It’s frustrating when looking for a tv show and not knowing where to look to find one that you like. So I decided to make some lists to help. There can be any number of reasons why someone likes a show, so I will try to get a few different options.
The first one, if you like Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
The obvious next option is Angel, since not only is it a spin off that carries many of Buffy’s characters (Angel, Cordelia, later Spike), but it has many crossovers with Buffy. For those who don’t know, the show follows Angel, a vampire with a soul, who moves to LA and sets up a group that works to help innocent people. Also obvious choices are Dollhouse and Firefly as they are Joss Whedon’s other TV show creations. I would also recommend checking out his online smash hit Dr. Horrible’s Sing-along Blog.
If what you like about the show is magic and the slightly silly lines while kicking butt, a great option is Charmed. This show follows 3 sisters who learn they are witches, the Charmed Ones, to be specific. Their job is to fight the forces of evil and protect the world, while trying to maintain a normal life. There’s also Eastwick which is very similar to Charmed but not quite as good.
If it’s the vampires and mythology that you enjoy, True Blood, a current show, is a good option. Sookie Stackhouse, a telepath in love withe the vampire Bill Compton (he’s the show’s Angel, tall dark, mysterious, and human-like in his morals). Vampires have revealed themselves to the world and want equality and the world is reeling. Can vampires ever fit in with the rest of the world. This is a more serious show than Buffy with none of the snappy dialogue and a lot more sex.
Not to be outdone on the vampire-front, the CW has The Vampire Diaries this fall, about two vampire brothers who are interested in a girl whose parents died and who is trying to get on with her life.
Also a vampire-related show is the new show on ABC, The Gates. It follows a closed off community that has some supernatural residents who are trying to live normal lives but can’t seem to escape their supernatural selves. Not the best description but so far it has been pretty good.
One more vampire show in the mix (though this one is not exclusively vampires) is Being Human. This show follows a vampire, a werewolf, and a ghost as they try to figure out what it means to be human and attempt to live normal lives. There is actually a British and an American version of this show. Both are solid in their own ways and are some of the best genre writing I have seen in a while (perhaps because this is a bit darker and more morally ambiguous than a lot of what is on TV these days). The British version also has a spin off webseries called Becoming Human which is a fun bonus.
Another werewolf option is MTV’s Teen Wolf about Scott, a teenager who gets turned into a werewolf when bitten and must learn to control his abilities. The show is full of teen romance, mystery, and excitement. The writers said they looked to Buffy as an example of how they wanted to shape the series, so that should be a good sign for what’s to come.
If what you like about Buffy is the superhero action, then Heroes is a show for you. It’s an X-men type show, humans with abilities like flying, healing, time/space traveling, super strength, etc. The show was canceled, but I’ve found it pretty good all the way through. Most people will say only Season One was good though.
The 4400 is another people with abilities show, though this one is more out there because its premise is that 4400 people were abducted throughout history and then they were returned to earth at the same time, unchanged, except for the development of unique abilities. They too experience fear and discrimination from people who assume they must be dangerous because of their abilities.
The CW’s Smallville and Supernatural are also options. Smallville follows Clark Kent as he grows into his Superman abilities while Supernatural follows a pair of brothers (later 3 brothers) as they look into supernatural occurances and (in the beginning) search for their father. If you like the teen-type shows (like Buffy) then these shows could be a good option for you. While I’m not a fan of Supernatural (it’s too formulaic for me), I find Smallville to be a lot of fun, largely because I grew up on Superman.
Fringe is like the grown up version of Supernatural, on Fox. While I didn’t take to this fantasy show at first, I gave it another shot at my sister’s recommendation and found that I was missing out on a great show..
For some really old school magic-filled options, shows like Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Bewitched, and I Dream of Jeannie are some fun options to watch. Sabrina is closer to the Buffy style of show, while the others are a lot older, though still fun.
Legend of the Seeker is another show that I really enjoy that is shrouded by magic and action. Unlike the other shows on this list, it does not take place in the modern world, rather being a part of the typical fantasy medieval ages, but it’s still a show to consider if you like a tragic love story, a quest to save the world, and magical intrigue.
Two shows coming from out of country that I would also add to this list are The Listener and Merlin. Merlin, like Legend of the Seeker, is a medieval times type magic story (following Merlin before he was Arthur’s personal wizard), but I find it interesting for the same reason that I enjoy Smallville. I like retellings of old stories. The Listener, though it wasn’t well received in the US, is a show I enjoy. It tells the story of an EMT who, like Sookie Stackhouse, can read minds. He uses his abilities to help people, while hiding what he can do from others and trying to put together the missing pieces of his past.
Lost and Ghost Whisperer both fit into this list as well. Ghost Whisperer staring Jennifer Love Hewitt, is about a woman who can see ghosts and helps them move on into the next life. Her gift constantly disrupts her social life, but it often comes in handy too. Lost is a completely different type of show, following a group of plane crash survivors who landed on a mysterious island where unexplainable things happen. You’ll have to keep watching to see where that story is going.
Finally, I am going to offer something different to the list. These shows only marginally fit the category, but are still worth considering anyway. Pushing Daisies and Dead Like Me, both dark comedies, are shows that are surrounded by the supernatural world. Dead Like Me follows Georgia Lass after she dies and, instead of moving on, remains on earth to act as a grim reaper, collecting the souls of people before they die. Pushing Daisies follows Ned, a pie maker who can bring things and people back from the dead. The catch, if they live for more than a min, someone else will die and if he touches them again, they die for good. This becomes complicated when he brings back his childhood sweetheart and the two, though in love, can’t touch ever again. Both were sadly canceled after two seasons, but they are definitely worth taking a look at.
That’s my list for now, anything else you think should be on this list?
For more “If You Likes…” check out these lists: Star Trek, Full House, Heroes, 24, and Friends.
Buy these great shows on dvd!
Buffy The Vampire Slayer – Collector’s Set (40 discs)
Angel: Seasons 1-5 (Collectors Set)
Dark Angel – The Complete Series