The Scariest TV Shows Ever TV Programs
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11  reranks 4,324 votes 418 voters 11,193 views by  Ranker
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The Scariest TV Shows Ever

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).
List is ranked by a combination of each item's votes & positioning in reranks
  • 11 ReRanks
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Score
  1. 1
    Up 139
    Down 102

    most listed
    The Twilight Zone

    1959 More
    87
  2. 2
    Up 176
    Down 57

    the people's #1 but ranked low on reranks
    American Horror Story

    2011 More
    79
  3. 3
    Up 128
    Down 108
    1993 More
    79
  4. 4
    Up 142
    Down 82
    1989 More
    72
  5. 5
    Up 168
    Down 70

    ranked low on reranks
    The Walking Dead

    2010 More
    67
  6. 6
    Up 80
    Down 102

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    The Outer Limits

    1995-03-26 More
    66
  7. 7
    Up 103
    Down 86
    1997 More
    63
  8. 8
    Up 81
    Down 35

    Bates Motel

    62
    added by: wiabux
  9. 9
    Up 84
    Down 67
    1955 More
    59
  10. 10
    Up 60
    Down 107

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Twin Peaks

    1990 More
    58
  11. 11
    Up 80
    Down 97
    2005 More
    54
  12. 12
    Up 80
    Down 75
    2013 More
    52
  13. 13
    Up 69
    Down 72
    1983 More
    48
  14. 14
    Up 44
    Down 43
    1987 More
    47
    added by: wiabux
  15. 15
    Up 58
    Down 80
    1999 More
    45
  16. 16
    Up 69
    Down 72
    1970 More
    45
  17. 17
    Up 60
    Down 74
    2011 More
    44
  18. 18
    Up 45
    Down 94
    2008 More
    42
  19. 19
    Up 30
    Down 90

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Millennium

    1996 More
    40
  20. 20
    Up 59
    Down 82
    1974 More
    38
  21. 21
    Up 22
    Down 29
    1991 More
    35
    added by: JaidenDalBello
  22. 22
    Up 48
    Down 65
    1987 More
    35
  23. 23
    Up 53
    Down 69
    2009 More
    35
  24. 24
    Up 26
    Down 38
    2011 More
    32
    added by: myers1978
  25. 25
    Up 24
    Down 45
    1997 More
    30
    added by: MarkusMarquisBiechl
  26. 26
    Up 15
    Down 29
    1995 More
    29
    added by: dee123
  27. 27
    Up 2
    Down 2
    2005 More
    12
    added by: dee123
  28. 28
    Up 9
    Down 11
    1995 More
    12
    added by: HollyMiller
  29. 29
    Up 2
    Down 3

    The Leftovers

    2014 More
    12
    added by: LanaYoshii
  30. 30
    Up 2
    Down 4
    2011 More
    11
    added by: LanaYoshii
  31. 31
    Up 7
    Down 16
    2012 More
    6
    added by: dee123
  32. 32 +

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