The Winchester brothers finally hung up their boots after a phenomenal 15 seasons in 2020. Supernatural achieved great success with its mix of likable leads, a strong dose of sibling bonding, a rocking soundtrack, and a constantly growing mythology.
Over its decade and a half, Supernatural built a devoted fanbase that helped it overcome cancellation scares. By the time it had finished, The WB, followed by The CW, had commissioned over 300 hours of the show⏤an episode count that many genre shows would make a pact with a demon to achieve.
Most of the credit for the series’ success must go to Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles as the two brothers at its center. Supernatural leaned heavily on Sam and Dean Winchester’s relationship in a way that no genre show had before. They could niggle and annoy each other, fall out⏤they were siblings, after all⏤but they demonstrated their strong bond again and again.
Supernatural’s story started when the brothers were very young and a supernatural entity killed their mother, but it picked up in their 20s as they searched for their father, whose quest for revenge ensured that they were ready for whatever entities they would come into contact with. As Dean said, “Hunting is the family business.” While the brothers remained a constant, they were joined by a large supporting cast, particularly after the show burned through its first significant arc within three years. Characters like Castiel and Crowley became firm fan favorites, but Supernatural’s showrunners weren’t afraid to get rid of secondary characters when they felt the Winchesters looked a bit too safe.
As the years went on, the brothers’ journey escalated, pitching them against all sorts of supernatural threats, from vampires and fairies to angels and demons, across 14 states. If you have a Winchester-shaped hole in your life, here are 10 series that you should check out next.
Supernatural wasn’t the first series to mine the spooky-meets-siblings stakes, and that wasn’t all it had in common with Charmed. The Halliwell sisters’ adventures ran on The WB between 1998 and 2006, crossing over with the Winchesters’ first year on the network. These three witches used their Power of the Three to protect innocents from their base in San Francisco.
Over eight seasons, the show won a cult following. Its enduring popularity led The CW to reboot it in 2019, neatly crossing over with the final years of Supernatural. The new series, which has relocated the sisters to Michigan, is warming up for its third season.
The Dresden Files
A series developed by Star Trek veterans Hans Beimler and Robert Hewitt Wolfe, The Dresden Files was inspired by Jim Butcher’s urban dark fantasy books. The files were closed after one season, but there was a lot to like in the 12 episodes packed with werewolves, vampires, and dark magic. Like the books, occult detective Harry Dresden and his team investigated supernatural mysteries in Chicago. However, Butcher described the show as an alternate reality. If you want more, you can dive into Dresden’s adventures on the page without worrying that you know how things pan out.
Without the series that changed the face of police procedurals and genre television, we wouldn’t have many of the shows on this list. Like Supernatural, The X-Files thrived on a broad base of investigations and combined standalone stories with growing mythology. Mulder and Scully remain the most famous agents at the series’ center, one obsessed with the paranormal, the other a scientific skeptic. It took a while for the romance to creep in. If you haven’t caught it, this international phenomenon offers almost as much viewing time as Supernatural, with eleven seasons and two feature films.
Fringe is an odd show to compare to Supernatural at first glance. However, what started as a spiritual successor to The X-Files soon escalated over 100 episodes. Many think that extraordinary escalation is one thing it particularly has in common with Supernatural. Even as the central characters took on multiple realities and alternate versions of themselves, a family dynamic lay at its heart with the father-and-son act of Joshua Jackson and Walter Bishop.
NBC scored a cult hit with Grimm, which shared Supernatural’s gift of a fanbase that staved off cancellation until it concluded after its sixth season. Grimm brought a police procedural aspect to the supernatural, following Portland cop Nicholas Burkhardt, whose sudden monstrous visions led him to discover he’s a huntsman⏤one of a long line of guardians who protect the world from mythological creatures. Fitting for its name and fairy tale inspiration, Grimm mixed comedy with darkness.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer was hugely influential on fantasy shows that followed, but fans of the Winchesters may find more to appreciate in the four seasons of spinoff series Angel. Part of the appeal is following one of the creatures of the night, albeit this 240-year old vampire is on our side. In the show, Angel’s curse of conscience led him to form Angel Investigations and fight the forces of evil in Los Angeles. At the top of that list was the demonic law firm Wolfram and Hart.
The hokey classic inspired a generation with its mix of supernatural drama and gothic soap opera. Werewolves, witches, and vampires were all to be found behind the doors of the small fishing village Collinsport. Tim Burton’s 2012 feature update dug into the comedy surrounding fan-favorite vampire Barnabas Collins, but the original show had a lot more going for it as it stretched itself between multiple arcs and periods over 1225 episodes between 1966 and 1971.
NBC’s short-lived adaptation of DC’s Constantine might have been a better fit, especially as that series found the English magician hunting supernatural entities across the United States. But it was cut short after one season, not that the central character brilliantly played by Matt Ryan noticed as he took starring roles in animated features and The CW’s Legends of Tomorrow. A better recommendation is a devilish character from the same comic book universe. Lucifer, which completed its six-year run in 2021, followed DC’s devil as he traded Hell for a Los Angeles nightclub and became a consultant to the LAPD.
The Vampire Diaries / The Originals
Back to the vampire nest. The Vampire Diaries and its spinoff grew to include many supernatural creatures, including witches, werewolves, angels, demons, and ghosts. Unlike Supernatural, this teen drama concentrates on romance and relationships over action. That could make it an ideal warm-down after the Winchesters’ adventures.
The Vampire Diaries followed undead brothers Damon and Stephan Salvatore over eight seasons, mainly pursuing the recently orphaned Elena. She may have been human, but she also had an uncanny resemblance to one of their old vampire acquaintances. Spinoff The Originals followed secondary characters to New Orleans and lasted for four seasons.
This is another fantasy show with siblings at its center, but this time they’re sisters. The Winchesters may share a name with the 19th-century rifle, but Wynonna Earp is the great-great-granddaughter of the legendary 19th-century lawman. The twist is that she must take on the reincarnated outlaws previously dispatched by her predecessor after coming of age at 27. Wynonna is joined by her half-sister, Waverly Earp, ensuring that the show has a sibling bond running through its center. If you’re a fan of Supernatural, then you’ll definitely find a lot that’s comfortable in this tale of family ties and demonic banishment.