5 fantasy shows for fans of Netflix’s ‘Shadow and Bone’: from ‘Cursed’ to ‘The Nevers’

Get your fantasy fix with five acclaimed world-building shows, from Victorian-era steampunk London, to a Lady of the Lake origins story

Ben Barnes and Jessie Mei Li star in the Netflix hit, 'Shadow and Bone', based on a YA novel and set in the fictional Russian-inspired Kingdom of Ravka. Courtesy Netflix
Ben Barnes and Jessie Mei Li star in the Netflix hit, 'Shadow and Bone', based on a YA novel and set in the fictional Russian-inspired Kingdom of Ravka. Courtesy Netflix

Unless you’ve been living under a rock or have forgotten your Netflix password these past few weeks, you can’t have missed the arrival of fantasy fan favourite, Shadow and Bone.

The show is based on the debut young adult novel by American author Leigh Bardugo. It follows Alina Starkov, a teenage orphan growing up in the Russia-inspired Kingdom of Ravka who unexpectedly harnesses a power – a Grisha talent – she didn’t know she possessed to save her best friend.

The Grisha are able to manipulate the elements in order to weaponise them, such as controlling the wind or conjuring fire, and Alina discovers she can summon light.

Starring Jessie Mei Li as Alina, and British star Ben Barnes as the darkly manipulative General Kirigan, alongside screen veterans Hugo Speer and Zoe Wanamaker, the show is the latest YA fantasy novel filled with myths, mystery and monsters, to make the move on to the small screen.

If you binged Shadow and Bone within the first few days of its release, here are five more fantasy shows you might enjoy…

‘Cursed’, Netflix

While there are many shows and adaptations about King Arthur, his knights and Merlin, this show focuses on one of the most overlooked women in the Arthurian legends – and (spoiler!) it’s not Guinevere.

Cursed follows the story of Nimue (Katherine Langford), a young fae girl who will one day become the Lady of the Lake. The mythical keeper of the sword Excalibur gets the YA treatment here in a way that’s as interesting to grown-ups as it is to teens, and is based on the graphic novel by show creators Frank Miller and Tom Wheeler.

Given the task of delivering Excalibur to Merlin, Nimue travels across England evading crusaders and the Red Paladins, who are on a mission to eradicate magic from the world, and soon meets up with a young Arthur (Devon Terrell) who joins her in her quest.

‘The Nevers’, OSN

This acclaimed HBO show features every YA trope you could hope for. Unusual abilities? Check. Shadowy figures whose motives remain unclear? Check. A steampunkish Victorian-era London? Check.

Created by Joss Whedon, The Nevers melds science fiction, fantasy and magic against a backdrop of ye olde London following a group of women with extraordinary powers. Referred to as “The Touched”, they are barely tolerated by a suspicious society for the “tricks” they can do, and they’re hunted by the evil Dr Edmund Hague (Denis O’Hare) who, naturally, wants to drill into their brains.

But when their government turns on them – because women having power in Victorian England? What nonsense! – the heiress Lavinia Bidlow (Olivia Williams) offers up the disused Saint Romaulda’s Orphanage as sanctuary in a way that would make the X-Men’s Professor Xavier proud.

‘A Discovery of Witches’, Shudder

Historian Diana Bishop (Teresa Palmer) is a witch, albeit a very reluctant one, who works hard to suppress the spooky, magical parts of herself. While studying alchemy and science at the University of Oxford she chances upon a bewitched manuscript in Bodleian Library, a discovery which forces her back into the world of magic to unravel the secrets it holds about magical beings.

A charming geneticist and vampire named Matthew Clairmont (Matthew Goode) is on hand to help out, and despite centuries of rivalry between witches and vampires, they form an alliance to protect the book and solve the mysteries hidden within it, while magical creatures and beings work hard to destroy them.

‘The Shannara Chronicles’, Netflix

Based on The Sword of Shannara trilogy by Terry Brooks, seasons one and two are available on the streamer.

Set in the Four Lands, demons are returning from a place called the Forbidding, to which they had been banished, and which was kept locked by an ancient tree called the Ellcrys. But the Ellcrys is dying, and a demon escapes with each leaf that falls from its branches.

Wil (Austin Butler) a half-human / half-elf, Elven Princess Amberle (Poppy Drayton) and Eretria (Ivana Baquero), a human raised by the Rovers, a famed group of thieves, band together to head off on a quest to stop the tree from dying and banish the demons once more.

‘Grimm’, Amazon Prime

As the title suggests, the show was inspired by the classic fairy tales of The Brothers Grimm. Portland homicide detective Nick Burkhardt (David Giuntoli) discovers he is descended from an elite line of criminal profilers known as Grimms, who have been tasked over the centuries with maintaining the balance between humans and mythological creatures.

While trying to hide his unexpected new role from his fiance, Juliette Silverton (Bitsie Tulloch), and his partner, Hank Griffin (Russell Hornsby), Burkhardt gets dragged into the ancient rivalries and alliances of the Grimms. Luckily, reformed Grimm creature, Monroe (Silas Weir Mitchell) is on hand to help him face all manner of ancient evils.

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Updated: May 4, 2021 05:01 PM

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