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Shows Like Grimm That Fantasy Procedural Fans Need To See

Fantasy procedural "Grimm" magically blurred genres for six action-packed seasons. The series followed Detective Nick Burkhardt (David Giuntoli), a Portland cop who's coming into his own as a Grimm, essentially a member of a long line of magical law enforcement meant to keep the secret world of fantastic creatures called Wesen separate from the normal humans who are erstwhile unaware they exist. It's a bit of culture shock for Nick, who until recently was one of those blessed normal folks blissfully unaware he was surrounded by werewolves, succubi, and warlocks. Fortunately for Nick, he's got a strong support system in place; the cast of "Grimm" is rounded out by his partner Hank (Russell Hornsby), girlfriend Juliette (Elizabeth Tulloch), and new friend Monroe (Silas Weir Mitchell) — a wolf-life Wesen called a Blutbad; think of him as a reformed version of the Big Bad Wolf — who serves as his in with the supernatural world.

Along the way, Nick finds himself caught up in numerous subplots, including wars for the magical throne, his long-lost mother — whom he thought dead — returning out of nowhere, and a sketchy paternity situation to boot. But underneath all that, "Grimm" was, at its core, a procedural like many others, exploring the case of the week. Of course, most procedurals don't have supporting characters like Rosalee (Bree Turner), a fox-like Wesen called a Fuchsbau who owns a spice shop that sells critical ingredients for magical spells.

But there are plenty of procedurals that color outside the lines and blend genres just like this show about fairy tales and the force. Here are our favorite shows like "Grimm" that fantasy procedural fans need to see.


When looking to put together a successful sci-fi fantasy series, you could do a lot worse that the creative minds of J.J. Abrams, Roberto Orci, and Alex Kurtzman. In addition to collaborating on properties like "Mission Impossible III" and the "Star Trek" reboot — with the latter two also writing "Transformers" — they also brought to life the sci-fi paranormal series "Fringe." The series followed the fictitious Fringe Division of the FBI — as supervised by the Department of Homeland Security — which used fringe science to investigate unexplained phenomena all tied to a parallel dimension. Agent Olivia Dunham (Anna Torv) enlists civilian contractor Peter Bishop (Joshua Jackson) to join the team in order to work with his mad scientist father Walter Bishop (John Noble), whose experience in the realm of fringe science is invaluable. Some members of the team even have doppelgangers in the parallel dimension, including Agent Dunham's "Fauxlivia" and Dr. Bishop's "Walternate."

"Fringe" ran for a total of five seasons and 100 episodes on Fox and boasts an impressive 90% average critics score for its entire run on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes. It also featured sci-fi legend Leonard Nimoy — who famously played Spock on the original "Star Trek" series — as recurring character Dr. William Bell, Walter's former colleague. "Fringe" was nominated for multiple Primetime Emmy Awards and received more than 20 Saturn Award nominations, honoring the best in science fiction. Anna Torv took home the Saturn Award for Best Actress on Television for 2013 (via IMDb).


It's one thing for a procedural to feature characters with a devil-may-care attitude when solving cases; it's something else altogether when they're solving cases because the Devil does care, because the character is actually the Devil. Such is the case with "Lucifer" and its namesake character, Lucifer Morningstar (Tom Ellis). This DC Comics version of everyone's favorite fallen angel left Hell in favor of Los Angeles. To do what, you ask? To indulge in the pleasures of the flesh and to open a nightclub called Lux. Why? Well, he's bored. As you can imagine, bad things can happen when the Devil is bored.

How, then, does this become a procedural? It all starts when a young star Lucifer helped make it big is killed right in front of him. He tags along during the investigation, much to the dismay of Detective Chloe Decker (Lauren German). His assistance results in the Los Angeles Police Department bringing the Devil on as a civilian police consultant. While he is thrilled to be working with Chloe, she is not thrilled nor is she particularly charmed by him, though literally everyone else seems to be. Well, everyone but his brother, Amenadiel (D. B. Woodside), who shows up on the scene on behalf of the Almighty to try to get Lucifer to retake the throne in Hell. As Lucifer fends off his brother and repeatedly tries to seduce Chloe, he's got chief bartender and succubus Mazikeen (Lesley-Ann Brandt) — aka Maze, his head of torture during his time in Hell — watching his back.


Rock salt? Check. Machete? Check. Tape deck in your 1967 Chevy Impala loaded with classic rock? Check. It's time to hit the road with Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean (Jensen Ackles), the monster-hunting Winchester brothers on the CW's fantasy procedural "Supernatural." Sam's been away from the life for a few years, going to college at Stanford and generally enjoying a healthy, well-adjusted existence, girlfriend and all. But Dean comes a-calling when their father John Winchester (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) goes missing on a hunting trip — read: hunting monsters like vampires, werewolves, vengeful spirits, and shapeshifters. While their day-to-day lives involve being conmen to fund their gigs as unappreciated amateur civil servants taking out the supernatural trash, the big mission is tracking down the yellow-eyed demon who killed their mother, John's wife Mary. Sam is drawn back in when his girlfriend Jessica (Adrianne Palicki) is killed upon his return to Stanford from a brief, unsuccessful trip to help Dean track their father down.

The Winchesters' wheelhouse grows a bit a few seasons in as they come up against angels; they've known demons were a thing for years, but have never encountered their heavenly counterparts. The thing is, they're not really that helpful, or nice, or even good overall. Their friend Castiel (Misha Collins) appears to be the exception. Unfortunately, things get tangled up hardcore between heaven and hell when they boys find out they're both vessels for angels to possess. And not just any angels; Dean is the ultimate host body for the archangel Michael while Sam is the preferred meat suit for the archangel Lucifer, aka the Devil, which means they're basically destined to fight to the death. The Winchesters say to hell with that.

The X-Files

The 1990s Fox sci-fi series "The X-Files" was pretty much the OG paranormal procedural, following the work of a wayward, off-his-rocker FBI agent named Fox "Spooky" Mulder (David Duchovny) who works on the titular assignments with the straight-laced, by-the-book scientist Dr. Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) who was initially assigned to chaperone Mulder to debunk his work. The X-Files were pretty much a catch-all category for unsolved cases dealing with unexplained phenomena — from UFO sightings and alien encounters to someone with pyrokinesis, the ability to control lightning, or a chupacabras — that no one else in the FBI took seriously. Mulder is such a dyed-in-the-wool believer in the paranormal as a result of his sister being abducted by aliens when he was younger, stemming from his guilt over being unable to save her. 

Scully, of course, is a skeptic based on her background in medicine; she's a scientist because she comes from a world in which everything has a rational explanation and doesn't need the supernatural to make sense. Despite their foil relationship, Mulder and Scully get along great and work well as a team, with the pervading will-they-won't-they tension and chemistry adding an emotional component to the show. Over the course of the series, they bear witness to incredible things, though their supervisor, FBI assistant director Walter Skinner (Mitch Pileggi)) is often less than thrilled with their unconventional methods and findings. Then again, considering the types of people to whom Skinner reports on the subject of Mulder and Scully's work, maybe it's best he plays down their results, else the stakes get even higher.


Supernatural sci-fi series "Haven" follows the goings-on in the namesake fictional town in Maine. The residents of Haven experience all manner of paranormal problems when The Troubles — not to be confused with the 30-year ethno-nationalist Northern Ireland conflict — return, having afflicted the town twice proper. FBI Agent Audrey Parker (Emily Rose) is sent to Haven to look into the mysterious death of an escaped prisoner, though she finds the incident is just a drop in the bucket of weirdness in the town — like the old photo featuring someone who looks a little too much like her to ignore. Audrey eventually leaves the bureau to join local law enforcement, working alongside detective Nathan Wuornos (Lucas Bryant); there's plenty for her to investigate in Haven, not the least of which is the mysterious Colorado Kid incident and her own potential involvement. Of course, there's also the person who's moods affect the weather, the woman whose babies come to term in a matter of days, and a shapeshifter who shows up to ruin the birthday party her friends threw for her.

"Haven" is loosely based on the mystery novel "The Colorado Kid" from seminal horror author Stephen King. Former WWE Superstar Adam "Edge" Copeland joined the cast of "Haven" in Season 2, taking on the role of "Bullet Magnet" Dwight Hendrickson, whose Trouble causes any bullets fired from a gun to redirect themselves at him, also known as the world's worst super power. "Haven" aired for five season on Syfy before its cancelation in 2015.


"Medium" lead character Allison DuBois (Patricia Arquette) did not hail from Haven but she certainly had a special ability of her own. She works with the Phoenix, Arizona, district attorney's office in the fictional Mariposa County, helping prosecutors with murder investigations as a psychic consultant. Allison is a medium, able to commune with the spirits of the dead, witness past events, and even see the future — all of which takes place in dreams and visions she has. As with any person with supernatural powers, she experiences skepticism, given that her abilities aren't exactly the tools of most civilian contractors liaising with law enforcement. One person by her side is husband Joe (Jake Weber); of course, her three daughters don't have any doubts either, considering they inherited their mother's gifts.

The show is based on a real-life person named Allison DuBois, who claims to be a medium and to have worked with law enforcement. The James Randi Educational Foundation has challenged those claiming to have psychic abilities to submit themselves to evaluations with the standards of scientific rigor, with its namesake founder calling out Dubois and others (via randi.org). "James Van Praagh and Allison DuBois have turned the huckster art of 'cold reading' into a multi-million-dollar industry, preying on families' deepest fears and regrets," he said in 2011 regarding ABC's "Primetime Nightline: Beyond Belief." Safe to assume he's not a fan of "Medium," but plenty of viewers were and the show lasted seven season between runs on NBC and CBS.


Another Syfy original set in a titular fictional town, "Eureka" is similar to "Haven" in those respects but has an entirely different premise. In the namesake location — a small town in Oregon — "Eureka" follows the police procedural format in a world of advanced technology. You see, pretty much everyone who lives there is a scientific genius working for the tech conglomerate Global Dynamics; in fact, they're responsible for much of the company's advancements. But just as things can go wrong in the lab in real life — or technology can be purposely misused for ill deeds — accidents or bad things can happen in Eureka. That's where Sheriff Jack Carter (Colin Ferguson) comes in, solving each case with the help of the town's scientists. He may only be of average intelligence, but his rudimentary methods often yield positive results — which is important when living in a town full of geniuses.

Of course, it doesn't hurt to have a daughter like Zoe (Jordan Hinson), who's able to keep pace with the surrounding Einsteins, though it might be more helpful if she kept her attitude in check. Jack also gets plenty of help from the town mechanic, Dr. Henry Deacon (Joe Morton), whose objections to Global Dynamics and its research means he must settle for a position below his abilities. When in doubt, Jack can always rely on his gun-loving deputy, Jo Lupo (Erica Cerra), though she eventually takes the job of Global Dynamics' head of security.

Ghost Whisperer

While on the air, "Medium" faced competition from a strikingly similar show called "Ghost Whisperer." The lead character, Melinda Gordon (Jennifer Love Hewitt), is also able to communicate with the spirits of the dead, though she's never explicitly described as being a medium. Melinda's gifts allow her to talk to what her family described as "earthbound spirits" and she attempts to help them cross over the threshold into the afterlife. Unlike Allison DuBois, Melinda isn't working with any law enforcement agency; instead, she does her good deeds pro bono, simply trying to have as normal a life as possible while running her antique store with best friend Andrea Marino (Aisha Tyler). 

By her side is her husband, Jim (David Conrad), one of the few people with whom she's shared her unique gifts. She's also indulged her eclectic friend, Professor Rick Payne (Jay Mohr), who's always intrigued to hear Melinda tell stories of her encounters with various spirits. While Melinda certainly means well in her endeavors, not all of the spirits whom she encounters are amiable; some are downright nasty, like the antagonistic Romano (John Walcutt), a deceased cult leader who took his own life and is not done leading people astray. 

Much like "Medium," "Ghost Whisperer" is based on the purported paranormal experiences of a real-life person — in this case, Mary Ann Winkowski, who served as a producer on the show. Purported psychic medium James Van Praagh — who was also addressed by James Randi in his dismissal of Allison DuBois — also served as co-executive producer on the show.

The Dead Zone

The 1979 novel "The Dead Zone" by author Stephen King was adapted into a feature film starring Christopher Walken in 1983. Nearly 20 years later, the series of the same name debuted on the USA Network. All three tell the story of Johnny Smith, a school teacher who falls into a coma as a result of a car accident, suffering brain damage in the process. Johnny later awakens, only to find that the titular "dead zone" in his brain has unlocked latent psychic and precognitive abilities.

In the series, Johnny (Anthony Michael Hall) wakes up to find his pregnant fiancee Sarah (Nicole de Boer) has given birth and moved on while he was comatose, now married to sheriff Walt Bannerman (Chris Bruno). Johnny begins to use his new-found powers to help solve crimes, aided by Sarah, Walt, and his best friend and physical therapist, Bruce Lewis (John L. Adams). Life's not all good deeds, sunshine and rainbows though; Johnny starts having some pretty messed up visions. Prophetic visions, like end of the world material, all centered around the election of seemingly insane politician Greg Stillson (Sean Patrick Flanery). That adds a slightly larger item to Johnny's to-do list.

"The Dead Zone" ran for six seasons before being canceled over low ratings and high production costs; as a result of its cancelation, the show did not receive a series finale. As Reuters reported in 2007, the series debut of "The Dead Zone" has set the record for a basic cable television premiere, attracting 6.4 million viewers.


"Torchwood" is the mature, sexy spinoff to popular British sci-fi show "Doctor Who" — the name of which is also an anagram for the long-running series. At the center of the story is Captain Jack Harkness (John Barrowman), a character who first appeared in an episode of the newly-relaunched "Doctor Who" in 2005. He's a flirtatious conman and adventurer from the 51st century who leads the Torchwood team, investigating things that go bump in the night — things that usually come through the time-space rift on which their home base is situated. When their work attracts the attention of police officer Gwen Cooper (Eve Myles), she joins the team after they suffer a loss, working alongside egotistical womanizer Owen Harper (Burn Gorman), the quiet but endearing Toshiko Sato (Naoko Mori), and the reserved and generally aloof Ianto Jones (Gareth David-Lloyd). Her new gig puts Gwen at odds with her boyfriend Rhys (Kai Owen), from whom she must keep secret all the crazy things she's gotten up to as part of the Torchwood team.

While "Torchwood" was only on the air for two seasons during its initial run, it has been resurrected twice for miniseries adaptations. In 2009, "Torchwood: Children of Earth" aired on parent network BBC and sees the planet's youth given over to an alien race called the 456. In 2011, the BBC and premium cable network Starz co-produced "Torchwood: Miracle Day," an event during which no one on the planet can die; while that sounds awesome on the surface, it soon causes multiple systems to spiral out of control, leaving chaos in the wake as the team — now joined by American characters — try to figure out what's going on.

Tru Calling

It's important to always have a backup plan in life. Like, say, when a college internship falls through, maybe try getting a job working in the local morgue. That's what med school student Tru Davies (Eliza Dushku) did in "Tru Calling" and it seemed to work out well for her. And by work out well, we mean she found that she had to ability to relive the last day of a dead person's life when a corpse pretty much just sits up and asks for her help. She uses this extraordinary power to try to prevent the deaths of these unfortunate individuals. That's not too much to ask from a college student with a freaky new power and some semblance of a personal life, right? Don't worry; she's got bumbling friend and morgue supervisor Davis (Zach Galifianakis) to turn to when life seems too much — that's a frequent occurrence with foil and counterpart Jack Harper (Jason Preistly) looking to stop her from accomplishing her goal of saving lives. It certainly doesn't help that Jack works for Tru's estranged father, Harrison Davies (Shawn Reaves).

"Tru Calling" aired for two season before it was canceled due to poor ratings performance. According to an archived ratings report from The Hollywood Reporter, the series came in at No. 121 of the primetime series on the air in 2004 in terms of total viewership (via archive.org).

Sleepy Hollow

Wait, "Sleepy Hollow"? Haven't I seen this? It's the movie with that Ichabod Crane guy trying to stop the Headless Horseman in the title town in Upstate New York, right? Yes to all of those things, except replace "movie" with "show"; replace the skittish 18th century police constable with a British-born soldier and spy fighting for America in the Revolutionary War; and replace the heiress daughter-slash-witch with Sheriff's Lieutenant Abbie Mills (Nicole Beharie) in this show set in the modern day. After battling the Horseman during the aforementioned skirmish, Ichabod Crane (Tom Mison) wakes up in 2013 in Sleepy Hollow, New York, a pretty unique twist on the classic fish-out-of-water trope. The walking anachronism teams up with the skeptical sheriff's officer when he finds out that the Horseman is back and is using 21st century weaponry — an admittedly cringe-worthy detail.

Along the way, guided by George Washington's bible, the duo learns that they're both holy witnesses, fated to observe the end of days, which is exactly what will happen if the Horseman tracks down his noggin or his boss, the demon Moloch, is freed from Purgatory. There for support is Captain Frank Irving (Orlando Jones), whom they bring into the fold, and Ichabod's dead wife, Katrina Crane (Katia Winter). They do battle with all manner of biblical mythology, from demons to the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, with the fate of the world hanging in the balance. Maybe that's a tall order for small-town law enforcement and an English teacher from a couple hundred years ago, but they seem to make it work.

Warehouse 13

Syfy original "Warehouse 13" had plenty of action and laughs in store, in addition to supernatural and sci-fi hijinks. When Secret Service agents Pete Lattimer (Eddie McClintock) and Myka Bering (Joanne Kelly) are assigned to the titular secret storage facility, they really have no idea what they're getting into, other than misinterpreting that being sent to a remote location in South Dakota means they totally screwed up somewhere. In truth, they've been entrusted with immense responsibility and, though the job doesn't seem like a peach at first glance, it's a reflection of how much faith has been put into them. Throughout the series, Lattimer and Bering are tasked with tracking down powerful supernatural artifacts, some of which have gone missing and some of which have just recently been discovered. 

The thing about this particular duo is how different they are. While Lattimer likes to play things fast and loose with the rules, Bering does things strictly by the book. Their contrasting styles aren't nearly as important as other attributes they bring to the table: Lattimer can read a given situation, often receiving "vibes," while Bering's powers of recall amount to a photographic memory. While working at Warehouse 13, they're under the charge of former NSA cryptographer Artie Nielsen (Saul Rubinek), lead Special Agent of the operation, and in the care of Leena (Genelle Williams), the namesake proprietor of Leena's Bed and Breakfast, where the team lives. New additions come in the form of techno wunderkind Claudia Donovan (Allison Scagliotti) and former ATF agent and human lie detector Steve Jinks (Aaron Ashmore).

Lost Girl

When considering procedurals that veer off the beaten path, we felt it best to wrap it up with one that pretty much goes off the rails — "Lost Girl." While many of the shows listed herein deal with regular human beings investigating the incredible and fantastic or even people with special gifts trying to crack the case, the lead character of "Lost Girl" is a succubus — yes, a female demon — named Bo Dennis (Anna Silk). She only learns of her powers and nature after accidentally killing her boyfriend, at which point her parents pile on by informing her she's adopted — what a day, huh? 

When Bo saves soon-to-be bestie Kenzi Malikov (Ksenia Solo) from being assaulted, they decide to do what every pair of best friends should do: open a detective agency. Keep in mind, there's never been a human and Fae — the in-series term for supernatural beings like Bo — detective agency. Sooner or later the local Fae leaders want Bo to pick a side. Since no one likes an ultimatum and she's still fairly new to the whole thing, Bo refuses and declares herself neutral in the struggle between the Light and Dark sides of the Fae world — a decision that's not without its consequences. 

As if her job wasn't complicated enough, Bo becomes romantically entangled with a wolf shapeshifter named Dyson (Kris Holden-Ried) who is also a cop. Then there's human Dr. Lauren Lewis (Zoie Palmer), who works for the Light Fae and is owned by its leader, the Ash (Clé Bennett). What's a girl to do?