Once Upon a Time is an American fantasy adventure drama television series. It aired for seven seasons on ABC from October 2011 until May 2018. The fairy tale story alternates between two worlds. The first one is the magical world, and the second is the real world. It has all the characters we loved from fairy tales, including Prince Charming. Do you want to watch more fairy tale shows like Once Upon a Time?
Most of the characters in this show are extracted from fairy tales by the Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Andersen. But there are also characters from Western literature, folklore, Arthurian legend, and Greek mythology. Original Disney characters from the Walt Disney Company make an appearance as well.
Lost and Tron: Legacy writers Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis created the TV show with core themes of hope and optimism.
Some of the main cast members include Lana Parrilla, Josh Dallas, Ginnifer Goodwin, Jennifer Morrison, Raphael Sbarge, Jamie Dornan, Robert Carlyle, Eion Bailey, Meghan Ory, and Rebecca Mader, Sean Maguire, and more.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at other best shows like Once Upon a Time.
Why Women Kill
This is more of a soapy drama than an epic story. But the second season stars Lana Parrilla, one of the main characters in Once Upon a Time in the main role. It is worthy of your time, as Lana portrayed Regina Mills in the fairy tale show.
The story focuses on three women from three different generations, all of whom were stuck in marriages plagued with infidelity. And as you might assume, murder becomes involved. But let’s not spoil it that much.
If you want to experience a fantasy world, watch Emerald City. it was a short-lived series, but it is still worth watching.
Emerald City tells the story of a modern-day Dorothy traveling to a much darker, and mystical version of Oz.
As you start watching, you will find many similarities and parallels between Emerald City and Once Upon a Time. And yes, you can watch it on Netflix.
When we talk about fairy tale shows like Once Upon a Time, many of them are spinoff stories to Oz the Great Magician. Well, this is another story about an Oz character.
Zooey Deschanel stars as DG, which is Dorothy in this show. She is a waitress who is dropped by a cyclone into a mysterious land called the Outer Zone. There, she befriends Tin Man played by Neal McDonough, but also Glitch and Raw.
The adventure is only three episodes long, so you can watch it for a quick fix.
If you want more witches like Regina, you can watch the Netflix Original Italian series Luna Nera. This TV show is set in the 17th century. It follows a teenage girl who stands accused of being a witch.
Because of that fact, villagers want to see her burned at the stake. But she finds shelter with a group of witches who guard the portal between the living and the dead.
Luna Nera has a young adult vibe, but it also shows a grittier take on magic, witchcraft, and the persecution of women. It might not have an English dub, but you can watch it with subtitles.
Once Upon a Time in Wonderland
When you are looking for shows like Once Upon a Time, why not take a look at the spinoff series? This spin-off ran from October 2013 to April 2014.
It is based on Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, the 1865 novel by Lewis Carroll, and Through the Looking Glass, another novel by Carroll.
It has a different twist than the original adaptations and takes place in the same universe as the original show. It follows the same setting as the parent series, with flashbacks to Wonderland before it fell prey to a dark curse.
The American fantasy police procedural drama aired on NBC for six seasons. The narrative follows Portland homicide detective Nicholas Burkhardt, played by David Giuntoli. He discovers he is a Grimm, a guardian sworn to keep the balance between humanity and mythological creatures known as Wesen.
The show was originally developed for CBS, but due to the writers’ strike, it moved to NBC.
It is a cop drama with a twist. The dark and fantastical project was inspired by a world where characters from Grimm’s Fairy Tales exist.
The Vampire Diaries
The American supernatural teen drama was based on the book series of the same name. It premiered on the CW network in September 2009. After eight seasons, the show finished.
The pilot episode attracted the largest audience of any CW season premiere in history. Nina Dobrev played Elena Gilbert, the main character.
She left after the sixth season but returned to record a voiceover for the series finale. The success of the show helped launch a media franchise including web series, novels, comic books, and more.
Speaking of the Vampire Diaries, it also inspired a spinoff series, The Originals. It premiered on the CW network in October 2013 and lasted for five seasons.
It follows the lives of three of the Mikaelson siblings, Klaus, Elijah, and Rebekah. The Mikaelson family is known as The Originals because they were the first vampires to exist.
The American drama television series aired on ABC. It was inspired by the 1844 novel The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas.
It ended after four seasons on ABC. There were talks about a sequel series, but it was not picked up by the network.
Once Upon a Time makes many allusions to Lost. It is no surprise we have that show on the list as well. Lost aired on ABC from 2004 to 2010 for six seasons. There are elements of science fiction and the supernatural in the show.
Lost follows the survivors of a commercial jet airliner flying between Los Angeles and Sydney. The plane crashes on a mysterious island in the South Pacific Ocean, and the story unfolds in a heavily serialized manner. Each episode shows a primary storyline on the island, but also flashbacks or flashforward scenes that provide additional insight.
To this day, Lost ranks as one of the greatest television series of all time. It won numerous awards, including Emmy Award in 2005 and Golden Globe Award in 2006.
The American fantasy drama premiered on Netflix in July 2020. Based on the illustrated novel of the same name, the series is set in the United Kingdom. Sadly, after one season, it was canceled.
The show tries to re-imagine the Arthurian legend, this time told through the eyes of Nimue, a young heroine with a mysterious gift. She is destined to become the powerful Lady of the Lake.
Speaking about Arthurian legend, we have to mention the show Merlin, also known as The Adventures of Merlin. The British fantasy adventure drama tells the story between Merlin and King Arthur.
It tries to re-imagine the traditional legend. In this story, the young warlock Merlin is sent to Camelot by his mother and becomes the personal manservant of Prince Arthur.
During his time there, he learns that he has to use his magical powers to protect Arthur. But he also must hide his powers, because, in this show, magic was banned in Camelot by Arthur’s tyrannical father, King Uther Pendragon.
The name of the series tells you everything you need to know. It is a dark fantasy drama starring Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles in the main roles.
It follows two brothers as they hunt demons, ghosts, monsters, and other supernatural beings. It was produced by Warner Bros. Television.
Originally, the show’s creator planned only three seasons but expanded it to five. The fifth season finished the main storyline, and then it continued for 10 more seasons with new showrunners. It remains the longest-running American live-action fantasy TV series.
Henry Cavill portrays the main character, and that is all you have to know. Fans of the video game wanted to see a TV show about The Witcher for years. It finally premiered in December 2019 with only eight episodes for the first season.
It was based on the book series of the same name. The Netflix original series will receive its prequel miniseries in 2022.
The story follows three main characters, the witcher Geralt of Rivia, crown princess Cirilla of Cintra, and the sorceress Yennefer of Vengerberg.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
The show got so popular, that it inspired its own Buffyverse. Joss Whedon created the show under his production tag, Mutant Enemy Productions.
Sarah Michelle Gellar stars as the titular character, Buffy Summers. She is the latest in a line of young women known as Vampire Slayers. They are chosen by fate to battle against vampires, demons, and other forces of darkness.
The American fantasy drama television series follows the story of the three Halliwell sisters, Prue, Piper, and Phoebe. They are played by big-name actresses like Shannen Doherty, Holly Marie Combs, and Alyssa Milano.
Charmed achieved a cult following and high popularity from the very beginning. In 2012, Charmed was the second-most binge-watched television series on Netflix.
Avatar: The Last Airbender
If you loved the world-building in Once Upon a Time, you will love Avatar. Yes, it is an animated series. But it is one of the best world-building series. You might not see Red Riding Hood, Snow White, the Mad Hatter, the Wicked Witch, or other fairy tale characters.
But Avatar has its perks. It is set in a fictional world where benders control the four main elements, air, water, fire, and earth. The mythology of the series is perfectly tied in with the storyline, giving you an amazing experience as you watch the serialized storyline unfold.