There are a lot of TV shows out there and in this golden age of TV streaming, the choices have never been greater. So how do you cut through the noise and find the “Best of” for any chosen topic?
Well, we’re here to help celebrate and shine a spotlight on some of the latest, greatest and unforgettable shows through the years.
For our ongoing series of articles depicting the best mythical creatures in TV shows, our attention this time turns to witches and wizards. From trail-blazing lesbian witches alongside vampire hunters through to quintessential anime picks, there are a lot of options to choose from. Below, we’ve gathered our top picks.
Of course, if we’ve missed any of your favourites feel free to comment below and we’ll get them added on!
The Magicians is essentially Twilight meets Harry Potter. For some, this clash of tones will be an instant turn-off but for those invested in A Discovery Of Witches, this will certainly whet the appetite.
In its simplest form, the story revolves around a group of students who discover they’re graced with magical abilities after being recruited to a secretive academy. At the heart of all this lies our main character, Quentin Coldwater, who enrolls at Brakebills University for Magical Pedagogy.
Serving as an interesting juxtaposition is Quentin’s childhood friend Julia, who finds her hopes and dreams shattered when she’s denied entry to this very same university. Instead, she searches for magic elsewhere.
While a little campy and cheesy at times, The Magicians does well to flesh out its five seasons. If you’re sold after the first couple of episodes, you’re in for a real treat with this one.
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina
Deliciously dark with a touch of charismatic charm, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is a fine example of how to take an established comic and hit sitcom, change its tone and genre whilst maintaining the heart of what made the original so appealing.
From Kiernan Shipka’s inspired tenacious performance as half-witch/half-human Sabrina Spellman to the surprisingly gruesome and sinister tone, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina does a great job establishing itself as a unique and engaging show.
The story begins with Sabrina Spellman on the cusp of her 16th birthday, preparing for a very special ritual that welcomes her into the world of witchcraft. With a happy mortal life rich with friends and boyfriend Harvey, Sabrina finds herself torn between whether to abandon everything she holds dear for servitude to the Dark Lord or turning her back on the life she was destined for.
This struggle continues right the way through the various seasons, with extra layers of danger and tension added to the fold for good measure. This one’s definitely quite dark but it’s a decent coming of age series nonetheless.
A Discovery Of Witches
A Discovery Of Witches is a well written drama with some truly beautiful imagery across its run-time. That’s to say nothing of the characters who are interesting and endearing.
The basic premise revolves around a world where witches, vampires and demons live discreetly among humans. Our central protagonist is Diana Bishop, who happens to be the last living witch. What ensues from here is a heady blend of romance, fantasy and drama across 2 seasons – the second of which cutting us back in time for a who’s who of historical figures.
While the first season is far stronger, there’s a lot to like here and fans of romance and fantasy offerings should be in their element.
Sabrina The Teenage Witch
The one that inspired this remake; Sabrina The Teenage Witch perfectly exemplifies the 90’s sitcom but does so with some smart writing, ingenious plot lines and some genuinely funny moments. All of this is helped by the comedic wit of Sabrina’s smart-talking cat Salem.
Much like Chilling Adventures, Sabrina The Teenage Witch revolves around teenage witch Sabrina who finds herself (yep you guessed it) graced with magical powers while her Aunts Zelda and Hilda try to keep her out of trouble.
While tonally very different to Chilling Adventures, the original sitcom is still a compelling blast from the past worth checking out.
Buffy The Vampire Slayer
Buffy The Vampire Slayer is one of the most influential shows to pave the way for strong female characters. Its forward thinking ideas around relationships, storytelling and timeless comedy makes it a show that holds up to this day.
The story revolves around a teenager called Buffy Summers who finds out she’s a slayer – a young girl destined to push back the forces of evil that spew out the aptly titled Hellmouth located in the town of Sunnydale.
While many fans will agree the show should have concluded at the end of season 5, season 6 ironically features one of the best episodes of TV – a musical no less – that captures the humour, heartbreak and excellent narrative work this show is synonymous for.
Easily one of the best shows to come out the 90’s, Buffy The Vampire Slayer is a quintessential slice of spooky action and another must-watch if you’re in the mood for empowering female action.
Based loosely on the 17th century witch trials of the same name, Salem is a supernaturally charged drama that examines what really fueled the town’s infamous witch trials at the time. Salem combines fantastical elements with more character-driven drama, leaning heavily into supernatural elements the longer the series goes on for.
With three seasons to enjoy, the main plot line revolves around a powerful witch called Mary Sibley who controls the Salem Witch Trials and intends to summon the Devil.
Only, her plan hits a serious road bump when her long lost love, John Alden, returns from the war. With the usual dose of romance and drama thrown in, Salem is a simple but well written character-driven drama.
His Dark Materials
His Dark Materials is a wonderful fantasy series. Excellent acting and a faithful story adaptation of Philip Pullman’s novels combine beautifully with the world building on offer, making for a wholly absorbing and satisfying watch. The show never outstays its welcome either across its three seasons.
The story follows the journey of Lyra Belacqua, a young girl who inhabits a world where human and daemon share an intricate link together. As kids start going missed, snatched up from the streets by the Gobblers, Lyra finds herself coming in possession of the mysterious alethiometer.
When her best friend Roger goes missing, what begins as a simple search and rescue mission quickly becomes so much more as this expansive, dangerous and wondrous show becomes one of the small screen’s best fantasy offerings.
Set in Victoria London, Penny Dreadful combines blood-soaked horror and mystery beautifully into one atmospheric series. The story essentially sees explorer Sir Malcolm Murray, American gunslinger Ethan Chandler, scientist Victor Frankenstein and medium Vanessa Ives uniting to combat supernatural threats together.
It’s a simple enough premise but where this show excels is in its storytelling and acting. Everything about Penny Dreadful oozes charisma and despite a slightly slow start during season 1, it quickly grows into a real powerhouse on the horror circuit.
It’s beautifully produced too, with some lavishly dressed sets and some well-rounded characters. This one is well worth checking out.
The Witcher is not without its flaws but it’s hard to discredit what a satisfying and well written slice of high-fantasy this is. There’s certainly enough magic, monsters and sword-fighting to keep things rooted in danger, while doing the video game it’s based on justice.
For those unaware, the story here revolves around a monster hunter named Geralt. Vilified by human-kind, these white-haired, emotionless Witchers spend their time hunting creatures and getting paid to do so.
Geralt is joined on this hunt by Ciri, a princess in a neighbouring city and a mage-in-training named Yennefer. Across this first season, the show balances investigative work with monster slaying really well, which should satisfy those looking to scratch that high fantasy itch.
Game Of Thrones
Game Of Thrones will forever go down as the show that completely squandered its ending, falling flat on its face before the finish line. Despite its lackluster final two seasons, this fantasy epic boasts some absolutely incredible TV. Specifically, the adaptations of books 2 and 3 in George R.R. Martin’s fantasy epic.
For those unaware, Game Of Thrones is a fantasy series, taking place deep in the fictional realm of Westeros. The main crux of the issue stems from the Iron Throne. Nine different noble families fight for control of this, while in the East a new threat begins to form with Targaryen princess, Daenerys.
While all this is going on, ancient enemies known as the White Walkers begin to stir, threatening certain doom unless the families can somehow learn to co-exist.
Featuring epic battles, incredible moments and one incredibly bad ending, Game Of Thrones is a must-watch for period drama fans. If you can go in and expect a fan-fic ending, you should find enough to like with this one.
Admittedly, we weren’t sold on Midnight, Texas when it dropped back in 2017. However, there’s no denying that this show is a definite grower and has a pretty big fan-base.
The main premise revolves around a save haven for creatures called Midnight, which plays host to a whole band of creatures who team up to defend themselves from the forces of evil.
With a quirky tone and various supernatural elements, this one’s an acquired taste and likely to be a love/hate affair for many.
At its core, Merlin is a coming of age teen drama wrapped up in the legends of King Arthur.
The story itself centers on a young Merlin, who happens to be a simple servant to young Prince Arthur in the Royal Court of Camelot. The pair soon become best friends but Merlin has a secret. He’s actually a mighty sorcerer but he’s been forced to hide his magical powers from everyone just to stay alive.
As the episodes tick by, Merlin finds himself forced into action, battling everything from dark sorcerers to mysterious illnesses. This fantasy drama managed to run for five seasons, mixing fantasy and drama together beautifully.
Aired way back in 1964, Bewitched is a classic American sitcom that originally broadcast for 8 seasons. The show was so popular that it ended up as the second-rated show in America during its debut season. It also went on to hit the top 10 spot for its first three seasons.
At the center of this is a witch who marries an ordinary mortal man and vows to lead the life of a typical suburban housewife. However, she can’t help but use her magical powers. This, predictably, leads to many amusing scenarios to ensue.
While it may seem a little dated by today’s standards, this sitcom is certainly one of the more classic and endearing examples of witches in media.
Not to be confused with the more modern remake, the original Charmed is an endearing, well written series following a trio of strong females at its core. These ladies also just so happen to be descendants of a powerful line of female witches.
Each of this trio have a special ability; stopping time, moving objects and seeing the future. Using their powers together, the sisters set out to fight demons, warlocks and all manner of nastiness across 8 expansive seasons.
It’s imaginative, well-written and utterly addictive TV. Oh, and it finishes with a wonderful conclusion at the end too.
The Worst Witch (1998)
Although there has been a more modern remake of this show, the original Worst Witch from 1998 just piques that one for a spot on our list. Before the popularity of Harry Potter, The Worst Witch feels like the quintessential young adult witch-orientated series.
The show itself centers on the adventures of Mildred Hubble, a witch attending Cackles Academy. Her nickname of “Worst Witch” comes about thanks to the amount of trouble she finds herself constantly getting in.
Charming and a fun little adventure for kids and families to enjoy, this one’s another good one to watch.
Wizards: Tales of Arcadia
Although you can jump into Wizards without having watched Trollhunters or 3Below, it’s strongly recommended you watch them both before jumping into this. There are events referenced here that have a lot more weight after watching those shows. There are also plenty of characters and incidents that cross over between the shows.
In its simplest form, Wizards acts as both a stand-alone spin-off and also as a conclusion to this epic trilogy. In the final quest, the story pulls together our eclectic group of characters from the different Arcadia realms. Jim, Claire, Toby, Steve and Douxie form our dysfunctional team across the season, who tumble head-first into the thick of action.
The result is a time-bending adventure set during Camelot times that perfect closes out this series.
Marvel’s first foray onto the small screen is still arguably its strongest.
Our central protagonist here is Wanda, whom we’re introduced to in a black and white sitcom with Vision. How? What happened? Is this an alternate universe? How is Vision still alive? And is there someone pulling the strings?
It’s here where WandaVision excels the most, keeping its cards close to its chest and unwilling to show what’s really going on. It’s not until the middle of the show where the direction shifts slightly, giving more clues and answers to what’s been happening.
While we’re drip-fed tantalizing bites of exposition, the show also uses its episodic format to pay homage to sitcoms of old. WandaVision is a unique hybrid of superhero and sitcom that’s unlikely to be replicated any time soon.
Little Witch Academia
Little Witch Academia is basically the Harry Potter of the anime world. It’s a charming series packed with bags of mesmerizing spells and intriguing worldbuilding.
The series itself centers on Akko Kagari, an ordinary girl who joins the renowned witch academy for girls, Luna Nova Academy. After befriending shy Lotte and sarcastic Sucy, she also discovers Chariot’s Wand, which she takes as her own. Unfortunately, her time at Luna Nova becomes more challenging than she could ever have imagined.
This charming anime is definitely worth checking out.
Based on the popular video game of the same name, Castlevania is one of those rare adaptations that actually do the source material justice.
In fact, Castlevania is not only a well written tale about vampires VS humans, it’s an incredibly endearing anime that just gets better and better as the seasons tick by. Seasons 3 and 4 in particular are excellent.
The basic premise revolves around an enraged Dracula unleashing hordes of demonic, blood thirsty creatures onto the town of Wallachia. When he does, it’s up to anti-hero Belmont and his witch side-kick Sypha to stop them.
If you’re in the mood for something involving deep characters and intriguing world building, this one is definitely worth checking out.
The Vampire Diaries
There’s something timelessly endearing about vampires – especially in the YA category. The Vampire Diaries essentially serializes and polishes what Twilight tried (and failed) to do on the big screen.
The plot synopsis is pretty similar too, especially with a narrative revolving around a high school girl called Elena. As fate would have it, she captures the heart of Stefan who happens to be a vampire.
Complicating matters though is Stefan’s brother Damon who also happens to be attracted to Elena. Cue the love triangle and predictable teen melodrama. Despite its formulaic set-up, The Vampire Diaries eventually merges and evolves into something that can only be summed up as a seriously addicting guilty pleasure.
Witches Of East End
Witches of East End is a Lifetime series centering on a mother and her two adult daughters, Ingrid and Freya Beauchamp. Both of these kids unknowingly happen to be their family’s next generation of witches. While this is kept hidden, a looming engagement to a young, wealthy newcomer changes everything.
The secret is inevitably revealed, leading to the girls being taught how to harness their powers against a larger threat. Of course, family secrets are revealed along the way too.
While the plotting is a little predictable, the series does feature some decent moments across its two season spell.
While True Blood is predominantly a show about vampires, much like Buffy The Vampire Slayer it also feature witches and witchcraft. In particular, season 4 onward dives into this lore a lot more, with the main antagonist threat even revolving around this.
The story here is set in modern times, with vampires roaming the Earth while acting as humanity’s mortal enemies. However, a substitute has been found for human blood called True Blood.
Now humans and vampires can co-exist in harmony – and even form relationships. This uneasy alliance is anything but peaceful though. True Blood’s story then essentially explores this delicate balance across its multiple seasons.
Black Clover is an intriguing anime, one that blends magic and witchcraft together nicely. Running for four seasons, this show constantly ups the ante and delivers some dazzling action along the way.
At the center of this are Asta and Yuno who were abandoned together at the same church and have been inseparable ever since. As children they promised that they would compete against each other to see who would become the next Emperor Magus.
This forms the crux of the story, although it’s fair to say this one is a bit of a slow burn early on. If you can stick with it though, the later episodes (and subsequent seasons) are far more rewarding.
Once Upon A Time
One of the key ingredients for any good fairytale is an element of magic – and an evil witch. Well, Once Upon A Time has magic aplenty in this series that blends the fantastical world of fairytales with modern day America.
At the center of this is a young woman called Emma Swann, a woman with a troubled past. She’s drawn to a small town in Maine by her son Henry, whom she gave up for adoption years ago. Only, he tells her about a curse cast by the Evil Queen, something that threatens them all.
As Emma tumbles down this proverbial rabbit hole, all is not what it seems.
While the later seasons do drop the ball with the story, the first three are excellent, with a great mix of magic, mystery and mayhem.
So, there we have it, our picks for the best TV shows through the years about witches and wizards!
What do you think of our picks? Do you agree? Are there any notable omissions? Let us know in the comments below!