Netflix is a window to the outside world for a lot of us right now. With high profile series like The Witcher, it’s also a window into magical worlds.
Here are a few other series with magic you might’ve missed and that I’ve given that little thumbs up to:
1. The Haunting of Bly Manor
Based on works by Henry James, Bly Manor has the series’ trademark hidden ghosts in the background. It’s more of a love story than The Haunting of Hill House, and may very well break your heart, but it can genuinely make you jump, too.
Don’t be fooled by that! A mysterious spell, rooted in the words of a woman who turned away death in his carriage, lends fantasy, and a whole lot of conflict, to this superb story.
A quiet family drama about the Haredi Shtisel family, headed by the stubborn Rabbi Shulem and complicated by his wayward but talented painter son Akiva, has won a lot of hearts. But key moments of the series feature magical realism, from a dream that predicts a cold snap and brings the possible love of his life to Akiva’s door, to a mysterious little boy who inspires him to keep painting.
3. The Bride of Habaek
Korean dramas are the BEST. This one can be surprisingly slapsticky, silly and painfully awkward. It’s also weirdly habit-forming. Though fans of the original manhwa were apparently disappointed in this modern-day loose adaptation, I enjoyed it and am firmly team Mr. Shin.
The premise: An overwhelmed therapist (the messy-haired, going-it-alone Yun So-a) discovers she’s a divine servant when pompous god Habaek shows up with his servile servant and demands that So-a help him complete his divine quest. Surely they’re both delusional. But when Habaek claims a starlet is really a goddess, an old classmate (or two) turns up and brings trouble, and the divine realm’s dirty laundry slowly comes to light. So-a is about to discover that rent payments aren’t the only thing that has her in over her head.
This animated series isn’t for the kiddies. Humans can be as bad as monsters, and fallen nobleman turned monster-hunter Trevor Belmont knows that better than anyone. Based on early games in the video game series, expect violence and other adult content alongside the magic.
5. Rilakkuma and Kaoru
This feel-good series follows a woman whose lonely days are changed by the arrival of mysterious beings in bear costumes and their bird friend. Created from the famous Japanese characters, it’s the perfect bit of magic added to an office worker’s everyday life. The tactile animated world feels both cozy and magical all on its own.
Bonus (Not a series, but I had to share!):
Mary and the Witch’s Flower
This animated masterpiece will please Studio Ghibli fans. An ordinary girl gets caught up in a magical school’s nefarious side when a flower turns out to be the most dangerous thing in the world.