Much like its genre neighbor science-fiction, supernatural shows allow viewers to escape into a world full of the unknown. Sometimes, they're scary and full of things that go bump in the night; at others, they're funny and inject a nice dose of levity into stressful situations; and often, they're full of hunky teenagers who are also werewolves. The storytelling options here are truly limitless. And if you're looking for an escape while spending more time indoors amid the coronavirus pandemic, the following shows streaming on Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime are a good place to start.
Watch them on: Hulu
If you've yet to watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer and its darker, more adult spin-off Angel (which some might argue was actually the better series), we won't hold it against you... much. Running for seven seasons across The WB and UPN, Buffy starred Sarah Michelle Gellar as the titular blonde teen, a "chosen one" called by fate to defeat vampires, monsters, and everything else that falls under the category of "will probably kill you." The show, which followed David Boreanaz's vampire with a soul, Angel, after the third season, gave the traditional coming-of-age series a supernatural spin, making many of the horrors of high school literal monsters to be defeated by Buffy and her friends, the Scoobies. As the show aged, the Big Bads became more dangerous and the lessons more adult, but Buffy never gave up, becoming a symbol of strength not only to her friends but to the show's impressionable viewers as well. Considered one of the greatest TV shows of all time, Buffy continues to have a tremendous influence on pop culture.
Watch it on: Netflix
It's literally right there in the title. Supernatural has enjoyed an incredible 15-season run across The WB and The CW and created a global fandom in the process. The show, if for some reason you don't already know, stars Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles as Sam and Dean Winchester, two brothers who travel America and hunt monsters while sometimes also saving the world in the process. Despite a somewhat simple premise, the show has, at times, been one of the most creative series on TV — one episode saw Sam and Dean transported to another universe in which actors named Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki starred in a TV show called Supernatural, while another revealed there is a series of Supernatural books based on their adventures, and yet another featured them turning into cartoons and meeting up with the cast of Scooby-Doo. Although the show has its roots in the horror aspect of the supernatural — the really early stuff can be a bit creepy — that quickly fades away to an expansive mythology that covers heaven, hell, and literally everything in between.
Watch it on: Netflix
Known in France as Zone Blanche, which refers to the fact the isolated small town at the center of the series is a cellular dead zone, the suspenseful and atmospheric thriller Black Spot mixes elements of the mythological with the tension of the best crime dramas to create an eerie but highly bingeable series. The show kicks off when a prosecutor arrives to investigate why the town has such a high murder rate, but what you quickly find out is that the forest that surrounds said town is full of dark secrets, and as the series progresses and the head of the local police digs into her own past and the area's past, a clear-ish picture begins to take shape. What is revealed is likely crazier than anything you could possibly dream up yourself.
Watch it on: ABC app
If you like your experience with the supernatural with a good helping of laughter, Reaper is probably more your style. The supernatural dramedy follows Sam (Bret Harrison), a slacker working at a home repair store who at 21 reluctantly becomes a reaper for the devil, played hilariously by Ray Wise, after he finds out his parents made a deal with him many, many years before. Tasked with capturing escaped souls from hell, Sam is aided in capturing them by his slacker friends (Tyler Labine and Rick Gonzalez) before delivering the demons in any number of odd items (think vacuum cleaner, lighter, etc.) to the DMV, which is obviously a portal to hell. The fact the show only lasted two seasons is a crime against humanity.
Watch it on: Hulu
More than 25 years after its debut, The X-Files still gets under the skin like nothing else on television. The Fox procedural about two FBI agents investigating the unknown — which spanned 11 seasons, including the revival, and two movies — is the ideal watch if you're looking to lean into that primal gut feeling that everything is upside down and authorities can't be trusted. But for all the show's shadowy alien conspiracies, the bond between Mulder (David Duchovny) and Scully (Gillian Anderson) grounds The X-Files in a strikingly pure hope: that good people can find each other. It's a moody show, but in that sense it's cozy, too. - Kelly Connolly
Watch it on: Netflix
Netflix's adaptation of Charles Forsman's graphic novel I Am Not Okay With This expands upon the source material to create a supernatural superhero story out of a bleak metaphor for mental illness. Sophia Lillis stars as Sydney, a teenager from small town Pennsylvania who discovers that she has telekinetic abilities she cannot control. A metaphor for adolescence and being a teenager trying to find their place in the world while lacking the ability to properly express one's self, the show's first season feels more like a prologue to a larger story, as it doesn't offer up a lot of answers for Sydney's growing list of questions. But it's also only seven 30-minute episodes and features a really cool soundtrack, making it a quick and easy binge. [Read our review]
Watch it on: Netflix
There's a really good chance you've already watched Stranger Things, but if you haven't, the Netflix show kicks off in 1983 with the disappearance of Will (Noah Schnapp), a young boy from Hawkins, Indiana, after a nearby lab opens a portal to another dimension known as the Upside Down and allowing monsters into our universe. The series, which features bursts of comedy and horror, became a word-of-mouth sensation when it premiered because it didn't feel like an homage to the '80s films of the era, it felt like a series that might have come from the '80s and was only just discovered in someone's basement. As the show progresses and monsters become larger and stakes become higher, the series continues to rise to the challenge by mostly sticking to its tried-and-tested formula but also rises to new heights by fleshing out its growing cast of characters, which includes Will's friends (Gaten Matarazzo, Caleb McLaughlin, Finn Wolfhard), his mother and brother (Winona Ryder and Charlie Heaton), a psychokinetic young girl (Millie Bobby Brown), and the local police chief (David Harbour), among others.
Watch it on: Amazon Prime
This isn't your parents' Teen Wolf with Michael J. Fox riding on the hood of a Jeep. No, the MTV drama series stars Tyler Posey as Scott McCall, a clumsy high school lacrosse player who gets bitten by the neighborhood werewolf while out stalking crime scenes with his best friend, Stiles (Dylan O'Brien), in the sleepy town of Beacon Hills. Over the course of six seasons, Scott and his friends team up to face terrifying supernatural enemies, pushing each other to be their absolute best (what's up, true alphas!), and saving each other when they become their worst (Stiles deserved an Emmy, fight me). Teen Wolf isn't a perfect show, but it keeps its characters and their relationships at the heart of the action and combines humor and drama with some legitimately terrifying thrills. Plus, everyone involved is really, really, really, pretty. - Megan Vick
Watch it on: Netflix
A supernatural Western based on the IDW comic series of the same name, Wynonna Earp has been compared to Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and in similar fashion, the Syfy series has made a name for itself through its unconventional heroine. Wynonna (Melanie Scrofano) is a descendent of the legendary lawman and gunslinger Wyatt Earp, and thanks to a family curse, is tasked with sending revenants — the men and women Wyatt killed who became demons upon his death — back to hell. A flawed woman who's been thrust into an unpredictable situation and who rarely has any of the answers, Wynonna still shows up every damn day — though she might be hungover — and luckily, she also has a great group of friends who help her out, including her sister Waverly (Dominque Provost-Chalkley), an immortal Doc Holliday (Tim Rozon), and a man-lizard hybrid who's also a U.S. Marshal (Shamier Anderson). The show's willingness to take the story in directions rarely seen on TV coupled with Scrofano's dynamite performance makes Wynonna a powerful entry into the TV superhero lexicon.
Watch it on: Netflix
Starring Nina Dobrev as a teenage orphan who finds herself torn between two vampire brothers, Stefan (Paul Wesley) and Damon (Ian Somerhalder) Salvatore, the CW drama The Vampire Diaries has everything you could ever want in a teen supernatural show: a great love triangle to get overly invested in, a well-developed ensemble of characters to root for (and relate to), and a rich mythology that leads to surprising twists and shocking betrayals. It's no wonder the show launched two spin-offs with all that going on! And with eight seasons available to stream, there are more than enough episodes to make for a satisfying and addicting binge. - Sadie Gennis
True Blood admittedly went off the rails the older it got, but the first few seasons of the HBO series based on Charlaine Harris' Sookie Stackhouse novels were the type of wild that meant engrossing, can't-miss TV. Set in a world in which synthetic blood has allowed vampires to make their presence known, the show stars Anna Paquin as telepathic waitress Sookie who meets and falls for Bill Compton (Stephen Moyer) — known to fans as Beel — a 173-year-old Southern vampire. Lasting for seven seasons, the show was a metaphor for minorities fighting for equal rights as vampires tried to assimilate into a society determined to keep them out. But at its heart, True Blood was a messy-in-the-best-way monster series that featured everything from werewolves, vampires, shapeshifters, maenads, witches, faeries, and mediums, and although a love triangle involving Sookie, Bill, and vampire club owner/one-time Viking warrior Eric Northman, played by extremely good looking human specimen Alexander Skarsgard, broke out, it was the show's ambitious, if not always well-executed storytelling, that made it worth watching. Well, that and Eric's second-in-command, Pam (Kristen Bauer van Straten), who cared little for humans and infused the show with plenty of attitude.
Twin Peaks has it all: supernatural mythology, murder mystery, soapy drama, quirky comedy. And that's just in the first two seasons. The third season, aka The Return, is something else entirely. It has all the stuff the first two seasons have, but it's also the closest thing to Surrealist art that's ever been on TV. If you're a newbie to Twin Peaks, you're in for a real treat (cherry pie and damn good coffee), as you puzzle over "who killed Laura Palmer?" and "what is the Black Lodge?" If you're returning, it's just as wonderful as you remember. - Liam Mathews
If you don't find what you're looking for here, check out our guide to what to watch while social distancing, which features more recommendations for what to watch than you probably realized were even available to stream from the comfort of your own couch.