Top Ten Tuesday! The Ten Scariest/Creepiest TV Shows Ever

There’s nothing I enjoy more than being on the edge of my seat. I’m not talking horror or gore. I’m talking pure, can’t take your eyes off the screen, I can’t believe this is happening suspense. With the news that the early 90’s classic Twin Peaks would be returning next year with eighteen new episodes I began re-watching seasons 1 & 2 from 1990 and 1991. I also got to thinking about the best suspense TV shows I’ve watched. I’ve watched 8 of the 10 on the list and included the two others on reputation. This is a very subjective list, so if you have other suggestions I’d love to hear them.

Twilight Zone: This may be the original classic suspense show. I didn’t see it in it’s first run, but saw it later in re-runs. I fly fairly regularly for my job and I’m always tempted to yell ‘There’s a man on the wing!” If you get the reference, in the comments tell me what actor screamed it.


The X-Files: A 90’s classic that will be returning to the small screen soon. It was great in it’s time and improved as it grew in popularity. Not every episode was the perfect cocktail of suspense and disbelief, but it was often enough to make my list.


American Gothic: Maybe I just like this because I have the painting on a tie. Which is more famous, the painting or the movie? Who heard of one but not the other? I didn’t see this show, but loved the title and heard others give it high praise. You win 50 points to spend in The Phil Factor gift shop if you can tell me, without looking it up, what artist did the famous painting.

LOST: Apparently I’m stuck in the 90’s. For one glorious season LOST was awesomely suspenseful and mysterious. Then the writers all seemed to lose their minds.

The Walking Dead: There’s just so many. So many zombies. Just the tiniest scratch. Any moment you could become one of them. Your group is getting picked off one by one. There could be one or one hundred around any corner. You just never know.


American Horror Story: I haven’t watched this one. Yet. I plan to, but no one else in my family wants to see it, so I have to find some time to watch when no one is around. That’s the best time to watch scary stuff anyway, right?

In Search Of… Leonard Nimoy rest in peace.  This was a late 70’s-early 80’s show that was part documentary, part reality show where they tried to debunk paranormal phenomena. As a kid I wanted to watch but it always freaked me out.

Kingdom Hospital: Also known as Stephen King’s Kingdom Hospital. This was a one season series that was based on a Danish show.  Look it up on Netflix or Hulu. Completely creepy, suspenseful and weird. I loved it.

Eerie, Indiana: It’s got the word eerie right in the title. This one’s a little different because the protagonist is a 12 year old boy who, with his friend, seem to be the only two who can see that something isn’t quite right in the small town he just moved to.


Twin Peaks: As I said, I recently began re-watching the original series and it stands the test of time. It’s still awesomely creepy and weird. If you were a fan of the show and want to see a funny, hour-long spoof featuring many of the actors and actresses from the original look up the show Psych on Netflix and find the Dual Spires episode in the 2010/5th season of the show. After you do that, go back and watch the entire Psych series from season 1. It’s brilliantly funny with a little suspense.

So what did I miss? What would you add to the list and what would you take away? Please give opinions and suggestions. I’d love some good, new or old shows to watch. Have a great Tuesday! ~Phil

35 responses to “Top Ten Tuesday! The Ten Scariest/Creepiest TV Shows Ever

  1. I like this list. I’ve heard of or seen a few episodes of all of them except #8 & #9. I’d forgotten about that L. Nimoy one… but when it aired I thought it was the scariest thing on TV! Wonder how I’d feel about it now?

  2. Not my usual genre…I’ve heard of a few of these, but seen none! I am behind! I have seen Psych which is brilliant as you said, but I think that one doesn’t count because it’s not technically on your list. I need to get busy catching up I guess!

  3. I’d have to add Dr.Who to thlis list and am surprised it is not on there. Maybe the list is just for American shows?

    What I do agree with is that The Twilight Zone is at the top. Good to see that.

  4. Do you remember Kolchak: The Night Stalker, with Darren McGavin from back in the seventies?

    • I know of it but I never saw it. About 8 years ago they did an updated version of Nightstalker and I watched it, but it was cancelled after a couple episodes. I considered putting the original on the list based on reputation. I still hope to watch it on Netflix someday.

  5. William Shatner on the plane, “Nightmare at 20000 Feet”. And Twin Peaks rules!! Great list!

    • Good call on Shatner. I think that might have been the first Twilight Zone I saw. Are you as excited as I am for the return of Twin Peaks?

      • I am, but I also heard there are problems. Something about the network not allowing Lynch to do what they originally signed on for. I’m hoping they get it worked out!!

  6. Watched William Shatner just last week freaking out on the plane

  7. I loved the Psych episode of Dual Spires (of course, I love each episode of Psych)…These are great picks.
    I think American Gothic was ahead of its time, it would be huge now – 1 season was not enough.
    I would have added Doctor Who, Supernatural, Helix, Buffy, Broadchurch, PennyDreadful, The Leftovers, Orphan Black, Fringe, Nightmare Cafe, Dexter, Night Gallery, Lie To Me (lies creep me out)…ok, just realized, I watch too much TV, good thing I’m cutting back. 😉
    Another great post Phil. Thanks for the memories.
    Too bad Twin Peaks reboot is on the shelf, but we have The X-Files revisit to keep us creeped. 🙂

  8. I watched Twin Peaks when I was a kid, but I never saw the final episode. Since the series had gotten creepier and scarier, my parents decided to watch it (and record it), then decide if my sisters and could see it. The answer was no. What made this show scarier for us was there was a guy who lived across the street who looked like Bob.

  9. Twin Peaks is, indeed, the winner. Twilight episode with Gladys Cooper and a very young Robert Redford is a little creepy, but more a heart song. American Horror Story is definitely a “must see.”

  10. Salem and Penny Dreadful. They creep me out so much! I can’t stand being in the same room when it’s on.

  11. Twin Peaks, X Files, Twilight Zone … all amazing. Dr Who scared the hell out of me as a kid and I never went back.
    … unfortunately, I’ve never seen the rest. I guess my days of enjoying that kind of suspense are over. I would like to see the new Twin Peaks though!

    • I think it’s safe to return to Dr.Who. I’ve only watched the last eight seasons and there is far more fun mixed in with the suspense. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it.

      • My son says the same thing. Perhaps I should stick my head in that rabbit hole after all … or maybe I should be saying “tardis” 🙂

  12. Maybe because at the time I was in my teens, and today it wouldn’t do much, but Creepshow! The one about being stuck in the sand with only his head sticking out and the tide coming in. I still think of it! I may need to go back and watch it again almost 30 years later and see if it’s still creepy.

  13. Great idea for a post, Phil. I haven’t seen a couple of these–the Stephen King one, for instance. Will have to check ’em out when I get a free moment to breathe.

    I loved Twin Peaks when it was broadcast. I’ve been afraid to retry it in case I think it doesn’t hold up.

  14. Great list. I loved Eerie Indianna and am really enjoying American Horror Story!

  15. Tales from the Darkside had some episodes that completely creeped me out when I saw them in the mid-1980s. I was only nine years old at the time, so obviously there were episodes that re-watching some of them nowadays I find to be more silly. That said, three decades later others are still very unnerving. “The Last Car” written by horror novelist (and writer of the Beetlejuice screenplay) Malcolm McDowell immediately comes to mind, probably because I take the train to work every day! And the opening credits sequence is incredibly effective.

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