Graveyard Shift Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV  

Ranker TV
Originally by
27.5k votes 3k voters 49k views 58 items

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-FilesTwin Peaks, and 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. 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
849 464
Tales from the Crypt is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV
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

2
759 480
The Twilight Zone is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV
Rod Serling, Robert McCord, Jay Overholts The Twilight Zone is an American television anthology series created by Rod Serling. It is a series of unrelated stories containing drama, psychological thriller, fantasy, science fiction, ...more

3
985 487
American Horror Story is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV
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

4
701 526
The X-Files is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV
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
806 521
The Walking Dead is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV
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

6
476 370
Alfred Hitchcock Presents is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV
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

7
657 449
Supernatural is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV
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

8
748 526
Hannibal is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV
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

9
459 335
Tales from the Darkside is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV
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

10
422 237
Are You Afraid of the Dark? is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV
JaidenDalBello added 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

11
348 391
The Outer Limits is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV
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

12
469 500
Buffy the Vampire Slayer is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV
Sarah Michelle Gellar, Nicholas Brendon, Alyson Hannigan Buffy the Vampire Slayer is an American television series which aired from March 10, 1997 until May 20, 2003. The series was created in 1997 by writer-director Joss Whedon under his production ...more

13
298 400
Twin Peaks is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV
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.

14
229 210
Bates Motel is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV
wiabux 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

15
361 245
Goosebumps is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV
HollyMiller added 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

16
289 306
Night Gallery is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV
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

17
258 341
Grimm is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV
David Giuntoli, Silas Weir Mitchell, Sasha Roiz Grimm is an American police procedural fantasy television drama series. It debuted in the U.S. on NBC on October 28, 2011. The show has been described as "a cop drama—with a twist... a dark ...more

18
217 162
Dexter is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV
MMcCue added 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

19
238 288
Friday the 13th: The Series is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV
Colm Feore, Louise Robey, Chris Wiggins Friday the 13th: The Series is an American-Canadian horror television series that ran for three seasons, from October 3, 1987 to May 26, 1990 in first-run syndication. The series follows Micki ...more

20
220 367
Angel is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV
David Boreanaz, Charisma Carpenter, Alexis Denisof Angel is an American television series, a spin-off from the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The series was created by Buffy's creator, Joss Whedon, in collaboration with David ...more

21
185 345
Fringe is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV
Anna Torv, Joshua Jackson, Jasika Nicole Fringe is an American science fiction television series created by J. J. Abrams, Alex Kurtzman, and Roberto Orci. It premiered on the Fox Broadcasting network on September 9, 2008, and concluded ...more

22
113 349
Millennium is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV
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

23
204 303
Kolchak: The Night Stalker is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV
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

24
138 185
Sleepy Hollow is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV
wiabux added Tom Mison, Nicole Beharie, Lyndie Greenwood Sleepy Hollow is an American supernatural drama television series that premiered on Fox on September 16, 2013, that aired on Mondays at 9:00 pm ET. The series is considered a "modern-day ...more

25
187 247
Beyond Belief: Fact or Fiction is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV
Mabie1 added Jonathan Frakes, Don LaFontaine, James Brolin Beyond Belief: Fact or Fiction is an American television anthology series created by Lynn Lehmann, presented by Dick Clark Productions, and produced and aired by the Fox network from 1997 to ...more

26
121 134
Penny Dreadful is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV
MMcCue added Josh Hartnett, Timothy Dalton, Eva Green Penny Dreadful 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 show was originally pitched to ...more

27
147 155
True Blood is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV
MMcCue added Anna Paquin, Stephen Moyer, Sam Trammell True Blood is an American television drama series produced and created by Alan Ball. It is based on The Southern Vampire Mysteries series of novels by Charlaine Harris, detailing the ...more

28
95 173
The Following is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV
Kevin Bacon, James Purefoy, Shawn Ashmore The Following is an American television drama series created by Kevin Williamson and jointly produced by Outerbanks Entertainment and Warner Bros. Television. The first season follows former FBI ...more

29
75 184
Thriller is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV
Boris Karloff, Dick York Thriller is an American anthology television series that aired during the 1960–61 and 1961–62 seasons on NBC. The show featured host Boris Karloff introducing a mix of macabre horror tales and ...more

30
108 236
American Gothic is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV
dee123 added 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

31
23 16
Channel Zero is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV
Paul Schneider, Fiona Shaw, Luisa D'Oliveira Channel Zero (Syfy, 2017) is an American horror anthology television series created by Nick Antosca, who serves as writer, showrunner, and executive producer. Storylines for the series are based ...more

32
95 188
Hemlock Grove is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV
wiabux added Famke Janssen, Bill Skarsgård, Landon Liboiron Hemlock Grove is an American Netflix original horror thriller television series. Executive produced by Eli Roth, developed by Brian McGreevy and Lee Shipman, and a production of Gaumont ...more

33
126 282
Harper's Island is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV
Elaine Cassidy, Christopher Gorham, Matt Barr Harper's Island is a horror thriller/mystery mini-series created by Ari Schlossberg. It aired on CBS during the 2008–2009 season. The series premiered on April 9, 2009, at 10:00 pm ET/PT. ...more

34
77 149
The Hitchhiker is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV
Nicholas Collins, Mark Henein, Spin Shannon The Hitchhiker is a mystery anthology series that aired from 1983 to 1987 on HBO and First Choice in Canada. The series later moved to the USA Network from 1989 to 1991. It was known as Le ...more

35
110 304
Teen Wolf is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV
myers1978 added Tyler Posey, Dylan O'Brien, Holland Roden Teen Wolf is an American television series developed by Jeff Davis for MTV. It is loosely based on the 1985 film of the same name, and stars Tyler Posey as a teenager named Scott, who is bitten ...more

36
89 135
The Incredible Hulk is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV
MMcCue added Bill Bixby, Lou Ferrigno, Jack Colvin The Incredible Hulk is an American television series based on the Marvel Comics character The Hulk. The series aired on the CBS television network and starred Bill Bixby as David Banner, Lou ...more

37
63 157
Falling Skies is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV
LanaYoshii added Noah Wyle, Drew Roy, Maxim Knight Falling Skies is an American science fiction post-apocalyptic dramatic television series created by Robert Rodat and executive produced by Steven Spielberg. The series stars Noah Wyle as Tom ...more

38
63 179
Medium is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV
Patricia Arquette, Miguel Sandoval, Jake Weber Medium is an American television drama series that premiered on NBC on January 3, 2005, ending its run on that network on June 1, 2009. The series then moved to CBS on September 25, 2009, airing ...more

39
56 167
Reaper is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV
Bret Harrison, Tyler Labine, Rick Gonzalez Reaper is an American comedy television series that focuses on Sam Oliver, a "reaper" who works for the Devil by retrieving souls that have escaped from Hell. The series originally ran ...more

40
73 178
Carnivàle is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV
Michael J. Anderson, Adrienne Barbeau, Clancy Brown Carnivàle is an American television series set in the United States during the Great Depression and Dust Bowl. In tracing the lives of two disparate groups of people, its overarching ...more

41
48 151
Fear Itself is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV
ChangesDownClub added Margherita Donato, Valerie Womack, Marie Zydek Fear Itself was a horror/suspense anthology television series shot in the city of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, with some additional shooting in the city of St. Albert and the town of Devon, ...more

42
41 153
Werewolf is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV
Bootsdad added John J. York, Lance LeGault, Chuck Connors Werewolf is an American horror series, and one of the original shows in the Fox network's broadcast line-up during its inaugural season of 1987–1988. The show follows the adventures of Eric ...more

43
44 170
The Leftovers is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV
LanaYoshii added Justin Theroux, Amy Brenneman, Christopher Eccleston The Leftovers is an American television drama series created by Damon Lindelof and Tom Perrotta airing on HBO. It is based on Perrotta's novel of the same name. The pilot was written by Lindelof ...more

44
50 214
The River is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV
dee123 added Bruce Greenwood, Joe Anderson, Leslie Hope The River is an American paranormal/action/horror/found-footage television series that debuted during the 2011–12 television winter season on ABC as a mid-season replacement. Eight episodes were ...more

45
39 154
So Weird is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV
StevenAllanOndo added Cara DeLizia, Mackenzie Phillips, Patrick Levis So Weird is an American-Canadian television series that aired on the Disney Channel as a mid-season replacement from January 18, 1999 to September 28, 2001. The series was shot in Vancouver, ...more

46
20 12
Stranger Things is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV
Meadow Monioz added Winona Ryder, David Harbour, Finn Wolfhard Stranger Things (Netflix, 2016) is an American science fiction-horror web television series created by The Duffer Brothers. When a young boy (Noah Schnapp) disappears, his mother (Winona Ryder), ...more

47
32 161
Kindred: The Embraced is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV
Stacy Haiduk, Erik King, Patrick Bauchau Kindred: The Embraced is an American television series produced by John Leekley Productions and Spelling Television. Loosely based on the role-playing game Vampire: The Masquerade, the series ...more

48
19 149
Way Out is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV
RobbDelman added Roald Dahl Way Out is a 1961 fantasy and science fiction television anthology series hosted by writer Roald Dahl. The macabre, black-and-white, 25-minute shows were introduced by Dahl, his face projected ...more

49
24 140
Point Pleasant is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV
dee123 added Elisabeth Harnois, Grant Show, Sam Page Point Pleasant is a television series that first aired on the Fox Network in January 2005. It was cancelled in March 2005 due to poor ratings. Point Pleasant boasted many of the same crew behind ...more

50
3 4
The Exorcist is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV
Alfonso Herrera, Geena Davis, Ben Daniels The Exorcist (Fox, 2016) is portrayed as a sequel to the 1973 film of the same name