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Dark Dramas Inspired By Real Events 

Ranker TV
Updated August 14, 2020 163 votes 26 voters 19 items

List Rules Vote up the best grim, dark, and haunting dramas based on true stories

Sometimes nothing is more shocking than the truth and these television dramas inspired by real events prove it. From true crime to world-shaking catastrophes and deeply personal events, TV dramas based on true stories can grip your attention like nothing else.

Some series stick to the events more closely than others - both Chernobyl and When They See Us were exhaustively researched - and can have an almost historical feel, even as they're telling the true stories of a time not that long ago. Other series, such as American Crime Story, have a heightened sense of drama. There are even drams such as Alias Grace that are more fictionalized retellings of real historical crimes.

Vote up the dark dramas based on real events that caught your attention the most.

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Chernobyl is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Dark Dramas Inspired By Real Events
Photo: Chernobyl/HBO

Chernobyl (HBO, 2019) is an American-British historical drama television miniseries created by Craig Mazin. In April 1986, an explosion at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in the USSR becomes one of the world's worst man-made catastrophes. ...more on Wikipedia

Actors: Jared Harris, Stellan SkarsgÄrd, Emily Watson

Premiered: 2019

Network: HBO

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When They See Us is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Dark Dramas Inspired By Real Events
Photo: Netflix

When They See Us (Netflix, 2019) is an American drama web television miniseries created by Ava DuVernay, based on the 1989 Central Park jogger case. The notorious case of five teenagers of color, called the "Cenral Park Five," who were convicted of a crime they did not commit. ...more on Wikipedia

Actors: Jharrel Jerome, Jovan Adepo, Chris Chalk, Freddy Miyares, Justin Cunningham, + more

Premiered: 2019

Network: Netflix

Haunting drama?

More When They See Us 

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Mindhunter is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Dark Dramas Inspired By Real Events
Photo: Netflix

Mindhunter (Netflix, 2017) is an American crime thriller television series created by Joe Penhall, based on the true crime book by John E. Douglas and Mark Olshaker. FBI agents Holden Ford (Jonathan Groff) and Bill Tench (Holt McCallany) interview imprisoned serial killers to understand how they think, with the hope of applying this knowledge to solve ongoing cases. ...more on Wikipedia

Actors: Jonathan Groff, Holt McCallany, Anna Torv, Hannah Gross

Premiered: 2017

Network: Netflix

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The Hot Zone is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Dark Dramas Inspired By Real Events
Photo: The Hot Zone/National Geographic

The Hot Zone (National Geographic, 2019) is an American medical thriller television drama miniseries based on the Richard Preston non-fiction novel of the same name. The six-part limited series fictionalizes the events that surrounded the first Ebola outbreak. ...more on Wikipedia

Actors: Julianna Margulies, Topher Grace, James D'Arcy, Liam Cunningham

Premiered: 2019

Network: National Geographic

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