Now let’s be clear, ‘supernatural’ does not mean horror necessarily. Though, there might be some elements. So in order to fully flush out this list, we need to look at what supernatural really is. Monsters, and things that go bump in the night. Story and character driven first, and not necessarily about the frights. So we’re going to disqualify any horror first shows. That means “Tales from the Crypt”, “Twilight Zone”, “Outer Limits” and yes, even “Are You Afraid of the Dark”, aren’t on this specific list.
Also, yes, “The Addams Family” television series could also be on this list; but they’re mostly a Gothic family that likes murder and torture, not exactly supernatural but not exactly not. I feel like it’s not monster-centric enough to be eligible for the list, though.
Next, what exactly about the monsters do we want? Uniqueness, originality and even how they interpret the lore. So we’re not going to look at shows that really exaggerate things, like “Dead Like Me”, and “Pushing Daises”. Also, we’re looking at live action only, so no “Courage the Cowardly Dog”, “Aaaaa! Real Monsters” or “Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy”.
Shows that are more science fiction based (“X-Files”, “Stranger Things”) aren’t being considered either, as Supernatural is fantasy, not science fiction. Also no superhero comic shows will be on the list, so no “Constantine”. For those asking about “Preacher”, I’m not very confident in the first season to say it’s an all-time great series. It really only had one episode that made me go “whoa!” So talk to me after season two.
Lastly, the characters must be compelling and likable. So shows like “Buffy” that get reactions from across the board about the main character being mostly unlikable need not apply. And while you’re asking, “Angel” doesn’t make the list because it felt like the entire series took place in the hotel, with very little going on outside of it, and few unique characters that made you want to stick around that weren’t from “Buffy”.
Teen Wolf – If this show ended after the second season, it’d be in the top ten, but then it got SO STUPID. The series would literally cold open episodes in the midst of fight scenes with characters we’ve never seen before fighting. Or the main characters would end one episode talking about how lucky they were to be alive, only to open the next episode running from something in the school. Seriously, watch up until the end of the Alpha Pack storyline, and then pretend like that was the end of the series. You’ll thank me later.
Dark Shadows – Strictly on here because of it’s legacy, but not in the actual top ten because I’ve never seen it. It’s nearly impossible to catch up on, as no complete set seems to exist for the near 612.5 hours of content. Six years, six seasons and 1,225 episodes of thirty minute adventure is impressive enough though to make the list.
Fear the Walking Dead – They killed off Travis. I can’t condone that.
Being Human – The show sometimes dove too heavy into repeat storylines, and at times the couplings just felt forced and poorly done. Almost like “well we’re pregnant now, guess we gotta get married….” It wasn’t grand. The finale also left me feeling hollow and like we watched all these episodes only to see the best characters killed off because of reasons. That being said, it’s still worth your time.
– Now I know, this is technically a ‘horror’ show. The entire intro warned you with the “viewer beware, you’re in for a scare” line. However, unlike “Are You Afraid of the Dark”, “Goosebumps” was more about diving into the mystical aspect and not so much the horror aspect. The episodes were taken from the book series and most of those series featured a battle with a monster of some sort. Due to the unique nature of it being more creepy than scary, I’m going ahead and qualifying it. The episodes that stand out the most are obviously the monster-centric ones. Like “How to Kill a Monster”, where two siblings sprint through a house to avoid a giant dinosaur-person patroling the upper floors. The show became infamous for it’s crazy twists, like “Welcome to Camp Nightmare” or “the Girl Who Cried Monsters”. If you want to see some unique lore and interesting twists, this is the series for you.
– Now, I haven’t finished “Grimm” yet, but from what I’ve seen this is a very cool take on fairy tales. The way they present the monsters is not too dissimilar from say, “Supernatural”, with it’s unique identifier for who’s a creature and who’s not. The lore is rather unique, with the main character Nick Burkhardt (David Giuntoli) being a descendant of a long line of “monster cops” called Grimms. They’re charged with protecting people from rogue monsters, also known as the Wesen. The mysteries and crimes are admittedly no different than a “CSI” or “SVU” type show. Murders, child abductions, and the like; but the way they weave the lore of very unique and interesting characters into the mysteries making it stand out past it’s more mundane procedural predecessors.
8) The Walking Dead
– It’s hard not to put this on the list, right? It does feature a mystical creature, the zombie, as it’s main attraction essentially. Sure, the show actually revolves around the conflict of ‘man vs. man’, while the zombie presence has become more of a ‘man vs. nature’ conflict. Yes, the Shane Walsh’s, Mayor’s and Negan’s are the big bads but no one would even know who they were if it wasn’t for the zombie popularity. The show lacks anything else in the mystical/supernatural realm as far as we know, but it all counts. The show has stalled a bit with more episodes per season bogging down the plot and slowing down the pace but the series can still deliver major and impressive moments every once in a while.
7) Sabrina The Teenage Witch
– “No Buffy but SABRINA?!” Yes. “Buffy” was at it’s best when it played into it’s own insecurities and played up the silliness of their plot. Yet to get there you needed to get through 12 straight episodes of Buffy whining about something irrelevant. Sure, in seasons six and seven more legitimate things outside of the conventional relationship drama happen to her, but that doesn’t mean people don’t get their fill of Buffy whining. Sabrina on the other hand had a talking cat, who was basically a dick to everyone for no real reason. A dick-talking-cat. That’s the kind of stuff that made “Buffy” fun at times, and “Angel” bearable. I mean, “Angel” had a puppet episode where Angel got turned into one. It was hilarious. That was the kind of hijinks that you got on “Sabrina”, but weren’t guaranteed every week on “Buffy” and “Angel”. Also, most of the villains on “Buffy” end up being allies, and vice versa. “Sabrina” was a comedy and wasn’t held to the same rigorous standard as far as the dramatic aspect. Plus, “Sabrina” has a better backstory. On “Buffy” it’s standard female empowerment fluff. On “Sabrina”, it’s a bit more sad and relatable. The series also spawned an animated series and is now a major comic book for the Archie brand. That version of the character is prepped for a comeback to television if rumors are correct about her appearing on the “Riverdale” television series next season.
– This show is on here because of one reason; Ray Wise. His wit and ability to play both an endearing father figure, and the literal devil in the same breath was extremely impressive. From his amusement with how people perceive him on Earth (“The Devil is attracted to radish? What does that mean? Like sexually? That’s disgusting!” – The Devil), to the way he screws with the main character, Sam, it’s all in all a very fun affair. The special effects are a decade old, but hold up pretty well, and the acting and comedy are spot on. The lone issue for this show is a lack of resolution. So you’ll be dangling in plotline purgatory if you watch this show, as it ends on a cliff hanger of sorts.
5) The Magicians
– SyFy’s “The Magicians” is back for an upcoming third season and has many major plotlines to address in the new seasons. The show is bold and dynamic, pushing the boundaries of decency and cable guidelines. The show is written to be experienced by mature individuals, with “fucks” being dropped in stressful moments, subject matter of sex, and infidelity driving the relationships, homosexual and bisexual trysts are explored, extreme graphic content with amputations and blood, and yes, even rape are all displayed for the purpose of driving home the point of the show; Harry Potter ain’t got shit on this show. The show centers around a university of post-grad magicians, mostly mid 20-somthings who came from the real world to learn about magic there. It’s split between the university and magical land that reminds people of Narnia, if Narnia was incestual and petty.
So kinda just like Narnia.
The show though can drag at times, and sometimes feel like it’s trying to be too edgy. Also, the characters are largely assholes. So no one really care when they die. However, it’s their asshole-tendency that makes them also very funny. So…good with the bad.
4) The Gates
– This show is essentially where “Teen Wolf” and “Arrow” found their cast. Four different alumni of “The Gates” went on to star in “Arrow”, Janina Gavankar (McKenna Hall), Roger Cross (Lucas Hilton), Paul Blackthorne (Quentin Lance), and Colton Haynes (Roy Harper) all appeared on “The Gates” before moving onto “Arrow”.
As for Teen Wolf, Marisol Nichols (Corinne), Linden Asbhy (Noah Stilinski) and Melissa Ponzio (Melissa McCall) all had major roles in the show at one point. Nichols also is now on “Riverdale” as the mother of Veronica Lodge. So even more fun there. Let’s not forget either that “The Gates” is lead by Grank Grillo, aka Crossbone in the MCU as well as the lead in the “Purge” films.
So deep casting aside, it also highlights a very unique take on the monster dynamic, as vampires, werewolves and others live inside this gated community and are forced to place nice. Grillo’s Nick Monohan is literally the new sheriff in town, and has to play peacekeeper with the monsters that go bump in the night. It’s an intriguing thriller that didn’t get nearly enough seasons.
– Oh boy, this is the funnest show on this list. Devoid of much real “fear” or “frights”, iZombie instead goes for interesting and complicated characters and fresh fun humor. The week to week crime drama is made all that much more interesting and fun when one half of “Cagney and Pasty” is constantly a new character each and every week thanks to the brains she’s forced to consume to survive. Rose McIver’s Liv Moore is a fun and refreshing take on the “monster” character, she’s both in constant need of protection as she is a deadly threat to others. That’s some real duality.
The show is backed by an amazing supporting cast and unlike some shows that have ran on CW, this one doesn’t feel at all like one where the main characters aren’t the best part of the show. The four main characters are all incredibly amazing and fun, with each character being likable but flawed. There is no bad relationship dynamics, with both Major Lilywhite and Liv Moore being star struck lovers, both forced to date elsewhere due to their inability to be together; despite both being in love with one another. It’s harder to pull off but much more gratifying than the unnecessary tension of the two main leads.
2) The Munsters
– The show that really started it all, what every other show is compared to or takes ideas from. A show where Frankenstein’s monster knocks up the daughter of a legendary vampire and she gives birth to a werewolf. But the blonde, seemingly normal niece, is the weird one. LOGIC!
As you see, I put both the original “Munsters” and the new-failed reboot “Mockingbird Lane” in the photo. Why? Because I believe both are worth watching. I feel “Mockingbird Lane” had a great cast, backed by a hilarious Grandpa and compassionate Lily aka Eddy Izzard and Portia de Rossi, with strong performances from Jerry O’Connell as the lovable Herman and the seductive and quiet Charity Wakefield, who played Marylin. Each character popped, and were unique in their presentation.
The new cast payed homage to the original but each character was slightly different. O’Connell’s Herman wasn’t silly or aloof but was a good natured man who wanted to do right. Lily was more awe inspiring in her presentation and execution, and more assertive compared to her 50-60’s counterpart. Grandpa may of been the most drastic, as he was borderline villainous in the reboot, wanting his grand son to embrace his werewolf side and kill. Though, like the original grandpa, he cared deeply about his family, even Herman, despite their differences.
Whether it’s the iconic original or the greatly underappreciated reboot, The Munster family will always remain a major part of our supernatural fandom.
– Thirteen seasons. They’ll have 300 episodes when it’s all said and done. A loyal and loving cast who make sacrifices to remain with the series they love so much. Fairly pin point accurate presentation of real lore. All wrapped up around the idea of what family means and who qualifies as family. The series has stronger seasons and weaker seasons but the weakest of seasons are still better than most shows strong seasons. It’s easy to argue that seasons 4-5 are the best, but seven was awesome, eleven was dynamic and twelve left us all reeling with that finish.
The show also never shied away from talking about topics like religion, showcasing the true depth of loss and how one can overcome it. The show has also dropped more fan favorite characters than Walking Dead has, and has had very few “bad” characters. Just about every major character introduced into the series finds away to strike a chord with the fandom. Hell, much like “Reaper”, it’s hard not to argue that The Devil might be one of the most charming and interesting characters on the series.
Unlike most other series, “Supernatural” showcases both the ‘good’ and ‘evil’ sides, and showing just how similar their goals are at times. Which is a pretty good metaphor for life. While we may be on different sides, at times – no matter how different we may be – the end goal is the same. Sometimes what’s best for one side, is best for both. That’s pretty heavy when you think about it.
Plus Castiel and his cellphone woes are hilarious.