12 Shows Like The Witcher You Really Need To See

The first short story in Andrzej Sapkowski's epic saga was simply titled "The Witcher." It was printed in the Polish fantasy and sci-fi magazine Nowa Fantastyka in 1986, as part of a contest. Sapkowski didn't win the top prize then, but readers were attracted to Geralt of Rivia's struggle to free a princess from an unfair curse. That encouraged Sapkowski, and in 1994, "Blood of Elves" became the first full novel about the mutant monster-hunter's trials. Gradually, Geralt's popularity trickled into the worldwide consciousness, helped along by the 2007 video game adaptation by CD Project.

Geralt's (portrayed by Henry Cavill) first adventure is the third episode of Netflix's "The Witcher." Titled "Betrayer Moon," the myth of the striga becomes a showcase for Geralt's gruff brand of empathy. In his world, monsters can't be allowed to roam free, but when he can, he saves them from their fates. The world of "The Witcher" is often cruel, just as the old stories that inspired it can be. Yet, there's a lot of hope hiding in its stories, too. It's also not the only series to blend grit, myth, and hope together to make something fans fall in love with. Here are 12 more series that evoke some of the same things that make Geralt's journey so special.

Highlander: The Series

No other movie in the series would replicate the absurd rock 'n' roll glee of the original "Highlander," but "Highlander: The Series," which began airing in 1992, came damn close. Adrian Paul plays Duncan MacLeod of Clan MacLeod fame. His famous ancestor Connor (Christopher Lambert) appears in the first episode, "The Gathering," to pass the baton... err, katana to the next generation of immortals playing the Game to become the last one standing.

Duncan gets his Geralt on by dealing with seemingly endless immortals, who hate mortals in general or Duncan in specific, usually for something he did centuries ago. Fun flashbacks showcase the immortals throughout history. However, the best part of this show, especially for "Witcher" fans, is the introduction of the Watchers. They're a secret sect of mortals committed to chronicling the Game and ensuring the biggest jerk doesn't win. They're coaxed out of the shadows over time, with Joe Dawson (Jim Byrnes), Duncan's Watcher, turning into the second-best character of the series. The best isn't Duncan, though. It's Methos (Peter Wingfield). Deadlier than the Kurgan, cynical, and in control of his own legend, Methos pulls off the impossible. He's been hiding among the Watchers for years.

Forever Knight

Do you know what "Law & Order" is missing? Vampires. Vampires don't care if they get a call about a corpse at 2 a.m. They're used to the smell of decomposition. They don't eat, so they can't barf at a bad scene. A well-trained vampire who is up to date on crime scene methodology is a Witcher for real-world horrors. The first one to take up the gig on late-night TV was named Nick Knight (Geraint Wyn Davies). It was the '90s, it was a lawless time, and he was the brooding, well-coiffed star of "Forever Knight."

Nick is tired of being a vampire and seeks a way to cure himself. Sometimes, he finds hints to a solution in his caseload, but it seldom works. Antagonizing him is his maker, LaCroix (Nigel Bennett). Most episodes feature a gory criminal case blended with Nick's florid memories of mystics, vampire hunters, psychics, and a weird number of vampires that turn into serial killers. Unlike Geralt, Nick's acceptance of his identity is far more grudging. Nevertheless, they share a peculiar trait: all the weirdest crap in the world keeps showing up at their doors, and they are forced to deal with it.

Berserk (1997)

Kentaro Miura's bleak, embittered world of monsters run amok, shell-shocked heroes, and the prettiest reborn demon god in manga is an easy recommendation for fans of "The Witcher." Like Geralt's wanderlust-filled career, the brutality of life across the unnamed continent isn't quite relentless. There are moments of hope and tender mercy and small beauties to be found every few hundred pages. However, they're hard-earned, and it takes a long time for Guts to turn away from mindless revenge to tend to the few friends he has left.

Adapted several times, "Berserk" deserves a richer exploration that it seems unlikely to ever receive. Though ultimately the preference is yours, our money is on the 1997 25-episode adaptation of the "Golden Age" and "Black Swordsman" arcs. Lusciously animated and never shying away from the violent outcome of the Eclipse, it's still the best way to see if you're willing to commit to a manga that's thankfully still in print after Miura's death. It's fitting that the last panels Miura personally drew were full of the rare hope his characters fought for. Geralt would approve of Guts' long struggle.


BBC's venture into Arthurian myth, 2008's "Merlin," is a sneaky cult fave across the pond. Produced in the same lively, sometimes irreverent style as modern "Doctor Who," the show stars Colin Morgan as a young Merlin in a world not ready for his brand of wizardry. The King of the Britons, Uther (Anthony Head of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer") has outlawed all magic since Arthur's birth — for what he considers good reason. Witches and wizards alike are executed when found out.

Merlin, however, quickly learns he's destined to be young Arthur's protector, and for that, he needs his powers. He's doomed to continually tread the line between safeguarding the future of the realm and living in a world that hates and fears him. Unlike Geralt, Merlin is handsome in a plain enough way to pass for normal, but he's forced to deal with just as many strange and mystical threats. As in "The Witcher," many of them draw on myth. Goblins and fae sidhe and the lamia all roam the realm. With a still-thriving fandom, it's easy to picture this griping Merlin passing notes with an equally annoyed Yennefer.

Robin of Sherwood

Robin Hood adaptations are safe affairs, sticking with our hero, his Merry Men, Maid Marian, and either the Sheriff, Prince John, or both on his back. They might add one or two updated complications, but they're mythic comfort food. However, a 26-episode cult classic throws the familiar version of Robin's legend out the window in favor of embracing pagan mysticism, evil magics, and the occasional demon lurking around the forests. It even added a Saracen to its crew of outlaws — seven years before "Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves" cast Morgan Freeman in a suspiciously similar role.

"Robin of Sherwood" embraces the strangeness lurking around the edges of the legend. This Robin (Michael Praed) has an unusual mentor, a shaman in service of the forest. It's a neat device that blends two English legends: the Horned God of Celtic myth and a local Windsor story (plus a Shakespearean reference in "The Merry Wives of Windsor") about Herne the Hunter. This creates a Robin aware of the Wild Hunt, the same violent ritual Geralt of Rivia must interfere with on Ciri's behalf. Robin's even blessed with an enchanted sword, Albion, to face the number of otherworldly threats that come his way. Unusually dark and brilliantly imaginative, it's a forgotten surprise for "Witcher" fans.


What does a Depression-era series about a traveling carnival so bizarre even Ray Bradbury would be weirded out by it have to do with "The Witcher?" Rich surrealism, mythic symbolism, and the apocalyptic conflict between good and evil, mostly. Dark and heady, littered with tormented psychics and veiled prophets seeking to stop the end of the world, each episode of "Carnivale" can leave a viewer shaken or confused — or both.

Carnival roustabout Ben Hawkins (Nick Stahl) lives in a grim world. He's forced to live a wanderer's restless life after an abusive childhood. It's no comfort that he's actually a vessel for some great good, but it's Brother Justin who's the star here. Played by Clancy Brown, this shockingly cruel avatar of evil could swap his holy robes for those of a Polish noble and have his plotline slipped wholesale into "The Witcher." Brutally fond of breaking the minds of young women, he wins by virtue of this brilliant show being cut short after two seasons. Geralt would have put this dude's head on a stick five episodes in, and we'd all sleep a lot easier afterward.

The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance

Get over the fact that it's a puppet show. For those of us that grew up with the original (and sometimes just as bleak) "Dark Crystal," the "Age of Resistance" is all that we could have asked for. It's a world of palace intrigue and prophecy, with the Gelfling clans ever at odds with each other. Content with how things are, they reject the rumblings that their Skeksis overlords aren't as benevolent as they seem, and they're in no hurry to unite on the word of an outlawed Gelfling.

Built on the intricate myths of Thra, it's a series that, like "The Witcher," demands you take its world as you find it, piecing its lore together for yourself as the series goes on. For fans of Queen Calanthe's bloody ferocity, Lena Headey, Cersei Lannister herself, voices the Maudra leader, Fara. Fara is rebellious but competent, a warrior like no other Gelfling in the series. She's easy to love at first glimpse, though it's poor, sweet Deet that gets an "it-sucks-to-be-a-chosen-one" story that Ciri could sympathize with. Fans are still banging on Netflix's door for a second season — as they should.

House of the Dragon

The reviews are already in on "House of the Dragon," the spin-off everyone's eyed with suspicion since the downfall of "Game of Thrones." Turns out it's pretty damn good, with a renewed focus on political intrigue, complex character interactions, and a story that retains a fairly tight focus on noble women who are flat-out done with everyone else. It even shares one of its best actors with "The Witcher."

For Geralt of Rivia, Graham McTavish is Sigismund Dijkstra, the Season 2 spymaster who has been quietly pulling Jaskier's (Joey Batey) strings. For the Targaryens, he's Ser Harrold Westerling, current Lord Commander of the Kingsguard. So far, he's one of the few to go out of his way to keep Princess Rhaenyra (Emma D'Arcy) in the loop on castle goings-on. Instantly likable, it's anyone's guess how close he'll stick to his book version's fate. While the new series has a long road ahead of it to avoid leaving the same bad taste as its predecessor, it's impossible for a fan of "The Witcher" to pass up the gritty, low-magic world of Westeros.


A foul-mouthed monster hunter who's seen it all, drunk it all, slept with it all, and hates being around normal people, that's Geralt in a nutshell. It's also his pop culture forefather, Trevor Belmont, of "Castlevania." Originally introduced in the video game "Castlevania III," Trevor brought with him Sypha Belnades, a holy witch, and fangirl bait par excellence Alucard the dhampir, son of Dracula (voiced in the series by Graham McTavish).

Netflix began retelling the tales of this unlikely trio of hunters in 2017, with a focus on the worldly but perpetually exhausted Belmont, the last member of his famous family. Hated because of a smear campaign perpetuated by the Church, he's a wanderer who'll hunt anything for a couple of coins and a beer. Sleek animation makes the goriest bits shine, and the whole production is a treat for fans of "Castlevania" lore. For "Witcher" fans, blend Trevor's earthy wit with Alucard's monstrous prettiness, and they're two halves of the same Geralt, with Sypha as their Triss Merigold, keeper of the single brain cell when a hunt goes to pot.


In "Preacher" the old American West still lives on in an intricate, thriving mythos. It's a world in which John Wayne is a minor deity, (for better or worse) and one good small-town sheriff can save the day. Faith in the Lord is rewarded in this hardscrabble fantasy, but the Reverend Jesse Custer (Dominick Cooper) is starting to have a few questions. Empowered by an accidental atrocity, he'd like a Word or two with God about it all.

Jesse's no monster hunter. From his dangerous lover, Tulip (Ruth Negga), and a mysterious religious organization called the Grail to the Saint of Killers (Graham McTavish. This is getting weird), who's been contracted to kill him by a pair of angels, the troubles of the world find their way to him. Grim, edgy, and frequently funny, "Witcher" fans fond of Jaskier might find it easiest to fall in love with Cassidy (Joseph Gilgun). The jester of the group, this awkward vampire is the unlikely heart of the show and a great reason to read the original "Preacher" comics for more of his story.

The Sandman

The myths that help shape the world of "The Witcher" wouldn't have lasted long enough to inspire Sapkowski without our dreams to keep them alive. That makes the Netflix series "The Sandman" a must-watch for its smart, imaginative vision of a world just beyond what ordinary people can perceive. It's filled with living legends, from ancient muses to gods, watched over by a family of concepts (dreams, desires, despairs) made incarnate.

Like Geralt, Dream's story isn't his alone. While it is, of course, titled after one of his many names, the Sandman (Tom Sturridge) is sometimes just the audience's guide. By virtue of his role as King of Dreams and Nightmares, countless lives intersect with his, but there's an increasing number of humans getting right into his face, too. From a greedy sorcerer (Charles Dance) to a gathering of serial killers inspired by his once-favored Nightmare, the Corinthian (Boyd Holbrook), there's a lot pulling Dream down to Earth. Fans of the hidden world of magic in "The Witcher" will love the details put into Neil Gaiman's grimoire of sleepless delights.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Ciri (Freya Allan), Princess of Cintra, grandchild of Queen Calanthe, has something weird in her bloodline. A carrier of elder blood, she has the innate ability to travel across worlds. Yet, all she wants is to grow up to be a monster hunter — just like Geralt. If her childhood escape had gone a little differently and she'd zapped herself through a portal to 1990s Earth, she'd take the name Buffy Summers (Sarah Michelle Gellar) and be ... pretty much the same person.

"Buffy the Vampire Slayer" is like "Berserk" in that it's a keystone series for fans of wild fantasy worlds and monster hunters. Like Witchers, Buffy is destined to be a monster slayer by blood. She's also living in a familiar-to-Geralt world of slayer societies hampered by local politicians, who sometimes are possessed by demons. Lighter and funnier than most series of its kind, thanks to its unavoidable Joss Whedon DNA, it's not afraid to get dark when it matters. Carried by a strong cast that includes breakouts like Angel (David Boreanaz), Spike (James Marsters), and Cordelia (Charisma Carpenter), it's a must-watch for "Witcher" fans looking to lighten up after a binge.