Entertainment

The Creepiest Shows in TV History  

Ranker TV
Originally by
49.4k votes 5.5k voters 68.1k views 70 items

List Rules Vote up the series almost too creepy for you to watch alone. In the dark. Naked.

Television loves to push the boundaries of what can be shown to a general audience. The medium has evolved from being a place filled with only family friendly programming to a platform to showcase anything the mind can imagine, no matter how scary and creepy it may be. The TV shows on this list are bursting with disturbing images, frightening plot lines, and horrors that haunt the viewer long after the TV has been shutoff.

Shows like "Twin Peaks", "Fringe," and "The Walking Dead" have tested the limits of what can be shown to audiences, with creepy moments that haunt viewers for years. Older, classic anthologies like "The Twilight Zone," "The Outer Limits," and "Masters of Horror" feature mind bending horror classics written by the genres best auteurs. 


What is your favorite creepy TV show in history? Do you prefer creepy monster of the week shows like "Hannibal" and "The X-Files"? Or do you like shorter stories  and narrative arcs with more bite, such as "American Horror Story" and "Alfred Hitchcock Presents?"

 Vote up the shows on this list that you think are the creepiest shows to ever hit the television airwaves.

list ordered by
1
Ranker Video
Rod Serling, Robert McCord, Jay Overholts
The Twilight Zone is a 1959 American television anthology series created by Rod Serling. It is a series of unrelated stories containing drama, psychological thriller, fantasy, science fiction, ...more
2
Ranker Video
Connie Britton, Dylan McDermott, Evan Peters
American Horror Story (FX, 2011) is an American anthology horror television series created by Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk. An anthology series centering on different characters and locations, ...more
3
Ranker Video
John Kassir, Roy Brocksmith, Miguel Ferrer
Tales from the Crypt, sometimes titled HBO's Tales from the Crypt, is an American horror anthology television series that ran from June 10, 1989, to July 19, 1996, on the premium cable channel ...more
4
Ranker Video
David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson, Mitch Pileggi
The X-Files is an American science fiction horror drama television series created by Chris Carter. The program originally aired from September 10, 1993 to May 19, 2002 on Fox, spanning nine ...more
5
Ranker Video
Robert Stack, Dennis Farina, Keely Shaye Smith
Unsolved Mysteries is an American television program, hosted by Robert Stack from 1987 to 2002 and later by Dennis Farina starting in 2008. The show was broadcast first as specials in 1987, then ...more
6
Ranker Video
Paul Sparer
Tales from the Darkside is an American anthology horror TV series created by George A. Romero; it debuted in 1984. Similar to Amazing Stories, The Twilight Zone, Night Gallery, The Outer Limits, ...more
7
Ranker Video
Alfred Hitchcock, Harry Tyler, John Williams
Alfred Hitchcock Presents is an American television anthology series hosted by Alfred Hitchcock. The series featured dramas, thrillers, and mysteries. By the time the show premiered on October ...more
8
Ranker Video
Twin Peaks Kyle MacLachlan, Russ Tamblyn, Sherilyn Fenn
Twin Peaks (Showtime, 2017) is a miniseries that follows FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) in a continuation of the original 1990 series, created by David Lynch.
9
Ranker Video
Andrew Lincoln, Jon Bernthal, Sarah Wayne Callies
The Walking Dead (A&E, 2010) is an American post-apocalyptic horror television series developed by Frank Darabont, based on the comic book series by Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore, and Charlie ...more
10
Ranker Video
Michael C. Hall, Jennifer Carpenter, David Zayas
Dexter is an American television drama series. Set in Miami, the series centers on Dexter Morgan, a blood spatter pattern analyst for Miami Metro Police Department who also leads a secret life ...more
11
Ranker Video
LanaYoshii added Josh Hartnett, Timothy Dalton, Eva Green
Penny Dreadful (Showtime, 2014) is a British-American horror TV series created for Showtime and Sky by John Logan, who also acts as executive producer alongside Sam Mendes. The title refers to ...more
12
Ranker Video
Jared Padalecki, Jensen Ackles, Katie Cassidy
Supernatural (The CW, 2005) is an American fantasy horror television series created by Eric Kripke. Two brothers, Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean Winchester (Jensen Ackles), follow their father's ...more
13
Ranker Video
Kevin Conway, Joe Pascual
The Outer Limits is a US-Canadian television series that originally aired on Showtime, the Sci Fi Channel and in syndication between 1995 and 2002. The series is a revival of the original The ...more
14
Ranker Video
Hugh Dancy, Mads Mikkelsen, Caroline Dhavernas
Hannibal is an American psychological thriller–horror television series developed by Bryan Fuller for NBC. The series is based on characters and elements appearing in the novel Red Dragon by ...more
15
Ranker Video
Ross Hull, Raine Pare-Coull, Jodie Resther
Are You Afraid of the Dark? is a Canadian horror fantasy-themed anthology television series. The original series was created by D.J. MacHale and Ned Kandel, and was picked up by Nickelodeon in ...more
16
Bates Motel is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Creepiest Shows in TV History
JVall14 added Vera Farmiga, Freddie Highmore, Max Thieriot
Bates Motel is an American drama thriller television series developed for television by Carlton Cuse, Kerry Ehrin and Anthony Cipriano, and produced by Universal Television for the cable network ...more
17
Ranker Video
R.L. Stine, Kathryn Short, Cody Jones
Goosebumps is a Canadian horror fantasy anthology television series based on R. L. Stine's Goosebumps books. It was one of the two popular television horror anthology children's series in the ...more
18
Ranker Video
Rod Serling, Gary Collins
Night Gallery is an American anthology series that aired on NBC from 1970 to 1973, featuring stories of horror and the macabre. Rod Serling, who had gained fame from an earlier series, The ...more
19
Ranker Video
Michiel Huisman, Carla Gugino, Henry Thomas
The Haunting (Netflix, 2018) is an American supernatural horror television series created by Mike Flanagan, based on the novel by Shirley Jackson. The first season, The Haunting of Hill House, ...more
20
Ranker Video
Jessica Lowndes, Holly Marie Combs, Bree Turner
Masters of Horror is an American anthology style television series created by director Mick Garris for the Showtime cable network.
21
Ranker Video
LanaYoshii added Corey Stoll, David Bradley, Kevin Durand
The Strain is an American horror drama television series that premiered on FX on July 13, 2014. It was created by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan, based on their novel trilogy of the same ...more
22
Ranker Video
Jonathan Frid, Grayson Hall, Alexandra Isles
Dark Shadows is an American gothic soap opera that originally aired weekdays on the ABC television network, from June 27, 1966, to April 2, 1971. The series became hugely popular when vampire ...more
23
Ranker Video
Charley Feldman added Lance Henriksen, Megan Gallagher, Terry O'Quinn
Millennium is an American television series created by Chris Carter, creator of The X-Files, that aired on the Fox Network between 1996 and 1999. The series follows the investigations of ex-FBI ...more
24
Ranker Video
Darren McGavin, Simon Oakland, Jack Grinnage
Kolchak: The Night Stalker is an American television series that aired on ABC during the 1974–1975 season. It featured a fictional Chicago newspaper reporter—Carl Kolchak, played by Darren ...more
25
Ranker Video
Gary Cole, Lucas Black, Paige Turco
American Gothic is an American horror series created by Shaun Cassidy and executive producer Sam Raimi. The show first aired on CBS on September 22, 1995, and was cancelled after a single season ...more