Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV

19k votes 2k voters 34k views 52 items tags f p @

List Criteria: Scripted TV shows only, please (no Reality TV).

The scariest TV shows manage to provide major frights with excellent drama. Unlike these excellent paranormal reality TV shows, the programs listed here are primarily scripted TV shows. Which TV shows gave you the most scares? Vote for your favorites, vote down any that didn't send you diving under the couch in fear and feel free to re-rank this list, too.

Some of the best scary TV shows are also, not surprisingly, among the greatest TV shows of all time. In addition to being one of the most frightening television shows ever made, 'The Twilight Zone' was also one of the best TV shows ever, period. The same can be said for the likes of 'The X-Files,' 'Twin Peaks' and relative newcomer 'The Walking Dead.'

What makes a scary TV show great? A fantastic, compelling storyline and frightening characters, for sure, but don't underestimate the power of some wicked special effects, too. Some shows on this list also qualify as taut psychological thrillers, but it doesn't mean they aren't genuinely terrifying at times.

If you haven't seen some of the scariest TV shows listed here, you might be able to find them quickly: A few are among the best streaming Netflix TV shows, including 'American Horror Story,' 'Supernatural,' 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer,' 'Twin Peaks' and 'The X-Files.' Sadly, some of the shows on this list were canceled way before their time, though some bit the dust with good reason ('Cult'? Really? Awful, CW, just awful).
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  • 18 ReRanks
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  1. 1
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    John Kassir, Roy Brocksmith, Miguel Ferrer

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  2. 2
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    most listed
    Rod Serling, Robert McCord, Jay Overholts

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  3. 3
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    - 378


    David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson, Mitch Pileggi

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  4. 4
    + 610
    - 335

    the people's #1
    Lady Gaga, Kathy Bates, Angela Bassett

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  5. 5
    + 341
    - 261


    Alfred Hitchcock, Harry Tyler, John Williams

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  6. 6
    + 573
    - 333


    Andrew Lincoln, Jon Bernthal, Sarah Wayne Callies

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  7. 7
    + 318
    - 246


    Paul Sparer

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  8. 8
    + 422
    - 308


    Jared Padalecki, Jensen Ackles, Jim Beave

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  9. 9
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    Hugh Dancy, Mads Mikkelsen, Caroline Dhavernas

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  10. 10
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    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Kevin Conway, Joe Pascual

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  11. 11
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    - 352


    Johnny Galecki, Jim Parsons, Kaley Cuoco

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  12. 12
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    - 158

    added by JaidenDalBello
    Ross Hull, Raine Pare-Coull, Jodie Resther

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  13. 13
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    - 173

    added by wiabux
    Robert Stack, Dennis Farina, Keely Shaye Smith

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  14. 14
    + 253
    - 141

    added by HollyMiller
    R.L. Stine, Kathryn Short, Cody Jones

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  15. 15
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    Kyle MacLachlan, Michael Ontkean, Mädchen Amick

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  16. 16
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    added by wiabux
    Vera Farmiga, Freddie Highmore, Max Thieriot

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  17. 17
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    David Giuntoli, Silas Weir Mitchell, Sasha Roiz

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  18. 18
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    Rod Serling, Gary Collins

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  19. 19
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    - 224


    Colm Feore, Louise Robey, Chris Wiggins

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  20. 20
    + 171
    - 274


    David Boreanaz, Charisma Carpenter, Alexis Denisof

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  21. 21
    + 80
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    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Lance Henriksen, Megan Gallagher, Terry O'Quinn

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  22. 22
    + 129
    - 283


    Anna Torv, Joshua Jackson, Jasika Nicole

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  23. 23
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    - 245


    Darren McGavin, Simon Oakland, Jack Grinnage

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  24. 24
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    Sleepy Hollow is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV

    added by wiabux
    Sleepy Hollow

  25. 25
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    - 184

    added by MarkusMarquisBiechl
    Jonathan Frakes, Don LaFontaine, James Brolin

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  26. 26
    + 82
    - 187

    added by dee123
    Gary Cole, Lucas Black, Paige Turco

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  27. 27
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    - 225

    added by myers1978
    Tyler Posey, Dylan O'Brien, Holland Roden

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  28. 28
    + 120
    - 83

    ranked low on reranks & added by MarylyleMcCue
    Michael C. Hall, Jennifer Carpenter, David Zayas

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  29. 29
    + 48
    - 139


    Boris Karloff, Dick York

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  30. 30
    + 60
    - 121


    Kevin Bacon, James Purefoy, Shawn Ashmore

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  31. 31
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    - 238


    Elaine Cassidy, Christopher Gorham, Matt Barr

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  32. 32
    + 52
    - 131

    added by wiabux
    Famke Janssen, Bill Skarsgård, Landon Liboiron

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  33. 33
    + 49
    - 128


    Patricia Arquette, Miguel Sandoval, Jake Weber

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  34. 34
    + 45
    - 123


    Bret Harrison, Tyler Labine, Rick Gonzalez

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  35. 35
    + 46
    - 117

    added by LanaYoshii
    Noah Wyle, Drew Roy, Maxim Knight

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  36. 36
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    ranked low on reranks & added by MarylyleMcCue
    Anna Paquin, Stephen Moyer, Sam Trammell

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  37. 37
    + 42
    - 115

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Nicholas Collins, Mark Henein, Spin Shannon

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  38. 38
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    - 66
    No image

    ranked low on reranks & added by MarylyleMcCue
    A Nightmare on Elm Street: Real Nightmares Robert Englund

  39. 39
    + 57
    - 142


    Michael J. Anderson, Adrienne Barbeau, Clancy Brown

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  40. 40
    + 28
    - 113

    added by Bootsdad
    John J. York, Lance LeGault, Chuck Connors

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  41. 41
    + 66
    - 70

    ranked low on reranks & added by MarylyleMcCue
    Bill Bixby, Lou Ferrigno, Jack Colvin

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  42. 42
    + 39
    - 173

    added by dee123
    Bruce Greenwood, Joe Anderson, Leslie Hope

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  43. 43
    + 24
    - 114

    added by ChangesDownClub
    Margherita Donato, Valerie Womack, Marie Zydek

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  44. 44
    + 29
    - 129

    added by LanaYoshii
    Justin Theroux, Amy Brenneman, Christopher Eccleston

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  45. 45
    + 31
    - 117

    added by StevenAllanOndo
    Cara DeLizia, Mackenzie Phillips, Patrick Levis

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  46. 46
    + 27
    - 125


    Stacy Haiduk, Erik King, Patrick Bauchau

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  47. 47
    + 50
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    ranked low on reranks & added by MarylyleMcCue
    Josh Hartnett, Timothy Dalton, Eva Green

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  48. 48
    + 17
    - 110

    added by dee123
    Elisabeth Harnois, Grant Show, Sam Page

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  49. 49
    + 29
    - 51

    about to drop off & added by michael-koebnick
    Dayle Hinman, Peter Thomas, Roy Shuler

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  50. 50
    + 11
    - 116

    about to drop off & added by RobbDelman
    Roald Dahl

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