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5 TV Shows like Merlin: Magic Lasts Forever

James WattsWith great characters, cracking scripts and a stellar cast, it was no wonder that ‘Merlin’ was a hit with audiences. Its five year run was a staple of Saturday TV on BBC 1.

If you’re aching for some more magical TV shows like ‘Merlin’, check out ‘Smallville’, ‘Atlantis’ and ‘Sleepy Hollow’. ~ James Watts

Magical Powers

‘Merlin’ acts as a backstory to the Arthurian legends, showing a young Merlin serving Prince Arthur whilst hiding his magical powers from those around him. His goal in life is to direct Arthur to become the King that Camelot needs.

Here are some shows that can compare.

‘Smallville’ (WB & CW, 2001 – 2011)

‘Smallville’ focuses on a young outsider having to hide his superpowers from the town folk in order to try and stop the forces of evil. Sound familiar? It’s the story of a young Superman in high school mastering his powers. It was the defining TV show adaptation of Superman that we all wanted, and (I believe it’s fair to say), the world needed.

Arguably, it could be said that it inspired some of the other series like ‘Merlin’. It does leave a great lasting impression, and it gave the recent ‘Man of Steel’ movie something to live up to.

Similarity Match: 90%
Running for 10 seasons, it’s the ultimate backstory to Superman and in my opinion, one of the best TV series of all time. Without it, ‘Merlin’ wouldn’t exist.

‘Atlantis’ (BBC, 2013 – 2015)

The BBC’s next big budget family show which was supposed to take over the mantle that ‘Merlin’ left when it finished. ‘Atlantis’ follows Jason who, whilst searching for a disturbance under the sea, suddenly washes up on the shores of the mythical Atlantis.

Greek myths collide with the real world and it didn’t disappoint in its delivery. Unfortunately, despite being an audience hit, scheduling was thrown around so much that ratings kept dipping and it was cancelled after two series.

It’s well worth keeping with ‘Atlantis’ though, just for Mark Addy as Hercules. Who wouldn’t want to watch that?

Similarity Match: 80%
It’s the spiritual successor to ‘Merlin’, but the BBC have other plans for more shows similar to ‘Merlin’. So don’t despair, this won’t be the last you see of shows along this theme.

‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ (The WB & UPN, 1997 – 2003)

The ultimate show in the teenage hero genre, ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ is one show that I’d watch again and again. It contains brilliant chemistry between the lead characters and storyline arcs that don’t just stretch over a series but over the whole life of the show. It’s perfection in terms of “monster of the week”.

TV series like ‘Merlin’ benefitted enormously from Buffy’s heritage.

Similarity Match: 70%
Probably the best teenage drama series even surpassing ‘Smallville’. The journey of these characters is a pleasure to watch and, of course, if you can’t get enough of Buffy, then you can get even more with the spin off ‘Angel’.

‘Once Upon a Time’ (ABC, 2011 – Present)

Take every single character and villain from childhood stories and Disney films and you have ‘Once Upon a Time’.

This show is set in a world where all fairytale characters have lost their memories and have been transported to the town of Storybrooke due to a curse being inflicted upon them. There is only one way to break the curse and that is in the form of Jennifer Morrison (‘House’).

This series take characters from everywhere and intricately intertwines them into a story where we as an audience long to see them become the characters we all know and love. If this sounds like fun, you should definitely also check out these shows like “Once Upon a Time’.

Similarity Match: 65%
Magic, monsters and fairytales are what make this a series like ‘Merlin’. It’s a good watch and still going strong with no signs of slowing down. Despite it now including elements of ‘Frozen’ (not a personal favourite!), it’s worth catching up and sticking with it.

‘Sleepy Hollow’ (FOX, 2013 – Present)

FOX’s big budget adaptation of the classic tale, sees Ichabod Crane resurrected after over 200 years to fight the headless horseman who has returned to Sleepy Hollow. In this version, the headless horseman is one of the four horsemen of the apocalypse, and with the end of days coming, only Ichabod and Abbie Mills can stop it from happening.

This is the sort of series that FOX likes to produce and then cancel after only one season. ‘Sleepy Hollow’, however, was a hit and audiences love it, so it’s still going strong.

A show FOX didn’t cancel: a very rare thing.

Similarity Match: 60%
This is another show that takes an old story (or stories in this case) and weaves them together to create a thrilling TV show. If you like Merlin, then you’ll love this!


What Else Reminds You of ‘Merlin’?

If you’ve got any more shows like ‘Merlin’ you’d recommend, let me know in the comments below.
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