Graveyard Shift Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV  

Ranker TV
Originally by
28.8k votes 3.2k voters 50.2k views 60 items

List Rules Scripted TV shows only, please (no Reality TV).

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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
873 504
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
1,027 515
American Horror Story is listed (or ranked) 2 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

3
776 522
The Twilight Zone is listed (or ranked) 3 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

4
720 562
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
828 558
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
703 465
Supernatural is listed (or ranked) 6 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

7
487 405
Alfred Hitchcock Presents is listed (or ranked) 7 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

8
758 564
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
469 365
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
436 265
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
359 403
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
477 514
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
307 413
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
245 218
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
373 262
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
303 311
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
268 352
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
234 172
Dexter is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV
MWM 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
245 299
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
229 380
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
193 359
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
216 311
Kolchak: The Night Stalker is listed (or ranked) 22 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

23
144 195
Sleepy Hollow is listed (or ranked) 23 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

24
123 360
Millennium is listed (or ranked) 24 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

25
132 141
Penny Dreadful is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list Shows That May Be Just Too Scary For TV
MWM 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