Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Top Ten Urban Fantasy TV Shows

After watching the season premiers of Being Human and Lost Girl on SyFy Monday night, I started thinking about the growth of urban fantasies on television, and which shows have been my favorites over the years. So, naturally, I made a list to share with fellow UF fans.

While there may be different opinions on what qualifies as urban fantasy, I'll just say that for me, the most important elements are: takes place in a modern city; supernatural occurrences are frequent; and various otherworldly creatures play key roles. Tone, humor, violence and romance levels all come into play for each series, but are relative within the genre as far as I'm concerned. For a closer look at the specific differences between urban fantasy and paranormal romance, check out Marsha's wonderful post at Fantasy Faction on the subject.

Here we go, in no particular order:

1) Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel
2) Being Human (either version)
3) Hex
4) Brimstone
5) Dresden Files
6) Reaper
7) True Blood
8) Charmed
9) Supernatural
10) Neverwhere (miniseries)

A few other faves come close to being urban fantasy, but not quite close enough to include here (specifically: Twin Peaks, Fringe, Dead Like Me, and Doctor Who). I've also become a fan of The Walking Dead series recently, but it falls squarely into the horror arena. The sad thing is that most of these shows are over, and some did not last nearly as long as they should have.

Several months ago, I reviewed the new UF show, Grimm, for our week-long speculative television theme. Obviously, it didn't make the cut, because my opinion of it since then really hasn't changed (i.e. it's a passably watchable bit of vapidity). However, I have much higher hopes for the Canadian import, Lost Girl. The heroine is strong and sexy, the secondaries show glimmers of depth, and the Fae world is new and distinctive. I hope the series lives up to its early promise, and that networks continue to develop more quality  urban fantasy titles.

Lay it on me, peeps: What's your favorite urban fantasy (or paranormal) show?


Mac said...

I had opted not to watch Grimm anymore. My biggest problem...the actor who plays the protag was paper-thin. My wife talked me into coming back, and I'm glad.

I'm able to ignore the protag as long as his werewolf sidekick continues to get a lot of screen time. He must have his own show. He's wonderful. I just have to look at him and crack up.

Really, a cello playing werewolf who does palates to stay in shape.

Anyone for palates? Bwa ha ha

Ella Gray said...

Hi Mac!

Monroe is definitely the best thing about Grimm, and has been from the start. I actually skipped a few episodes, then came back to watch the werewolf-centric one from last week, and it was the most enjoyable story yet.

I'll keep an eye on it and see if they continue to improve. Thanks for posting!

Marsha A. Moore said...

I'd like to see more paranormal romance shows, but the UF theme squares off better against prime time detective/crime type shows.

Thanks for the mention about my Fantasy Faction article!

Anonymous said...

I really liked reaper. It was a paranormal comedy which is pretty uncommon. I really wish that it had not been cancelled

Ella Gray said...

Marsha - I can see your point, but I'm pretty tired of all the cop procedurals on TV. I think some paranormal romances would be a great change of pace.

Anonymous - I couldn't agree more!

Shelley Munro said...

You've mentioned several of my favorites plus a few that aren't familiar to me. They obviously haven't made it down this end of the world yet. I'm watching Moonlight at present and enjoying that. Of course the lead actor is very nice to look at, and that doesn't hurt.

Anonymous said...

I like the one where the monkey had an organ grinder that played "Devil went down to Georgia"

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