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August 27, 2015

Top 20 Magic/Supernatural Shows Of All Time

by Laura Prudom, posted Dec 9th 2010 3:00PM
Mankind has always been fascinated by the things that we can't explain -- ghosts, vampires, magic, mystery -- and popular culture is saturated with TV shows and movies that play on that obsession.

From the campy, spellbinding classics of the '60s to the dark, spooky series that haunted the '90s, audiences have been fixated with the paranormal -- whether it's a butt-kicking blonde in killer heels, a couple of hunky demon-hunting brothers or a trio of sibling witches -- some of the most enduring shows in the history of television deal with the things that go bump in the night or the extraordinary powers we wish we could harness.

To further feed this dark, dangerous obsession with the extraordinary or otherworldly, TV Squad has compiled a list of our top 20 favorite TV shows dealing with magic and the world of the supernatural.

20. 'Sabrina the Teenage Witch'
The show that made Melissa Joan Hart a household name and prompted me to spend way too many hours of my childhood having conversations with my black cat in the hope that he would talk back, 'Sabrina' had a whole generation of kids wishing that they could have magical powers.

19. 'Ghost Whisperer'
Jennifer Love Hewitt might be best known for her iconic role as Sarah Reeves in 'Party of Five,' but she also gained fans for her five-year stint on this supernatural drama, which began airing in 2005 on CBS. With the unenviable gift to talk to ghosts, Hewitt's character was often tasked with helping the dead tie up their loose ends in order to pass on to the spirit world, all while trying to run an antique shop.

18. 'Fringe'
Though 'Fringe' is a little more sci-fi than supernatural, it features enough weird creatures and dimension-hopping madness to merit a place on our list -- and we've got to give Anna Torv and John Noble props for their ability to play alternate versions of their beloved characters with such style and menace.

17. 'Hercules: The Legendary Journeys'
Loosely based on Greek mythology and the legendary hero of the same name, 'Hercules' was responsible for making Kevin Sorbo a '90s sex symbol, and for launching Lucy Lawless' career by spawning the spin-off 'Xena: Warrior Princess'. The show often dealt with monsters and the magic of the gods, all while indulging in a deliciously campy adventure story.

16. 'Medium'
2005 seemed to be the year of women who could see dead people, with the NBC/CBS drama 'Medium' offering a more sensible (if any show about taking crime solving tips from ghosts can be considered sensible) look at paranormal investigation than 'Ghost Whisperer.' Allison DuBois (Patricia Arquette) acts as a medium who assists the Phoenix D.A. in solving murders.

15. 'Kolchak: The Night Stalker'
Often credited as being the inspiration for 'The X-Files,' 'Kolchak' centered around a newspaper reporter (Darren McGavin) who investigated unexplained crimes with supernatural causes, such as vampires, zombies and witches. It ran for only one season in 1974-75 before being resurrected in 2005 following the success of 'The X-Files.'

Angel14. 'Angel'
While its parent show 'Buffy' got more critical acclaim, Joss Whedon's 'Angel' easily developed into a darker, equally compelling supernatural show in its own right, focusing on adulthood where 'Buffy' battled adolescence, and making a bona fide star out of its lead, David Boreanaz.

13. 'Weird Science'
Based on the John Hughes movie of the same name, 'Weird Science' focused on the exploits of two socially inept nerds who accidentally manage to create their ideal woman from a computer experiment. The gorgeous being, Lisa, is endowed with (among other things) the powers of a genie, harkening back to the supernatural sitcoms of the '60s such as 'I Dream of Jeannie'. It ran for five seasons on the USA network.

12. 'I Dream of Jeannie'
Conceived by NBC in 1965 as a competitor for 'Bewitched,' which had debuted the year before on ABC to great ratings, the story of a genie called Jeannie (Barbara Eden) and her "master" Tony (Larry Hagman) was one of many supernatural-themed sitcoms of the '60s and '70s featuring a magically endowed woman. The show was never quite as successful as its ABC rival, but it did prove very popular in syndication. And we've got to wonder, would Christina Aguilera's career ever have gotten off the ground without it?

11. 'Pushing Daisies'
This short-lived but genius tale about a pie-maker (Lee Pace) with the ability to bring the dead back to life with a touch was taken from us way too soon, and we still haven't quite forgiven ABC for robbing the world of its quirky charm -- the star-crossed love affair of Ned and Chuck was far more compelling than the supernatural aspects of the show, but we think it deserves to make the list for its originality alone.

Charmed10. 'Charmed'
A perfect example of how good things come in threes, 'Charmed' was a ratings smash for The WB back in 1998, running for 8 seasons and becoming a cult hit in the process. It followed the trials and tribulations of three sisters, Prue, Piper, Phoebe and later Paige (Shannen Doherty, Holly Marie Combs, Alyssa Milano and Rose McGowan) who also happened to be the most powerful good witches in the world, each one possessing her own power to help protect innocent folks from demons, warlocks and all sorts of other supernatural baddies.

9. 'The Vampire Diaries'
The vampire/human/vampire love triangle is nothing new, but the CW's ratings winner 'The Vampire Diaries' makes it feel fresh again. It features a whole lot of eye candy and some impressive double-duty work by star Nina Dobrev, who plays heroine Elena and her nasty vampire doppelganger Katherine as if she's two different actresses. Following Buffy's example that every girl needs a BFF with magical powers, Katerina Graham's Bonnie has made being a witch look decidedly badass again.

8. 'True Blood'
Few shows in recent history have captured the public consciousness quite as decisively as 'True Blood,' the utterlyAlexander Skarsgard addictive, utterly insane supernatural drama from 'Six Feet Under' creator Alan Ball. Not content with bringing vampires back with a bang in the post-'Buffy' era, 'True Blood' has also tackled shapeshifters, maenads, werewolves and, um ... fairies, with more sex, violence and nuttiness than you can shake a stake at. Plus it introduced us all to Alexander Skarsgård as the godlike Eric Northman, for which we'll be eternally grateful.

7. 'Xena: Warrior Princess'
A spin-off of 'Hercules: The Legendary Journeys' and generally considered to be the more influential of the pair, 'Xena' was credited by many (including 'Buffy' creator Joss Whedon) for leading the charge for a new generation of female action heroes in shows such as 'Buffy,' 'Dark Angel' and 'La Femme Nikita' which also debuted in the '90s. The series blended classical mythology with the magic of the gods, fearsome creatures and some steamy lesbian subtext between Xena (Lucy Lawless) and her sidekick Gabrielle (Reneé O'Connor), and will probably still be giving parents a Halloween costume headache for years to come.

6. 'The Addams Family'
Although its rival series, 'The Munsters,' achieved slightly higher ratings, few franchises share the name recognition (or theme tune appreciation) of 'The Addams Family,' which also fits a little more comfortably on our list since the Addams clan display a number of supernatural powers, rather than simply being classic horror movie monsters. Though more successful on the big screen than small, America's most spooky family continue to disturb and delight audiences through reruns.

5. 'Bewitched'
Before 'Sabrina' and 'Charmed' made witches cool for a whole new generation, Elizabeth Montgomery was wiggling her nose way back in the '60s, trying to balance her magical powers with being a good wife on this ABC sitcom. Having inspired 'I Dream of Jeannie' and a host of other magic-themed shows throughout the years, the iconic series has the dubious honor of being the longest-running supernatural themed series of the 60s-70s era, and continues to be popular today thanks to its constant syndication worldwide.

4. 'Supernatural'
A list of magic and supernatural shows wouldn't be complete without the show named 'Supernatural,' which was dubbed a natural successor to 'The X-Files' in earlier seasons due to its "Monster of the Week" format, Vancouver filming location and the number of crew members who've worked on both series. The show has long since stepped out of that X-shaped shadow, distinguishing itself as a unique, unpredictable and addictive series that not only features monsters, magic and Lucifer himself, but also boasts a dynamic duo arguably better at the banter than Mulder and Scully -- Sam and Dean Winchester (Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles). It also inspires an army of fans that could rival the might of heaven and hell themselves, since the series just managed to win TV Guide's first Fan Favorite cover poll.

3. 'The Twilight Zone'
Blending horror, sci-fi, fantasy and just plain insanity, this legendary anthology series touched on every spooky, inexplicable thing to give us sleepless nights. The original series ran for 156 episodes from 1959-1964, with subsequent iterations reappearing in 1985 and 2002, and a spooktastic ride bearing its name at various Disney theme parks still giving fans a reason to be afraid of the dark. (Also beloved, but less iconic: 'The Outer Limits' -- which, for the record, I happened to prefer.)

2. 'The X-Files'
Although 'The X-Files' wasn't much for magic, few shows tackled the paranormal and the supernatural with quite as much panache as this cult mystery show, which made global superstars out of its leads, David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson. It has been spoofed and referenced in everything from 'The Simpsons' to pop songs, and left an indelible mark on public consciousness, helping to remind us all that "the truth is out there".

1. 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer'
In many ways, 'Buffy' was the genesis of the current supernatural craze -- this was the show that made vampires cool to kiss instead of stake, paving the way for a cavalcade of 'True Blood,' 'The Vampire Diaries' and 'Twilight' imitators. Buffy was a girl who thoroughly embraced the weird, with a best friend who was a witch, a boyfriend with fangs, and a destiny that seemed far too heavy for one petite blonde's slim shoulders to carry. When we think of magic, the supernatural, or someone who can beat the snot out of you while wearing high heels, Buffy will always be our number one choice.

Did your favorite supernatural show make the list, or did we miss it out? Share your thoughts on our choices below!

Follow Laura on Twitter @LauinLA.

Edit: A previous version of this list included 'Eastwick' and left out 'The Twilight Zone' -- it was amended to correct this unforgivable oversight.

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david b conway

4 , i dream of jeanne , , 5 , bewitched 6, spook,vile , i am trying to make a you tube video retro video all together look back at our tv cuture

April 04 2015 at 11:31 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
david b conway

how , about the tv shows ,like every witch way , the haunted hathaways and the ,wizards of waverly place , ,, evemoor ,

April 04 2015 at 11:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
syafiqah sabri

Why isn't Merlin listed?

August 18 2014 at 7:02 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I have to agree with all the choices for this list not necessarily the order. But obv buffy is #1.

September 18 2013 at 2:37 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Victorine Buiten

YEAH Buffy the Vampire Slayer is the most epic show in history, it belongs on the number 1 spot!

October 09 2012 at 4:57 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply


September 30 2012 at 3:12 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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