No matter how many years have passed since the last Deathly Hallows film, we’re always trying to get another Harry Potter fix. Sure, you can catch a flight to London and try to beat down a crowd to see Cursed Child (or, more sanely, buy the book). And, yes, the universe is rewarding us with Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them and not one, not two, but three movies in that franchise. But what do you do then, when you’re at home and have run out of new works to consume? Well, if you don’t have the emotional energy to marathon all eight movies again, maybe it’s time to find something similar. Ready for you right now is a selection of movies and shows similar to Harry Potter on Netflix.
Now, you may be wondering what I mean by “similar,” because there are only so many Harry Potter substitutes that we usually acknowledge. You have your Lord of the Rings, you have your Chronicles of Narnia, and those are the main two. There are only so many notable stories about child wizards. Well, right now, I'm going to focus on different aspects of the Harry Potter series and find a match for you based on that. Read on for my suggestions, and you can thank me later.
1. Charlie And The Chocolate Factory
OK, it doesn't hold a candle to the Gene Wilder adaptation of the Roald Dahl classic. It still captures, however, a whimsical world you can only draw from a children's book. And with his coloring, British accent, unfortunate sweaters, and beaten-by-life demeanor, young Freddie Highmore is giving off seriously Harry Potter vibes.
Watch If You Love Harry Potter For: The early years, when, even with the occasional dark moment, nobody was dying and Daniel Radcliffe was an adorable baby-child.
2. The Magic School Bus
Ah, another thing that made up the better part of elementary school. Heavy on the magic, heavier on the knowledge — you could imagine young, Muggle-world Hermione appreciating the learning, but feeling frustrated at the lack of structure. And, dude, Miss Frizzle would get tenure if she ever got a gig at Hogwarts. She has all the eccentric outfits and disregard for children's safety that Albus Dumbledore and co. love.
Watch If You Love Harry Potter For: The negligent teachers.
3. Once Upon A Time
Harry Potter obsessions and Disney obsessions don't necessarily go hand-in-hand. They are, however, two huge things that most people at least culturally recognize, so the fairytale-rich series seems like an easy sell in any context.
Watch If You Love Harry Potter For: Its mainstream appeal.
4. The Princess Bride
There's such a heavy undercurrent of love in the Harry Potter series, and that current runs through The Princess Bride hardcore. Oh, and the story is even told straight off the pages of a book. Remember books? You know, those things that got you into the HP in the first place?
Watch If You Love Harry Potter For: The romance. LOL, just kidding, no. Watch if you hate that the Harry Potter series sort of side-steps romance, so you were forced to create your own fanfiction.
5. Moonrise Kingdom
A garden variety Wes Anderson film probably wouldn't do the trick. This one, however, has two pre-pubescent kids that embark on an adventure way over their heads. And, hey, an orphan in glasses.
Watch If You Love Harry Potter For: Harry's inner turmoil over losing his parents.
Looking for a slightly different take on magic? Look no further than Charmed, a series about three (um, technically four) sisters that's delightfully pro-witchcraft and has no qualms about killing off major characters. Neat.
Watch If You Love Harry Potter For: Bad ass witches.
Speaking of siblings dealing with strange forces, I give you the demon-hunting Winchester brothers. If you need something for a more substantial fix, this is a safe place to go: the series is tap-dancing on a 12th season.
Watch If You Love Harry Potter For: Its lack of brevity.
8. Sleepy Hollow
The film, not the TV show. There's something about the Harry Potter books that remind me of autumn and, by extension of that, Halloween. This early Tim Burton has a similar vibe: spooky and Halloween-y without getting too on-the-nose. I mean, for a Burton film.
Watch If You Love Harry Potter For: Its oddly frequent trips into the Forbidden Forest.
9. Pokemon Indigo League
Wait, what? Listen, there were two trios that dominated the late '90s. This is the second. Let's be honest. You were already down to relive these the early aughts of the series in your post-"Pokemon Go" haze.
Watch If You Love Harry Potter For: The potent nostalgia factor.
10. The Last Unicorn
Yeah, why not? Of all the fantastic beasts in the Harry Potter universe, unicorns don't really get their day. The one notable time we catch a glimpse, Volde-Quirrell is siphoning the poor creature's neck. Whatever, let's revisit this children's classic.
Watch If You Love Harry Potter For: Its crazy creatures. Bonus points if you have a Hermione-esque drive for social justice. No unicorns would be going extinct on your watch.
11. Vampire Academy
God, and you thought Hogwarts was problematic.
Watch If You Love Harry Potter For: The deadly dramas within the school system. Or just watch it if you had a concurrent Twilight obsession as a child, and you just want to grossly combine the two. No judgement.
12. Buffy The Vampire Slayer
And it's worth-reasserting, Sunnydale High could give Hogwarts a run for a money when it comes to deadly schools. I mean, their newspaper has an obituary. But also you get your magic and fantasy fix, not to mention Buffy has that whole weight-of-the-world, I-am-the-chosen-one thing down pat.
Watch If You Love Harry Potter For: Sassy Harry Potter.
These choices may be eclectic, but at least you're getting a taste of what drew you to Harry Potter in the first place. Now, doesn't the long wait to Fantastic Beasts seem a little shorter?