TV Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV  

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List Rules 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 ordered by

1
+ - 664 350
Tales from the Crypt is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV
Tales from the Crypt John Kassir, Roy Brocksmith, Miguel Ferrer

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2
+ - 579 379
The Twilight Zone is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV
The Twilight Zone Rod Serling, Robert McCord, Jay Overholts

3
+ - 711 376
American Horror Story is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV
American Horror Story Lady Gaga, Kathy Bates, Angela Bassett

4
+ - 535 420
The X-Files is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV
The X-Files David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson, Mitch Pileggi

5
+ - 654 385
The Walking Dead is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV
The Walking Dead Andrew Lincoln, Jon Bernthal, Sarah Wayne Callies

6
+ - 386 289
Alfred Hitchcock Presents is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV
Alfred Hitchcock Presents Alfred Hitchcock, Harry Tyler, John Williams

7
+ - 643 445
Hannibal is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV
Hannibal Hugh Dancy, Mads Mikkelsen, Caroline Dhavernas

8
+ - 489 351
Supernatural is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV
Supernatural Jared Padalecki, Jensen Ackles, Jim Beave

9
+ - 366 277
Tales from the Darkside is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV

10
+ - 391 399
Buffy the Vampire Slayer is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Sarah Michelle Gellar, Nicholas Brendon, Alyson Hannigan

11
+ - 268 340
The Outer Limits is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV
The Outer Limits Kevin Conway, Joe Pascual

12
+ - 310 178
Are You Afraid of the Dark? is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV
Are You Afraid of the Dark? Ross Hull, Raine Pare-Coull, Jodie Resther

13
+ - 237 340
Twin Peaks is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV
Twin Peaks Kyle MacLachlan, Michael Ontkean, Mädchen Amick

14
+ - 313 189
Unsolved Mysteries is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV
Unsolved Mysteries Robert Stack, Dennis Farina, Keely Shaye Smith

15
+ - 282 171
Goosebumps is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV
Goosebumps R.L. Stine, Kathryn Short, Cody Jones

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16
+ - 160 159
Bates Motel is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV
Bates Motel Vera Farmiga, Freddie Highmore, Max Thieriot

17
+ - 230 261
Night Gallery is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV
Night Gallery Rod Serling, Gary Collins

18
+ - 216 288
Grimm is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV
Grimm David Giuntoli, Silas Weir Mitchell, Sasha Roiz

19
+ - 198 237
Friday the 13th: The Series is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV
Friday the 13th: The Series Colm Feore, Louise Robey, Chris Wiggins

20
+ - 149 112
Dexter is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV
Dexter Michael C. Hall, Jennifer Carpenter, David Zayas

21
+ - 184 304
Angel is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV
Angel David Boreanaz, Charisma Carpenter, Alexis Denisof

22
+ - 90 302
Millennium is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV
Millennium Lance Henriksen, Megan Gallagher, Terry O'Quinn

23
+ - 148 302
Fringe is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV
Fringe Anna Torv, Joshua Jackson, Jasika Nicole

24
+ - 110 138
Sleepy Hollow is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV
Sleepy Hollow

25
+ - 165 260
Kolchak: The Night Stalker is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV
Kolchak: The Night Stalker Darren McGavin, Simon Oakland, Jack Grinnage

26
+ - 148 201
Beyond Belief: Fact or Fiction is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV
Beyond Belief: Fact or Fiction Jonathan Frakes, Don LaFontaine, James Brolin

27
+ - 72 96
Penny Dreadful is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV
Penny Dreadful Josh Hartnett, Timothy Dalton, Eva Green

28
+ - 53 155
Thriller is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV
Thriller Boris Karloff, Dick York

29
+ - 89 203
American Gothic is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV
American Gothic Gary Cole, Lucas Black, Paige Turco

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30
+ - 111 113
True Blood is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV
True Blood Anna Paquin, Stephen Moyer, Sam Trammell

31
+ - 87 81
A Nightmare on Elm Street: Rea... is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV

32
+ - 68 142
The Following is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV
The Following Kevin Bacon, James Purefoy, Shawn Ashmore

33
+ - 97 248
Teen Wolf is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV
Teen Wolf Tyler Posey, Dylan O'Brien, Holland Roden

34
+ - 68 153
Hemlock Grove is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV
Hemlock Grove Famke Janssen, Bill Skarsgård, Landon Liboiron

35
+ - 107 254
Harper's Island is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV
Harper's Island Elaine Cassidy, Christopher Gorham, Matt Barr

36
+ - 74 89
The Incredible Hulk is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV
The Incredible Hulk Bill Bixby, Lou Ferrigno, Jack Colvin

37
+ - 6 13
Channel Zero is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV
Channel Zero

38
+ - 53 125
The Hitchhiker is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV
The Hitchhiker Nicholas Collins, Mark Henein, Spin Shannon

39
+ - 49 140
Reaper is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV
Reaper Bret Harrison, Tyler Labine, Rick Gonzalez

40
+ - 53 148
Medium is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV
Medium Patricia Arquette, Miguel Sandoval, Jake Weber

41
+ - 51 127
Falling Skies is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV
Falling Skies Noah Wyle, Drew Roy, Maxim Knight

42
+ - 63 154
Carnivàle is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV
Carnivàle Michael J. Anderson, Adrienne Barbeau, Clancy Brown

43
+ - 35 67
Forensic Files is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV
Forensic Files Dayle Hinman, Peter Thomas, Roy Shuler

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44
+ - 32 124
Werewolf is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV
Werewolf John J. York, Lance LeGault, Chuck Connors

45
+ - 42 185
The River is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV
The River Bruce Greenwood, Joe Anderson, Leslie Hope

46
+ - 28 126
Fear Itself is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV
Fear Itself Margherita Donato, Valerie Womack, Marie Zydek

47
+ - 33 142
The Leftovers is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV
The Leftovers Justin Theroux, Amy Brenneman, Christopher Eccleston

48
+ - 32 129
So Weird is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV
So Weird Cara DeLizia, Mackenzie Phillips, Patrick Levis

49
+ - 29 134
Kindred: The Embraced is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV
Kindred: The Embraced Stacy Haiduk, Erik King, Patrick Bauchau

50
+ - 13 126
Way Out is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV
Way Out Roald Dahl