Fans of the TV series Merlin who are missing the show’s overarching themes should check out these similar shows.
Since the final episode of BBC’s Merlin aired almost a decade ago, many fans have wished for more. It was a unique take on the Arthurian legend, serving as a coming-of-age story for the legendary characters. Five seasons of fantasy drama packed a lot of laughs, thrills, and heartfelt moments.
A spin-off series was discussed, but it never materialized. Many fans felt that the show ended just as it was getting good. Here are a few shows that can help fill the void left by the adventures of the young sorcerer Merlin.
Kristen Palamara updated this article on May 15th, 2021. Although the BBC series Merlin ended in 2012, fans continue to watch and rewatch it. Shows set in Arthurian times usually have a lot of action, but this one had a lot of comedy and well-developed characters as well as some supernatural elements. Merlin, a show set in this time period, has many of the same themes as other shows like it, including magical beings and a good mix of action and comedy. After watching the BBC Original Merlin, fans can move on to other shows like Merlin on Netflix and other streaming services.
1. Shadow And Bone (2021-)
Fans of Merlin will likely enjoy the new Netflix Original series Shadow and Bone, which is also a fantastical show with many supernatural and magical moments.
As with Merlin’s discovery of his magical abilities, a young soldier in Shadow and Bone discovers he has a special ability that could help the world in which the show is set, similar to Shadow and Bone. A fantasy fan would enjoy both series because of the high level of action.
2. Trollhunters: Tales of Arcadia (2016-2018)
It’s an animated Netflix Original series, but fans of Guillermo del Toro’s work, like those of Merlin, will likely enjoy Trollhunters.
In the show, an ordinary adolescent is assigned to protect the good trolls from the evil villainous trolls who are posing a danger to them. In order to balance out the more comedic parts of the show, there is a lot of action, adventure, and serious moments.
3. Sleepy Hollow (2013-2017)
Sleepy Hollow was an intriguing television series about the legendary Ichabod Crane, who wakes up from the dead in the present day and is joined by the Headless Horseman. To solve a centuries-old mystery, he joins forces with a new generation of detectives.
For any Merlin fan, the show has it all: magic, action, supernatural beings, and friendly competition between the characters.
4. Disenchantment (2018-)
Disenchantment is an animated series that is similar to Merlin in tone and setting.
Fantasy series Bean and her elf and demon pals follow the recalcitrant princess to the kingdom of Dreamland. There’s magic, mayhem, comedy, and action in this series, as well as characters who stick together like they did in Merlin.
5. Penny Dreadful (2014-2016)
Penny Dreadful, like Merlin’s Arthurian characters, brings iconic literary characters like Dr. Frankenstein and Dorian Gray to life in its series, bringing the supernatural aspects of their stories to life.
There was enough suspense, interesting characters, and magic and lore to keep a Merlin fan happy throughout the entire series.
6. Cursed (2020-)
When it was released in early 2017, Cursed gave the Arthurian legend another spin by focusing on the Lady of the Lake, a character who is often overlooked. Excalibur was given to King Arthur by her, and she was known as Nimue.
When religious extremists working for King Uther assassinate her people, she becomes a young Fey woman on a quest to deliver the legendary Sword of Power to Merlin. She meets a wide range of people on her journeys, from Arthur to Lancelot. Katherine Langford plays the young sorceress in the show.
7. The Shannara Chronicles (2016-2017)
As with The Shannara Chronicles, traditional fantasy is mixed with an intriguing premise in the Shannara Chronicles series. It takes place in a post-nuclear-war world where magic has taken the place of science, and it centers on the quest of three young adventurers to prevent a demon apocalypse.
The story’s heart, like that of Merlin, lies in the intertwined destinies of its complex and admittedly angst-filled young characters. The Shannara Chronicles, in contrast to many other fantasy shows, featured strong female characters as well as LGBTQ+ representation.
8. Camelot (2011)
Camelot is a must-see for Arthurian Legend fans looking for a gritty retelling. After King Uther’s death, Arthur and Merlin try to rebuild their kingdom under the guidance of Uther’s previously unknown heir, Arthur, as the evil Morgan plots to depose the young king.
Even though the show was short-lived, it had a big impact thanks to its stellar cast, which included Jamie Campell Bower, Eva Green, and Joseph Fiennes.
9. Medici (2016-2019)
Medici is a must-see for fans of Merlin’s political subplots, who will enjoy the show’s political subplots in its entirety. Season one followed the exploits of the famous banking family, with Richard Madden playing Giovanni de’Medici, who finds himself suddenly in charge of his family’s throne.
With its fascinating portrayal of one of history’s most powerful families, this underappreciated historical series deserves to be more widely known. The fact that the show is filmed in Florence adds to its authenticity. In addition to Bradley James, Merlin fans will recognize him as Giuliano de’ Medici, who appears in season two of the show.
10. Galavant (2015-2016)
Galavant is a must-see for Merlin fans who enjoyed the show’s lighter moments. An epic quest to regain the love of the knight Galavant is the focus of this musical fantasy comedy.
Galavant’s success was due to its ability to not take itself too seriously while fantastically parodying both the fantasy and musical genres. With only 18 episodes, this is a great show for weekend binge-watching.
11. Once Upon A Time (2011-2018)
Merlin had the ability to both build on and subvert the legend it was based on, which was one of its strong suits. The show Once Upon a Time does this exceptionally well as well. Upon entering Storybrooke, Emma Swan discovers that the fairy tales from her childhood are much more than just stories for children.
From Snow White to Rumpelstilskin, this fantasy series features characters from classic fairy tales, and season five adds an original take on the Arthurian Legend. The show’s version of the Evil Queen will appeal to fans of Morgana because she develops into one of the show’s most intriguing and complex characters.
12. Da Vinci’s Demons (2013-2015)
Similar to the fabled wizard Merlin, most depictions of Leonardo da Vinci show him as an elderly man in a grey beard and robes. It tells the story of the young genius, Leonardo da Vinci, and his adventures in 15th century Florence, where he gets caught up in the family’s and church’s power struggles.
Because it isn’t trying to be historically accurate like many other shows about historical figures, Leonardo da Vinci is presented in an intriguing manner that has never been seen before on television.
13. The Magicians (2015-2020)
The Magicians is one of the best shows on television right now, but it’s also one of the most underrated. Quentin Coldwater is a graduate student at a magical graduate school who finds out his favorite childhood books may be more real and dangerous than he ever imagined. It is based on Lev Grossman’s series of novels.
Whereas Merlin is a more traditional fantasy show, The Magicians has consistently subverted expectations to create a television series that is truly unlike anything else. Furthermore, it was never afraid to tackle difficult social issues like mental illness and drug abuse.
14. Robin Hood (2006-2009)
Man steals from the wealthy to give to those in need, and his story is as well-known as King Arthur’s. This classic tale has been told many times, but the BBC’s 2006 series is unique in that it has the same tone and style as Merlin.
When the title character, Robin Hood, returns home to lead an outlaw band against Sheriff Nottingham’s tyranny, the story follows him. Richard Armitage, who plays Guy of Gisborne, also shines in the show.
15. The Witcher (2019-)
The Witcher has surpassed Game of Thrones in popularity. Following Geralt of Rivia’s adventures as a magically enhanced monster hunter and his intertwined fates with a mage and a crown princess, it is inspired by Andrzej Sapkowski’s book series.
For Merlin fans, the show has it all: epic battle scenes, an odd friendship between Geralt and Jaskier reminiscent of Arthur and Merlin’s, and more. Although it takes a while for the show to get going, once it does, viewers will be glued to their seats. As of right now, the show has only aired one season; however, a second is planned for later next year.
Lorinda is a South African freelance writer and self-professed Slytherin. Since she was able to tie her own shoelaces, she’s been a fan of movies and television. She spends her time learning new things and baking her way to victory over her foes.