The best horror-themed TV series from the past 50 years, from Night Gallery to Supernatural, Walking Dead, and more.
Horror-themed TV shows are usually either really good or really bad, more often bad. However, the last 50 years have brought us a handful of really good horror TV series - some are even brilliant! To qualify, it must be based on some horror aspect, either seral killing, ghosts, vampires, or the like. We've excluded Sci-Fi series (such as Outer Limits, Twilight Zone) and mystery (Alfred Hitchcock), even though these shows
sometimes had horror elements. We're looking here at pure horror. Here are the Top 20 Horror-themed TV series from 1965 to 2014:
1 - Supernatural (2005 to current) The big daddy of all horror shows, brilliantly written and directed, with a fantastic soundtrack. Sam and Dean are brothers who roam the country fighting demons, stopping the Apocalypse, and trying to close the gates of hell. They've faced every type of ghost, vampire, demon, shifter, pixie … and lived to argue about it. The boys even have an angel on their side, and at one time shared sides with the king of hell and with Death. Supernatural delivers. Check out the best episodes of Supernatural.
2 - The Walking Dead (2010 to current) Surprisingly good, suspenseful and compelling. Most of the world's people are zombies, and the few living protagonists have to survive among them. From Frank Darabont, AMC's The Walking Dead is crisp and fun.
3 - Night Gallery (1970-1973) Rod Serling's second show focused on weekly tales of horror.
4 - American Gothic (1995-1996) created by Shaun Cassidy and Sam Raimi, a powerful series set in a creepy small town, where a serial killer is the sheriff and a boy named Caleb has supernatural secrets.
5 - Carnivàle (2003-2005) During the Great Depression, carnival workers are pawns in a war between Heaven and Hell. Dark, affective series starring Nick Stahl. Winner of 5 Emmys.
6 - Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997-2003) Sarah Michelle Gellar fought everything from zombies to demons on a weekly basis.
7 - Tales from the Crypt (1989-1996) Episodic horror tales based on the comic book series.
8 - Teen Wolf (2011 to current) High school jocks become werewolves. Sounds awful, but it's actually a pretty good show.
9 - Being Human (2011-2014) A ghost, a vampire and a werewolf are roommates. Well written, with a darkly comedic angle.
10 - Masters of Horror (2005 to 2007) Each episode has a different director. Some episodes are superb (John Carpenter) and some others are just average. Good horror, overall.
11 - Dark Shadows (1966-1971) Gothic drama about the vampire Barnabas Collins and his family
12 - Angel (1999-2004) the BTVS spinoff
13 - True Blood (2008-2014) Unusual take on vampires living openly among humans.
14 - Kolchak: The Night Stalker (1974-1975) a reporter investigates mysterious crimes, often involving unworldly creatures. This was the precursor to the X-Files.
15 - American Horror Story (2011 to current) Separate horror-themed story each season.
16 - Vampire Diaries (2009-2013) based on a series of books by L.J. Smith, more soap opera than horror, but it does center around sex crazed vamps
17 - Friday the Thirteenth: The Series (1987-1990) Not related to the Jason movies. The characters track down and reclaim cursed antiques being used for evil purposes.
18 - Are You Afraid of the Dark? (1991-1996) episodic scary tales, hosted by kids around a campfire.
19 - The Fades (2011) A short BBC series about dead people shifting back into our reality.
20 - Forever Knight (1992-1996) A vampire helps the police fight crime. "Blood Ties" was a follow-up in 2007.
Best Comedy/Horror: Reaper (2007-2009)
and Scooby Doo : The gang traveled in the Mystery Machine and grappled with ghosts or zombies every Saturday morning.
Looking forward to 50 more years of Horror shows on TV. As long as good writing trumps special effects, the future will be golden for horror-themed tv series.