Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV

20k votes 2.1k voters 35k views 53 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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  1. 1
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    John Kassir, Roy Brocksmith, Miguel Ferrer

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    most listed
    Rod Serling, Robert McCord, Jay Overholts

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

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  4. 4
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    David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson, Mitch Pileggi

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  5. 5
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    Andrew Lincoln, Jon Bernthal, Sarah Wayne Callies

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  6. 6
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    Alfred Hitchcock, Harry Tyler, John Williams

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  7. 7
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    Hugh Dancy, Mads Mikkelsen, Caroline Dhavernas

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  8. 8
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    Paul Sparer

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  9. 9
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    Jared Padalecki, Jensen Ackles, Jim Beave

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  10. 10
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    often listed
    Johnny Galecki, Jim Parsons, Kaley Cuoco

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  11. 11
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    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Kevin Conway, Joe Pascual

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

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    ranked low on reranks & added by wiabux
    Robert Stack, Dennis Farina, Keely Shaye Smith

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  14. 14
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    Kyle MacLachlan, Michael Ontkean, Mädchen Amick

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  15. 15
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    ranked low on reranks & added by HollyMiller
    R.L. Stine, Kathryn Short, Cody Jones

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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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    Colm Feore, Louise Robey, Chris Wiggins

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  20. 20
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    added by MarylyleMcCue
    Michael C. Hall, Jennifer Carpenter, David Zayas

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  21. 21
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    David Boreanaz, Charisma Carpenter, Alexis Denisof

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  22. 22
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    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Lance Henriksen, Megan Gallagher, Terry O'Quinn

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  23. 23
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    Sleepy Hollow is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV

    added by wiabux
    Sleepy Hollow

  24. 24
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    Anna Torv, Joshua Jackson, Jasika Nicole

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  25. 25
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    Darren McGavin, Simon Oakland, Jack Grinnage

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  26. 26
    + 139
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    added by Mabie1
    Jonathan Frakes, Don LaFontaine, James Brolin

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  27. 27
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    added by MarylyleMcCue
    Josh Hartnett, Timothy Dalton, Eva Green

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  28. 28
    + 51
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    Boris Karloff, Dick York

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  29. 29
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    added by dee123
    Gary Cole, Lucas Black, Paige Turco

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    Kevin Bacon, James Purefoy, Shawn Ashmore

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  31. 31
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    added by myers1978
    Tyler Posey, Dylan O'Brien, Holland Roden

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  32. 32
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    Elaine Cassidy, Christopher Gorham, Matt Barr

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    added by wiabux
    Famke Janssen, Bill Skarsgård, Landon Liboiron

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  34. 34
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    Bret Harrison, Tyler Labine, Rick Gonzalez

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  35. 35
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    Patricia Arquette, Miguel Sandoval, Jake Weber

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  36. 36
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    Channel Zero is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV

    new!
    Channel Zero

  37. 37
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    added by LanaYoshii
    Noah Wyle, Drew Roy, Maxim Knight

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  38. 38
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    Nicholas Collins, Mark Henein, Spin Shannon

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    No image

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

  40. 40
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    ranked low on reranks & added by MarylyleMcCue
    Anna Paquin, Stephen Moyer, Sam Trammell

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  41. 41
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    Michael J. Anderson, Adrienne Barbeau, Clancy Brown

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  42. 42
    + 29
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    added by Bootsdad
    John J. York, Lance LeGault, Chuck Connors

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  43. 43
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    ranked low on reranks & added by MarylyleMcCue
    Bill Bixby, Lou Ferrigno, Jack Colvin

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  44. 44
    + 40
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    added by dee123
    Bruce Greenwood, Joe Anderson, Leslie Hope

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  45. 45
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    - 124

    added by StevenAllanOndo
    Cara DeLizia, Mackenzie Phillips, Patrick Levis

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  46. 46
    + 24
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    added by ChangesDownClub
    Margherita Donato, Valerie Womack, Marie Zydek

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  47. 47
    + 29
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    added by LanaYoshii
    Justin Theroux, Amy Brenneman, Christopher Eccleston

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  48. 48
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    Stacy Haiduk, Erik King, Patrick Bauchau

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  49. 49
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    added by dee123
    Elisabeth Harnois, Grant Show, Sam Page

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  50. 50
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    added by RobbDelman
    Roald Dahl

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