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TV Series With a Dark Side

Updated on October 6, 2017
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My passion is for films that scare the pants off you and I am always searching for movies that can do just that.

Bugs eating people's brains.. how did I miss this series, you might be thinking
Bugs eating people's brains.. how did I miss this series, you might be thinking | Source

How Do You Find a New Series to Watch?

Perhaps you are looking for something new to watch and haven't spent as much time googling "scary series, horror series, upcoming horror series, series that are scary, new scary series and, scary series I may have missed" as I have. Maybe you have found a few of these, or maybe you've heard of some of these, but are unsure whether to watch it. Maybe I can convince you it's worth your time.

So here we go, in no particular order because series are such a diverse area (even within a common theme) and apart from The Walking Dead and Breaking Bad which are clear favourites of mine, I am not sure I could make a ranked list that I would ever be happy with.

'Black Mirror'

Genre: Sci-fi/psychological thriller.

What's it About?

It’s an anthology series, so it’s a bunch of short stories instead of one big story. Think American Horror Story style where the theme is linked but the plots are different.

The theme for Black Mirror is technology. Get it? Black Mirror? Anyway, the first episode is pretty out there. I won't fill you in on the plot too much as I am unsure whether I would have watched it had I known.

The story concerns a member of the royal family who is kidnapped and the British Prime Minister is targeted personally and viciously with an extraordinary ransom request to set her free. He doesn’t want to fulfill the request, the public doesn't think he will go through with it and until a severed finger turns up, assumed to be the kidnapped victims' finger, the kidnapper's ransom is unfathomable. Or is it?

Series Info

This series has released 3 seasons so far with season 4 having a yet to be confirmed date for 2017 - however I do know it will be added to the extensive program list, that is Netflix.

Season 4 has been penned and episode titles have been released, the first of which is directed by Jodie Foster called ArkAngel.

Season 3 sees a dramatic change with the series being commissioned by Netflix so the change from British Actors in the first two seasons to American actors for three and four could make this show more popular than ever.

A point of interest is that the series creator Charlie Brooker has said that each episode is set in its own world which somehow makes it a little easier to navigate.

My Thoughts on 'Black Mirror'

The first episode literally had me on the edge of my seat in suspense and I can see why it won awards and received a lot of praise. I’m glad I watched it, it was good. You should watch it without reading too much about it as the topic is a little off-putting.

Like other anthologies of this style, there are episodes you love or hate and the good thing is, you can just move to the next one before too long if the episode is not to your taste.

It’s different and smart and off-putting all at the same time. It’s been compared to the Twilight Zone from the 60’s but you could throw it in the same basket with Masters of Horror (2005-2007) in that they are separate stories with a general theme and some are completely oddball.

Watch it on Netflix or buy it from Amazon Prime.

Do you like zombies? Meet Skinwalkers and Fever-Heads

Aftermath - there are muscly men, toting machine guns

Buy this series on Amazon.com
Buy this series on Amazon.com | Source

Aftermath

Genre: Sci-fi/apocalypse

What's it About?

Anne Heche (mum,) James Tupper from Revenge (dad,) Taylor Hickson from Deadpool (daughter), and two other sons are the Copeland family. It’s the end of the world as we know it and a meteor has crashed into Earth. The first episode introduces you to this kind of boring, if not disjointed family hiding in their house, coming to terms with a sudden onset of tsunami's, earthquakes and storms.

You meet Skin Walkers who are like zombies if zombies could fly and possess people. There are also Fever Heads, who are again replicas of zombies without the flesh-eating skin rot and instead have a gun and a touch of madness. This series begins when the daughter gets grabbed by a Skin Walker and so the remaining Copeland family set off in their camper van to find her.

Series Info

Season 1 was first released in December 2016 on Canadian network Space and then was later canceled due to lower than average viewers. At the end of Season one's 13 episodes, it had an average of 594 000 viewers and that sealed its fate because t’s been canceled. There is no Season 2 of Aftermath. I still think this show had promise and would love to see it return.

My Thoughts on Aftermath

Look, I'm not going to lie... It has its flaws, yes it does. It also has its haters which you can see very clearly when you Google reviews for this show. Like anything though, it also has its fans which are growing. Some viewers felt networks should have promoted it more because they'd only just discovered it and liked it and now it was gone.

I'm in the middle, I didn't hate it, I didn't love it. I like apocalypse scenarios and I like spin-off zombies shows and I like gun-toting mad men in tutus. Due to its less than perfect acting and a few characters, you may fail to warm to it may grate on you if that kind of thing isn't something you can get past but I still think it's worth seeing… you might like Aftermath if you liked Fear the Walking Dead which I put in the same league as both feature unlikable characters.

Watch it on the Scfy.com and buy it on Amazon.

When this surgery is though, I will write a love poem to this machine.

Dr Thackery

'The Knick'

Genre: A Medical drama that is pretty darn dark.

What's it About?

The show is set in the 1900’s, around The Knickerbocker Hospital and centres on the chief surgeon John Thackery. Back then, in the twentieth century, they dabbled in cocaine and opium, not understanding the ramifications of using...they just thought it was a bit of all right.

Doctors and staff didn’t protect themselves from the radiation that comes from an x-ray machine, Typhoid Mary is a person with a business that makes food for parties and racism was as prevalent as eyelashes on a horse. It’s a fairly blood-filled series obviously - due to its setting but to be honest, it’s a hospital so you kind of expect that. You can see the improvements medical science has grown into by today's standards and I found it all very fascinating while at the same time being totally engrossed in the stories.

I loved Cornelia— a woman in a white male dominated world who runs the hospitals' welfare office. I also loved Dr. Algernon, a smart well-spoken black surgeon. Of course, I adored Dr. Thackery, even if I would have had no issues having him fall down a ditch in a cocaine filled haze so I to get to see more episodes.

Series Info

One of the Executive producers is Michael Sugar of The OA.

It premiered on Cinemax and it ended on Cinemax and apparently it’s all Clive Owen’s fault. He is the lead character Dr. Thackery and he said he wouldn’t do a third season. If it were me, I would have killed him off and replaced him with a new doctor from out-of-town yonder somewhere. He may have been a central character, however, there is room to introduce a new scandal and a new character and bring it back to life. Dumb, dumb Clive Owen, there's always that one person that has to ruin it for everybody else.

'The Knick' drew inspiration from an actual medical guru from the same time period William Stewart Halsted, who had similar medical discoveries in his hospital The Johns Hopkins Hospital, he also played around with Cocaine like Dr. Thackery (but for reals) to experiment its use as an anaesthetic.

My Thoughts on 'The Knick'

You know what? I’m annoyed, I have waited patiently to see season 3 and it isn’t coming. This is a great series, that I would happily binge watch the hell out of, it gets canceled when it clearly should be celebrated.

My mom's a nurse, and I have heard it all. I watched the two seasons and thought someone with a smidgen of medical background or knowledge would really love this series. The first episode was a bit full on topic wise. You will know what I mean after you watch it.

If you haven’t picked up that I liked this a lot, then maybe I haven’t made myself clear, it’s great! I loved it!. I found myself reflecting on just how some modern medical techniques and practices perhaps came to be. I was very much into a few if not all the characters. If you don’t like blood or surgery or topics which make you unsettled, then this definitely isn’t for you. Sometimes I put my hands over my eyes when they cut into people, but it's because this series is definitely worth being uncomfortable for.

The story lines are great and I think the characters are very likable and I also believe the acting is fantastic.

The Knick- worth putting your hands over your eyes to watch it - if you dont like blood - that is.

Imagine if an experiment was being done on you which involved dying over and over again. That's just one premise of The OA.
Imagine if an experiment was being done on you which involved dying over and over again. That's just one premise of The OA. | Source

'The OA'

Genre: Supernatural Drama/Mystery/Horror (Sort of-not really.) Parts are dark so it's on this list.

What's it About?

Critics say it somewhat similar to a film the writers of The OA wrote called The Sound of My Voice in 2011 where the lead character is from the future. I don't know, I haven't seen that yet. The OA, aka Prairie Johnson, tells a long story to a group of people she rounds up after turning up in her home town on a bridge, has been missing for quite some time.

The group consort in the middle of the night, in an abandoned house in the street. In part of her explanation of how she came back, Prairie tells them that she was held captive in 'cage' elaborately set up containing other people who had also been captured. Together they were all stowed under a house in the wilderness and used as test bunnies.

As for the rest of the story, I really can’t explain more than that without ruining the series for someone who hasn't watched it. Some of it seems a bit fantastical though. I did catch myself smiling a little from time to time during certain scenes in her home town when she starts to teach her new friends her hidden talent. You’ll see what I mean if you watch it. If you don’t want to watch it, read a few reviews on IMDb and you will see some clear explanations of some of the weirder things that happen in the show.

Because season two is not released yet – I have to say, I’m still unsure where the series is headed. Who is the OA?

So far though, it has me wanting more. I am a little suspicious it’s going to go a bit loopy soon or take an avenue I’m not too fond of - like making Prairie (who is the OA,) come from the future or be an alien or turn into Neo from the Matrix which would make me unhappy – I can’t be sure though based solely on the season finale and the story so far.

Series Info

The writers (who are also on the executive producer’s team) are Zal Batmanglij and Brit Marling and they reckon they came up with it in 2012 and wrote the story based on each other’s reactions to the parts they each wrote… then they presented it to Brad Pitt’s – Plan B Entertainment network.

It’s a Netflix original as they like to call it. It’s new and it's sparkly and it has an upcoming season two waiting in the wings. Season two shall be officially called Part II which should be on screens in 2018.

My Thoughts on 'The OA'

It gets compared with Stranger Things, which I understand because there isn’t another series like the OZ and Stranger Things has the vibe that this has…but it is nothing like Stranger Things.

If you like that other dimension vibe though, you may like this too. I keep drawing similarities to a few movies I have seen where people are abducted and kept imprisoned in a ‘cage’ and tying it to other movies like Flatliners but The OA really is different to any other type show, so far. Where it goes from here is anyone’s guess.

I like it 90% of the time, I smirk 5% or the time and I flat-out have no idea what they are doing 5% of the time. I am however very curious to watch the next season but sometimes I wish they had left them all in that cage and gone a more horror route than the sci-fi weirdness it seems to be tracking towards.

Watch it on Netflix.

Want to do the 5 dance moves featured in the OA? Learn them here

Wiley, how do you cope with a baby when the world is possibly ending?
Wiley, how do you cope with a baby when the world is possibly ending? | Source

'Between'

Genre: Sci-fi/apocalypse.

What's it About?

Set in a small town called Pretty Lake, people start dropping like flies from a mysterious illness. It’s soon discovered that the illness only applies if you turn 22 or are older than 22. Like, unless you are already dead because you're over 22, its “happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you” blow out your candles and face plant the table dead type illness.

Jeannette McCurdy (of iCarly TV series) is one of the main lead characters that appear on the series as a girl called Wiley who is pregnant and keeping tight-lipped about the baby daddy. There are large bonfires for the dead and plenty of Lord of the Flies similarities in context. After all, there are no proper adults left in the town - or are there?

Series Info

‘What’s on Netflix' (whatsonnetflix.com), is not sure about the newest season - but had speculated June or July 2017, I've not yet had confirmation on any sites about the 3rd installment.

My Thoughts on 'Between'

I like this series. I will be sad if it is canceled. The end of season 2 ties up nicely but also leaves plenty of room to continue the series in a different setting. I would like to know more. I would like to see them go and do a prelude to the third season.
If you read the comments in the forums, some say it’s like Under the Dome with no older generation and a military built fence around it instead of an invisible force field but I disagree. I’m more inclined to think you may like it if you liked Contagion.

Watch it on Netflix and Sidereel.com.

Which series had the highest viewers?

 
 
 
Brain Dead
4.59 million
 
Helix
1.8 million
 
Black Mirror
2.07 million
 
Aftermath
594,000
 
Between
3.2 million
 
The Knick
1.8 million
 
The OA
Neflix no want us to know
 
I still have no idea how Brain Dead is canceled with start up viewers like that! It boggles my mind, I think that space bugs got to the network people and ate their brains.

If you havent seen Brain Dead, you haven't lived

'Brain Dead'

Genre: It’s listed as political satire which it is, but with a sci-fi horror twist

What's it About?

It starts with a young lady called Laurel who’s brother is a Senator (played by Danny Pino of Law and Order SVU and Cold Case.) Laurel is played by Mary Elizabeth Winstead of Final Destination 3, Black Christmas, Death Proof, The Thing, 10 Cloverfield Lane… the list goes on… she’s cool and a great actress and I couldn’t get enough of her.

So a meteor lands on Earth and inside are space aliens or space ants or space bugs as the show dictates and these guys infect you by eating half your brain. In some cases these little critters make your head explode, yes that’s right, exploding heads!! In some cases there is no explosion, only a newly found obsession with vegetable juice and with a song called “you might think” by The Cars as well as a sudden predisposition to deafness in one ear and a loss of balance.

Series Info

Brain Dead has 13 episodes and was released in July 2015 on CBS and premiered June 2016, I discovered it on Stan just this year.

Originally it was thought to have four seasons planned, however, CBS canceled it after season one. So there’s no more (unless we band together and start a petition to bring it back.)

Now that Robert and Michael King are writing for a spin-off of The Good Wife— the hope of anymore has definitely been dashed for now. I still have my fingers crossed.

My Thoughts on 'Brain Dead'

On the face of it, I have no idea why I watched it, but this little baby had me hooked from the first episode. It has a catchy intro song that changes as the story progresses sung by a guy playing guitar and a melody reminiscent of Colin Hay in Scrubs. Each song at the introduction of each episode recaps the previous episode and I just loved that.

I think everyone should watch this because clever and funny and simply great. I’m so very sad there is no more to see. It ties up nicely at the end of season one, where you can see that it could do more (like it originally planned) but doesn't have to. I could watch this show forever and ever. The writers were going to begin the next season in a new city which would have been awesome. I would do cartwheels if I heard it was coming back and relaunching like it intended to.

As mentioned earlier, these writers did The Good Wife and other sites say that this show actually has hints of some of the subplots of that show. I’ve never seen The Good Wife, so I don’t know, but I almost want to give it a crack based on how good this was.

Brain Dead is reminiscent of a body snatchers theme with great acting, great characters and hilarious plot lines all sticky taped together into a fabulous clever, one season series. People on forums have stated that they liked Santa Clarita Diet so they liked this but to be honest, even though I’m a zombie fan, this was better than Santa Clarita Diet.

Watch it on Stan, TenPlay, and www.globaltv.com.

How can you not LOVE this intro song to Brain Dead

Which of these series have you NOT seen and want to?

See results

Helix - just like "The Strain" series, though not as good.

'Helix'

Genre: Horror/sci-fi/thriller

What's it About?

The CDC is called away from the city to investigate a mystery virus in the arctic and immediately begin rummaging around the facility together looking for clues and test monkeys and test rats. The leader of the CDC, Dr. Faragut is harping on about how these screeching, vein-ey, black-eyed monsters are patients and are to be kept alive. The virus sends some of its hosts a little loopy - before turning them into monsters - who then want nothing more than to cover your mouth with theirs and pour in the viscous black liquid to make you one of them.

Dr. Hiroshi (leader of the Arctic station) is covering something up and is also seen in a few episodes to have weird silver eyes…what is he?

The monsters are called Vectors and they seem to answer to no-one... or do they? There are a few character back stories to keep track of and of course the odd romance and by odd I mean - it's a bit strange.

A suspicious slow talking, highly suspicious character that runs the facility where this series is set, is Dr. Hiroshi played by Hiroyuki Sanada who starred in The Last Ship and Life (2017) which may have been why I thought it was a ship of some kind - seeing as those two movies are on ships. Dr. Hiroshi is in the opening scene chasing down a zombiesque creature with black stuff all over its face.

Series Info.

It stars the chick out of Supernatural, Kyra Zagorsky as Dr. Julia Walker, ex-wife of the head of the team of CDC scientists, Dr. Alan Farragut (played by Billy Campbell, from The 4400 and Bram Stokers Dracula.)

Despite having a lot of promotion and being well pumped at Comic-Con the previous year it had only 1.8 million viewers for its premiere. Ultimately though, after a second season was pushed out in January 2015 and even though they changed the scenery and put the virus on an island, the show was canceled. They tried, really they did, and they upped the ante and the gore level of season two, to no avail.

My Thoughts on 'Helix.'

This series immediately reminded me of The Strain, I was excited. More zombie like creatures in what looked like a space environment, only it isn’t space, it’s the Arctic… close enough.

The opening scene had me sit attentively because it starts with the team and the CDC running around the city virus busting while crossing over to the Arctic station where Dr. Horoshi is running around after the infected vectors who look pretty scary and like they are going to wreak some havoc. They closely resemble zombies without the death part.

As the episodes wore on, I didn’t much grow fond of many of the cast. I didn’t care when a central, 'loved' member of the team died and I wasn’t overly bothered when the show revealed 'the cutesy romantic interest' has a dire medical affliction and will probably die from it and not the virus.

I kept watching because I like interpretations of the world becoming susceptible to a global epidemic, I think that’s why I like zombies as a theme so much…and this is one take on that possibility. No, I didn’t love it, I tolerated it. It started well, but the character development needed more work and the vectors needed more grit to keep me interested. It's a shame that the good stuff didn't outweigh the bad stuff. It’s a good time passer. If there is nothing else on, watch it.

Watch it if you liked Containment or The Strain and see it on Netflix, Syfy, and Tv.com.

Helix, where the "zombies" have black stuff on their faces instead of blood
Helix, where the "zombies" have black stuff on their faces instead of blood | Source

Is this the end?

Hopefully I have given you something to watch during those times that The Walking Dead has finished or perhaps what ever series you love has done their slot for the year. The good and the bad series come thick and fast, thankfully there are plenty of good ones to choose from. What's your favourite? What did you hate? Let me know, I'd love to hear.

If you would like to hear more from me, please check out my second part of this subject - More TV Series' With a Dark Side.

© 2017 Vanessa's Non Spoilers

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    • Fullerman5000 profile image

      Ryan Fuller 4 months ago from Louisiana, USA

      I am a sucker for a good series on television as well. I have heard of these but I have never seen them. I will definitely have to check some of these out. I do like sci/fi series also. Thanks for sharing some of your favorite.