I don’t need howlin’en, or a pandemic, to have nightmares – they are a regular occurrence. Sometimes these make me so “discomforted,” that I need to get up and distract myself.
These two lists of the scariest television series are a result: I cut and pasted the show synopses, adding my own commentary. Seemed like an appropriate activity for a sleepless night.
The first list is 25 of the scariest television series as per the movie/television reviewing and rating site imdb.com. (The site has more information such as viewing rating, genre, approval rating, # of votes cast).
Most of these shows I’ve never heard of, let alone watched. Same goes for the stars, show runners, and writers. In my defense, I don’t have cable or any of the various streaming services and platforms. I’m not a fan of gore, a lot of these plots sound just plain silly, some strange hybrid or retread of previous series/movies.
2019-2020 seems to have “birthed” a lot of horror shows! Most of the entries are recent; the second list, from a Rolling Stone on-line article, includes current and classic television series. Also, that list is “curated” rather than based upon fan approval ratings.
The Stand (2020–) After the world is in ruins, due to a man-made plague, a battle of Biblical proportions ensues between the survivors. Stars: James Marsden, Jovan Adepo, Whoopi Goldberg, Amber Heard (I’m a classic King fan: the original IT, Salem’s Lot, The Shining . . .)
The Walking Dead (2010–) Sheriff Deputy Rick Grimes wakes up from a coma to learn the world is in ruins and must lead a group of survivors to stay alive. Stars: Andrew Lincoln, Norman Reedus, Melissa McBride, Danai Gurira (Never been a zombie fan . . .)
Supernatural (2005-2020) Two brothers follow their father’s footsteps as hunters, fighting evil supernatural beings of many kinds, including monsters, demons and gods that roam the earth. Stars: Jared Padalecki, Jensen Ackles, Jim Beaver, Misha Collins
Lovecraft Country (2020–) A young African-American travels across the U.S. in the 1950s in search of his missing father. Stars: Jonathan Majors, Jurnee Smollett, Courtney B. Vance, Michael Kenneth Williams
Fear the Walking Dead (2015–) A Walking Dead spin-off, set in Los Angeles, following two families who must band together to survive the undead apocalypse. Stars: Kim Dickens, Frank Dillane, Cliff Curtis, Rubén Blades (How many zombie apocalypse series do we need? . . .)
Stranger Things (2016–) When a young boy disappears, his mother, a police chief and his friends must confront terrifying supernatural forces in order to get him back. Stars: Millie Bobby Brown, Finn Wolfhard, Winona Ryder, David Harbour (If I had streaming services, I might check it out.)
American Horror Story (2011–) An anthology series centering on different characters and locations, including a house with a murderous past, an insane asylum, a witch coven, a freak show circus, a haunted hotel, a possessed farmhouse, a cult, the apocalypse, and a slasher summer camp. Stars: Lady Gaga, Kathy Bates, Angela Bassett, Sarah Paulson (Heard it’s scary good though plot lines sound very cliché)
Evil (2019–) A skeptical female clinical psychologist joins a priest-in-training and a blue-collar contractor as they investigate supposed miracles, demonic possession, and other extraordinary occurrences to see if there’s a scientific explanation or if something truly supernatural is at work. Stars: Katja Herbers, Mike Colter, Aasif Mandvi, Michael Emerson (Synopsis makes me think: X-Files/Mysterious Ways mashup . . .)
The Walking Dead: World Beyond (2020–) The series will focus on the first generation to grow up during the zombie apocalypse. Stars: Aliyah Royale, Nico Tortorella, Annet Mahendru, Nicolas Cantu (. . . obviously need at least 3 walking dead shows . . .)
Monsterland (2020–) Encounters with Gothic beasts, including fallen angels and werewolves, broken people are driven to desperate acts in an attempt to repair their lives, ultimately showing there is a thin line between man and beast. Stars: Kaitlyn Dever, Jack DiFalco, Erinn Anova, Tina Benko
Helstrom (2020–) Daimon and Ana Helstrom are the son and daughter of a mysterious and powerful serial killer. The siblings have a complicated dynamic as they track down the terrorizing worst of humanity – each with their attitude and skills. Stars: Tom Austen, Sydney Lemmon, Elizabeth Marvel, Ariana Guerra (Dexter has kids who go on a road trip?)
The Vampire Diaries (2009–2017) The lives, loves, dangers and disasters in the town, Mystic Falls, Virginia. Creatures of unspeakable horror lurk beneath this town as a teenage girl is suddenly torn between two vampire brothers. Stars: Nina Dobrev, Paul Wesley, Ian Somerhalder, Kat Graham (Ouch, bad choice of words!)
Swamp Thing (2019) Abby Arcane returns home to Marais, Louisiana to investigate a deadly swamp-borne virus, only to discover the dark, terrifying mysteries of the swamp. Stars: Crystal Reed, Virginia Madsen, Andy Bean, Derek Mears (the original tv movie and show was awful . . . made Creature from the Black Lagoon seem high-class)
Attack on Titan (2013–) After his hometown is destroyed and his mother is killed, young Eren Yeager vows to cleanse the earth of the giant humanoid Titans that have brought humanity to the brink of extinction. Stars: Marina Inoue, Yûki Kaji, Yui Ishikawa, Josh Grelle
What We Do in the Shadows (2019–) A look into the daily (or rather, nightly) lives of three vampires, who’ve lived together for over 100 years, on Staten Island. Stars: Kayvan Novak, Matt Berry, Natasia Demetriou, Harvey Guillén
Hannibal (2013–2015) Explores the early relationship between renowned psychiatrist, Hannibal Lecter, and his patient, a young FBI criminal profiler, who is haunted by his ability to empathize with serial killers. Stars: Hugh Dancy, Mads Mikkelsen, Caroline Dhavernas, Laurence Fishburne (I’ll pass on anything that has to do with Hannibal . . .)
The Originals (2013–2018) A family of power-hungry thousand-year-old vampires look to take back the city that they built and dominate all those who have done them wrong. Stars: Joseph Morgan, Daniel Gillies, Claire Holt, Phoebe Tonkin
Van Helsing (2016–) Vanessa Helsing, distant relative of famous vampire hunter Abraham Van Helsing, is resurrected only to find that vampires have taken over the world. Stars: Kelly Overton, Jonathan Scarfe, Aleks Paunovic, Vincent Gale
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (2018–2020) As her 16th birthday nears, Sabrina must choose between the witch world of her family and the human world of her friends. Based on the Archie comic. Stars: Kiernan Shipka, Ross Lynch, Lucy Davis, Chance Perdomo (obviously not the earlier Sabrina with the hilariously sarcastic Salem, the cat)
The Twilight Zone (2019–) An updated version of the classic anthology series featuring various tales of science fiction, mystery, and horror. Stars: Jordan Peele, David Epstein, Kelly Ann Woods, Mark Silverman (a previous resurrection just never was a creepily well-done as the first – maybe being filmed in black and white helped . . .)
Invincible (2021–) Animated series based on the Skybound/Image comic about a teenager whose father is the most powerful superhero on the planet. Stars: Steven Yeun, J.K. Simmons, Sandra Oh, Seth Rogen
Legacies (2018–) Hope Mikaelson, a tribrid daughter of a Vampire/Werewolf hybrid, makes her way in the world. Stars: Danielle Rose Russell, Aria Shahghasemi, Quincy Fouse, Peyton ‘Alex’ Smith (Is this a spin off from the Twilight Trilogy?)
iZombie (2015–2019) A medical resident finds that being a zombie has its perks, which she uses to assist the police. Stars: Rose McIver, Malcolm Goodwin, Rahul Kohli, Robert Buckley (zombies again . . .)
The Twilight Zone (1959–1964) Ordinary people find themselves in extraordinarily astounding situations, which they each try to solve in a remarkable manner. Stars: Rod Serling, Robert McCord, Jay Overholts, Vaughn Taylor (Yes!!!!)
Bates Motel (2013–2017) A contemporary prequel to Psycho, giving a portrayal of how Norman Bates’ psyche unravels through his teenage years, and how deeply intricate his relationship with his mother, Norma, truly is. Stars: Vera Farmiga, Freddie Highmore, Max Thieriot, Nicola Peltz (Tried watching; too weird!)
Castle Rock (2018–) Based on the stories of Stephen King, the series intertwines characters and themes from the fictional town of Castle Rock. Stars: Bill Skarsgård, André Holland, Lizzy Caplan, Melanie Lynskey (a common theme/thread in King’s writing that other writers/television series borrow from)
Grimm (2011–2017) A homicide detective discovers he is a descendant of hunters who fight supernatural forces. Stars: David Giuntoli, Russell Hornsby, Silas Weir Mitchell, Sasha Roiz
Midnight Mass (pre-production) An isolated island community experiences miraculous events – and frightening omens – after the arrival of a charismatic, mysterious young priest. Stars: Rahul Abburi, Crystal Balint, Matt Biedel, Alex Essoe (quite the mashup of themes and previous productions)
The Addams Family (1964–1966) The misadventures of a blissfully macabre but extremely loving family. Stars: John Astin, Carolyn Jones, Jackie Coogan, Ted Cassidy (Ah, Lurch, Thing, Cousin ITT – been watching it on retro tv. Won’t call it scary or creepy — just funny. My father had several books of Charles Addams’ cartoons which were the inspiration for the show.)
Locke & Key (2020–) After their father is murdered under mysterious circumstances, the three Locke siblings and their mother move into their ancestral home, Keyhouse, which they discover is full of magical keys that may be connected to their father’s death. Stars: Darby Stanchfield, Connor Jessup, Emilia Jones, Jackson Robert Scott (familiar plot line, but might be interesting if done right)
Penny Dreadful (2014–2016) Explorer Sir Malcolm Murray, American gunslinger Ethan Chandler, scientist Victor Frankenstein and medium Vanessa Ives unite to combat supernatural threats in Victorian London. Stars: Josh Hartnett, Timothy Dalton, Eva Green, Reeve Carney (I tried to watch – just too grizzly and gory for me)
Scream: The TV Series (2015–) A serialized anthology series that follows a group of teenagers being targeted by a masked serial killer. Stars: Willa Fitzgerald, Bex Taylor-Klaus, John Karna, Carlson Young (Is it a comedy or a drama or just a scream-fest? “Scream-Queens anyone?)
Primal (2019–) Primal features a caveman at the dawn of evolution. A dinosaur on the brink of extinction. Bonded by tragedy, this unlikely friendship becomes the only hope of survival in a violent, primordial world. Stars: Aaron LaPlante, Tom Kenny, Jon Olson, Amanda Troop (Not sure of the scare factor here . . . maybe gore and violence?)
Preacher (2016–2019) After a supernatural event at his church, a preacher enlists the help of a vampire and his ex to find God. Stars: Dominic Cooper, Joseph Gilgun, Ruth Negga, Ian Colletti (I don’t believe this plot line!!!!!!! Satire? Evidence that there are more television channels than programs to show on them!)
The Order (2019–) Out to avenge his mother’s death, a college student pledges to a secret order and lands in a war between werewolves and practitioners of dark magic. Stars: Jake Manley, Sarah Grey, Adam DiMarco, Louriza Tronco
Love, Death & Robots (2019–) A collection of animated short stories that span various genres including science fiction, fantasy, horror and comedy. Stars: Scott Whyte, Nolan North, Matthew Yang King, Chris Cox
The Terror (2018–) Supernatural, semi-historical, horror anthology series, where each season is inspired by a different infamous or mysterious real-life historical tragedy. Stars: Jared Harris, Derek Mio, Tobias Menzies, Kiki Sukezane (I often have problems with “semi-historical:” can become “semi-hysterical” or made to seem more historically true than it is. Nothing wrong with playing with history; I like it within certain boundaries. Alternate histories/timelines/universes can solve this problem. Sorry. A rant subject!)
Gravity Falls (2012–2016) Twin siblings Dipper and Mabel Pines spend the summer at their great-uncle’s tourist trap in the enigmatic Gravity Falls, Oregon. Stars: Jason Ritter, Alex Hirsch, Kristen Schaal, Linda Cardellini
Hemlock Grove (2013–2015) Secrets are just part of daily life in the small Pennsylvania town of Hemlock Grove, where the darkest evils hide in plain sight. Stars: Famke Janssen, Bill Skarsgård, Landon Liboiron, Joel de la Fuente (Common theme; depends on how well done)
Ash vs Evil Dead (2015–2018) Ash has spent the last thirty years avoiding responsibility, maturity, and the terrors of the Evil Dead until a Deadite plague threatens to destroy all of mankind and Ash becomes mankind’s only hope. Stars: Bruce Campbell, Ray Santiago, Dana DeLorenzo, Lucy Lawless
JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure (2012–) The story of the Joestar family, who are possessed with intense psychic strength, and the adventures each member encounters throughout their lives. Stars: Matthew Mercer, Daisuke Ono, Fuminori Komatsu, Unshô Ishizuka
Servant (2019–) A Philadelphia couple is in mourning after an unspeakable tragedy creates a rift in their marriage and opens the door for a mysterious force to enter their home. Stars: Lauren Ambrose, Toby Kebbell, Rupert Grint, Nell Tiger Free
Santa Clarita Diet (2017–2019) Sheila and Joel are married real estate agents in Santa Clarita, California. When Sheila dies, their lives take a dark turn. Stars: Drew Barrymore, Timothy Olyphant, Liv Hewson, Skyler Gisondo (I like Drew Barrymore, and this just might be quirky enough . . .)
Truth Seekers (2020–) A team of part-time paranormal investigators use homemade gizmos to track the supernatural, sharing their adventures online. As their haunted stake outs become more terrifying, they begin to uncover an unimaginable, apocalyptic conspiracy. Stars: Nick Frost, Samson Kayo, Emma D’Arcy, Susan Wokoma (another apocalyptic conspiracy . . . if it’s been a “hit,” someone will copy the formulae)
Castlevania (2017–) A vampire hunter fights to save a besieged city from an army of otherworldly creatures controlled by Dracula. Stars: Richard Armitage, James Callis, Alejandra Reynoso, Theo James
Penny Dreadful: City of Angels (2020) When a grisly murder shocks Los Angeles in 1938, Detective Tiago Vega and his partner Lewis Michener become embroiled in an epic story that reflects the troubled history of the city. Stars: Natalie Dormer, Daniel Zovatto, Kerry Bishé, Adriana Barraza
Haven (2010-2015) Many in the coastal town of Haven, Maine have a dormant curse or “trouble” that could trigger at any time for any reason. FBI agent Audrey Parker, the sheriff and the town’s black sheep must deal with the troubles’ deadly effects. Stars: Emily Rose, Lucas Bryant, Eric Balfour, Richard Donat (even if it’s from a KIng novel, this trope, like zombies, seems to be everywhere. Often done; not often done well.)
Into the Dark (2018–) A horror anthology series with each episode inspired by a holiday. Stars: Aurora Perrineau, Diane Sellers, Dylan Arnold, Katie Wilson (Read about this – interesting idea.)
The Purge (2018–2019) Set in an altered United States, several unrelated people discover how far they will go to survive a night where all crime is legal for 12 hours. Stars: Gabriel Chavarria, Derek Luke, Hannah Emily Anderson, Max Martini
The Promised Neverland (2019–) A group of the smartest kids at a seemingly perfect orphanage uncover its dark truth when they break a rule to never leave the orphanage grounds. Once the truth is discovered, they begin to plan an escape to save all of the children. Stars: Sumire Morohoshi, Maaya Uchida, Mariya Ise, Shinei Ueki
30 Best Horror TV Shows of All Time (sorta)
“From gourmet serial killers to vampire slayers, the greatest small-screen landmarks featuring scariest monsters and superfreaks,” Sean T. Collins, Rolling Stone online, October 2019.
With this list, there are a lot more nostalgia shows, and “the present” = 2019. I was selective about how much of the original review for each television series I cut and pasted into this compilation.
Are You Afraid of the Dark? (1990-2000; 2019) . . . featured a group of tween storytellers who told each other scary campfire stories with enough moldering corpses and maniacal clowns to traumatize a generation. (Goosebumps, I assume?)
The Haunting of Hill House (2018-Present) Horror goddess Shirley Jackson’s ice-cold novella gets an extreme makeover . . . spread across two timelines, Hill House evolves into a story of how family can both hurt and heal when the paranormal strikes. (A 1960s movie based on the novella still gives me nightmares!)
The Vampire Diaries (2009-2017) Sexy, funny, and often shockingly violent for a teen soap, TVD has all the lust and angst you’d expect. But it also boasts a surprisingly complex mystical mythos that the characters reveal one lethal layer at a time. (Ah, the original . . .)
Tales from the Crypt (1989-1996) Tales from the Crypt was a celebration of horror’s pulpy past. (Extremely weird show! Creepy to the max)
The Outer Limits (1963-1965) “There is nothing wrong with your television set. Do not attempt to adjust the picture. We are controlling transmission. We will control the horizontal. We will control the vertical.” (A harder edged “more confrontational” show than the “other” anthology series, Twilight Zone. Outer Limits was also remade; again, not nearly as creepy as the first version)
Kolchak: The Night Stalker (1974-1975) Carl Kolchak, Chicago reporter, whose dealings with the dark forces and crimes that the cops wouldn’t touch helped inspire the X-Files . . . But the period-appropriate paranoia — there really were sinister, supernatural happenings that were all around us — had a lasting impact on horror’s conspiratorial side. (Left a lasting impression on me when I watched it during its original run. Saw it on retro tv a few years ago and it has held up surprisingly well.)
The Ghost Hunters (2004-2016) Knowingly or not, this dogged crew of pro-am paranormal investigators has made spooky small-screen magic out of their ad-hoc explorations of haunted houses by tapping into a key component of every successful scary story: the willingness of the audience to believe.
Ash vs. Evil Dead (2016-2018) [T]hree seasons of pure horror chaos — sometimes sweet and silly, other times nasty, always incredibly disgusting. With each episode clocking in around sitcom length, Ash vs. Evil Dead was proof that horror could be delivered as a short, sharp shock rather than a slow-and-steady epic. (Definitely NOT for me)
The Returned (2012-2015) What would happen if the deceased reappeared pretty much the way they were before? Yes, the mysterious supernatural forces that caused the late residents of one small town in France to return and attempt to get on with their lives were often frightening. (Plot line has possibilities.)
Dark Shadows (1967-1971) Barnabas Collins . . . didn’t show up on the series until 1967, a year into the atmospheric ABC soap’s five-year run, but after being unchained from a coffin . . . the afternoon serial went from a mildly Gothic story to a full-fledged paranormal romance, mixing witchcraft and werewolves into its sudsy storylines about lost love. It’s now the definition of a cult classic. (I remember Dark Shadows; don’t think Johnny Depp and company did it justice!)
True Blood (2008-2014) [A]uthor Charlaine Harris’ Southern Vampire Mysteries — centered on telepathic waitress Sookie Stackhouse, her vampire suitors Bill Compton and Eric Northman, and various other resident beasties. . .. it offered softcore thrills and bloody spills of the highest horror-TV order. (Not a fan of her books, but a friend keeps trying to convince me . . . Almost took the DVD out of the library.)
Masters of Horror (2005-2007) [A] rotating showcase for the genre’s best screenwriters and filmmakers, the show gave us a number of short-story–style chillers
Alfred Hitchcock Presents (1955-1962) The creepy theme song, the striking silhouette, the slowly, slyly delivered “Good eve-eee-ning” — when Alfred Hitchcock migrated from the big screen to the small in order to make a weekly series, his personal brand was the main attraction. (I used to sneak out of my room to watch the show from the stairway)
A Haunting (2005-present) [This] series dramatizes (allegedly) real-life encounters with ghosts, demons, and poltergeists with jump scares and face-in-the-mirror menace. But by tying its terrors to stories of suburban dislocation — seemingly every episode begins with a divorcée looking to “make a fresh start” in an old dark house — serves as a 21st-century portrait of How We Fear Now.
Penny Dreadful (2014-2016) What, then, could this series that combines characters from Frankenstein, Dracula, Dorian Grey, and Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde, have to offer that we haven’t seen before? Plenty, including charismatic performances, Gothic production design that’s lush, . . . and countless other supernatural elements that add an atmosphere of, well, dread. (I was disappointed; good writing, good acting, but really, buckets and buckets of gore for gores’, not the story’s sake – on my opinion.)
Night Gallery (1969-1973) [Rod Serling’s] Nixon-era series presented short, sharp, scary vignettes (as many as four per episode) that were fueled by murder, guilt, revenge, hauntings, undead predators, and the untapped powers of the mind. (While a few of the vignettes stuck with me, overall, rewatching this series has been disappointing – hasn’t held up as well as I had hoped)
Stranger Things (2016-Present) picture the dark world of the Upside Down and its demogorgon denizens; and thrill to the adventures of its tween-to-teen heroes as they battle to save the small town of Hawkins, Indiana from extradimensional oblivion. (I might like it if I could watch it.)
The Kingdom (1994-1997) [A] TV show with a simple goal: creep people out to the Nth degree. Th[is] two four-episode series chronicle[s] the lives and afterlives of doctors and patients at a nightmarish Copenhagen hospital. Its storylines stitch ghosts, body horror, and all-around avant-garde oddness together into one of the medium’s most unique hybrids. (Not for me . . .)
Supernatural (2005-2019) The saga of demon-hunting brothers Sam and Dean Winchester is driven almost entirely by their emotional connection . . . even when the stakes are outright apocalyptic and the monsters all but unstoppable, it’s the ties that bind these bros that have made this show a fervently loved fan-favorite. (I watched this, off and on, for the first year or so, then I drifted away)
The Terror (2018-Present) Based on the novel . . . inspired by the true story of the vanished 19th-century British Navy vessel the H.M.S. Terror, this chronicle of an ill-fated expedition and the beasts — both supernatural and all-too-human — that devoured it . . .Though it shared no cast or crew with the first installment, the anthology show’s follow-up season — subtitled Infamy — closed strong, proving there are endless dark riches to be mined from this historical-horror vein. (Now the historical link intrigues me but the images that accompany the review did not. I do like speculative history – that can fall within the alternative time line trope. But, me, I need the episodes to still be grounded somewhat in that era. Monsters, ok. Behaving like the present, not.)
The Walking Dead (2010-Present) In its original form, as a zombie comic book by writer Robert Kirkman and artists Tony Moore and Charlie Adlard, The Walking Dead was the little series that could: an independent, black-and-white horror story. . . a ratings juggernaut that showcases man’s inhumanity to man with at least as much gory gusto as the cannibalistic attacks of the undead. (Would I watch zombies in a box, Would I watch this with a fox. Would I watch them in house? Would it like zombies with a mouse? No, I would not watch them in a box. No, I would not watch them with fox. No, I would not like zombies with a mouse. No, I would not let zombies in my house. I do not like the walking dead; I do not like them Mr. Ted. Apologies to dear Dr. Seuss!)
American Horror Story (2011-Present) [Has]as been a showcase for some of the most treasured tropes horror has to offer as a visual genre — killer clowns, demonic nuns, haunted hotels, you name it . . . throw-back to Grand Guignol. It’s horror for the animated-GIF era. (Grand Guignol, in case you’re not familiar with the term: from wikipedia: Grand Guignol was a theatre in Paris . . . From its opening in 1897 until its closing in 1962, it specialized in naturalistic horror shows. Its name is often used as a general term for graphic, amoral horror entertainment, a genre popular from Elizabethan and Jacobean theatre . . . to today’s splatter films.)
Black Mirror (2011-Present) Like Rod Serling’s seminal show, this British show’s star-studded episodes use horror and science fiction elements as a lens into contemporary anxieties — with the focus on technology and its alienating, dehumanizing potential. Its best installments demonstrate that the era of selfies and social networks has simply given us new tools with which to do the same damage to one another we’ve always done. (A friend just loves this show; if we’re on the phone after he’s watched an episode, I get a scene by scene synopsis.)
True Detective (2014-Present) supernova crime drama drew its strength from its occult overtones, a surreal vibe, and scary-as-**** story of backwoods serial killers backed [by] a powerful political machine. In the end there was nothing supernatural about any of it — but who cares? The journey was truly nightmarish enough.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997-2003) High school is literally hell on earth — beat that for a high concept! The genius [of the] series was taking a metaphor for adolescent angst, giving it fangs, and handing its heroine a wooden stake. Buffy Summers and her Scooby Gang faced down more than their fair share of menaces from beyond. . . (I became a big Buffy fan. Kinda miss it – not in reruns on a channel I get for quite a while – guess I’ll request it from the library system. Should Angel be included too? as a Buffy spin-off?)
Channel Zero (2016-2018) Horror anthology series. Each of its quartet of stand-alone seasons is based on a different “creepypasta,” the viral online horror stories that have kept insomniacs up since the dawn of the Web. . .. it’s the collective power of the full quartet, which seem to get more viscerally nightmarish with each passing episode, that makes this slept-on series one for the age
The X Files (1993-2002; 2016-2018) The Truth Is Out There . . . the truth being [this]sprawling science-fiction conspiracy thriller was also crackerjack horror television. In between “mythology” episodes that chronicled FBI Agents Mulder & Scully’s journey through a maze of government and extraterrestrial shenanigans, The X-Files frequently stopped to scare the pants off its viewers. . .. And the recent relaunch reminded fans why they wanted to believe in the first place. (I much preferred the “stand-alone” stories, rather than the alien/conspiracy/who’s in on it/ episodes. And, since I’ve been disappointed by later versions of old favourites, I didn’t try to track down the reboot.)
Hannibal (2013-2015) visually audacious, narratively perverse, and mind-bogglingly gory . . cannibalistic psychiatrist Hannibal Lecter and his arch-frienemy, FBI profiler Will Graham — was nothing short of a horror lover’s fever dream. (NOT for me!)
The Twilight Zone (1959-1964) Rod Serling’s genre-defining anthology series drew its stories from a who’s-who of the era’s finest horror and sci-fi writers, creating an endless stream of stand-alone episodes that were equal parts spine-chilling and thought-provoking. (YES!!!! Still scares the hell out of me . . .)
Twin Peaks (1990-1991; 2017) Who killed Laura Palmer?” small-town murder masterpiece, but the answer was never going to be a matter of a simple whodunit. Laura’s death, like her life, concealed an ocean of evil beneath the surface — specifically, a group of terrifying supernatural entities hailing from another place called the Black Lodge. But through all the surreal, red-curtained quirkiness, the show never lost sight of the human suffering at the heart of madness-infected Americana. It’s what continues to make Twin Peaks the all-time television terror champion. (An all time fav! Piece of cherry pie, anyone? Must admit didn’t watch the 2017 episodes.)
I was surprised not to see some of “hyped-at-the-time” shows. Not saying they are the scariest, or among the better/best.
Examples include (more cutting and pasting, this time from Wikipedia; I recognize a lot of names on the list, but decided not to include short-lived series even if include well-known actors, authors, directors, show runners. Another caveat: I didn’t necessarily watch these shows.):
Being Human (British original: 2009-2013; North American remake: 2011-2014) British plot: three supernatural beings [a werewolf, vampire and ghost] opt to live with human beings rather than apart from them and attempt (as much as is possible) to live ordinary human lives. They are constantly threatened with exposure or persecution, with pressure from other supernatural creatures, and with problems caused by their attempts to deal with their own natures. North American plot: three roommates seemingly in their twenties each try to keep a secret from the rest of the world. Aidan is a 200-year-old vampire, Josh is a werewolf, and Sally is a ghost. The three try to help one another navigate the complexities of living double lives while trying to figure out their own at the same time.
Dexter: (2006-2013) [A]n American crime drama mystery television series [s]et in Miami. Dexter Morgan, a forensic technician specializing in bloodstain pattern analysis for the fictional Miami Metro Police Department, who leads a secret parallel life as a vigilante serial killer, hunting down murderers who have slipped through the cracks of the justice system.
Friday the 13th: The Series (1987-1990) [A] fantasy horror television series which follows Micki and Ryan, owners of an antiques store, and their friend, Jack Marshak, as they try to recover cursed antiques, to put them into safety in the store’s vault.
Forever Knight (1992-1996) Nick Knight is an 800-year-old vampire working as a police detective in modern-day Toronto, Ontario. Wracked with guilt for centuries of killing others, he seeks redemption by working as a homicide detective on the night shift while struggling to find a way to become human again. (I really like this show!!!)
The Hitchhiker (1983-1987; 1989-1991) A mystery horror anthology television series. Each episode is introduced and concluded by a mysterious wanderer known only as “The Hitchhiker,” and explores the foibles of humanity and its dark spirit. (A strange, quirky show.)
Tales from the Dark Side (1983-1988) An American anthology horror TV series Each episode was an individual short story that often ended with a plot twist. The series’ episodes spanned the genres of horror, science fiction, and fantasy, and some episodes featured elements of black comedy or more lighthearted themes. (A mix of humour and fright that could be quite entertaining)
The Ray Bradbury Theater (1985-1986; 1988-1992) All the episodes in this anthology series were written by Ray Bradbury (usually adaptations of his short stories), who introduces each program (in various ways over the course of the series). (This has been running on a retro sci-fi channel I get; I’m really enjoying most episodes!)
So, get the snacks ready, put on your comfy jammies, and settle into so some scary, creepy television.
🕷️🕷️🕷️🕷️🕷️🕷️🕷️🕷️🕷️🕷️Hope your night’s not too frightful!🕷️🕷️🕷️🕷️🕷️🕷️🕷️🕷️🕷️🕷️
broom: Gabby @ pexels