A Brief History
On October 18, 2017, in honor of the month that brings us Halloween, perhaps the greatest of all holidays, we list our 10 favorite horror themed television series that are airing this month, some of which may have finished their season in October and others that are just starting. (See our list, 10 Greatest Sci-Fi and Horror Television Shows from October 2.)
1. Channel Zero, SyFy.
Another anthology series, this one has a unique approach where the “season” is only 6 episodes long. Currently in its 2nd season (ending October 25, 2017) a 3rd season will begin in the Fall of 2018. The show is based on “creepypastas,” and believe us when we say the show puts the “creepy” in “creepypasta!” Candle Cove (2016), No End House (2017), and Staircases (2018) are the 3 season titles so far. The current season plays upon the frustration of not knowing what is real or not, and the tension of not knowing if you will ever escape, a genuinely scary horror premise. A 4th season has been greenlighted.
2. Gotham, Fox.
Based on the DC Comics Batman character, Gotham takes us from an origin point of view, exploring over a long term how the main characters from the Batman stories got to be what they are. Currently airing in its 4th season, the show is darker than the 1960’s version of Batman, with a variety of killers and terror events that earn it a spot in the “horror” genre. People die and are mutilated on this show, and the bad guys are not above using chemical and biological weapons and bizarre medical procedures. Chopping off a henchman’s hand, plucking one’s own eye out, and gruesome events of this nature make this show an adult version of the kids comic book.
3. Supernatural, The CW.
Already having 264 episodes under its belt with the original 2 stars, this show must be good as evidenced by it incredible staying power. Its 13th season will begin October 12, 2017 with main characters Sam and Dean Winchester continuing their lifelong career as demon hunters. Supernatural is the longest running American fantasy series of all time. The incredibly good choices made in casting certainly contribute as much to the show’s longevity as the writing, with excellent chemistry between the characters. If you like demons, angels, and various monsters and witches, this series is for you. The show is not above throwing in a little humor, sometimes.
An anthology series where each season has a different theme and storyline, some of the cast has showed up in multiple seasons as different characters. Some of the stories are based on real life people or incidents. The acting quality is perhaps the best of any of the shows listed, absolutely top notch. The current season (number 7) runs until November 14, 2017 and is called Cult, a story based on political extremism and a cult of personality (ala Charles Manson) that uses murder for political purposes based on an anti-Donald Trump agenda. An 8th season has been authorized.
5. The Walking Dead, AMC.
Already 7 seasons and 99 episodes old, the 8th season starts October 22, 2017. Jumping on the Zombie bandwagon in a big way, TWD is by far the most successful television show about zombies ever made, and has worked its way into the culture of America, even though many of the main actors are British! The show is so popular, it has spawned another show that talks about the episode you just watched (The Talking Dead) and a companion show, Fear the Walking Dead listed below. Based on a graphic comic book series by the same name, the show is not afraid to kill off main characters, which keeps the suspense level quite high. Special effects are incredible for a television show, more like movie quality.
6. Fear the Walking Dead, AMC.
The companion series to TWD, FWD features characters enduring the same zombie apocalypse, but on the West Coast of the US and Mexico instead of the Eastern US. The 3rd season just ended on October 15, 2017. Casting, acting, cinematography and special effects are just as good as those on TWD.
7. The Exorcist, Fox.
Yet another anthology series, this show is not surprisingly based on the 1973 horror classic movie, The Exorcist, and is part of that universe and franchise based on the William Blatty novel. Currently in its 2nd season, which began September 29, 2017, the number of episodes and the season ending date are yet to be announced. The episodes are written and directed by a variety of people, keeping the show fresh. Critical acclaim is good, and this season has already been nominated for several awards.
8. Stranger Things, Netflix.
Unlike the other shows listed, this one is a web based series with its 2nd season due to start on October 27, 2017, with at least one more season to follow. This show taps into the anti-government paranoia (You are not paranoid if they really are out to get you!), with the US Department of Energy conducting paranormal and supernatural experiments in an Indiana town, with the innocent inhabitants none the wiser for being used as guinea pigs. The show utilized a grainy appearance to give the impression of being sort of archival, as it is set in the 1980’s instead of the current time. Netflix has found the show to be its 3rd most popular show so far, with over 14 million viewers. The show has already won several awards and been nominated for a couple dozen in only 1 season!
9. Van Helsing, SyFy.
This time, the apocalypse is vampires instead of zombies, though the general feel is similar, with normal people trying to survive in a world overrun by vampires. The title character is a woman, a descendant of Abraham Van Helsing of Dracula fame, called Vanessa Van Helsing, a sort of vampire/human hybrid similar to Blade in the movie series by that name. Having vampire superpowers, coupled with the ability to stand direct sunlight, Vanessa leads the human resistance against the vampire overlords. Now in its 2nd season (began October 5, 2017), the show was originally meant to be on the Canadian network, Super Channel, which went bankrupt, leaving the show to land on SyFy with a premier on Netflix. Critical acclaim is good, with several award nominations so far and at least one award. Lots of shooting vampires, and vampires biting people.
10. Ghost Wars, SyFy.
In just its first season, Ghost Wars premiered on October 5, 2017. It is set in a small Alaska town that is beset by ghosts that have the power to adversely affect live people and tangible things. The hero, named Roman, is a man with the ability to see and communicate with ghosts. The townsfolk fear Roman, but desperately need him to combat the ghost plague. We have only seen the first 2 episodes so far, but those episodes hold the promise of a pretty good horror series. Too early for public or critical comment.
Question for students (and subscribers): What shows would you add to this list? Did we pick any shows you do not like? Please let us know in the comments section below this article.
Your readership is much appreciated!
For more information, please see…
Channel Zero: Candle Cove – Season One. Universal Pictures Home Entertainment, 2017. DVD.