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50 best horror TV shows

  • 50 best horror TV shows

    We’re living through what many critics and audiences alike have deemed the “Golden Age of Television.” While many of these discussions focus on prestige dramas, the past few decades have been undoubtedly strong ones for horror television that can both thrill and move audiences. Now more than ever, horror is moving past its genre classification and getting featured in peak TV, like Netflix’s “Stranger Things,” HBO’s “Lovecraft Country,” and Hulu’s “What We Do in the Shadows.”

    Of course, horror TV has been around long before streaming services and contemporary programming. For instance, Rod Serling’s “The Twilight Zone” is often cited as one of the greatest TV series of all time. Meanwhile, in the 1990s, supernatural series “Twin Peaks” and “The X-Files” revolutionized how horror was presented on cable television. Across the world, Japanese anime series have offered plenty of animated action and spine-tingling scares.

    But in a time when it feels like there are unlimited TV viewing options in the age of both streaming services and cable programming, narrowing down only 50 horror shows is a hard yet ultimately helpful task for people looking to streamline their viewing options. This is especially true as fall hits and Halloween approaches—if you’ve already seen a plethora of classic scary films, why not get into the spirit of spooky season by enjoying some longer, episodic horror narratives for the very first time?

    To help do so, Stacker compiled IMDb data to determine the 50 best horror TV shows of all time as of Oct. 9, 2020. To be considered, the series, miniseries, or limited series had to have at least 10,000 IMDb user votes. Ties were broken by votes.

    From anime series like “Attack on Titan” and “Claymore” to anthology shows such as “The Twilight Zone” and “Black Mirror,” the shows on this list span various countries and time periods.

    Counting down from 50, here are the best TV horror series of all time.

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  • #50. Hellsing (2001–2002)

    - IMDb user rating: 7.9
    - Votes: 14,294

    Based on Kouta Hirano’s manga series of the same name, “Hellsing” centers on its titular British task force led by vampire hunter Integra Wingates Hellsing (Victoria Harwood). The anti-paranormal organization battles vampires and other supernatural forces, although two vampires themselves help with their work.

  • #49. Akame ga Kill! (2014)

    - IMDb user rating: 7.9
    - Votes: 14,958

    In “Akame ga Kill!,” a country boy named Tatsumi is recruited by an assassin group called Night Raid to take on the country’s corrupt Empire. The series is based on Takahiro and Tetsuya Tashiro’s manga.

  • #48. Tokyo Ghoul (2014)

    - IMDb user rating: 7.9
    - Votes: 32,850

    “Tokyo Ghoul” opens as college student Kaneki Ken (Natsuki Hanae) is attacked by a ghoul, a supernatural creature who hunts for human flesh. He survives the attack but becomes part ghoul, and finds himself torn between the human world and the dark ghoul world.

  • #47. iZombie (2015–2019)

    - IMDb user rating: 7.9
    - Votes: 59,128

    Rose McIver stars in “iZombie” as Liv Moore, a medical resident who turns into a zombie and uses her newfound identity to help the Seattle Police solve murders. The show is a loose adaptation of Chris Roberson and Michael Allred’s comic book series of the same name.

  • #46. Claymore (2007)

    - IMDb user rating: 8.0
    - Votes: 11,947

    Adapted from Norihiro Yagi’s manga series, this anime follows the adventures of Clare, who is a Claymore—a half-human, half-Yoma race of shapeshifting demons. She has been raised to work on behalf of an organization that trains Yoma hybrids to destroy these demons and must fight to survive her missions.

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  • #45. In the Flesh (2013–2014)

    - IMDb user rating: 8.0
    - Votes: 12,579

    This popular BBC Three supernatural drama takes place four years after the apocalyptic “Rising” created a new race of Undead people, who are now ready to reintegrate into society. One of them is Lancashire teenager Kieran Walker (Luke Newberry), who struggles to adjust to his new reality and reckon with his past. “In the Flesh” went on to win the BAFTA for Best Mini-Series in 2014.

  • #44. Tales from the Crypt (1989–1996)

    - IMDb user rating: 8.0
    - Votes: 21,088

    HBO’s “Tales from the Crypt” is an anthology series that aired for seven seasons and is narrated by a freewheeling ghoul known as the Crypt Keeper (John Kassir). Each episode contains a stand-alone campy horror story, with famous actors like Tom Hanks, Jada Pinkett Smith, Brad Pitt, and Whoopi Goldberg making appearances over the years.

  • #43. Erufen Rîto (2004)

    - IMDb user rating: 8.0
    - Votes: 29,132

    In this gory anime, college students Kota (Chihiro Suzuki) and Yuka (Mamiko Noto) come across a recently escaped young mutant named Lucy (Sanae Kobayashi). She was bred by the government to be a formidable weapon with psychic powers, and her new friends are soon drawn into her violent, uncertain world.

  • #42. The Terror (2018–present)

    - IMDb user rating: 8.0
    - Votes: 35,385

    Each season of the anthology horror show “The Terror” is inspired by a different historical tragedy. The first season was inspired by Dan Simmons’s 2007 novel and follows Captain Sir John Franklin’s lost expedition to the Arctic, while season two takes place in a Japanese internment camp during World War II.

  • #41. Preacher (2016–2019)

    - IMDb user rating: 8.0
    - Votes: 66,185

    After a supernatural event gives outlaw-turned-preacher Jesse (Dominic Cooper) the power to command others, he enlists the help of his trigger-happy ex-girlfriend (Ruth Negga) and an Irish vampire (Joseph Gilgun) to find God. “Preacher” was adapted from the comic book franchise of the same name, which was created by Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon, and aired for four seasons on AMC.

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