time. It’s absolutely going to surprise you.
This time traveling fantasy show on the Starz network is one of the more interesting fantasy genres out there: historical. It’s based on a series of books and stories with the same name, and it’s constantly surprising and imaginative.
Part of what makes it so good is the attention to detail. The costumes, dialogue and scenery are all spot on and make for an authentic viewing experience. The leads have a sparkling chemistry with each other and the first three seasons are some of the best fantasy TV out there.
It’s also a love story – one that spans centuries and is completely believable due to the abilities of the actors. Character development and narrative flow are also closely paid attention to, and it shows. For fans of salaciousness, there’s also intermittent adult content.
Yes, it’s set in space. No, that doesn’t mean it’s not a fantasy show. If anything it’s definitely fantasy because it’s set in space. Where to begin with this one? The Mandalorian is absolutely one of the best sci fi/fantasy shows ever.
It stars Pedro Pascal as the titular character in a role that sees him never take of his helmet. It was one of the first Star Wars themed side projects and it knocked it out of the park. Pascal is a bounty hunter that stumbles on a baby alien that the internet took to calling Baby Yoda.
The atmosphere of the show is dark but expansive. It’s basically a shoot ’em up western set in space. The acting is great, the world building is immersive and the special effects are very realistic.
However, no show would be good without a compelling narrative, and this one has one of the best. Pascal’s is an easy character to root for and he gets in enough shenanigans to keep everyone invested in his story. There are two seasons right now, with the third set to debut in February 2023.
Supernatural is the story of two brothers, Dean and Sam Winchester. They’re monster hunters who have to deal with creatures that literally come from hell. When they were young, they lost their mom to demonic forces and their Dad trained them to fight evil.
The leads are annoyingly charismatic and that really helps drive the story forward. You really start to care for the brothers and actively want them to do well. They are excessively burdened by the past and that adds gravity to the processdings.
Another bonus is that there’s currently 13 seasons of the show, which will keep even the most avid binge watcher busy for at least a few weeks. Happy bingeing!