The Best Fantasy Shows for Parents Who Want to Be Transported Elsewhere

Russian Doll on Netflix is a fantasy show Netflix

Dive into a new world for a while

Parenthood is amazing, but early parenthood can be really… boring. There. I said it. There’s a lot of time spent waiting: waiting for your child to fall asleep, waiting for them to finish their bottle, waiting for them to finish breastfeeding… just, waiting. You may find you need a distraction—something, anything to fill your time. This is when a great fantasy show comes in handy.

Even when your tiny human gets bigger, that desire to break from the monotony of daily parenting tasks will likely remain (sorry!). Thankfully, there are fantasy shows out there so good that they allow you to immerse yourself in a totally different life for a while. You can finally be the person who’s not changing diapers or begging an infant to just effing sleep or surviving toddler tantrums or getting the cold shoulder from your tween. Dive in and enter a new world for a spell. (Note: this list features fantasy series with a notable magical element as opposed to those that lean more toward sci-fi or historical fiction. I’ve also skipped some of the classics you already know and love—e.g., Buffy, Charmed, and True Blood—to bring you some newer binge-worthy options.)

A Discovery of Witches

Discovery of Witches is a fantasy show
Amazon Prime

 

The magic starts in a library, and who doesn’t love that premise? Diana Bishop is a witch who isn’t necessarily too comfortable with her powers. She discovers a bewitched manuscript in Oxford’s library that forces her back into the world of magic. Matthew Clairmont (a vampire!) agrees to help her unravel what the manuscript means and let’s just say we didn’t know we needed a love affair between a vampire and a witch so badly. The magical elements and danger will keep you glued to your screen—and the unlikely relationship between the witch and vampire (who apparently don’t normally trust each other, who knew?) will keep you pressing play.

Stream it on Amazon Prime.

Shadow and Bone

Shadow and Bone is a fantasy show on Netflix
Netflix

 

In a world cleaved in two by a massive barrier of perpetual darkness, where unnatural creatures feast on human flesh, a young soldier uncovers a power that might finally unite her country. But as she struggles to hone her power, dangerous forces plot against her. Thugs, thieves, assassins, and saints are at war now, and it will take more than magic to survive… This is a Netflix adaptation of the Shadow and Bone Trilogy, and it is good. Grisha are magic users, and the main heroine of the story is one. But only a very special Grisha has the ability to summon light—and hence destroy the “barrier of perpetual darkness.” There’s also an ill-fated love story thrown in for good measure. You’ll be hooked.

Stream it on Netflix.

The Mayfair Witches

AMC

 

AMC brought Anne Rice’s Mayfair Witches to life this year, 33 years after it was originally published—and it was worth the wait. Alexandra Daddario (White Lotus) plays Rowan Fielding, a neurosurgeon who learns she’s the heiress to a dynasty of powerful witches—and the rightful owner of their New Orleans estate. She’s always suspected she had some “power” but had no idea about her origin story, as her mother’s stern aunt Carlotta robbed Rowan from her from birth and gave her to be raised by an acquaintance outside the family. The Mayfair Witches is the story of Rowan finding and reckoning with her power. And AMC’s dark (and at times pretty hot) reimagining is worth the watch.

Russian Doll

Russian Doll on Netflix
Netflix

 

For those of you who’ll watch anything Natasha Lyonne does (and if this describes you, you’re smart), Russian Doll will be an extra special treat. Nadia is doomed to celebrate her 36th birthday over and over and over again—because in every episode she dies and wakes up at the exact same place and time, in front of a bathroom mirror, at her party. She needs to figure out how to right her wrongs to stop this very repetitive and deadly cycle. There’s also time travel. Natasha Lyonne and time travel! What more could anyone want?

Stream it on Netflix

The Witcher

Netflix

 

Henry Cavil plays “Giralt of Rivia,” who is basically a super magical monster hunter known as—you guessed it—the Witcher. The Witcher and a Crown Princess (Ciri) are linked by destiny, and for most of the first season, they don’t even exist in the same timeline. Before Ciri was born, The Witcher unknowingly demanded her as a reward for his services by invoking “the Law of Surprise”—which is somehow less creepy than it sounds. When they finally meet, he becomes her protector so no one evil can take advantage of her powerful magic—and so he can keep the world safe (of course).

Stream it on Netflix. 

Interview with the Vampire

AMC

It may be hard to believe anything can upstage Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt, but Sam Reid (as Lestat) and Jacob Anderson (as Louis) do not disappoint. This version embraces the love between Louis and Lestat—leaning into their romantic relationship. The “interview” is updated—this series essentially takes place 40-something years after the first interview. Daniel (Christian Slater’s character in the original film) is no longer a novice journalist, but an aging famous one, struggling with a Parkinson’s diagnosis. He agrees to let Louis tell his story again, but only if Louis agrees to be less contrived and more open with the interview. It’s getting a second season, so jump on.

Stream it on Amazon Prime.

His Dark Materials

His Dark Materials is a fantasy show on Max
Max

 

His Dark Materials won’t just take you to one fantastic setting, it will take you to several. The series bounces between different worlds and realities but keeps you anchored with a main character you’ll love. Lyra is an orphan, who in her search for a missing friend, uncovers a kidnapping plot with a magical twist. She also happens to be the subject of a witches’ prophecy that not only brings her to other magical realms but gives her a connection to a teenager from a conventional one, too. If you like magic and witches and otherworldly settings—this gripping series is for you.

Stream it on Max

Once Upon a Time

Once Upon a Time is a Fantasy Show
ABC

 

Disney, but make it dark. This series alternates between a fairy tale world and the fictional seaside town of Storybrooke, Maine. The residents of the town are actually characters from fairy tales who have been transported to the “real world” and robbed of their memories by the Evil Queen, Regina. Regina is the mayor of the town, and even though all the fairy tale characters have lived a pretty much stagnant life for 28 years where they don’t even age, they are completely unaware of their magical background. Only the daughter of Snow White (played by Ginnifer Goodwin) can save them. This is fun and dark and based on fairy tales. Check, check, and check.

Stream it on Disney+

Locke & Key

Netflix

 

After their father is murdered by a former student, three siblings—Tyler, Kinsey, and Bode—move with their mother from Seattle to Massachusetts into their father’s family home. The siblings start to discover a bunch of mysterious keys around the house (it’s actually called Keyhouse) and find that they can be used not only to unlock doors but might actually lead to some information about their father’s death. But surprise! A demonic entity is also looking for the keys. Fans of horror and family drama will love this fantasy show.

Stream it on Netflix.

Stranger Things

Still shot from Netflix's Stranger Things, a fantasy show, season 4
Netflix

 

If you somehow have made it seven years without watching this very beloved show, here’s your reminder to get on with it. The series is set in the ’80s and tells the story of a group of middle school friends who live in a town that happens to be in proximity to Hawkins National Laboratory—a lab that performs scientific research for the US Department of Energy. It just so happens that the lab is secretly experimenting with the paranormal and supernatural, and whoops! They’ve created a portal to an alternate dimension called The Upside Down, where everything is creepy and terrible. When one of the friends gets abducted, his mom (Wynona Ryder), his friends, the town’s sheriff (David Harbour), and a young telekinetic girl who escaped from the lab (Millie Bobby Brown) form an unlikely search crew.

Stream it on Netflix.

Carnival Row

In Carnival Row, mythical creatures have fled their own countries and gathered in the city, causing a bunch of human residents to become uneasy and angry. The jargon can get a little complex, but once you get past the difficult names and many mythological creatures you’ll need to remember, you’ll be hooked on this deeply compelling series. A love affair between a human detective and a fairy (Orlando Bloom and Cara Delevingne) will keep you hooked. This fantasy series doubles as social commentary—so if you’re looking for something light and fluffy, this probably isn’t it. But if you’re someone who loves to pay attention and craves a good investigation-steeped-in-fantasy, have at it.

Stream it on Amazon Prime.

Wednesday

Netflix

Throwing this one in for good measure, just in case you thought this YA mystery was not for you. It is! Wednesday is Netflix’s spinoff on the beloved Addams Family—and it’s the best reimagining of the characters of the show yet. Wednesday Addams is played by Jenna Ortega, who shines as our disinterested and dark titular heroine. Throw in a murder mystery and the beautifully creepy setting of Nevermore Academy (a school for outcasts), and you’ll be watching this series on repeat.

Stream it on Netflix.

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