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What to Watch After Disenchantment

Disenchantment's second season is here, and — well, to be honest, it's got a lot of the same problems as Season 1. After thoroughly satirizing the family sitcom and sci-fi genres, Matt Groening has turned his calculating eye to fantasy, and the results have been mixed. The chemistry between the rebellious Princess Bean (Abbi Jacobson), the credulous Elfo (Nat Faxon) and the slightly sinister Luci (Eric Andre) is genuinely entertaining, but a lot of the show's humor simply falls flat. Still, the show has potential, which the now-confirmed Seasons 3 and 4 may fully realize. Until then, here are 10 other shows in more or less the same vein: ambitious fantasy that's at least a little bit self-aware.

(Image credit: Kevin Baker/Netflix)

The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance (2019)

Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance isn't a true comedy/fantasy, but like a lot of Jim Henson productions, the show never gets too grim, either. This Netflix series is a prequel to The Dark Crystal, a 1982 fantasy film that told the story of a kindly race called the Gelflings, a malevolent race called the Skeksis and the titular Dark Crystal, which could drain life essence from innocent victims to make its possessor immortal. Age of Resistance takes place well before the events of the film, following three Gelflings on their quest to spark a rebellion against the evil Skeksis. This series has all the political fairyland intrigue you could want, plus eye-popping animatronics and puppetry.

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Good Omens (2019)

Those of you who read "Good Omens" (Workman, 1990), the genre-bending apocalyptic novel from Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett, don't need me to tell you why it's such a good fit for fans of Disenchantment. The 2019 Amazon Prime adaptation preserves most of what was so good about the source material. The off-kilter humor is a little cynical and a little sweet. The big cast of characters is both likable and memorable. There's even a fairly comprehensive cosmology, which is great for fans who like world building. Michael Sheen and David Tennant steal the show as protagonists Aziraphale and Crowley, respectively: an angel and a demon, neither one of whom really wants the world to end in a prophesied Armageddon.

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American Gods (2017-present)

If you like skewed reinterpretations of classic stories, American Gods is a great place to start. In this adaptation of Gaiman's ambitious book of the same name, a former criminal named Shadow allies himself with a mysterious benefactor named Mr. Wednesday. Together, the two must navigate a war brewing between the Old Gods — the pantheons of antiquity — and the New Gods — media and technology. As the show progresses, Shadow learns that Mr. Wednesday has his own agenda and that some scheming force may be manipulating both sides to its own benefit. Just as Disenchantment lampoons high-fantasy tropes, American Gods reinterprets some of our favorite stories from mythology.

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(Image credit: Colleen Hayes/NBC)

The Good Place (2016-present)

A TV show about philosophy, morality, religion and self-actualization could get very pretentious, very quickly. Thankfully, The Good Place is funny and delightful instead. In this magical sitcom, Eleanor Shellstrop is a saleswoman who dies and winds up in the heavenly Good Place. The only problem is that she's the wrong Eleanor Shellstrop; our protagonist hasn't actually lived such a morally upstanding life. She tries to better herself by embarking on a series of spiritual misadventures, in which she learns all about ethics and the "rules" of the various possible afterlives. While The Good Place is a very different kind of show than Disenchantment, it's still a fantasy/comedy in a half-hour format, making it an easy binge.

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Galavant (2015-2016)

If you love Disenchantment's setting and humor but bemoan its paucity of songs (seriously, The Simpsons and Futurama have much better musical numbers), it's time to try Galavant. This high-fantasy/comedy mashup follows Sir Gary Galavant, a knight on a quest to rescue his lover, Madalena, from the evil King Richard. It's a classic setup, but the twist is that characters frequently burst into extremely catchy songs, penned by superstar composer Alan Menken. The humor is silly, the story is earnest, and the guest stars are all genre-TV favorites, from Ricky Gervais to Weird Al Yankovic to the late, great Rutger Hauer.

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(Image credit: Nickelodeon)

The Legend of Korra (2012-2014)

Whatever its flaws, Disenchantment earns some brownie points for its unconventional female lead. Bean isn't your average teenage protagonist, and neither is the titular character from The Legend of Korra. This follow-up to Avatar: The Last Airbender follows the adventures of Korra, a young woman who can magically wield the elements of earth, air, fire and water. As the Avatar, Korra has the power to save the world — but as a teenage girl, she also has to deal with family, friendships and romance. The show skews much more toward adventure than comedy, but it's still quite funny, particularly if you like slapstick. From the clownish Bolin to the long-suffering Tenzin, The Legend of Korra's characters are almost sure to make you smile.

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Eureka (2006-2012)

Eureka skews a little more toward sci-fi than fantasy, but the science is on the soft side, and there are plenty of big laughs. The show follows Jack Carter, a U.S. marshal who becomes sheriff in the fictional small town of Eureka, Oregon. There's only one catch: Eureka is a military-funded experiment for supergeniuses, while Jack is just an ordinary guy. Like Disenchantment, Eureka plays with classic tropes such as mad scientists, alternate dimensions, time travel and aliens. But truthfully, it's closer in tone to another Groening show: The Simpsons. That's because every resident of the town has his or her own story and gets to occupy the spotlight for at least one episode.

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Futurama (1999-2013)

Disenchantment shares most of its DNA with Futurama, a 1999 Groening spoof on the sci-fi genre. Fans have argued for 20 years whether Futurama or The Simpsons is the superior show, and I doubt they'll resolve the matter anytime soon. But either way, Futurama is one of the rarest TV treasures ever produced. Both heartfelt and hilarious, the show is simultaneously a love letter to classic sci-fi and a deconstruction of some of the genre's most persistent missteps. It all starts in 1999, when delivery boy Philip J. Fry gets cryogenically suspended until the year 3000. Thawed out in that future date, he joins the Planet Express crew, making deliveries all around the galaxy and botching them in the most entertaining way possible.

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(Image credit: Alamy)

Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997-2003)

Buffy the Vampire Slayer isn't just a fantasy/comedy show; it's a fantasy/horror/comedy/drama show, and it pulls off all four elements pretty well. When the show begins, Buffy Summers is a high school student who also happens to be the legendary Slayer, a young woman fated to fight vampires, demons and other forces of darkness. Since Joss Whedon created and wrote a lot of the show, it goes without saying that a lot of Buffy's dialogue consists of snarky one-liners. But there's also a pretty detailed mythos, replete with bizarre creatures of light and darkness. If Princess Bean is your favorite part of Disenchantment, you'll probably like Buffy, too.

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The Simpsons (1989-present)

The Simpsons wasn't Groening's first big project (Disenchantment frequently references Groening's early comic, "Life in Hell"), but the classic cartoon is easily his most enduring. Frankly, if you've never seen The Simpsons, you are missing not only one of the greatest shows of all time, but also one of the most important pieces of American pop culture ever produced. If, somehow, you've stumbled on Disenchantment without first experiencing the suburban misadventures of Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie, you should rectify that ASAP. Just be aware that the show doesn't stay hilarious forever; most fans advise stopping around Season 10. (I think Season 12 has its moments, but even that's pushing it.)

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