Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

15 Shows Buffy The Vampire Slayer Fans Should Watch

There are a lot of ways to describe the cult classic "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," which first aired in 1996. It's a horror-themed coming-of-age tale that balances a monster-of-the-week format with serialized storylines. It's a playful, action-packed comedy that serves as a sort of extended metaphor, with the first three seasons all about trying to survive high school, the fourth season about navigating college, and the remaining three seasons about just trying to survive. It's a rich, character-driven narrative full of snappy dialogue and social commentary that boasts clever moments of self-awareness. You might even call it a dark fantasy drama that features elements of both camp and tragedy — and the ability to go from silly to downright devastating. Basically, "Buffy" is the tour de force of supernatural content, influencing modern-day media like "The Vampire Diaries" and "Teen Wolf."

Because different aspects of the series resonate with different people, there are also many shows one can turn toward to help satisfy a craving for more "Buffy"-like television.

From other supernatural staples to short-lived horror gems to dark coming-of-age dramedies, here are 15 shows to check out if you're desperate to scratch that itch without just re-watching "Buffy." Again.


Relocating to Los Angeles, ensouled vampire Angel embarks on a quest to atone for his blood-drenched past. To that end, he teams up with aspiring-but-failing actress — and fellow "Buffy the Vampire Slayer"-alum — Cordelia Chase, as well as half-demon/half-Irishman seer Allen Francis Doyle, to form a private detective agency dedicated to "helping the helpless."

Here, we get a "classic workplace drama" (via Salon) with noir-style flourishes rather than a clever coming-of-age tale, but the equally playful "Angel," essentially a direct spin-off (with its first season airing concurrently with "Buffy's" fourth), still matches its predecessor in wit, charm, and heart. While there may not be a Hellmouth in L.A., there is an evil law firm known as Wolfram & Hart.

Notably, this series is also a bit darker, infusing more horror throughout and examining a different overarching theme. This time, it's less about the underdogs overcoming the odds when faced with the forces of evil, and more about continuing to fight even in the face of relentless failure and futility.

If you've steered clear of "Angel" because you're just not a fan of our broody titular vampire, take comfort in the fact that many Redditors, including u/Garlicknottodaysatan, believe "he gets a lot better on his own show." In fact, one might even argue that "Angel" takes deeply flawed Buffyverse characters and breathes more emotional depth into them, setting them on their own individual paths toward redemption. One prime example: former Watcher Wesley Wyndam-Pryce.


"Crazyhead," described by Decider's Meghan O'Keefe as "an enchanting British import...that finally fills the void left by Joss Whedon's 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer,'" follows two twenty-something seers who share a grim gift: they can see the true faces of the demons who've possessed other humans. When bowling alley worker Amy (Cara Theobold) is attacked by one of these demons — and then saved by demon hunter Raquel (Susan Wokoma) — she finds she's not, in fact, losing her mind or hallucinating monsters, and she doesn't actually need the medication she takes to suppress her terrifying visions. Instead, she learns the crazy truth: evil, supernatural beings exist. They walk — and kill — among us. To top it all off, she and Raquel are among a rare few who can recognize this reality and fight back.

Of course, things get even more complicated after Amy's best friend and roommate becomes possessed, cueing a failed exorcism. What's more, because of Amy's recently realized abilities, the lonely Raquel is eager to recruit her as both a demon hunting partner and a friend. Like "Angel," this one's quite a bit darker than "Buffy," but as O'Keefe notes, it's "full of thrills, chills, and wickedly sharp banter."

Created by Howard Overman, the man who brought us "Misfits," this short-lived and tragically underappreciated horror comedy, which writers like Junkee's Patrick Lenton view "as a kind of spiritual successor" that boasts updated feminism and friendship-focused themes, is more than worthy of any "Buffy" fan's attention.

Veronica Mars

For the "Buffy" enthusiasts who appreciate the Slayer's fashion sense, snappy comebacks, and fierce determination to strike down the evil lurking in the shadows of her hometown, teen sleuth Veronica Mars (Kristen Bell of "The Good Place") essentially serves as Buffy's mystery genre counterpart. 

Veronica's just as snappy and strong as the Slayer. While a physically enhanced Buffy wields stakes and crosses while confronting the monsters who come out of or gravitate to the Hellmouth underneath Sunnydale High, the inquisitive Veronica wields a camera and puts together clues when faced with disturbing unsolved crimes.

Set in Neptune, a place void of supernatural terrors but full of human-made horrors, the first season of Rob Thomas' "Veronica Mars" sees our spunky blonde protagonist taking on two very personal mysteries — searching for answers to who drugged and assaulted her at a ninth-grade party while simultaneously investigating the brutal murder of her best friend Lilly (Amanda Seyfried of "Mean Girls" fame).

"Buffy" fans can also delight in knowing that Alyson Hannigan (Willow) and Charisma Carpenter (Cordelia) feature as recurring characters in this noir-style teen drama. Even better: psychologists cite both shows as therapeutic TV (via HuffPost). So go ahead and add it to your queue. It's good for your health!

Doctor Who

According to Anthony Head (Giles), the revived "Doctor Who," essentially a continuation of the classic, long-running British science fiction series, owes a lot to "Buffy" (via Fansided). Self-professed fan Russell T. Davies, the man who breathed new life into the "Doctor Who" franchise, clearly agrees (via The A.V. Club).

Rather than a teen Vampire Slayer armed with super-strength, a bag of stakes, and a lovable Scooby Gang, though, "Doctor Who" features an old two-hearted Time Lord armed with a Sonic Screwdriver; a sentient, time-traveling spaceship (that's bigger on the inside!); and a revolving door of trusted Companions. Like Buffy's friends, these Companions help the Doctor investigate strange occurrences, combat various mini-apocalypses, and save other people.

But while Buffy — according to the Watcher's Council and the long line of Slayers who came before her — is fated to die young, the Doctor has lived many lives and will likely live many more. Still, the similarities between the two shows are vast. After all, both "Buffy" and "Doctor Who" offer fast-paced action, clever dialogue, social commentary, and rich, character-driven stories layered with horror, humor, and heart; both are brimming with nightmare fodder; and both can, at times, break a viewer's heart. That is to say, the "Doctor Who" crew often find themselves in situations that are just as dark and dire.

If you become an enthusiastic fan of Captain Jack Harkness while viewing, you might also consider turning to "Torchwood" for some equally creepy and campy content.


In response to a Redditor asking for television recommendations from fellow "Buffy" fans, user u/metmerc says they "found the early seasons of 'Smallville' to be practically a carbon copy of Buffy." And while we're not sure we completely agree with that assessment, we will say that this WB tale does, like "Buffy," blend monster-of-the-week narratives with season-long "Big Bads" and serialized, character-focused storylines. Rather than a Vampire Slayer, though, we're focused on resident alien Clark Kent (Tom Welling), who crash-landed in the Kansas town of Smallville as a baby during a catastrophic meteor shower, and who will go on, as we all know, to become Superman.

Following Clark through his pre-superhero adolescence, we watch his own tragic love story with orphaned neighbor Lana Lang (Kristin Kreuk) unfold as he comes into (and learns to control) his powers, tries to keep his true identity secret, and battles against those infected — and corrupted — by kryptonite-laced meteors. Clark eventually assembles a  group of trusted friends who help him investigate the town's strange occurrences. And they certainly have a lot to delve into. After all, the mortality rate at their high school is just as high as Sunnydale's.

Ultimately, "Smallville" may not have the same sharp-toothed wit or playful self-awareness as "Buffy," but it still manages to take the reluctant "Chosen One" trope and twist it into an equally heartfelt coming-of-age story. For that alone, it's worth checking out.

The X-Files

"The X-Files" follows two FBI Agents, Dana Scully (The Skeptic) and Fox Mulder (The Believer), as they investigate bizarre and unexplainable cases throughout the country — cases that may be extraterrestrial in nature. During these investigations, they frequently contend with shady higher-ups determined to keep them in the dark regarding many terrifying truths.

We liken this legendary science fiction classic to "Buffy" because of its ability to balance episodic narratives with larger, season- and series-long arcs. What's more: Like our Scoobies, Scully (Gillian Anderson) and Mulder (David Duchovny) don't always beat their villains. According to Vox's Emily St. James, "The X-Files" has had a major impact on our media — and it's clear that "Buffy," with its similar structure, is no exception. And haven't we all heard those widespread stories of how Whedon once pitched "Buffy" as "The X-Files" meets "My So-Called Life" (via Critically Touched)?

In fact, we'd even dare to say, if you're a "Buffy" fan and the kind of cinephile who enjoys tracing influences, references, and the evolution of specific genres, you might find this and "Twin Peaks" — and probably "Scooby-Doo" and "St. Elsewhere" too! — a rich and insightful viewing experience.

If you're still on the fence about the show, maybe this little tidbit will help sway you: At least one Redditor has turned to "The X-Files" while "trying to fill the 'Buffy' crater in [their] heart" — and they've even stumbled across Seth Green (who plays Oz on "Buffy") during their binge.

Xena: Warrior Princess

With a strong female protagonist who's just as fierce and formidable, as our favorite Vampire Slayer, "Xena: Warrior Princess," a direct spin-off of "Hercules: The Legendary Journeys," may help fill that ever-frustrating "Buffy" void.

One thing to note: our titular character's basic M.O. is more akin to Angel's than Buffy's. In that sense, "Xena" is to "Hercules" as "Angel" is to "Buffy" — with Xena (Lucy Lawless) on a quest for redemption, determined to help the helpless and to atone for her dark, blood-soaked past.

Throughout her adventures, Xena bonds with farm girl Gabrielle (Renee O'Connor) who, over the course of the series, becomes a warrior in her own right. And as Xena helps Gabrielle grow stronger, Gabrielle helps soften Xena's edges.

Swapping out a stake for a chakram and replacing urban fantasy with the mythology-rich world of Ancient Greece, "Xena" leans more toward cheese and camp than horror, wit, and self-aware playfulness, but like "Buffy," the show was progressive for its time, teasing viewers with some incredibly suggestive romantic and sexual subtext between our two female leads. While both shows are admittedly pretty whitewashed, "Xena" sees at least a little more success in terms of general inclusivity (via Den of Geek).

Bonus: Xena can also boast what is perhaps the best — and certainly the campiest — battle cry ever unleashed unto the world!

The Magicians

Based on Lev Grossman's novels, "The Magicians" is often described as "Harry Potter" meets "The Chronicles of Narnia" but for adults (per Vox's Constance Grady). In response to Redditor u/ThatKoffeeBurns' request for shows "Buffy" may have had some direct influence on, several users point straight to "The Magicians," with one person claiming it's "the most 'Buffy'-inspired show [they] have seen," another mentioning the many "Buffy" Easter Eggs throughout, and yet another declaring that "No show since has captured the snappy dialogue and general mood better." Sold yet? In addition, the series offers Cordelia Chase levels of sass and snark via Margo, and a complicated and ill-fated love story between two prominent characters.

At the start, the dangerously depressed Quentin Coldwater discovers he's a Magician after being invited to test into (and then enroll at) Brakebills University for Magical Pedagogy as a graduate student. Though enamored with his strange new world, Quentin barely has time to learn magic comes from pain before chaos ensues — and a Beast starts hunting him and his friends down.

Laced with horror, comedy, and tragedy, "The Magicians" is darker, gorier, and zanier than "Buffy," but it's clear it satisfies certain cravings. We imagine it's because of the sharp-toothed wit, the found family aspect, and the character-driven narratives that don't shy away from heavy topics. In fact, producer Sera Gamble even took direct inspiration from "The Body," one of "Buffy"'s most devastating storylines, for an equally poignant arc (via Entertainment Weekly).


"Supernatural," the CW's long-running, action-packed, dark fantasy drama, stars Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles as brothers (and Hunters) Sam and Dean. Together, they travel the country via a classic 1967 Chevy Impala, hunting monsters and investigating strange, potentially supernatural-related cases to rid the world of evil, one demon, or ghost, or vampire at a time.

In addition to offering that familiar mix of monster-of-the-week narratives and broader story arcs, "Supernatural," like "Buffy," boasts a nice blend of comedy and horror, featuring its own slew of cultural references and its own expansive lore and mythology. Over the course of the series, as our Hunters take on everything from sadistic demons and psychopathic angels to creepy clowns and powerful, Leviathan-run corporations, we also watch them navigate a complicated relationship with their father, see Sam contend with mental illness, and witness them going to Hell and back for each other — sometimes literally.

Admittedly, the show's received some well-deserved criticism for many issues, including its poor handling of various female characters (via Study Breaks) — but that doesn't mean there aren't formidable (and emotionally layered) women throughout, including the ruthless Witch Rowena (Ruth Connell) and the spunky hacker-turned-hunter Charlie (Felicia Day).

On top of that, many Reddit users, like u/Legend246888 and u/KirinG, have even taken to the discussion boards to talk about how much they would have loved a "Buffy" and "Supernatural" crossover. And we have to say, it's truly sad we'll never see the day.

Jessica Jones

At the time of its release, many critics started calling "Jessica Jones" the next "Buffy the Vampire Slayer." Grazia's Phoebe Frangoul even argues "Jessica Jones is the millennials' answer to Buffy." Setting aside the fact that Buffy, born in the winter of 1981, already is the millennial (or Xennial, if you'd really prefer) Buffy, we understand the sentiment.

Sure, our blond California teen often comes across as a perky ex-cheerleader (in the early seasons, at least), and Jessica comes across as a bitter and sardonic New Yorker, but neither character is a stranger to snark or sarcasm. They share other fundamental traits, too, from their impressive super-strength, durability, and accelerated healing abilities, to the fact that they're both incredibly — and disastrously — unlucky in love.

Watching the Wasteland's Jamie Paton points out even more parallels between these two reluctant heroes — one a high schooler who just wants to have a normal life, and one a private investigator who just wants to move on from a sexually traumatic past — explaining that both Jessica and Buffy are essentially neighborhood superheroes dealing with conflicts that are much more personal than what we see in standard superhero fare. They don't have the support of a powerful organization, nor do they have consistent streams of money to fund their vigilante work. Instead, they're characters with relatable, real-world struggles — contending with loss and PTSD in the midst of all their crime fighting — and "a core group of allies."

The Nevers

HBO's "The Nevers," a steampunk drama set during the Victorian era, focuses on a group of (mostly) women who've gained distinct and peculiar abilities after a strange astrological event. One woman can form fireballs with her bare hands, while another is cursed with shattering anything she touches, for example. This group, referred to as the Touched, faces fear, discrimination, and prejudice from the larger London population. Worse, they must contend with some particularly relentless enemies who wish them nothing but harm. Their one safe haven: an orphanage operated by Touched widow Amalia True, who can glimpse the future.

These women aren't burdened, necessarily, with the kind of secret-keeping that Buffy is, but after watching just the first episode, one Redditor has taken to the discussion boards to say "it's got all the things [they] loved about Buffy: people who lived in the 19th century, girls with superpowers, a solitary female fighter main lead, varying accents of the UK variety." They go on to say that they think of one main character, Penance, as "The Nevers'" equivalent to "Buffy's" Willow, "Angel's" Fred, and "Firefly's" Kaylee.

All in all, "The Nevers" offers a nice blend of action and wit and drama, and like "Buffy," it's not afraid to be both silly and serious. Be forewarned though: As of this writing, we're still uncertain as to when the second part of the first season will air. Only time will tell!

Warrior Nun

According to Redditor u/Lord_Greybeard, watching Simon Barry's "Warrior Nun" is like watching a version of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" where "the Watcher's Council [is] the Catholic Church and their Slayer [has] a team of trained Potentials. Then one day the Slayer dies and some random girl is Chosen." And, well, that description is pretty on point.

This time around, that random girl is 19-year-old Ava Silva (Alba Baptista), a recently deceased quadriplegic orphan who's resurrected when a group of warrior nuns implants a divine object (basically a halo) into her back. When Ava comes to, she discovers she can walk — but she also soon learns that she's been called to the ancient Order of the Cruciform Sword, a secret organization dedicated to fighting evil on Earth. To make matters even more complicated, this organization isn't the only group that wants Ava. As a result, she finds herself thrust into a timeless battle between Heaven and Hell.

Ultimately, "Warrior Nun" possesses a lot of charm and heart, it's not afraid to take on serious subjects, and Decider's Meghan O'Keefe even views it as "a breathlessly fun joy ride...with demons, morally ambiguous scientists, [and] wild twists." And in the same way that "Buffy" is rich with social and cultural commentary, "Warrior Nun" is rich with philosophical and religious commentary, with O'Keefe noting it "tackles some of the most bitter moral debates raging within the modern Catholic church with wit, courage, and above all, soul."

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Set right after the Battle of New York (which we see depicted in 2012's "The Avengers"), Marvel's "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." centers on Agent Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) as he assembles a small team of agents dedicated to tackling weird cases. Over the course of this series, we watch the characters take on everything from Hydra and Inhumans to bizarre astrological events and apocalyptic futures. At times, we even see them traverse both time and space. At the very start, hacker and activist Skye/Daisy Johnson (Chloe Bennet) becomes Coulson's newest recruit, and we meet the rest of the team through her eyes.

Another engaging show that fuses comedy with wit, action, tragedy, camp, and sometimes even horror, "S.H.I.E.L.D.," like "Buffy," features found families and season- and series-long "Big Bads." In response to one Reddit user's search for a show similar to "Buffy," user u/goodnightbanana cites "S.H.I.E.L.D" as "the closest show [they've] found to scratch that Buffy itch." Redditor u/ssfoxx27 has even spotted some "Buffy" references in the show's fifth season. And another Redditor has taken the time to discuss how the show's central organization is, essentially, the MCU's version of The Initiative, pointing out that they "are both government/military organizations whose aim is to protect the public from external threats," be it demons/vampires or otherworldly beings.


When med student Liv Moore (Rose McIver) becomes a zombie after a chaotic and traumatic boat party, she decides that, in order to protect her friends and family, she must cut ties with her old life. She must also find a way to obtain brains, preferably without killing anyone. This all leads to her getting a job as a coroner's assistant, where she feasts on the brains of the recently deceased — only to discover that, in doing so, she glimpses people's memories and (albeit temporarily) inherits their quirks and personality traits. Seeing an opportunity to use her newfound abilities for good, Liv begins to assist the Seattle Police Department with homicide cases under the guise of "being psychic."

Complex's Kristen Yoonsoo Kim declares Rob Thomas' "iZombie" the perfect summer binge — "especially if you are a fan of Joss Whedon's cult show," while CBR's Phil Pirrello claims this zombie-focused dramedy offers viewers a well-balanced hybrid of "Buffy" and "Veronica Mars," one that boasts lots of action "and witty banter that's tonally in the 'Buffy' wheelhouse." Basically, "iZombie" matches "Buffy" in terms of pop culture references, energy, horror, and humor. Full of rich zombie lore, the show's universe even has its own bleached-blond villain in the "brain-dealing" zombie Blaine "DeBeers" McDonough.

Fun Fact: David Anders, the actor who plays Blaine, received a clever hair-dyeing tip for how to ease the burn of peroxide from our very own Spike/James Marsters: Just sprinkle in some Sweet'N Low (via Entertainment Weekly)!

Being Human (UK)

In response to one Redditor's request for other shows similar to "Buffy," several users suggest "Being Human," with user u/generalkriegswaifu commending the "great acting and tortured characters." Wales Online's David Prince even referred to the series as "the UK answer to 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer.'"

Here, two unlikely, Bristol-based friends, George (Russell Tovey) and Mitchell (Aidan Turner), attempt to live normal human lives — to the extent they can, anyway, being a werewolf and a vampire, respectively. To support each other in their efforts, they decide to move into a house together, only to find that it's already occupied by Annie (Lenora Crichlow). Annie is a ghost who once lived there with her fiancé, and who — having died there — seems condemned to haunt the place in her afterlife. Thus begins a grand tale of three housemates who, like our Slayer, are eager for the mundane and unsensational. Rarely, though, do they actually get what they want, and over the course of the series, they clash with both the human and supernatural world.

Featuring complex characters, rich mythologies, dark, emotionally-layered narratives, and an engaging blend of horror and comedy, we'd say "Being Human" is definitely worth a "Buffy" fan's attention. There is a North American remake of the show, but we highly suggest starting with the original tried and true UK version. You'll be happier for it.