Spooky Shows to Watch in the Dark
Look, sometimes we don’t want to get dressed and leave the house to go to the cinema. Sometimes, books sit on the nightstand for months without being finished. Sometimes, it is easier to sit in sweatpants with a brew and have a TV binge, and that’s okay. In fact, it’s often preferable. So, as it’s October, between the monsters and the witches, I have to ask…what’s your favourite scary series?
American Horror Story (2011-)
Brad Falchuck and Ryan Murphy’s anthology series came onto our screens clad in a latex suit in 2011, and although it had a few wobbles along the way, it is still a firm favourite for many horror fans. With each series we get a new set of characters and a new location to be creeped out by. AHS has achieved a lot, from bringing us some of the best, most unsettling TV in recent memory to creating a swathe of people dressed in “normal people scare me” shirts. Edgy. They always make boss promo material, too.
I can write tomes on this series, but I’ll behave. Two brothers come back together (again and again) to follow in their father’s footsteps to become hunters of all things, well, supernatural. Saving people, hunting things – the family business. However, once the forces of Heaven and Hell get involved, things get a bit trickier. Far from a perfect show, it is still an auto-include for its monsters, lore, and family drama. Just stop at the end of Season Six and you’ll be sound.
Following the first book by Jeff Lindsay before developing independently, Dexter was, and still is, awesome. Dexter Morgan works as a blood splatter analyst for the Miami police. Dexter Morgan, however, is also a serial killer – but he only targets other murderers who have evaded justice. Again, different series received different levels of acclaim – but at least this show knew when to stop…
The Haunting of Hill House (2018-)
Loosely based on Shirley Jackson’s novel of the same name, The Haunting of Hill House may be a newcomer to the scary series party, but it has made a heck of a name for itself. Told through flashbacks, darting between the past and present, the Crain family are plagued by memories of their old home and how it affected each of them. Series Two is scheduled for 2020, due to be called The Haunting of Bly Manor and will be based on Henry James’ The Turn of the Screw (which you can read more about here).
Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997-2003)
Again, I’ll try and keep a lid on it, but no promises. Destined to slay vampires, Buffy Summers is one of a long line of women chosen to defeat the forces of evil. Buffy was an important show for so many reasons, personal and professional. Some of the best episodes of television have come out of this series (Hush, The Body, Once More With Feeling, Becoming…) but also, here’s to our girl Buffy – thanks for being what I, and so many others needed.
The Walking Dead (2010-)
C’mon, comic book fans – we know the story of this one. Sheriff Deputy Rick Grimes wakes up from a coma to discover the world has fallen victim to a zombie apocalypse and is an absolute state, to be honest. It falls upon Rick to lead a group of survivors to safety, whatever the cost. Speaking of shows that start out strong and don’t know when to quit…TWD is another perfect example. Sometimes, you just need to know when to call time.
The X-Files (1993-2002)
A very sci-fi horror, yes – but the “monster-of-the-week” episodes (as well as the many awakenings this series offered us) means it had to find a place here. Special Agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully work with the FBI. Mulder is a profiler who believes that we are not alone in this universe (especially after the supposed abduction of his sister by aliens when they were kids), but Scully is a medical doctor, a pragmatist, and pretty skeptical. The X-Files is one of the longest running sci-fi/horror shows in network TV history. Quite right, too.
The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (2018-)
Another relative newcomer, TCAOS hit Netflix last year with a bang. We are all pretty familiar with Sabrina Spellman – be it from the Archie comics of the (fantastic) TV show, but this new, revamped version was a lot more exciting than we all expected. Forced to decide between the witch world of her family and the human world of her friends, Sabrina tries to juggle her duality with the expected, terrible, consequences. Still upset we don’t have a sarcastic Salem, though…Michelle Gomez more than makes up for it.
Mama Valk Heather wouldn’t let me publish this without including a bit of Hanni. The series explores the relationship between Hannibal and Will Graham, an FBI criminal profiler who has an unnerving ability to empathise a little too much with the murderers he works with. Psychological horror done so elegantly it had to be included, a glorious series from its characters to showmanship and production. Delicious.
Stranger Things (2016-)
Soft horror? Sci-fi? Who knows, really – but there are scary bits, and I love it. After Will Byers disappears, his mother, friends, and reluctant police officer try to find him, uncovering much more than they bargained for in the process. I’ve included Stranger Things because I think it has done a lot to get a new generation into the spooky and scary. I see more younger kids wanting where to go for more scary stories and how to make their own thanks to this series, and that makes me super happy. Horror and the spooky stuff isn’t just for grown ups, and people would do well to remember that.
…of course, there are more – and there are more coming, too! “Horror” is a pretty subjective term, so this is basically a round up of shows with spooky bits in ’em. Some shows didn’t make it in, and some did that maybe shouldn’t have – that’t the beauty of objectivity, right? Well, so I’m told, anyway. Happy 31 Days of Spooky!
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