The Scariest TV Shows Ever TV Programs
Ultimate List
5,376 votes 15,459 views by  Ranker
more info

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).
  • 11 ReRanks
    • Women
    • Men
    • Age
    • Region
  • See list ranked by
The List
rerank list
  1. 1
    Up 179
    Down 114

    most listed Morgan Freeman, Rod Serling, John McGiver

  2. 2
    Up 168
    Down 120

    Gillian Anderson, Lucy Lawless, David Duchovny

  3. 3
    Up 209
    Down 82

    the people's #1 but ranked low on reranks Emma Roberts, Jessica Lange, Connie Britton

  4. 4
    Up 175
    Down 105

    John Kassir

  5. 5
    Up 89
    Down 125

    often listed David McCallum, Kevin Conway, Beau Bridges

  6. 6
    Up 200
    Down 95

    ranked low on reranks Lauren Cohan, Norman Reedus, Andrew Lincoln

  7. 7
    Up 119
    Down 113

    Sarah Michelle Gellar, Eliza Dushku, Alyson Hannigan

  8. 8
    Up 80
    Down 130

    often listed & ranked high on reranks Heather Graham, Lara Flynn Boyle, Sherilyn Fenn

  9. 9
    Up 117
    Down 109

    Jensen Ackles, Jared Padalecki, Misha Collins

  10. 10
    Up 97
    Down 55

    added by wiabux Bates Motel

  11. 11
    Up 102
    Down 86

    Alfred Hitchcock

  12. 12
    Up 102
    Down 92

    Gillian Anderson, Laurence Fishburne, Hugh Dancy

  13. 13
    Up 79
    Down 93

    Paul Sparer

  14. 14
    Up 89
    Down 81

    Rod Serling, Gary Collins

  15. 15
    Up 52
    Down 63

    added by wiabux Matthew McConaughey, Virginia Madsen, Raymond Burr

  16. 16
    Up 64
    Down 102

    Charisma Carpenter, David Boreanaz, Amy Acker

  17. 17
    Up 70
    Down 95

    Claire Coffee, Bitsie Tulloch, David Giuntoli

  18. 18
    Up 53
    Down 116

    Anna Torv, Joshua Jackson, John Noble

  19. 19
    Up 38
    Down 109

    often listed & ranked high on reranks Noomi Rapace, Charles Nelson Reilly, Lance Henriksen

  20. 20
    Up 80
    Down 90

    Darren McGavin, Simon Oakland, Ruth McDevitt

  21. 21
    Up 33
    Down 48

    added by JaidenDalBello Elisha Cuthbert, Joanna García, Vanessa Lengies

  22. 22
    Up 54
    Down 85

    Colm Feore, Louise Robey, Chris Wiggins

  23. 23
    Up 56
    Down 93

    Katie Cassidy, Cameron Richardson, Christopher Gorham

  24. 24
    Up 31
    Down 63

    added by myers1978 Tyler Hoechlin, Colton Haynes, Jill Wagner

  25. 25
    Up 32
    Down 66

    added by MarkusMarquisBiechl Grace Park, James Brolin, Christopher Titus

  26. 26
    Up 23
    Down 51

    added by dee123 Sarah Paulson, Gary Cole, Nick Searcy

  27. 27
    Up 22
    Down 29

    added by HollyMiller Kathryn Long

  28. 28
    Up 11
    Down 39

    added by dee123 Bruce Greenwood, Luisana Lopilato, Thomas Kretschmann

29 +

Something missing? Add it!

items 1 - 28 of 28

think you can do better?

Rerank This List

got a blog or website?

embed this list

viewers of this list also saw...

more popular lists