While Supernatural‘s long run is over, the show’s legacy lives on with its ongoing prequel series The Winchesters that recently debuted on The CW. Dealing with the origins of John Winchester and Mary Campbell’s relationship (and the supernatural sojourns they have had ever since), The Winchesters is an interesting exercise into world-building when it comes to a horror prequel.
The show is bound to lead viewers down a rabbit hole of more such supernatural shows that balance the other-worldly elements with human emotions, along with some more iconic and successful prequel series.
Lovecraft Country (2020)
Stream On HBO Max
Based on the novel of the same name by Matt Ruff, Lovecraft Country is inspired by the cosmic horror and off-beat fiction from the stories of HP Lovecraft, as evidenced by the title. However, setting the premise in segregation-era America adds a more relevant and fresh touch to the Lovecraft pantheon, throwing in an investigative mystery angle to raise the stakes. Full of hidden details, Lovecraft Country is a riveting – albeit short – watch for sci-fi fans.
Breakout star Jonathan Majors plays the protagonist who along with his friend and uncle embarks on an interstate trip to find his missing father. As the mystery deepens, he must encounter both supernatural horrors as well as real-life ones like racist law officials. The protagonist’s quest to find his father (who disappeared under mysterious circumstances) would be relatable to viewers of The Winchesters as the Supernatural spin-off too focuses heavily on the burden that missing fathers leave on both the leads.
The Originals (2013-2014)
Stream On Netflix
The first spin-off in the Vampire Diaries franchise, The Originals deals with the politics between vampires and werewolves in New Orleans, a city whose history is rooted in the struggles of these forces for over a millennium.
Bringing back fan-favorite werewolf-vampire hybrid Klaus Mikaelson as now the leading man, The Originals succeeds in building on the melodramatic mythos of its source material while putting the spotlight on both pre-existing and new characters. When it comes to supernatural dramas on television, The Vampire Diaries fascinated viewers as much as Supernatural. So, it is pretty obvious that if audiences are currently hooked by the Supernatural prequel, they can very well also move on to a Vampire Diaries spin-off.
Stream On VUDU
Constantine, Matt Ryan’s short-lived debut as the DC Comics demon-hunter John Constantine was a fresh take on the character. With each episode focusing on a new paranormal case for Constantine to solve with his unorthodox means, the show also added weight to his past shortcomings.
After a failed exorcism in his younger days, the alcoholic and trauma-struck occult detective continues being haunted by the loss while still being motivated to solve his cases. This sense of defeat as well as the motivation to still carry on despite all odds is reminiscent in The Winchesters. With John Winchester returning defeated from the War in Vietnam and investigating his father’s disappearance back home, his responsibility to save humanity and the love he shares with the similarly idealistic Mary is what keeps him going on.
Stream On Prime Video
For centuries, the huntsmen named Grimm have been protecting humanity from monsters known as the Wesen. So, when a homicide detective himself witnesses such monstrosities, he is convinced that he too is a Grimm.
Doubling as a police procedural and a supernatural adventure, Grimm is the perfect genre mishmash that fans of The Winchesters would enjoy. Adding a strong romantic angle to its plot The Winchesters is turning out to charter the territories of drama fantasy along with the familiar horror fiction. With Grimm’s hero being a cop, the show also bears a gritty realism to it despite its fantasy elements, a balance that is also integral to the core of The Winchesters.
Stream On Hulu
First introduced in Buffy: The Vampire Slayer, the vampire Angel moves to Los Angeles in this iconic spin-off as he finds a new identity as a private detective helping the “soulless” find their souls.
Even though it was clear in its precursor that Angel and Buffy’s relationship isn’t stable, the 5-season-long spin-off does not force any elements from the past and rather gives the vampire a fresh start. A supernatural classic that does justice to the spin-off formula, Angel is a must-watch for fans of The Winchesters just for its cult status alone.
Walker: Independence (2022-)
Stream On CW Seed
Set two centuries before the events of Walker, this recent prequel series focuses on the efforts of a local Bostonian woman in avenging her husband’s murder and saving Independence, her new town in Texas.
The heroine, Abby Walker, would go on to have a descendant by the name of Cordwell Walker, the Texas Ranger lead of Walker (which in itself is a reimagining of Walker, Texas Ranger). Ever since Supernatural ended, series lead Jared Padalecki’s most major screen credit has been playing the titular character in Walker. So, naturally fans of Supernatural are bound to be intrigued by it. But as for the niche viewers of The Winchesters who seek a more nuanced spin-off, then Walker: Independence would be an easy pick. Further to this, both shows are currently ongoing, so they would make for good companion watches.
Roswell, New Mexico (2019-2022)
Stream On Netflix
A remake of the sci-fi classic Roswell, CW’s Roswell, New Mexico finds a young woman returning to her titular hometown, rekindling her friendship with an old high-school crush. However, when she discovers his extraterrestrial origins, the duo must team-up to preventing government conspiracies and hate-fueled politics against the aliens.
With Jeanine Mason’s Liz Ortecho returning home after over a decade, a lot seems to have changed in town. But these very changes anchor her future adventures and adds a purpose to her life. While The Winchesters has its moments with characters burdened by their past, change also becomes a driving factor in their lives. With James Winchester himself returning from Vietnam and unearthing more mysteries back home, he realizes that a lot has changed, but there’s no going back from here.
Sharp Objects (2018)
Stream On HBO Max
A crime journalist battling her own inner demons revisits her hometown to investigate a case of missing girls. However, as she gets more involved in the disappearances, her own troubled adolescence comes back to haunt her in this gripping psychological thriller based on Gillian Flynn’s novel.
Sharp Objects stresses a lot on the concepts of family, past, and the alienation that some can feel in a small town. These are all elements that viewers of The Winchesters would be able to connect with (albeit in different contexts). Furthermore, the central case in Sharp Objects is also comparable to the multitude of cases that the protagonists of The Winchesters (and their successors in Supernatural) would go on to investigate.
The Haunting Of Hill House (2018)
Stream On Netflix
Flipping across two timelines, The Haunting of Hill House shows how a family is changed forever after a traumatic sojourn at a haunted mansion, the after-effects of which can still be felt as the children transition to adulthood.
Subverting familiar tropes from haunted house movies, Mike Flanagan’s first Netflix miniseries (that kicked off his so-called “Flanaganverse” and remains is highest-rated offering so far) is a moving portrayal of human trauma and its disastrous aftermath. Instead of cheap jump scares, the actual horror comes out of not just the supernatural elements but the past catching upon its lead characters. The Winchesters similarly takes a deep dive into its characters’ past with both John and Mary plagued by their fathers’ disappearance and the haunting secrets that lie within.
Better Call Saul (2015-2022)
Stream On Netflix
Before the events of Breaking Bad, Saul Goodman struggled on his own to make it as a lawyer who is unwillingly pulled to the underworld. While also humanizing his sob story, Saul ultimately evolves from one of the best and funniest Breaking Bad side characters to an everyday hero who is worthy of the viewers’ empathy.
While it is not even remotely connected to The Winchesters in terms of theme and narrative, Better Call Saul makes for essential homework for anyone who wishes to know more about TV prequels. As The Winchesters takes a supporting character like John Winchester and breathes new life into his past delving into his romantic and beast-fighting pursuits, Saul Goodman’s legal and criminal adventures similarly elevate the character to an unexpected level.