The Scariest TV Shows Ever TV Programs
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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).

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  1. 1
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    most listed
    Morgan Freeman, Rod Serling, John McGiver

    ) open buy at  
  2. 2
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    Gillian Anderson, Lucy Lawless, David Duchovny

    ) open buy at  
  3. 3
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    the people's #1 but ranked low on reranks
    Emma Roberts, Jessica Lange, Connie Britton

    ) open buy at  
  4. 4
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    ) open buy at  
  5. 5
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    ) open buy at  
  6. 6
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    Lauren Cohan, Norman Reedus, Andrew Lincoln

    ) open buy at  
  7. 7
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    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    David McCallum, Kevin Conway, Beau Bridges

    ) open buy at  
  8. 8
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    Sarah Michelle Gellar, Eliza Dushku, Alyson Hannigan

    ) open buy at  
  9. 9
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    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Heather Graham, Lara Flynn Boyle, Sherilyn Fenn

    ) open buy at  
  10. 10
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    Jensen Ackles, Jared Padalecki, Misha Collins

    ) open buy at  
  11. 11
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    ) open buy at  
  12. 12
    + 136
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    Gillian Anderson, Laurence Fishburne, Hugh Dancy

    ) open buy at  
  13. 13
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    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Noomi Rapace, Charles Nelson Reilly, Lance Henriksen

    ) open buy at  
  14. 14
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    Rod Serling, Gary Collins

    ) open buy at  
  15. 15
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    added by wiabux
    Vera Farmiga, Nicola Peltz, Freddie Highmore

    ) open
  16. 16
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    Claire Coffee, Bitsie Tulloch, David Giuntoli

    ) open buy at  
  17. 17
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    added by wiabux
    Matthew McConaughey, Virginia Madsen, Raymond Burr

    ) open buy at  
  18. 18
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    Darren McGavin, Simon Oakland, Ruth McDevitt

    ) open buy at  
  19. 19
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    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Anna Torv, Joshua Jackson, John Noble

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  20. 20
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    added by JaidenDalBello
    Elisha Cuthbert, Joanna García, Vanessa Lengies

    ) open buy at  
  21. 21
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    Charisma Carpenter, David Boreanaz, Amy Acker

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  22. 22
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    Boris Karloff, Dick York

    ) open buy at  
  23. 23
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    Colm Feore, Louise Robey, Chris Wiggins

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  24. 24
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    added by HollyMiller
    Kathryn Long

    ) open buy at  
  25. 25
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    added by dee123
    Sarah Paulson, Gary Cole, Nick Searcy

    ) open buy at  
  26. 26
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    Katie Cassidy, Cameron Richardson, Christopher Gorham

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  27. 27
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    new! & added by RobbDelman
    Roald Dahl

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  28. 28
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    added by MarkusMarquisBiechl
    Grace Park, James Brolin, Christopher Titus

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  29. 29
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    added by myers1978
    Tyler Hoechlin, Colton Haynes, Jill Wagner

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  30. 30
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    added by dee123
    Bruce Greenwood, Luisana Lopilato, Thomas Kretschmann

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  31. 31
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    added by MatthewGill
    Craig Charles, Mike Smith, Sarah Greene

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