The Witchy Watchlist of 2020

Netflix Edition!

How many streaming services do we have these days? And how frustrating is it to wake up one morning and discover that some of your favorite shows you enjoy re-watching over and over have moved to a different service (yes, I bought Peacock just for “Murder, She Wrote” and “Frasier”)?

To simplify things this year, I’m presenting the watchlist in such a way that as long as you have just one service (Netflix, this go-round) you’re set. Some of these television shows and movies may also be on other services, or you may own some, but hopefully this costs you much less in the long run.

Please note that not all of these viewing delights have outright witches in them, but some deal with subject matter and general spookums that I thought would appeal to any practitioner of the arts. Some of them are new to me, too, so I hope to include a few reviews in the coming months!

Without further ado, enjoy! And please let me know in the comments below if you have additional recommendations!

1. Charmed (The New Series)

A reboot of the original popular series that I watched growing up, this version of Charmed is reimagined as two sisters growing up in a college town who, upon the death of their mother, discover they had an older sister they were never told about. When they get together, magic happens, and the local chair of the women’s studies department, Harry Greenwood, reveals that he’s their whitelighter.

2. American Horror Story: Coven

Imagine, if you will, a school for witches that acknowledges the hormones and pettiness that was our bread-and-butter when we were that age. American Horror Story: Coven sees witchcraft on the decline in the world, battling against hunters and other factions of witches, such as Marie Laveau. Add in ghosts, a minotaur, and a battle of succession, and you have one of my favorite seasons of this horror show!

3. Stardust

This has all the hallmarks of a classic fairy tale, from lost princes to otherworldly maidens in distress. That’s not to say all the women in this movie are frail creatures … far from it! Lamia, a witch queen of great renown, is easily the match of any swordsman who dares to cross her.

Above all, this story has a happy ending (which I know I desperately need more of) and a series of characters who are easy to fall in love with.

4. The Good Witch Series

I eagerly watched every single one of The Good Witch made-for-television movies Hallmark put out, so I’m looking forward to enjoying the series. It’s centered around Cassandra “Cassie” Nightingale, and the family she built with her recently deceased husband. Cassie continues to raise her step-son, step-daughter, and daughter, and while juggling her business and role in the town she begins to open herself to the possibility of new love.

5. Luna Nera

Set in 17th century Italy (and yes, there are subtitles, so get out your comfy reading glasses), the story follows Ade as she is on the run from a town accusing her of witchcraft. Ade might not be a witch, but she’s taken in by women who definitely are (and are more than that, even). What’s unusual about this show is that it’s written and produced by women, so we’re getting a story set in the midst of the witchcraft persecutions that doesn’t focus on how we’re all evil temptresses that had it coming!

6. She-Ra and the Princesses of Power

I grew up watching reruns of the original series, and I admit, I passed on this for its first season when it came out. I wasn’t wild about the artwork (adorable, but very “soft” and full of pastels), and it definitely seemed to be for kids. And it is … but the artwork grew on me and the storylines were deep and rich. I fell in love with each of the princesses and grew to love Hordak (never thought I’d say that). I rooted especially hard for him and Entrapta to come together (yes, I am an Entrapdak fan), and for Glimmer to make an honest man out of Bow (who is a cinnamon bun). Give this a try and see if you don’t binge all the episodes, too!

7. Little Witch Academia

With my latest hobby (doom scrolling) comes a need for fresh, uplifting shows in my life to keep me from going through a major depressive episode. Enter Akko and her friends, who are … not the best witches in terms of talent, but who certainly appear to get up to plenty of hijinks. This comes heartily recommended to me by a friend, and I’ll be starting it this weekend.

8. The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina

Folks sure are fans of reboots these days, huh? I think it’s because so many of my generation had fun with the original series (blowing kisses at you, Sabrina the Teenage Witch) that when we got a chance to do so, we wanted to re-explore them and imagine what else they could have been.

I haven’t seen this incarnation of Sabrina yet, but I’m already impressed with the lush visuals and soundtrack.

9. The Worst Witch

Looking for a good witch school bit of viewing for your kids that doesn’t include a TERFy author on a rampage? Look no further than The Worst Witch, which follows Mildred Hubble as she learns of her powers. She attends Cackle’s Academy and, though her spells have a tendency to go wrong, she soldiers through things with the help of her friends.

10. Penny Dreadful

This is one of those shows that I know you’ll love, but which I recommend you stop watching before you hit the last two or three episodes. Carry with you the story of the strong-but-flawed woman fighting to overcome her own weaknesses so as to atone for the wrongs she has committed against a departed friend, and refuse to allow Josh Hartnett to ruin things for you with his “gotta be the hero of the story”, half-ass ending. Believe me, you’ll thank me.

11. Hilda

I’m currently watching this, and right off I’m fond of how it’s not American-centric (even as I, myself, am an American) and introduces me to folklore and creatures I’m not intimately familiar with.

And while Hilda, the titular character, is a child, she is infinitely relatable in her desire to hold on to her favorite places and friends, and her fear at starting over in a place antithetical to everything she loves.

12. Mary Poppins

Yessss, another great movie from my childhood! This pleases me, if only because the movie holds up even after all these years. I’m especially impressed with how well they blend animation with real-life actors, and I find myself yearning to be able to escape into a chalk drawing these days.

13. Mary Poppins Returns

This one will be new for me, but I’m excited that it seems to be a sequel and not a straight reboot of a movie I have such strong attachments to.

The actress they chose to play Mary looks to be a pretty good ringer for her previous incarnation, too, so I’m doubly pleased! I expect plenty of animated hijinks, but even if that’s not in the cards, at least a spoonful or two of sugar should help it all go down easier (candy, I will be eating candy).

14. Always a Witch

An adaptation of the novel Yo, Bruja (I, Witch) by Isadora Chac√≥n, this follows the adventures of a time-traveling witch from the 17th century who narrowly escapes a fiery death at the hands of some vicious townsfolk. Plus, the story is set in Colombia, so that’s a welcome change from the witch stories which tend to revolve around the U.S. or Europe!

15. Curon

There are spookums happening in Northern Italy, ya’ll, and I am here for them! Italy really seems to be delivering on the goods lately, at least in their Netflix offerings, and with the United States (where I’m from) being how it is lately, I’m hungry for anything foreign to counteract all this “wE’rE nUmBeR oNe!” propaganda I’m being fed.

This story follows Anna as she runs from her abusive husband, all the way to the small Italian town she grew up in. The town, however, is suffering under a curse, and things only get worse from there for poor Anna.

16. Mystic Whispers

Another foreign series, this one from Singapore and also involving ghosts!

When I get into a car accident, I get stuck with a huge bill. When this woman does, she starts to hear ghosts! And she meets an adorable mortician who joins her in adventures! I’m honestly impressed that more attention is being paid to audible hauntings in this show, as opposed to strictly visual ones!

17. Supernatural

This is the final season of a show that has, for over a decade, alternated between exhilarating and infuriating for me. Some of these characters live permanently inside my head (ah, Crowley, you were the king), and I’m interested in seeing how they wrap things up when the final battle is against Chuck (who, spoilers, is … ah, nevermind. Clear your schedule and watch this).

18. Outlander

This show has one of the most beautiful openings I’ve ever seen, and the magic is rich but subtle in it right from the beginning. Claire is, herself, accused of being a witch on more than one occasion, but Geillis is far and away better at it than her.

Watch this show for the Scottish landscapes, the history, the lore, and above all, the romance. Do it or Captain Jack Randall will pay you a visit.

19. The Princess and the Frog

It was beyond time Disney gave us more BIPOC princesses, and Tiana is a fantastic addition. Though, to be honest, I wish she hadn’t spent so much of the movie as a frog (spoilers but not spoilers?).

While love and conquering evil are big parts of this movie, Tiana has dreams of her own (that of opening her own restaurant), and I’m relieved that she doesn’t give up on those dreams just because her Prince Charming comes along.

20. The Forest

This is a French production, and while it doesn’t have any outright magic or witchcraft going on, the mood of the woodland town and the signs and omens that go on, as well as the children disappearing and coming back from the forest changed, just screams “modern fairy tale meets cop drama”. Plus? Shrines built in the woods around bodies. Yeah, you know I’m going to be binging this.

21. The Spiderwick Chronicles

I am so, so glad this came out on Netflix, as I was sadly unable to see it in theaters when it first showed.

Fae creatures are bountiful in this film, and young Jared is able to see them thanks to what’s basically a hagstone and a field guide of fae folk.

This reminds me so much of the feel of Bridge to Terabithia, but will, hopefully, have a much happier ending.

22. The Vampire Diaries

Hoo boy, I will be the first to admit this is a soap opera for teens … so why do I love it so much?

There are so many good storylines introduced, but if I had to critique this it would be that the pacing is all over the place, and that Big Important Things get resolved in an episode or two, while standard jealousies and miscommunications can go on for the whole season.

That being said, I will never turn down sexy vampires and equally sexy werewolves.

23. The Originals

Klaus. I watched this for Klaus. I’d do it again, too, even though I think this show took a swerve away from the more adult-oriented themes it explored in the beginning and back into the teen swoonings of the show it spun off of, The Vampire Diaries.

Klaus, you were a delight, and we truly didn’t deserve so rich and complex a character as you.

24. The Legacies

Oh yes, we’re continuing on with a spin-off of the spin-off of Vampire Diaries! Well, it might also be just a spin-off of VD, but … yeah, okay, this show deals with the children of the first two shows. So, vampires and witches and spookums, oh my!

No Klaus in it, sadly, but his daughter (squee!) will have to do. And do she does!

25. Haven

What if magical powers, monsters, and supernatural mishaps all had an explanation, and that explanation was “alien gods are just killing time by dicking with us”? Okay, that is perhaps a spoilery-poor way of explaining things, but it’s better than it sounds and you will absolutely get sucked into this series. It was based on a Stephen King novel, and like so many other adaptations of his works, I think it’s better than what he wrote (no offense to him, his stuff is good, too).

26. The Last Kingdom

Were you eagerly following the exploits of Ragnar and Lagertha in Vikings? Now it’s time to see things from the perspective of the people they were raiding, as one by one the kingdoms of England fall to the Danish invaders, until only one is left standing.

I’m eagerly looking forward to beginning this, especially as I’m told that when Netflix took over production the story got even better.

27. Okko’s Inn

When a young girl’s parents die in a car wreck, the last thing she sees before she passes out is the ghost of a boy. When she recovers from the wreck and goes to live with her grandmother, she finds the ghost there, as well! The ghost, it turns out, was the friend of her grandmother when she was a little girl, and the ghost is very interested in seeing Okko take over the inn one day from her grandmother.

28. The NeverEnding Story

Based on the first part of the book by the same name, this movie celebrates the enduring powers of the imagination and hope, and is meta as all get-out.

It’s got dragons (which look like puppies), talking wolves (big-toothed puppies), and horsies (long-legged puppies).

Just … fast forward through the swamp bit if you’re watching with a kid and don’t want them to be scarred for life.

29. The October Faction

Feel up for a bit of monster hunting? I know you do!

This, sadly, appears to have only run for one season before being cancelled in March, but that just means you have no excuse not to see all of it, doesn’t it?

Join this family of monster hunters as they attempt to fit into a small town without revealing their secrets, their powers, and the monster-hunting organization they belong to.

30. Scooby Doo: Mystery Incorporated

ACTUAL. MONSTERS.

I repeat: This is Scooby Doo with ACTUAL MONSTERS. No longer shall we be presented with geriatric villains in suspiciously well-made monster get-ups. No, my friends, our long years of wait have been rewarded with ACTUAL MONSTERS.

And the biggest, derpest, most lovable puppy of all, Scooby Doo!

31. The Addams Family

Never will there be a love story as brilliant and true as that of Gomez and Morticia Addams, or a family as wholesome as the one they built together. Yes, it’s true, they sometimes attempt to electrocute one another, and they do have rather macabre tastes … but their love and loyalty for one another is unquestionable, their dedication to consent and generosity is admirable, and we stan a couple that can keep the spark in their marriage even after many years!

[Ashley Nicole Hunter is a founding editor and regular contributor of ev0ke. She also serves on the board of directors of Bibliotheca Alexandrina.]