Best fantasy series on Netflix: 18 shows to stream if you’re in need of an escape

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From The Witcher to Mystic Pop-Up Bar, these are the fantasy TV shows worth streaming on Netflix.     

To quote a very wise little crab, the human world is a mess. Is it any wonder, then, that so many of us are counting down the days until Shadow And Bone lands on Netflix and whisks us away to a magical new world?

Of course, we have a wee while to wait until the much-anticipated TV series premieres (April feels a very long way off, especially in lockdown). With this in mind, then, we’ve pored through the abundance of fantasy shows already on Netflix and compiled a list of the very best.

On your marks, get set, and stream for some serious escapism…

The Witcher  

The Witcher’s Anya Chalotra
Anya Chalotra portrays Yennefer of Vengerberg in The Witcher.

One for fans of traditional fantasy, The Witcher tells the story of Geralt (Henry Cavill), a mutated monster hunter struggling to find his place in a world in which people often prove more wicked than beasts. 

There are elves, dwarves, sorceresses, werewolves, and other less familiar creatures drawn from Slavic myth. And there’s an abundance of excellent female characters to root for, too; think sorceress Yennefer of Vengerberg (Anya Chalotra) and everyone’s favourite princess-on-the-run Cirilla (Freya Allan), to name but two.

Once Upon A Time 

Set in the fictional seaside town of Storybrooke, Maine, this long-running magical series looks like your run-of-the-mill drama… until you learn that the townsfolk are actually fairy tale characters.

So what are they doing in the real world? And why do they have no recollection of their storied pasts? Why, because they were spirited here by Regina, the Evil Queen (Lana Parrilla), who used a powerful dark curse obtained from Rumplestiltskin (Robert Carlyle) to rob them of their memories.

Their fate rests in the very ordinary Emma Swan (Jennifer Morrison), who just so happens to be the only daughter of Snow White (Ginnifer Goodwin) and Prince Charming (Josh Dallas). Go figure.

Warrior Nun 

Warrior Nun is now streaming on Netflix.
Warrior Nun is now streaming on Netflix.

If you prefer your fantasy to come with a healthy helping of big bold Buffy vibes, look no further than Warrior Nun. Inspired by the Manga novels, the series revolves around a 19-year-old woman who wakes up in a morgue with a divine artefact embedded in her back. 

You guessed it; she’s the “chosen one,” tasked with fighting demons on Earth. And it absolutely is fun to watch, despite being overwhelmingly silly at times, too.

The Dark Crystal: Age Of Resistance 

Just like the original Dark Crystal movie, this prequel series takes place on the planet of Thra, and tells the story of three Gelfling who discover the secret to the soul-sucking Skeksis’ power and set out on a journey to try and save their world.

Trust us, though: this show might involve Jim Henson’s puppets, but its dark themes make it far more suitable for adults than children.

Good Witch 

Cassie Nightingale (Catherine Bell) owns a shop called Bell, Book & Candle, runs a cute little B&B in Middleton, USA, and is doing her best to move on with her life after the death of her husband. Oh, and she’s a good-natured witch, obviously.

Gentle, sentimental, and very Hallmark original, this is ideal cosy viewing for anyone who can’t take high-stakes drama right now.

Lucifer

A still from Lucifer on Netflix
Lucifer gets his kicks helping the LAPD.

Clue’s in the title here, everyone; Lucifer (Tom Ellis) is a fun-loving demon, fresh outta hell and running a nightclub in Los Angeles. It’s not long, though, before he finds himself embroiled with local police and (here’s when the fun comes in) assisting them in solving fiendishly tricky criminal cases.

The Order 

The Order is one of the most popular fantasy series on Netflix.
The Order is one of the most popular fantasy series on Netflix.

Boasting a bevy of demons, secret magical societies, and dark family secrets, The Order is one of the most popular fantasy series on Netflix. And, yeah, it’s got the 100% ‘fresh’ rating on Rotten Tomatoes to prove it, too.

The story, for those who aren’t caught up already, follows Jack Morton (Jake Manley) who, out to avenge his mother’s death, joins a fabled secret society, the Hermetic Order of the Blue Rose.

There, he is thrust unceremoniously into a world of magic, monsters and intrigue – and gets caught in the middle of a deadly underground battle being fought between werewolves and sorcerers. As you do.

Throw in a spiderweb of dark family secrets to be unravelled, and you really do have more than enough to keep you engrossed for hours on end. 

She-Ra And The Princess Of Power

Fans of the original will no doubt remember the courageous character of Princess Adora, who defeats the Evil Horde as she transforms into She-Ra to free the planet of Etheria with her magical sword, slaying powers and gang of magical princesses in tow. 

She-Ra is pure girl power TV.
She-Ra is pure girl power TV.

This critically acclaimed reboot, you’ll be pleased to know, packs just as much of a punch, with our beloved Adora leading a group of other magical princesses into a rebellion against the evil Lord Hordak.

All together now? “For the honour of Grayskull!”

Castlevania

Castlevania may be a cartoon, but it’s definitely not for kids. Inspired by the popular video game series, the dark and brooding fantasy series follows the last surviving member of the disgraced Belmont clan, Trevor Belmont, as he fights his hardest to save Eastern Europe from extinction at the hands of Vlad Dracula Tepes. 

Merlin

It’s hard to believe that the first episode of Merlin aired well over 10 years ago, back in 2008. It holds up well, though, weaving an engrossing tale of a teenage King Arthur and his wizard, Merlin, as they struggle to understand their destinies.

Chilling Adventures Of Sabrina 

Chilling Adventures Of Sabrina is... well, it’s chilling. Very chilling.
Chilling Adventures Of Sabrina is... well, it’s chilling. Very chilling.

The Chilling Adventures Of Sabrina traffics in horror, the occult, and witchcraft as its eponymous character struggles to come to terms with her half-human, half-witch heritage. 

Yeah, Netflix’s version of Sabrina is nothing like the 90s original. That’s no bad thing, though, as it conjures up a very different kind of horror-fantasy for viewers to get stuck into.

So, will Kiernan Shipka’s teen witch be able to protect her family and friends from dark forces looming over Riverdale’s neighbouring community Greendale? What exactly do her aunts do with the bodies that come through the Spellman Mortuary? And what do you mean Harvey and Sabrina aren’t necessarily destined for happiness?

The Vampire Diaries 

Stylist’s Lucy Robson is obsessed with this one, and it’s easy to see why. Based on a series written 15 years before Twilight, it sees Nina Dobrev’s Elena fall hard for Stefan (Paul Wesley) on her first day at a new high school. 

She also, though, feels a connection with his brother, Damon (Ian Somerhalder), which is complicated. And she has no idea that both guys are, in fact, vampires, which is…

Well, which is even more complicated, when you think about it.

Blood Of Zeus 

Blood Of Zeus is a strikingly beautiful animated eight-part series that tells the tale of a human peasant, Heron, who learns he’s the son of Zeus. When a half-demon called Seraphim shows up, it opens up a whole can of worms and reignites a huge war between the Immortals of Olympus and the ancient Giants.

“It’s completely over the top, it’s pretty gory and you need quite an imagination to run with it,” cautions Stylist’s Hollie Richardson (who is, you guessed it, obsessed with the series). 

“But maybe that’s exactly the escapism that people need right now.”

The Originals

In this The Vampire Diaries spin-off, the original family of vampires settle down in the city of New Orleans that they helped to construct several decades ago. There, they encounter old buddies and confront new foes. And, while it’s nothing like this writer’s beloved What We Do In The Shadows (available to stream on BBC iPlayer, if you’re interested), it certainly scratches a vampiric itch.

Tidelands

Tidelands is moody, murky, and full of mermaids.
Tidelands is moody, murky, and full of mermaids.

Sick of witches and vampires? The incredibly moody Tidelands whisks us off to Australia, just as Cal McTeer (Charlotte Best) returns home to the small fishing village of Orphelin Bay after 10 years in juvenile detention. 

It’s not long, though, before she learns that her hometown is shrouded in mysteries, the greatest of which is the commune of outcasts who live in a hidden pocket of the bay. The same commune of outcasts who are, in fact, actually beautiful and dangerous half-Siren/half-humans.

Yes, fine, they’re basically mermaids. It’s a suspenseful slow-burn mystery about mermaids, with a plethora of jaw-droppingly beautiful ocean shots to lust over from your sofa. What’s not to love, eh?

Avatar: The Legend Of Korra 

Set some 70 years after the events of Avatar: The Last Airbender, this series – ostensibly made for kids, but too good to miss out on if you’re a wee bit older – tells the story of Korra (Janet Varney), an Avatar from the Southern Water Tribe.

With earth, water and fire under her belt, Korra must now master the art of airbending. And, in her quest to do so, she winds up in the Republic City, a land that is plagued by crime and a growing anti-bending revolution that threatens to tear the city apart. Eep.

The Worst Witch 

Mildred – who first sprung to life in Jill Murphy’s 1980s books – charmed readers with her clumsiness, her ineptitude for magic, and her naughty streak.

Most of all, though, we loved the young witch-in-training for her bravery, kindness, impulsiveness, and her adventurous streak. So it makes perfect sense that she’s played by Bella Ramsey in the magical Netflix reboot of The Worst Witch

As in, yes, Lyanna Mormont from Game Of Thrones. Keep up, please!

Mystic Pop-Up Bar 

Only open late at night, Mystic Pop-Up Bar tells the story of a mysterious pojangmacha that can travel to different worlds and heal customers through their dreams. But only if Weol-ju (Hwang Jung-eum), Han Kang-bae (Yook Sung-jae), and former afterlife detective Chief Gwi (Choi Won-young) can set their differences aside and work together, that is. 

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Images: Netflix

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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is Stylist’s digital editor-at-large. Her specialist topics include comic books, films, TV and feminism. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends.

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