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Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The Tuesday Top 10: Favorite Horror TV Series

My apologies for my relative absence as of late, but unfortunately life outside the Vault has taken its toll on ol' B-Sol. But just like the prodigal son I've returned, and I'm here with a brand new Tuesday Top 10. This time around, let's take a long, hard look at my all-time favorite horror TV series, shall we?

10. Masters of Horror
This Showtime original series gave us a set of short films from some of the greatest directors in horror history. Yes, it may have been uneven at times, but how can you knock an uncensored platform for guys like Dario Argento, John Carpenter and Stuart Gordon to do their thing?

9. Werewolf
For my money, one of the most underrated TV shows of the 1980s, this short-lived production of the early days of the FOX network took the format made popular in The Fugitive and The Incredible Hulk TV series, and adapted it to the lore of the lycanthrope.

8. Good vs. Evil
This richly original USA/Sci-Fi channel series (also known as G vs. E) was one of the most fresh, new and fun takes on horror comedy I've ever seen, and it's a shame it wasn't given much of a chance. Agents of God who take the form of Pulp Fiction-like bad-asses do battle with demons on the streets of L.A. Sold yet?

7. The X-Files
I never was one of this show's ardent fan base, but I can respect it for what it was, and the importance it played in putting supernatural-themed TV back on the map. I always liked it best, though, as a modern-day Kolchak, as opposed to when it got mired in its never-ending (and never resolved ) alien storyline.

6. The Night Stalker
And speaking of Kolchak, next up is everyone's favorite ornery dishevelled paranormal investigator disguised as a tabloid reporter. It might have been a terribly repetitious show, but it certainly knew how to take a juicy premise and run with it. And the zombie episode is still balls-to-the-wall terrifying.

5. Dark Shadows
Who can forget that creepy opening, with its eerie theme and dreary footage of waves crashing ominously on a rocky shore? This show embodied fear to me as a kid. And Jonathan Frid was superb as Barnabas Collins. Who knew a soap opera could be this bone-chillingly good?

4. True Blood
This HBO original really threw me for a loop--maybe it was Twilight shell-shock that had me assuming it would be a soapy, pretentious turd. But I was wrong, and this vampire series has proven that HBO still has some life left in it as a producer of the best stuff on TV.

3. Tales from the Crypt
Also from HBO, this brainchild of Richard Donner, Robert Zemeckis and Joel Silver perfectly captured the gallows humor and rich visuals of the classic 1950s horror comics. And in the process, the putrid Crypt Keeper became a cultural icon.

2. Dexter
Is it horror by the strictest definition? Probably not. But it centers on a serial killer, revels in graphic depictions of his kills, and plays with the line between good and evil, light and dark. So by my judgement, it goes in. Not to mention it's currently the best drama on television, period.

1. The Twilight Zone
After all these years, the top choice remains the same. In creating The Twilight Zone, Rod Serling gave the early medium of television one of the greatest gifts it ever got--a superbly written, dynamically acted and skillfully executed genre TV series. Mixing elements of sci-fi, fantasy, and of course horror, The Twilight Zone may very well be genre's finest TV moment, and it certainly is horror's.

For more on boob tube terror, check out my five-part history of horror on television:
Part 1: Fear Invades the Living Room
Part 2: Terror Comes of Age
Part 3: How to Scare Without Losing Sponsors
Part 4: Small-Screen Revolution
Part 5: Triumph of the Tube

* * * * * * * * * *

Congratulations are in order for the VoH's sister blog, Day of the Woman, which today reached its 100th post. In celebration of the event, head over there and check out the A-Z of Horror Movie Actresses, featuring 100 of the most memorable female stars of all time.


Wings1295 said...

Great list, love many of the ones you have on here. Although you are missing my all-time #1, "Friday the 13th: The Series". To me, it is the best and most under-rated.

B-Sol said...

Not a bad show--I'd even go so far as to call it underrated. I just wouldn't include it in my top 10. Although it was better than Freddy's Nightmares.

gord said...

The X-Files at number 7 hurts my heart like nothing else.

As such I take issue with some of the higher ranked shows. True Blood, Dark Shadows and Dexter to be more specific.

The latter two are barely horror, and True Blood doesn't seem too appealing to me. But I'm willing to give it a shot. However, if it disappoints, you will continue to feel my rage.

And yes this is as rage filled as I come. So you know...watch it.

Ms Harker said...

Good vs Evil sounds interesting. I have been meaning to chase down Masters of Horror, but heard some bad feedback, will get my dainty hands on it soon on your recommendation sir! Although it does hurt me B-Sol that my precious Twin Peaks didn't get a mention ;)


B-Sol said...

Bring the rage, Gord! I'm ready for ya!
And Ms. Harker, Masters of Horror can be a mixed bag. It depends on which episode you catch.

KT Grant said...

I would catch all the repeats of Dark Shadows on Sci-Fi channel and watch them over and over again.

And I am a total addict for Dexter. Who would have thought a show about a sympathetic serial killer would work so well?

B-Sol said...

Tell me about it. My wife is in love with him!

monsterscholar said...

I stil need to see Dexter. Life without cable is hard. Tales from the Crypt gave me nightmares as a kid so instead I watched Goosebumps and Are You Afraid of the Dark?

BJ Colangelo said...

I read Darkly, Dreaming, Dexter before the show came out, i about jizzed in my pants when I saw they made a show out of it. Fabulous :)

and I finally rented the season of True Blood. Twatlight...eat your heart out.

Jon said...

I would have watched Masters of Horror every day of the week and twice on Sunday. It was a horror fan's dream! I'm still bummed that it got canceled, as Fear Itself is a good follow up, but it just doesn't have the same charm. And then they canceled that, too. What gives?

B-Sol said...

YES! I think you'll find True Blood is the perfect antidote to Twatlight. I expect a full review :-)

And Jon, Fear Itself was NO Masters of Horror. I gave it every chance, but it blew.

Anonymous said...

As always, a great list. I disagree on the comment that Dexter is barely horror. Tense dramatic thriller? Sure. But there have been some icky moments over the first 3 seasons (but not gore for gore's a la Hostel/Saw)that definitely flirts with being true horror. When my fiancee has to turn away, I think that's a good indication.

BTW, can't wait for season 4. John Lithgow has joined the cast as another serial killer and nemesis.

B-Sol said...

Yes, I heard the John Lithgow news. The consistency in quality of that show is amazing.

José Sinclair said...

VERY good list, even tho I'm not a big horror fan - I saw Twilight Zone as more SF/fantasy, but it did have some horror moments, which I guess is a form of fantasy...

check out my film blog

thnkx! -- JOSE

Tower Farm said...

I think I used to watch WEREWOLF when I was a little kid. Did the main character have a pentagram on his palm that would bleed at the points when he was about to change into a werewolf? I have a memory of that shot, but I am not sure that I am thinking of the right show.


B-Sol said...

Yep Tower, you got it, that's the one!

K Hudson said...

Another show that I think gets overlooked was American Gothic. Great show. And don't forget Carnivale. What a fantastic show. Maybe not technically horror, but creepy as hell!

Good work on the list!

The Man-Cave said...

I just started re-watching the Werewolf series late last week. It's been a while since I last saw an episode but is just as good as I remember. Nice pick on your list!

viagra online said...

men you hit the point with two shows, one and for me the best werewolf show no matter the poor special effects was impressive for that age, and two Twilight Zone, also Tales From The Crypt was good.

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