20 Fantasy Series with Magic and Adventure to Stream Right Now

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20 Fantasy Series with Magic and Adventure to Stream Right Now

Following years of being overlooked by mainstream audiences or shoved into the darkest corners of the internet, fantasy series have been on the rise since the end of Game of Thrones in 2019. The HBO drama broke a number of different barriers when it became a massive hit that captured viewers’ attention around the world, racking up numerous Emmy nominations and awards in the process. And while it’s not possible for every new addition to the genre to hit the sky-high marks of Thrones, it’s important to celebrate and embrace new and existing fantasy programming. Audiences are finally seeing the merits of said shows, which, like the similar science-fiction genre, allow us to escape into new and exciting worlds or realms and explore complicated topics like unchecked power, or the never-ending battle between good and evil through epic adventures and deep character explorations.

Netflix was an earlier adopter of ambitious fantasy programming, but other streaming services and TV networks have entered the conversation too. So whether you’re looking for something to check out with younger viewers or just looking for yourself, these fantasy series will allow you to escape into a new world without ever leaving your couch.



Shadow and Bone


Watch on Netflix

Adapted from Leigh Bardugo’s popular Grishaverse trilogy and the subsequent Six of Crows duology, Netflix’s Shadow and Bone features a familiar Chosen One narrative with broad enough appeal to attract even those who think they don’t like fantasy. Set in Ravka, a fictional country based on Russia that is divided by the ominous Shadow Fold—an area of oppressive darkness where hideous creatures feast on human flesh—an orphan named Alina Starkov (Jessie Mei Li) discovers she alone possesses the power to save her country from the forces of darkness that threaten to destroy it when her ability to summon and control light makes itself known.

As Alina contends with those who would like to use her and her unique ability and those who want to snuff it out completely, the show digs into larger themes of destiny and abuses of power without ever shying away from some more difficult topics like racism and oppression. While it isn’t going to blaze any new trails in the fantasy genre, the show does set itself apart from other series with a story that is packed full of emotion and backed by a distinct mythology.


The Wheel of Time

Watch on Amazon Prime

“The wheel weaves as the wheel wills,” and for Prime Video’s fantasy series, it wills it quickly. Running an economic eight hourlong episodes in its first season, The Wheel of Time is a brisk entry to Robert Jordan’s massive novel series, which evidently contains 2,782 distinct characters. Amazon’s version doesn’t have quite that many, not yet, but I can genuinely say that as a newbie to the franchise it took me several episodes and many tabs to understand what anyone’s name actually was. And yet, this adaptation—developed by Rafe Judkins—does everything it can to be accessible to viewers unfamiliar with the source material.

It doesn’t hurt that the fantasy beats are familiar: There is a battle between light and dark, as well as a Chosen One (the “Dragon Reborn”) who will fight to save humanity—or destroy it in the process. There are critters and creatures and a magic that can only be wielded by women, plus a cult looking to eradicate the use of magic, pretenders to the would-be throne, and a hellish army of darkness. Navigating all of this are four young adults (any of whom could be the fabled savior) shepherded by a powerful sorceress named Moraine (Rosamund Pike).

The Wheel of Time teases out so much, but whether or not it eventually fills that out—or if its surface-level telling of this story will lead viewers to a deeper connection with the series itself—is uncertain regarding its future seasons. For now, it’s a fun ride. —Allison Keene


Pushing Daisies

Watch on Max

Bryan Fuller’s whimsical romantic comedy is one of the most unique shows you’ll ever see. The series stars Lee Pace as a pie-maker with the gift to revive dead things for one minute, after which he must either let it die again or have something (or someone) die in its place. In spectacular TV fashion, he uses his gift to help a local private detective (Chi McBride) solve murders, along with his revived childhood love (Anna Friel), whom he can never touch again without killing her forever. Kristin Chenoweth rounds out the supporting cast as Ned’s co-worker, who of course gets a few musical ballads to sing along the way. This fairy-tale romantic comedy is distinct for its bright, saturated color palate and fantastical approach to the murder mystery. The series has garnered a passionate cult following since its cancellation, and remains one of the most wonderfully funny and charming shows to ever grace TV screens. —Leila Jordan


Game of Thrones

Watch on Max

Let’s get the big one out of the way: If you consider yourself a fan of fantasy or you want to get into it and have yet to watch HBO’s Game of Thrones, the Emmy-winning adaptation of George R.R. Martin’s popular A Song of Ice and Fire book series, it’s an obvious place to start. Set in the fictional realm of Westeros, the show is a sprawling epic that draws on political conflict and elements of fantasy to tell a fascinating story about power, who wields it, and how. Initially slow-moving as the series introduces the many players involved and their complicated motivations and swiftly changing allegiances, the show is unmatched in its world-building. Its deep and complex mythology involves everything from dragons to White Walkers, a supernatural zombie-like threat from the north that threatens the very existence of humanity. While the final season has received its share of fair criticism for poor pacing and shoddy plotting, the ambitious nature of the story and the scope of spectacle throughout its run makes Game of Thrones one of the best and most exciting fantasy shows in television history.


House of the Dragon

House of the Dragon Letter Reviews: Episode 10

Watch on Max

The big question facing House of the Dragon, HBO’s Game of Thrones prequel, was what version of its predecessor it would take after. Would it be the brilliant first seasons, with great characters and even better plot, or the woeful supernova implosion of the end? The good news is, they chose the right path here in letting George R.R. Martin’s gripping story of the Targaryen dynasty carry the heaviest weight. The ambition is in all the right places, with a terrific cast (led by Paddy Considine as King Viserys I Targaryen and Emma D’Arcy as his daughter and heir Rhaenyra) who are allowed to put their efforts into selling the political intrigue at King’s Landing. Matching the breathless plot of early Game of Thrones is an impossibly high bar, and one this show doesn’t quite clear, but it’s nevertheless a very good effort, full of tension, heartbreak, and those rare moments of pure triumph, that will delight fans of the Song of Ice and Fire universe and fare nicely even among those who just appreciate a great story. That word, “story,” is essential here, and it’s a massive sigh of relief that the creators know it. —Shane Ryan




Watch on Amazon Prime

A lot of fantasy is based on existing myths, legends, and folklore, and although you might think you know the story of the famous King Arthur and Merlin, you’ve never seen it told quite like this before. The fan-favorite Merlin, which aired on the BBC from 2008 until 2012, is set in a version of Camelot in which magic has been outlawed. The story begins when Arthur Pendragon (Bradley James) and the wizard known as Merlin (Colin Morgan) are young men who cannot stand each other, but after the latter becomes the former’s personal servant, they put their issues aside and become fast friends. And this is a good thing for both men, since Merlin has to often use his gifts in secret to save Arthur—often without him knowing—so the latter can one day fulfill his destiny as the man who will restore magic to the kingdom. If you’re looking for a lighter fantasy show than some of the others on this list, this is a really good, quite fun option with plenty of bromance.


The Sandman

Netflix’s The Sandman Is a Love Letter to Fans of Neil Gaiman’s Comics Classic

Watch on Netflix

For decades, it’s been a generally accepted bit of conventional entertainment wisdom that Neil Gaiman’s landmark series The Sandman was essentially unadaptable. Though various interested parties have been attempting to figure out how to bring some version of this story to the screen since the early 1990s, they all eventually found themselves broken on the rocks of the comic’s epic scope, complex lore, and constantly shifting genres. Until now.

In the most basic sense, The Sandman is the story of Morpheus (Tom Sturridge), informally referred to as Dream, the Lord of the Dreaming, and one of seven immortal beings known as the Endless who are essentially personifications of various aspects of human reality. The series begins with Dream’s capture by a mortal occultist named Roderick Burgess (Charles Dance), who strips him of his symbols of office—a pouch of sand, a powerful magical ruby, and his very disturbing Helmet of Dreams—and holds him prisoner for the better part of a century. The episodes that follow see the Lord of the Dreaming attempt to rebuild the kingdom that has fallen into disrepair in his absence, try to find his missing totems of power, and reconnect with his family—various members (Destiny, Death, Desire, Despair, Delirium, and Destruction), who have mixed feelings of their own about his return.

Netflix’s lush, 10-episode first season of The Sandman isn’t perfect. But it’s so, so much more than I ever thought I’d get. And it also comes pretty darn close to doing the impossible, especially in its first six episodes, which manage to mirror the episodic nature of the comic itself, shifting genres, time periods, and storytelling styles from episode to episode and crafting an interconnected world full of hidden corners to explore and new stories to seek out. Yes, there are changes to the source material, including multiple gender-swapped characters, new and expanded roles for previously minor figures, and a few notable alterations to the way certain characters are introduced. But the story tends to err on the side of expanding its narrative and filling in gaps rather than change for its own sake, and the world of the show feels even richer and more lived in as a result. —Lacy Baugher Milas


The Legend of Vox Machina

The Legend of Vox Machina Ventures Forth to Adapt a Tabletop Gaming Experience with Charming

Watch on Amazon Prime

Prime Video’s The Legend of Vox Machina arrived just as D&D’s corporate owners were making moves to bring the property back to the big screen and fans of roleplaying games were interrogating the hobby’s foundational biases. While the show doesn’t have any official connection to the game, the setting and characters are transparently grounded in tabletop RPG logic and archetypes. The voice actors of Critical Role reprise their roles in this (really violent, occasionally sexually explicit) animated series about a group of down-on-their-luck mercenaries engaging in familiar high fantasy shenanigans, including bar room brawls. In a departure from other attempts to adapt RPG properties, the show’s focus is much more on the characters’ grim backstories and a lived-in group dynamic than any fusty lore. While the principal cast itself isn’t the most diverse, the show studiously avoids the underlying biases that the TTRPG industry and community are interrogating and reflects the sensibilities of a new generation of eager gamers. —Kenneth Lowe


The Witcher

Watch on Netflix

Fans of high fantasy will appreciate Netflix’s The Witcher, as it prioritizes an epic narrative and insightful character moments over the sex and spectacle that other shows seem to rely on (although it has some of that, as well). Adapted from a series of novels by Polish writer Andrzej Sapkowski and a subsequent video game franchise, the series is set in a fictional world in an area known as the Continent, where gruesome supernatural creatures exist alongside humans, mages, and other more familiar beings found in fantasy. Henry Cavill stars in the first three seasons as Geralt of Rivia, a monster-hunter-for-hire known as a witcher whose main antagonist might actually be the plot. But with numerous quests to go on and monsters that need to be defeated, the show balances a lot of fascinating world-building with an overarching story involving Geralt’s destiny being tied to that of a young princess (Freya Allan’s Ciri). A warning though: Some viewers complained the series is difficult to follow, so for those who haven’t read the source material, the key to enjoying The Witcher is to know that—SPOILER ALERT!—the first season is told out of order, with multiple timelines that begin to converge near the end of the season. Knowing this doesn’t really spoil anything that happens, but it will likely increase your enjoyment.


His Dark Materials

Watch on Max

The first book in Philip Pullman’s beloved His Dark Materials trilogy was adapted for the big screen in 2007, but unfortunately not very well, which is why plans for the other two books were shelved. HBO’s attempt to tackle the complex subject matter, while not perfect, does a much better job of bringing to life the intricate world depicted on the page. With deep contemplations about the dangers of unchecked power and dogmatic belief wrapped up in a compelling coming-of-age story about the young and spirited Lyra Belacqua (Dafne Keen), the fantasy show is probably best suited for older viewers or young adults who’ll understand its lessons, but it is not completely out of the realm of enjoyment for younger viewers either.

Set in an alternate-world Oxford, where souls manifest as animals known as daemons who live and walk alongside their humans, the series follows Lyra as she sets out on a quest to find Oxford’s missing children. This thrusts her into a larger conspiracy involving dangerous people known as Gobblers, the possibility of multiple worlds, and a mysterious particle known as Dust that is only attracted to adults. Much like how Shadow and Bone built out its world by introducing characters from another set of books, the writers of His Dark Materials have taken some liberties in their adaptation too, introducing characters from the second book of the trilogy in the first season, helping to build out a story and a world that only gets more interesting as it goes.



Watch on Netflix

Netflix and RiotGame’s Arcane, based on the decade-old League of Legends multiplayer online battle arena game, is a revelation. Stunningly crafted in a mix of 2D and 3D by French animation studio Fortiche Productions, Arcane is created and showrun by League video game architects Christian Linke and Alex Yee. For years, the duo and their studio have cultivated a passionate and massively dedicated community of 8 million players who have immersed themselves in the games, tie-in comics, and music videos that make up the complex mythology of the world. But as so many videogame-to-movie adaptations have proved, even hit games have a rough time translating to a new medium. It’s the perpetual challenge for even the best creatives: finding the right balance of fan service while engaging non-gamer audiences.

Not unlike other heavy world-building series like Game of Thrones or Shadow and Bone, Arcane mostly concerns itself with political and familial conflicts in a world where magic exists. If you happen to be a gamer, the art deco-meets-steampunk aesthetics of Piltover and Zaun will immediately draw parallels to the lauded Bioshock games. If you’re not, it doesn’t matter because a huge part of the appeal of the series is getting lost in how visually immersive every frame of this show is. The textures, lighting, and color palettes—dank and neon in the under city, which juxtaposes against the more pastel and metallic topside—are a feast for the eyes.

Even if you have no interest in picking up any kind of gaming console, do yourself a favor and give Arcane a try. It has more mature storytelling and emotional resonance than many live-action shows do right now. And it deserves to be lauded as the new benchmark for what can be done when it comes to successfully translating worthy videogame universes into a different medium while refusing to dumb down or simplify complex storytelling. Arcane is a world worth getting lost within. —Tara Bennett


Good Omens

Good Omens’ Hopeful Apocalypse Tale Is Exactly What TV Needs Right Now

Watch on Amazon Prime

Neil Gaiman’s passionate fans can safely dive into this adaptation of Good Omens. Since the author served as showrunner and handled the script himself, his vision comes through very much intact. The six-episode first season (a second season debuted in July 2023) follows the angel Aziraphale (Michael Sheen) and the demon Crowley (David Tennant) as they team up to avert the apocalypse. It has sensibilities that recall the work of Terry Gilliam and the films of Powell and Pressburger. It’s funny, eccentric (sometimes downright hammy) and quite poignant, and it’s got a totally delightful script and a mostly amazing cast, including Frances McDormand as the voice of God and Benedict Cumberbatch as the voice of Satan. But for all its virtues, the standout feature of Good Omens is the incredible chemistry between Tennant and Sheen, who make sparks fly every time they appear onscreen together. Happily for us, that’s most of the show.—Amy Glynn


The Magicians

Watch on Netflix

The Magicians was initially sold to viewers as “Harry Potter for adults” because it’s set at a secret school for magicians (no, not that kind) and folks apparently have limited imaginations and interests. The Syfy show is so much more than that. Based on the books by Lev Grossman, the series stars Jason Ralph as Quentin Coldwater, a grad student who finds out the rich magical world that was depicted in his favorite fantasy books growing up is actually real, and threatens the real world as we know it. At the beginning of the show, he enrolls in Brakebills University to be trained as a magician, thus joining several other young twenty-somethings on an adventure that cleverly flips the script on some of the genre’s most obvious tropes. Often darkly funny while still tackling serious topics, The Magicians got off to a slow start, but if you stick with it, you’ll be rewarded with one of the best fantasy shows of the last 20 years.


Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power

Watch on Amazon Prime

Prime Video’s lavishly expensive Lord of the Rings prequel series has been something of an industry cautionary tale, from its hefty price tag to the inevitable comparisons to Peter Jackson’s Oscar-winning trilogy of films. After all, if you’re going to come at the king—or, in this case, The Return of the King—you best not miss. Thankfully, The Rings of Power doesn’t miss. A gorgeous and welcome return to Middle-earth, the series not only looks amazing with epic and impressive visuals, more importantly feels right emotionally. Grand in scale but intimate in its story, this is a series that’s as grounded in relationships as it is prophecy, as concerned with what the threat of Sauron means to the everyday lives of the races of Middle-earth as it is the larger battle of good and evil written across ages.

Set during the Second Age, The Rings of Power takes place thousands of years before the events of Jackson’s movies, the series weaves together at least half a dozen major plots and twice that many main characters with a confidence that makes its slow, deliberate pace feel as though it’s organically building toward the potentially world-ending stakes that are in all their futures. I’m looking forward to finding out whether that confidence is truly warranted, but thus far, this series certainly makes me want to believe in magic, enough that I’ll be very happy to see this road go (ever on and) on for several more seasons to come. —Lacy Baugher-Milas


Gravity Falls

Watch on Hulu

Watch on Disney+

When you think of fantasy, you probably don’t immediately think of a show like Gravity Falls, which is an animated series that ran from 2012 to 2016 on Disney Channel and Disney XD. It isn’t set in a fictional world (unless you think Oregon isn’t real) and it doesn’t follow the more typical tropes of the genre either. But the Alex Hirsch-created comedy about two twins, Mabel (Kristen Schaal) and Dipper Pines (Jason Ritter), who spend the summer visiting their strange great uncle Stan (Hirsch) in a town where the bizarre is also the norm, is a one-of-a-kind show that blends poignant coming-of-age stories with comedy, satire, and elements of fantasy to create a story that is fun for all ages. With an overarching narrative involving a mysterious journal that might explain all the odd things that go on in town—including the appearance of an interdimensional being who takes the form of a top hat-wearing triangle—the series also features plenty of smaller adventures that capture the twins’ attention and help make the summer one to remember. If you’re looking for something that is extremely easy to watch, full of laughs, and not quite as out-there as some of the other shows on this list, Gravity Falls cannot be beat.


The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance

Watch on Netflix

A prequel to Jim Henson’s 1982 cult film The Dark Crystal, Netflix’s TV series Age of Resistance is one of the most impressive feats of puppeteering and practical effects we’ve ever seen. It’s truly unlike anything else on this list and probably unlike anything you’ve ever seen before. And because the events of the show occur prior to the events of the film, you don’t necessarily need to have seen the film in order to enjoy the series. That being said, having some background knowledge might help you keep everything straight as this is an intricate and unique world that doesn’t play within the sandbox that many of these other shows do. Set on the planet Thra, the series primarily follows three members of the elf-like race of Gelflings (voiced by Taron Egerton, Nathalie Emmanuel, and Anya Taylor-Joy) as they embark on an epic quest to unite the different Gelfling clans against the reptilian Skeksis, who have damaged the crystal that acts as the beating heart of the planet, and allowed a sickness to spread across the land as a result. This one might not be for the casual fantasy fan, but it remains must-see TV regardless because of the incredible work on display.


Warrior Nun

Warrior Nun's Cancellation Marks a New Low in Netflix's Commitment to Killing Good Shows

Watch on Netflix

Netflix’s Warrior Nun, from Van Helsing creator Simon Barry, is half young-adult TV, half kickass nuns with guns; what more could you ask for? The series follows 19-year old former quadriplegic Ava Silva (Alba Baptista) as she takes on the role of the Warrior Nun (the leader of a secret sect of demon-fighting nuns called the Order of the Cruciform Sword), following the sect’s sacred halo being shoved into her back, bringing her back from the dead. The first season follows a coming-of-age arc for Ava, as she struggles to accept her newfound duty after getting both her life and her limbs back. In the second season, the series builds on Ava’s newfound heroism, while immersing her further into the lore of the world. Teaming up with her best friend Beatrice (Kristina Tonteri-Young) and rejoining forces with Sisters Camila (Olivia Delcán), Lilith (Lorena Andrea), and Mother Superion (Sylvia De Fanti), Ava and the OCS must save the world from becoming a brainwashed hellscape under the “angel” Adriel’s (William Miller) reign.

While delivering beautiful fight sequences, classic coming-of-age storylines, and a tasteful amount of sacrilege, Warrior Nun also offers a unique type of sapphic catharsis with its queer storytelling. The second season picks up the baton from the first, culminating in a beautiful love story between two women bound by duty and sacrifice, delivering us from queerbait and heartbreak. —Anna Govert



Watch on Netflix

If you’ve already watched a lot of the shows on this list and you’re looking for something a little off-kilter but more accessible than, say, Gelflings, Matt Groening’s animated parody of medieval fantasy stories, Disenchantment, is worth a look. Aimed at adults and set in Dreamland—a fully realized world full of fantasy and magic—the show follows the adventures of a a central trio: a princess named Bean (Abbi Jacobson) who loves beer and is reluctant to take on the responsibilities of adulthood; an elf named Elfo (Nat Faxon) who obviously has a crush on Bean; and a feline-like demon known as Luci (Eric Andre) who has been sent to keep an eye on Bean. Early on in its run the show relies on episodic adventures to set the stage, but towards the end of Season 1 the show finally embraces serialized storytelling, showing off its true potential as an engaging and funny series that knows how to poke fun at, but still have fun within, the fantasy genre.


Sweet Tooth

Meet the Human-Deer Hybrid Hero of Sweet Tooth in the First Trailer for Netflix Series

Watch on Netflix

In the wrong hands, a live-action Sweet Tooth is the definition of a nightmare waiting to happen. Happily, Netflix’s adaptation retains the lyrical qualities, rich character exploration, and compelling world-building of Jeff Lemire’s comic series, while expanding and fleshing out narrative elements that only add to its depth and resonance.

There is a warm, folksy charm to Sweet Tooth, where the core plot is told from the perspective of 10-year-old Gus (Christian Convery), a “hybrid” boy who is clearly part deer, as noted via his ears and antlers. Raised in solitude for a decade by his father, Pubba (Will Forte), inside a deep forest because of the pandemic, Gus is socially immature (to say the least) but rich in compassion. He’s inquisitive and stubborn, but deeply attached to his dad and the idyllic little cabin bubble they live within. Unfortunately, he’s incredibly unprepared for reality in the outside world.

Without every being annoying or cloying, there’s a natural wit to Convery’s entire performance that adds subtle layers to the new friendships and alliances he makes with adults and kids once he’s forced out of his bubble. In particular, his connection with Tommy Jepperd (Nonso Anozie), a loner/survivor who grudgingly saves Gus’ life and gets stuck shepherding the kid to Colorado, is a masterful evolution from mutual irritation to an earned bond that becomes one of the most important emotional arcs of the whole series. —Tara Bennett


Dead Boy Detectives

Dead Boy Detectives main

Watch on Netflix

Set in the same universe as Netflix’s Neil Gaiman adaptation The Sandman, Dead Boy Detectives follows the story of Edwin Payne (George Rexstrew) and Charles Rowland (Jayden Revri), two ghosts who became best friends after their deaths. Now, they refuse to part from one another, even if staying together means spending most of their time avoiding and running from Death (Kirby Howell-Baptiste), the member of the Endless charged with escorting souls to whatever afterlife is meant to come next for each of them. Rather than move on, they’ve founded the Dead Boy Detectives, an investigative agency meant to solve supernatural mysteries and help ghosts find the answers that could give them a shot at peace. The series’ eight episodes are largely framed around a series of case-of-the-week-style investigations, with a handful of overarching plots tying them all together. Entertaining, often quite weird, and strangely charming by turns, Dead Boy Detectives doesn’t quite reach the emotional and narrative heights of The Sandman. But it’s a good time in its own right, and its existence serves as an important reminder that there is (so much) more to this fictional world than Tom Sturridge’s Dream, and plenty of hidden corners worth exploring. Here’s hoping this adventure is just the first of many. —Lacy Baugher Milas

Kaitlin Thomas is an entertainment journalist and TV critic. Her work has appeared in TV Guide, Salon, and TV.com, among other places. You can find her tweets about TV, sports, and Walton Goggins @thekaitling or read more of her work at kaitlinthomas.com.

For all the latest TV news, reviews, lists and features, follow @Paste_TV.

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