The Scariest TV Shows Ever TV Programs
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10  reranks 4,104 votes 390 voters 9,615 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
  • 10 ReRanks
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Score
  1. 1
    Up 132
    Down 97

    most listed
    The Twilight Zone

    1959 More
    91
  2. 2
    Up 164
    Down 55

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

    2011 More
    79
  3. 3
    Up 118
    Down 105
    1993 More
    75
  4. 4
    Up 135
    Down 80
    1989 More
    73
  5. 5
    Up 76
    Down 100

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    The Outer Limits

    1995-03-26 More
    70
  6. 6
    Up 159
    Down 68
    2010 More
    66
  7. 7
    Up 74
    Down 34

    Bates Motel

    60
    added by: wiabux
  8. 8
    Up 81
    Down 66
    1955 More
    59
  9. 9
    Up 96
    Down 85
    1997 More
    58
  10. 10
    Up 52
    Down 104

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Twin Peaks

    1990 More
    54
  11. 11
    Up 75
    Down 74
    2013 More
    52
  12. 12
    Up 77
    Down 92
    2005 More
    50
  13. 13
    Up 65
    Down 70
    1983 More
    48
  14. 14
    Up 37
    Down 41
    1987 More
    45
    added by: wiabux
  15. 15
    Up 65
    Down 70
    1970 More
    44
  16. 16
    Up 55
    Down 73
    2011 More
    43
  17. 17
    Up 53
    Down 78
    1999 More
    39
  18. 18
    Up 41
    Down 90
    2008 More
    38
  19. 19
    Up 56
    Down 80
    1974 More
    37
  20. 20
    Up 45
    Down 62
    1987 More
    34
  21. 21
    Up 18
    Down 25
    1991 More
    34
    added by: JaidenDalBello
  22. 22
    Up 51
    Down 66
    2009 More
    34
  23. 23
    Up 27
    Down 88

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Millennium

    1996 More
    33
  24. 24
    Up 23
    Down 35
    2011 More
    31
    added by: myers1978
  25. 25
    Up 22
    Down 41
    1997 More
    29
    added by: MarkusMarquisBiechl
  26. 26 +

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