With 15 seasons comprised of 327 episodes, Supernatural made history as the longest-running American genre series, and that alone makes it one of a kind.
But the show stands out for many more reasons, too, from the incredible bond between its sibling protagonists, Sam and Dean Winchester (Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles, respectively); to its ability to seamlessly mix monster of the week episodes with a decades-deep demon mythology that later in the show's run expanded to include angels, Purgatory, and God himself; to its important messages about family not ending in blood and the need to always keep fighting; to its enviable third lead, Baby (the 1967 Chevy Impala) and rock soundtrack.
Created by Eric Kripke, Supernatural first premiered in 2005 on the WB Network. Critics had mixed feelings about it over the years, and it only has a 60 Metascore. But it outlasted that network and began airing on The CW when WB and UPN merged to create that new entity in 2006, and it continued on even after Kripke left the show at the end of the fifth season, changing showrunners a few times before it ultimately came to an end in the fall of 2020.
While it started with the two brothers driving around the country in Baby, hunting creatures, saving people, and searching for their father, it expanded over time to welcome other characters into the fold that were friends and allies (Jim Beaver's Bobby, Misha Collins' Castiel, Kim Rhodes' Jody), foes (Mark Pellegrino's Lucifer, Fredic Lehne's Azazel, Genevieve Padalecki's Ruby), and foes-turned-allies (Mark Sheppard's Crowley, Ruthie Connell's Rowena, Rachel Miner's Meg).
It also evolved from a creepy mini-horror movie each week into a show that had a lot of fun with itself, infusing witty one-liners into the dialogue and trying its hand at one-off stylized episodes that include animation, a musical, noir, Baby's POV, and going meta.
Supernatural created a whole business outside of its mothership show, from the digital Ghostfacers spin-off, to fan conventions and merchandise. The next piece of that empire is The Winchesters, a prequel spin-off about the young versions of Sam and Dean's parents, executive produced by Ackles, his wife and Supernatural guest star Danneel Ackles, and Supernatural co-executive producer Robbie Thompson.
You could just rewatch Supernatural as you wait for The Winchesters to premiere, but if you're looking to branch out or take a break between binges, here, Metacritic highlights 10 other shows that share similar themes, format, and even cast and crew to give a shot.
Best for: Fans of unexplained events and stories about how the religious and otherwise supernatural intersect
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Robert and Michelle King's supernatural drama follows a priest-in-training (David, played by Mike Colter), a forensic psychologist (Kristen, played by Katja Herbers), and a technology expert (Ben, played by Aasif Mandvi) who investigate potential demonic possessions and other hauntings. While David is initially the one on the believer side, due to his faith (with Kristen on the skeptic side and Ben falling in the middle, able to offer scientific explanations for confusing phenomena), as the show goes on, Kristen becomes more connected to the supernatural, seeing a demon in her dreams and being targeted by occult expert and evil-influencer Dr. Leland Townsend (Michael Emerson). Many of the early cases of the week don't get resolved with a definitive answer on whether the occurrence was supernatural in nature, but the larger, character-driven story ties together expertly. Beloved by the Broadcast Film Critics Assn., Evil has picked up six Critics Choice Awards nominations and 10 CCA Super Award nominations thus far.
"The deeper Evil gets into its mythology, the more it feels like a magician offering an inside look at how they do their tricks." — Steve Greene, IndieWire
Best for: Fans of comic book adaptations with modern-day social and political commentary, vigilante dramas, and explosive stunts
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Kripke's latest show is the superhero-vigilante drama based on Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson's comics of the same title. In this world, the supes are the bad guys (although most of the world doesn't know it) and a very special team of vigilantes set out to expose the dark truth about who they really are, what they really do, and how they really came to be with the world. Its level of gore is significantly higher than on Supernatural, but it shares a similar interest on commenting on larger topics, making the heroes the ordinary Joes and the ones with powers the villains, a humorous bent, and a rough-around-the-edges leader (here that is Billy Butcher, played by Karl Urban). The first two seasons picked up six Emmy nominations between them, including in the Outstanding Drama Series category in 2021. It also inspired a spin-off titled The Boys Presents: Diabolical. Ackles joins the cast in Season 3 as Soldier Boy, the first superhero.
"A sharp, entertaining, eviscerating satire of superhero franchises and the culture that aggrandizes them." — Lorraine Ali, Los Angeles Times
Best for: Fans of complicated male protagonists and Buffy the Vampire Slayer
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Joss Whedon and David Greenwalt created this Buffy spin-off centered on the eponymous brooding vampire with a human soul (played by David Boreanaz) at the turn of the 21st century. This series is good for anyone who finds themselves most agreeing with those Supernatural episodes in which the boys (or at least one of the boys) let a supernatural being live to give them a chance at making the right choices. After all, without those arguments, Angel would have been a creature the boys hunted and killed in order to save people and carry out their family business. But he does try to do better: He takes out demons (and the humans aligned with them) in Los Angeles in order to save others' souls, all while fighting some of his own darker urges.
"Angel upholds Whedon's spellbinding Buffy mantle and expands it, taking his surprisingly mature and witty view of life among the supernatural into an adult realm." — Diane Werts, Newsday
Best for: Fans of science fiction, especially the multiverse, and quirky team dynamics
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Premiering three years after Supernatural, in 2008, Fringe follows a similar pattern of starting as an "of the week" procedural to ease the broadcast audience (it aired on Fox) in before diving into an emotionally and metaphysically complicated mythology that explores two worlds and the differences between them. The show starts with the cases of the FBI's Fringe Division, which investigates odd scientific anomalies. The team consists of the brilliant but eccentric Dr. Walter Bishop (John Noble), his estranged son Peter (Joshua Jackson), his former scientific test subject and now agent Olivia Dunham (Anna Torv), his lab assistant Agent Astrid Farnsworth (Jasika Nicole), and his director, Phillip Broyles (Lance Reddick). Just as Supernatural becomes more complicated due to the emergence of religious themes and entities and how its main characters fit into a bigger cosmic picture in its later storytelling, the same is true of Fringe when it comes to the science of parallel universes. To say much more would be to spoil some essential reveals, but they certainly pay off in spades when watching them play out on screen.
"It has good characters and plenty of action. It keeps its science fiction accessible, not abstract. Maybe best of all, it has a great sense of humor." — David Hinckley, Daily News
Best for: Fans of time-travel dramas and short-lived fan favorites
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Kripke teamed up with Shawn Ryan to create this drama about an unlikely trio who must work together to find a time machine before the man who stole it rewrites American history. That probably sounds complicated enough on its own, but of course it's only the tip of the iceberg. Lucy Preston (Abigail Spencer), a history professor who is recruited to lead that trio, has unexpected family ties to Rittenhouse, a mysterious organization that has its own plans for time travel, and she also ends up personally entangled with both Wyatt Logan (Matt Lanter), the soldier on her team, and Garcia Flynn (Goran Višnjić), a former NSA asset the team is initially pursuing. Malcolm Barrett, Sakina Jaffrey, and Claudia Doumit also play important team members. While the bigger mystery around the creation and control of the machine, in addition to the growing character relationships, act as a through line on the series, episodically they jump to different iconic places and times, including the height of the Watergate scandal in 1972, the day of President Abraham Lincoln's assassination in 1865, 1941 Hollywood when Citizen Kane is stolen, and more. If your favorite episodes of Supernatural are stylized period pieces like "Frontierland," "Time After Time," and "In The Beginning," this show is for you.
"It is well-produced, escapist fun that gives each of the lead characters some story engine baggage." — Rob Owen, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Best for: Fans of crime procedurals with supernatural twists and conspiracy stories, and shippers
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Chris Carter's investigation-of-the-week drama initially ran for nine seasons from 1993 to 2002 and also spawned spin-offs centered on other characters, two feature films, and two more revival seasons in the 21st century. But those early years inspired Supernatural's own storytelling and visual style, most notably through their shared director, the late Kim Manners. Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny star as special FBI agents Dana Scully and Fox Mulder, respectively, who work on the creepy, unexplained, and often paranormal cases. Mulder is a believer in alien life, while Scully is a skeptic, and their dynamic makes for fun banter and a lot of sexual tension. The show starts out with jump-scares of the week, but an undercurrent of government conspiracy, especially around alien life, grows more prominent as seasons go on. The show picked up 16 Emmys over its run, including Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series for Darin Morgan in 1996 and Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series for Anderson in 1997.
"What they've produced is intelligent, stylish and always graced by the wonderful performances of Ms. Anderson and Mr. Duchovny." — Mike Hale, The New York Times
Best for: Fans of sprawling ensembles, dystopian drama, and ruminations on what humanity deserves
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This short-lived post-apocalyptic drama is the next show Kripke created after Supernatural. In some ways it feels born out of "The End" episode of Supernatural, in its dystopian view of the future. The show premiered in 2012, and in that year in the world of the show, a blackout occurred that wiped electricity off the face of the Earth — permanently. Fifteen years later when the show primarily takes place, there is a new way of life and rule, with some desperate to learn what happened so they can fix it and get their old ways back, some thriving under the new order, and some too young to really have memories of what was lost anyway. The Matheson family is at the center of it all, with matriarch Rachel (Elizabeth Mitchell) forced to work for a militia leader and self-appointed president (played by David Lyons), eldest child Charlie (Tracy Spiridakos) on the run with uncle Miles (Billy Burke), who has deeper ties to the new government than he wants to admit, and youngest child Danny (Graham Rogers) kidnapped. The Neville family dynamics are also important within the show, though, as Jason (JD Pardo) initially follows in his father Tom's (Giancarlo Esposito) footsteps in the militia but becomes conflicted as he grows closer to the Mathesons. The show also features Supernatural alumni Beaver and Pellegrino in recurring roles.
"Ambitious setups like this don't always hold up, but Revolution has the potential be a more disciplined Lost." — Alessandra Stanley, The New York Times
Best for: Fans of dark fairy-tales and fantastical cop dramas
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Much like how Sam and Dean Winchester learn, over the course of Supernatural, that they have very special ties to angelic beings, the protagonist of Grimm, Det. Nicholas Burkhardt (David Giuntoli), finds out that he is one of the titular protectors in the beginning of this six-season fairy tale-inspired drama. In this world, Grimms are supposed to keep the peace between humans and Wesen, and although Nick is adept at providing law and order from his job as a police officer, he has to adjust to his greater responsibility and the danger that puts his girlfriend (Bitsie Tulloch) in. He ends up relying on help from both his human partner (played by Russell Hornsby) and a Wesen (played by Silas Weir Mitchell), with episodes following stories that have roots in fairy tales and other lore. Nick's love life is central to this story, as well.
"It has chills and humor and the ability to take a procedural story and twist it." — Tim Goodman, The Hollywood Reporter
Best for: Fans of the occult, flawed leading men, and DC Comics
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The world is big enough for more than one man hunting supernatural beings in a trenchcoat, right? If you agree, then Castiel can share the spotlight with John Constantine (Matt Ryan), a somewhat unkempt, cigarette-smoking demon hunter who travels across the country to vanquish evil from the world. His mission isn't completely altruistic, as he hopes to gain redemption from his own past sins while keeping innocent people safe, and sometimes he does so begrudgingly, but he always gets the job done with wit and charm. The show is based on the DC Comics character of the same name, and if you find that you really like him, you can follow him onto special guest appearances on the various "Arrowverse" superhero dramas, most notably an arc on DC's Legends of Tomorrow. This show also spawned an animated spin-off titled Constantine: City of Demons.
"A few good jolts, a welcome bit of visual flair, and an appealing star turn from Welsh actor Matt Ryan, who conveys just the right mix of tortured soul, biting wit and hunky hero." — Robert Bianco, USA Today
Best for: Fans of crime procedurals, will they/won't they relationships, and biblical family drama, all rolled into one story
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If you find yourself understanding and even justifying Lucifer's actions on Supernatural, this six-season drama about the King of Hell is for you. Based on Neil Gaiman, Sam Kieth, and Mike Dringenberg's version of the character from The Sandman, the show starts with Lucifer (played by Tom Ellis) defying his father, a.k.a. God (Dennis Haysbert), and leaving Hell to run a club Los Angeles. However, he quickly finds himself involved in a murder investigation and uses his powers to assist, which gets him brought onto the force as a consultant. He works alongside Detective Chloe Decker (Lauren German), encountering both human criminals and supernatural beings, and as episodes go on, their relationship turns romantic, all while he's grappling with his own humanity and intense family issues, including the arrival of his brother Amenadiel (D. B. Woodside), mother (Tricia Helfer), ex (Inbar Lavi), and dear old dad himself. Like Supernatural, Lucifer also breaks format from time to time, including an animated episode and a musical.
"Lucifer feels a bit as if Syfy's fallen-angel drama Dominion mated with ABC's Castle." — Gail Pennington, St. Louis Post-Dispatch