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).
  • 11 ReRanks
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  1. 1
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    most listed 1959

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  2. 2
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    1993

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  3. 3
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    the people's #1 but ranked low on reranks 2011

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  4. 4
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    1989

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  5. 5
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    ranked low on reranks 2010

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  6. 6
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    often listed & ranked high on reranks 1995-03-26

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  7. 7
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    1997

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  8. 8
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    added by wiabux Bates Motel

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  9. 9
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    often listed & ranked high on reranks 1990

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  10. 10
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    1955

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  11. 11
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    2005

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  12. 12
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    2013

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  13. 13
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    1983

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  14. 14
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    added by wiabux 1987

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  15. 15
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    1970

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  16. 16
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    1999

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  17. 17
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    2011

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  18. 18
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    2008

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  19. 19
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    often listed & ranked high on reranks 1996

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  20. 20
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    1974

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  21. 21
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    added by JaidenDalBello 1991

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  22. 22
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    1987

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  23. 23
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    2009

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  24. 24
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    added by myers1978 2011

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  25. 25
    Up 17
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    added by dee123 1995

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  26. 26
    Up 26
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    added by MarkusMarquisBiechl 1997

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  27. 27
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    added by HollyMiller 1995

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  28. 28
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    added by LanaYoshii The Leftovers 2014

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  29. 29
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    added by LanaYoshii 2011

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  30. 30
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    new! & added by dee123 2005

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  31. 31
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    added by dee123 2012

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  32. 32 +

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