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Last updateTue, 18 Sep 2018 1pm

Even though it premiered 21 years ago in March on The WB—it was The CW of ancient days, kids—the ongoing influence of Buffy the Vampire Slayer on TV is nearly inescapable.

Buffy Summers (as played by the future-unemployable Sarah Michelle Gellar) was a tough, vulnerable, snarky and tenacious young woman the likes of which hasn’t been seen since BTVS left the air in 2003 after seven seasons. The same goes for the writing (a seamless balance of scary and quippy, scripted by a team of now-major Hollywood players, and led by series creator Joss Whedon), and the crack ensemble cast (most of whom, like Gellar, can’t get arrested today).

Behold, there are eight newer shows carrying the Buffy the Vampire Slayer torch … or stake:

Crazyhead (Season 1 on Netflix): Few Buffy the Vampire Slayer descendants have gotten the series’ classic blend of horror and humor as effortlessly right as British import Crazyhead, created and written by Misfits creatorHoward Overman. When 20-something Bristolian Amy (Cara Theobold) discovers she’s a “seer” who can recognize the demon-possessed hiding among humans, she forms an initially rocky alliance with fellow seer-turned-hunter Raquel (Susan Wokoma); ass-whipping and sass-quipping ensue. But the core of Crazyhead’s six episodes is neither wisecracks nor action—it’s the funny and believable friendship between Amy and Raquel. Also: The show has a killer soundtrack, and some of the most exquisite public restrooms ever committed to screen.

Wynonna Earp (Season 1 on Netflix; Season 2 on Syfy.com): A trés Buffy setup: Wynonna Earp (Melanie Scrofano) is a modern-day descendent of Old West gunslinger Wyatt Earp, who also happened to be a supernatural demon hunter. Now it’s Wynonna’s turn, as she returns to her hometown of Purgatory to re-smite the escaped evil souls (aka Revenants) taken down back in the day by Great Grandpappy, with help from her sister Waverly (Dominique Provost-Chalkley), the immortally-hunky Doc Holliday (Tim Rozon), and her big-big-big-ass gun, Peacemaker. Wynonna Earp, a Syfy series, holds mostly enough to its ’90s IDW comic-book source material, and Scrofano brings her to life like a goofier, slightly less-boozy Jessica Jones.

Sweet/Vicious (Season 1 on Amazon): Sorority-girl Jules (Eliza Bennett) and outcast computer-punk Ophelia (Taylor Dearden) team up to beat down sexual predators on their college campus—think Kick-Ass steeped in Jezebel. It’s a heavy balance, avenging rape survivors while dropping post-feminist snark (not to mention keeping up on classwork; how do vigilantes do it all?); Sweet/Vicious’ Serious Issues half isn’t quite as compelling as its Violent Fun half. Still, give credit to first-time creator/writer Jennifer Robinson for hitting on a (unfortunately, always) timely topic, with far more empathy than a Law & Order: SVU episode. As they do with all intriguing, original new shows, MTV canceled Sweet/Vicious after one season.

The Magicians (Seasons 1-2 on Netflix): First dismissed as “sexy Harry Potter goes to Hogwarts College,” the debut season of The Magicians introduced an angsty-pretty cast with personal probs and supernatural challenges—but not much in the way of humor or personality. It was a slow burn, but the series began to show more signs of life as it progressed. The Magicians later found its dark footing, a relatively spectacular first-season finale pointed the way to a more-promising second season. That, it delivered, with more perpetually gray skies and hair-in-the-eyes moping—but also flashier special effects and a deepening narrative that’s funnier and smarter, not just sexy. But it’s still damned sexy—no worries there.

iZombie (Seasons 1-3 on Netflix): Writer/producers Rob Thomas and Diane Ruggiero (who ran could-be Buffy cousin Veronica Mars long ago) de-weirded Vertigo comic iZombie somewhat for TV, but it’s still out-there: Perky Seattle medical resident Liv (Rose McIver) gets infected and turns part-zombie, withdrawing from life and becoming a “goth” coroner to feed her brain diet to retain her human consciousness and keep herself from going “full Romero.” Since she also absorbs the memories of the crime victims whose gray matter she turns into brain lo mein (among other Food Network-worthy recipes), she starts solving their murders. iZombie’s pop-cultural zingers ratio would do Buffy proud, as would the increasingly-rich story arc.

Van Helsing (Season 1 on Netflix; Season 2 on Syfy.com): Please take a moment to forget that Hugh Jackman movie. Moving on: This vampire hunter is a woman (Vanessa Van Helsing, played by Kelly Overton), but that’s not the only twist. Vamps in this universe age; they can be turned back to human by being bitten by Vanessa; and VH’s showrunner is contentious indie-film director Neil LaBute. Van Helsing’s bleak vampire apocalypse isn’t long on laughs, and for an action-drama, the pace can be glacial. But Overton delivers on both the visceral and emotional fronts, and the show’s long-game ambitions feel more in line with an HBO series than typical Syfy fare—kind of like how Buffy the Vampire Slayer once seemed out of place on a kiddie-centric network.

Reaper (Season 1 on Hulu): Not all Buffy kin are women—there are some dudes dealing with evil, too. Like Sam (Bret Harrison), a 21-year-old slacker who’s just learned that his parents sold his soul to the Devil (Twin Peaks’ Ray Wise, the best Satan ever) before he was even born (and you thought your mom and dad made poor life choices). Now he has to pay off the debt by becoming the Devil’s bounty hunter and dragging escaped souls back to hell, with a little help from pals “Sock” (Tyler Labine, Deadbeat), Andi (Missy Peregrym, Van Helsing) and Ben (Rick Gonzalez, Arrow). Reaper would probably fly on current-day cable or streamers, but The CW was not having it circa 2007-09, canceling the series after two seasons. Factoids: Kevin Smith directed the pilot episode (!), and Louis C.K. auditioned for the Devil role (!!).

Ash vs. Evil Dead (Seasons 1-2 on Netflix): When the O.G. King Mac Daddy of demon slaying, Ash Williams (Bruce Campbell), was hauled out of retirement by Starz (it’s a cable channel—no, really) in 2015, almost years after the Evil Dead movie trilogy, reactions ranged from “Woo!” to “Why?” Upon its Halloween-night premiere, those takes unified into: “Holy shit! So! Much! Blood!” Ash vs. Evil Dead finds an older-fatter-and-certainly-not-wiser Williams battling a new Deadite uprising with his trusty old chainsaw hand; new sidekicks Pablo (Ray Santiago) and Kelly (Dana DeLorenzo); and a familiar face from the universe of producer/director Sam Raimi, Lucy Lawless (Xena!). Raimi shoots modern bloodbath technology over the top of the top while Campbell hams it up with manic glee, making Ash vs. Evil Dead the most gonzo half-hour on television. Raimi and Whedon should team up, drop a Buffy Summers cameo—and blow all the minds.

Bill Frost talks about television on the TV Tan podcast (BillFrost.tv) and tweets about it at @Bill_Frost.

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Baskets (Thursday, Jan. 19, FX), season premiere: When Baskets premiered last January, it appeared to be a loony lark, like someone dared Zach Galifianakis to create a comedy bizarre enough to make even FX flinch: Aspiring artiste Chip Baskets (Galifianakis) flunks out of a prestigious French clown academy and returns home to uncultured Bakersfield to become a crestfallen rodeo clown. Oh, and the black comedy also features an undercurrent of commentary on the decline of Western civilization and the futility of artistry, as well as Galifianakis playing his own twin brother, Dale, and Louie Anderson in drag as their mom—comedy gold, right? Actually, yes. Baskets’ weirdness was balanced with a certain sweetness, and Anderson’s hyper-quotable “Christine” became the unlikeliest breakout character of the year. At the outset of Season 2, Chip attempts to flee Bakersfield (hobo-clown-style riding the rails, of course), and Christine finds romance (and water aerobics). So, yeah, still bizarre.

Beaches (Saturday, Jan. 21, Lifetime), movie: The original 1988 Beaches, from a different time when Garry Marshall movies weren’t complete shit (too soon?), is a cheesy-weepy classic that needs no “reimagining.” But since we’re in the post-imagination 2010s, here’s a new Beaches, complete with remade songs. While it’s tough to argue with the smart casting of Idina Menzel and Nia Long in the iconic Bette Midler and Barbara Hershey roles—not to mention cred-to-burn director Allison Anders replacing Marshall—is a note-for-note re-creation of this lifelong gal-pals tale really necessary? Nope, but Beaches will be an easy hit for Lifetime, which means we can probably look forward to an update of Pretty Woman, re-written by and starring Lena Dunham, by fall.

Hunted (Sunday, Jan. 22, CBS), series debut: Unfortunately, this is not a second season of Melissa George’s cool 2012 spy series of the same name, which was wrongfully cancelled and … I’m just talking to myself here, aren’t I? Anyway: This Hunted is a reality show that pits teams of regular folk against pro investigators in an elaborate game of digital-age hide-and-seek; the fugitive squad that can stay off the grid and avoid being caught for 28 days wins $250,000. Hunted offers a valuable lesson about the liability of your digital footprint (not to mention reality-TV camera crews and trucks—wouldn’t they be a dead giveaway?). You may need to disappear yourself sometime in the next four years, so pay attention.

Outsiders (Tuesday, Jan. 24, WGN America), season premiere: The 2016 epidemic of Too Many Shows caused the debut season of Outsiders to slip by me—but it was discovered by a record-setting number of WGN America viewers who instantly latched onto this Appalachian hill-folk drama like it was Sons of Anarchy in overalls. (Coincidentally, SOA’s Ryan Hurst is one of the stars.) Outsiders is rife with juicy hillbilly family drama and stick-it-to-the-man anti-authoritarianism, as well as the most mud-flinging ATV action you’ll see outside of the Outdoor Channel. The story: The isolationist, mountain-dwelling Farrell clan (with the patriarch an unrecognizable David Morse) wants nothing to do with modern society in lowland Kentucky—then along comes Big Coal, aided by local police, to run them out of their centuries-long home. It’s a visceral, pulpy ride—catch up on Season 1 on Hulu.

The Magicians (Wednesday, Jan. 25, Syfy), season premiere: Essentially “sexy Harry Potter goes to Hogwarts College,” the first season of The Magicians introduced a pretty, angsty cast with plenty of personal probs and supernatural challenges, if not much humor or personality (which would have made it more of a Freeform show than a Syfy series, but whatever). Season 1 did, however, find some footing by its closing episodes, resulting in a relatively spectacular finale that could have launched a promising second season. Early S2 signs point to more perpetually grey skies and hair-in-the-eyes moping, but with flashier, Doctor Strange-lite special effects and a slightly clearer dramatic path forward. Nice trick (sorry, illusion).

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