If it’s existential mystery and one hell of an atmosphere you’re after, then you won’t do better than Fabrice Gobert’s Les Revenants. Set in a remote French mountain town, it’s a beautifully filmed drama that asks what would happen if the dead came home years after their deaths, with no memory of any time having passed. The early episodes get by largely on ambiance and intrigue, while the characters and their journey through grief and faith draw you back to the later instalments. Season two gets a little more involved in the mythology/death cult side of things than the human questions, but it’s a stand-out drama all the same. Lost’s Carlton Cuse adapted it for US television as The Returned but without great success, and it was cancelled after a single season, so the original is the one to watch.
Where to watch: Amazon Prime Video/Hulu (US); BBC iPlayer (UK)
The creature VFX of this 2011 supernatural drama on a BBC budget might not quite stand up to those of Hellbound, but the quality of the writing, direction and cast more than make up for that. The Fades was created by Jack Thorne, a playwright and screenwriter who cut his teeth on Skins, collaborated multiple times with Shane Meadows on his sterling This Is England series, and recently headed up the writing team on BBC/HBO fantasy His Dark Materials (another decent recommendation that would sit nicely in this list, come to mention it). Over a decade ago, Thorne created The Fades, the story of a teenage boy who becomes entangled in a celestial battle between the living, the dead, and everybody in between. It’s scary, funny, well-plotted and packed with geek pop culture references. All that, plus a cast including Game of Thrones’ Natalie Dormer, Lucifer’s Tom Ellis, Agents of SHIELD’s Iain De Caestecker and Get Out’s Daniel Kaluuya.
Where to watch: Netflix (US); Amazon Prime Video (UK)
The bad news for anybody discovering The CW’s Supernatural in 2021 is that it’s done, it’s finished, it’s over – that ship has sailed (until of course the inevitable reboot is announced. See you in five years’ time for that). The good news for anybody just discovering Supernatural in 2021 is that they made so many episodes – 327 to be precise – that you need never feel its absence again. That’s 327 demon-battling, angel-adventuring, monster-fighting, heaven and hell mythology-establishing, fun-poking, actually-really-quite-scary instalments of celestial fun with the Winchester brothers saving people, hunting things… the family business.
Where to watch: Netflix
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