35 voters

Dark Dramas Inspired By Real Events

Updated September 24, 2020 262 votes 35 voters22 items

List RulesVote 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.

  • Chernobyl
    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 Skarsgård, Emily Watson
    • Premiered: 2019
    • Network: HBO
    Haunting drama?

    More Chernobyl 

    All The Books The Creator Of HBO's 'Chernobyl' Says You Should Read About The Disaster#1 of 56 The Best New HBO Shows of the Last Few Years#5 of 394 The Best New Shows That Have Premiered in the Last Few Years

  • When They See Us
    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
    • Premiered: 2019
    • Network: Netflix
    Haunting drama?

    More When They See Us 

    #22 of 83 The Best Black TV Shows of the Last Few Years#37 of 638 The Best Original Streaming Shows of the Last Few Years#35 of 434 The Best New Netflix Original Series of the Last Few Years

  • Mindhunter
    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
    Haunting drama?
  • 4


    Photo: Paramount Network
    Waco (Paramount Network, 2018) is an American television miniseries created by John Erick Dowdle and Drew Dowdle, based on the 1993 Waco siege. The FBI and ATF seize religious leader David Koresh's (Taylor Kitsch) Branch Davidian compound near Waco, Texas in the spring of 1993.... more on Wikipedia
    • Actors: Michael Shannon, Taylor Kitsch, Melissa Benoist, Julia Garner, John Leguizamo
    • Premiered: 2018
    • Network: Paramount Network
    Haunting drama?