Sofa ritual: The best occult TV shows to bingewatch
Occultism: fun for the whole family. With movies like The Witch and Hereditary touching upon occult activity and a slew of upcoming films and movies currently in development on the topic, the occult is definitely enjoying a moment. We’re happy to ride this one until it stops being cool again.
In this climate we can all enjoy a crucial rewatch of our favorite occult TV shows. Maybe there are even some you haven’t even seen yet – what a treat! Light some candles with your faves, sit in a circle, and chant some thanks to whatever your chosen stresaaming service may be, because this our ranking of the ten best occult TV shows worth bingewatching.
The German Netflix Originals series harbors a macabre and peculiar crime story that dips into occult kidnapping and mythical symbolism without making its presence too overt in the story. Not that it needs to – Dark is unsettling enough as it is.
Look, we didn’t say that occult TV shows always had to be the coolest or the darkest TV shows. And honestly, the occult soap narratives of the original witch drama still hold a special place in our hearts.
Alyssa Milano (Fear), Holly Marie Combs (Picket Fence), Shannen Doherty (Heathers), and later Rose McGowan (Planet Terror) gave us the most headstrong glamorous witches ever seen on TV. They fight evil while still managing to hold down jobs and relationships! Honestly, who could be bothered?
8. Penny Dreadful
Though the show started off a little slow, it soon found its footing in S2 when the focus on exploring the dark arts of the supernatural, witchcraft, and the occult started to really gain pace. Eva Green (Casino Royale), Timothy Dalton (Hot Fuzz), and Josh Hartnett (Pearl Harbor) are also impossibly wonderful in the show, which enjoyed three short seasons of pure gothic horror delirium.
You don’t f^&* with a flesh-bound occult tome like the Necronomicon Ex-Mortis and come out smiling – something that Ash Williams (Bruce Campbell) discovered all too clearly in Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead trilogy.
In the (now sadly cancelled) Starz reboot of the story, Ash is joined by a ragtag crew (Dana DeLorenzo, Ray Santiago, and Lucy Lawless) to take down the deadites who have been carelessly unleashed upon mankind by Ash once again.
6. The Twilight Zone
Rod Sterling’s metafictional horror anthology series posits a terrible place where mysterious, arcane, and most definitely occult happenings occur on the regular. The Twilight Zone represents a location where unexplainable, supernatural, and occult happenings are inflicted upon otherwise normal people, and to this day the show is as superbly chilling as it was sixty years ago when it premiered.
5. True Detective
S1 of Nic Pizzolatto’s brooding crime series was brimming with surprises including just how far Matthew McConaughey (Dazed and Confused) has come since his cringe-inducing rom-com days. However, the biggest surprise in the show came courtesy of the Yellow King and a seriously occult subplot that punctuated True Detective with moments of unexpected magical realism and unexplainable horror.
It’s as simple as this – without the insidious and occasionally subtle presence of the occult, there is no American Horror Story. Even when occult happenings aren’t being as directly referenced as they are in Coven (the third season of the show centered around witchcraft), it’s always brimming under the surface.
The occult acts as an almost unspoken foundational inspiration for why a killer like Bloody Face (Zachary Quinto) is on the rampage in Asylum or how Tate Langdon (Evan Peters) lives beyond death in Murder House.
3. True Blood
The sexiest supernatural drama of all time was packed full of occult plotlines including witchcraft, supernatural mind control, demonic possession, and some tasty blood sacrifices. Featuring a whole host of hot vamps (like Alexander Skarsgard’s Eric), werewolves (like Joe Manganiello’s Alcide) , and fairies (like Anna Paquin’s Sookie), the dark arts have never been so thirsty.
No other show has ever had so much fun with demonology and witchcraft as Joss Whedon’s witty teen series. Featuring a hellmouth positioned directly beneath a high school, a witch in training (Alyson Hannigan), a young woman triumphing over evil (Sarah Michelle Gellar), and more vampires than you could wiggle a sharpened stake at, Buffy was the OG of occult good times.
1. Twin Peaks
There might not have been any scenes of explicit provocations or demonology involved in David Lynch’s soapy horror masterpiece, but it was packed full of occult symbolism and some extremely overt demonic possession at the heart of the show courtesy of Bob (Frank Silva). Plus, we seriously have to wonder whether the town was in some sort of coffee and pie cult led by Norma (Peggy Lipton) and her preposterously good baking skills.