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The Best Contemporary Horror Television

Updated on March 30, 2017

Walking Dead Pilot Scene

Comic-Con 2010 Walking Dead booth
Comic-Con 2010 Walking Dead booth | Source

Stephen King's Under the Dome is a smashing Summer hit for CBS

CBS television’s 2013 summer horror hit, Under the Dome, was published in 2009. Stephen King gave writers and producers creative license to take the series in different directions from his novel. The first 13 episode season covered most of the 1,100 page novel’s timeline. King is not the only executive producer of the show; he is joined by Steven Spielberg, Neil Baer, and Jack Bender. Brian K. Vaughan is the co-creator with King on the series. Under the Dome returns summer 2014 and Stephen King writes the opening episode of the new season.

Under the Dome averaged “13.84 million viewers, 3.5/10 in adults 18-49 and 4.8/12 in adults 25-54.” CBS enjoyed positive same day ratings with the show and DVR playback. Episodes are shown on video-demand, online streaming, and Amazon’s Prime Instant Video. The summer hit was viewed more than any other program on Amazon while the show aired on CBS.

Dean Norris, star of Breaking Bad, plays Big Jim and is trapped under the force field of a mysterious dome with the residents of Chester’s Mill. Some people would classify the series as science fiction but Stephen King is considered the master of modern Horror fiction.

Cast member of American Horror Story

What actor or actress appeared in all of the first 3 seasons of American Horror Story?

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Why do television viewers love Walking Dead?

There are several reasons

  1. The entire cast is credited with exceptional acting and the scripts are outstanding.
  2. Production and directing values are high.
  3. Each episode makes viewer feel like wanting more.
  4. The shows balance heroes, villains, romantic relationships, and courageous characters with long shot aspirations.
  5. Zombies are frightfully made up with gory make-up and prosthetics.
  6. Viewers accept our humanity is flawed. Individuals are at risk of being cursed with a reanimated disease. We see ourselves rotting within the zombies. The human heart is "more deceitful than all else, and is desperately sick; Who can understand it?" (Jeremiah 17:9)
  7. Producer Frank Darabont hooked viewers with strong themes about faith and survival. Likeable characters struggle in difficult circumstances.
  8. Viewers empathized with characters trapped in a miserable situation and feeling good times are lost to them.

Horror genre attracts viewers in television networks

Horror shows are top performing television programs in prime time standard and cable station networks. Creep shows build strong fan bases by attracting viewers to witches, voodoo, zombies, vampires, and supernatural phenomena. Surging enthusiasm tempts networks to add more shows from the horror genre.

American Horror Story: Coven is the number 1 cable show

FX’s American Horror Story: Coven features popular actresses, Jessica Lange, Angela Bassett, and Kathy Bates, and strong supporting actresses. Witches learn to harness their powers in Miss Robichaux’s Academy for Exceptional Young Ladies in New Orleans, but are at odds with the supreme witch and New Orleans’ Voodoo queen, Marie Leveau. Coven maintained high consistent ratings through the end of November and averaged 7.7 million viewers its four opening episodes. Coven tops the best 100 cable channel shows run all day for adults, 18-49.

American Horror Story starts each season with a different story and cast of characters.

Asylum featured Jessica Lange playing Sister Jude, the head warden of an insane asylum, inside a New England sanitarium called Briarcliff Manor run by Catholic nuns. Dr. Arthur Arden (James Cromwell) is an evil Nazi doctor conducting bizarre experiments that physically change humans. Patients mysteriously die and are quickly buried. Shock therapy is treated on homosexual patients.The show involves freaky aliens, demons, and serial killers.

FX network introduced the first season of American Horror Story: Murder House, October 5, 2011 and concluded December 21, 2011. A psychologist named Ben Harmon (Dylan McDermott) leaves Boston, Massachusetts and buys a large Victorian house in Los Angeles. The move is an attempt to salvage his marriage. His wife had suffered a miscarriage. Dr. Harmon loves his wife, Vivien (Connie Britton), but has been guilty of adultery on a number of occasions, including one of his students, Hayden McClaine (Kate Mara). The Harmons have a young daughter named Violet (Taissa Farmiga). Ben Harmon doesn't realize he has taken his family into a dangerous haunted house that has a history of macabre murder. The house makes them see a deadly spiritual world.

High rated hit Walking Dead slated for renewal

AMC television networks’ Walking Dead is a story about surviving a Zombie Apocalypse. Deputy Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) fights to protect people against flesh eating Zombies. The show averaged 8.7 million viewers Sunday night, November 3, 2013. Walking Dead scored 8 percentage points higher than NBC’s Sunday Night Football. The Zombie action drama is super successful in its fourth season and like the inspirational comic book, exceeds expectations. Producers don’t see any end in sight.

Tom Mison and Nicole Beharie team-up with strong acting chemistry

Sleepy Hollow is a one hour horror drama based on the classical short story written by Washington Irving. Ichabod Crane reawakens in the modern day town of Sleepy Hollow and battles the headless horseman, a decapitated Hessian -- one of the four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Lt. Abbie Mills, a black police woman adjusts from her stunned disbelief and becomes Crane’s close friend and ally. Sleepy Hollow’ actor Tom Mison and actress Nicole Beharie form an engaging partnership that entertain viewers and receive positive ratings.

Sleepy Hollow’s season premiere scored strong ratings. It averaged 6.94 million viewers and a key 2.5 demo rating after returning from a Major League Baseball championship break. Sleepy Hollow and a sci-fi adventure, Almost Human boosted Fox ratings 89 percent higher in comparison to last season. Sleepy Hollow is scheduled for another season. Sleepy Hollow won T.V. Guide. Com’s Fall Popularity Contest, gaining 85 percent approval rating. The hit show averaged a 2.9 rating among 18-to-49 year-old age groups that viewed the original episodes on days shown. Once a week playbacks increased their rating to 4.9.

The Making of Walking Dead, Part I

The Making of Walking Dead, Part II

The CW enjoying success with horror shows

Vampire Diaries earn strong ratings approaching its 100th episode

Vampire Diaries still leads CW’s horror programming and approaches its 100th episode in early 2014. Vampire brothers, Estefan and Damon Salvatore, continue supernatural adventures with their main squeeze, Elena Gilbert and her doppelganger, Katherine. The characters live in Mystic Falls, Virginia, and continue to maintain a strong fan following.

Supernatural still shows strong ratings in its 9th season. Sam and Dean Winchester are demon hunters and get involved with angels, ghosts, and paranormal people. CW’s Tuesday nights paired successful horror dramas; The Originals and Supernatural scored higher Tuesday night ratings with 18 to 49er age groups since four years ago, September 8, 2009. They scored its highest rating among adults 18 to 34 since two years ago.

The Originals cast was featured in previous seasons of Vampire Diaries. The original family of vampires, Klaus, and his brother, Elijah, and his sister Rebekah, return to New Orleans. Evil Klaus wants to take over the city that is under the protection of another vampire, Marcel. The Originals ranked fifth in T.V. Guide.com’s Fall Popularity Contest, gaining 57 percent approval rating. The Originals and Supernatural placed fifth with 18-49 year-old demographics.

Supreme witch supervise Salem witches in New Orleans

American Horror Story:Coven - Group shot
American Horror Story:Coven - Group shot | Source

New witchcraft drama gives Lifetime a lift

Lifetime scores a hit with Witches of East End

Lifetime renewed Witches of East End for another season because of solid ratings. Lifetime’s General Manager, Rob Sharenow is elated. The mother of a Long Island, North Hampton home, secretly concealed secrets from her daughters; they’re potent latent witches. One daughter gets engaged to a wealthy suitor and complications force the mother’s confession. Witches of East End stars Julia Ormond. The show interweaves naughty black magic, romance, and amusing comedy.

Coven filmed in New Orleans' culture and environment

Favorite Horror Show

What is your new favorite horror show?

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Bates Motel

A & E cable network premieres executive producer and writer, Carlton Cuse's second season of Bates Motel on March 3, 2014. Norman the psychotic killer became a household name in Alfred HItchcock's motion picture, Psycho. The series explores Norman when he was a teenage kid. We also learn about his early relationship with his mother, Norma.

The show reminds some viewers of how we enjoyed experiencing Clark Kent's (Superman) early years in Smallville and the serial killing escapades of Dexter.

Vera Farmiga was honored with an Emmy nomination.

Bates Motel season opener was enjoyed by 3 million viewers. During the 10 episode run, It averaged 2.7 total viewers, 1.5 million adults with 18-49 and 25-54 age demographics.

Bates Motel stars: Vera Farmiga (Norma Louise Bates), Freddie Highmore (Norman Bates), Max Thieriot (Dylan Massett), Nicola Peltz (Bradley Martin), and Olivia Cooke (Emma Decody). Season 2 introduces Micahel O'Neill, Michael Vartan, and Kathleen Robertson.

Headless Horseman attracts new fan

Headless Horseman from Fox's Sleepy Hollow
Headless Horseman from Fox's Sleepy Hollow | Source

The Vampire Diaries filming over 100 episodes

CW's Top rated Horror Show
CW's Top rated Horror Show | Source

The Making of the Returned

French Sundance drama The Returned offers something new

The 8 episode French zombie series, The Returned, premiered Halloween night 2013 on The Sundance Channel and was inspired by a 2004 movie, They Came Back (Les Revenants). The story was co-written and directed by Fabrice Gobert and takes place in a French idyllic rural community. The Returned originally premiered in France, November 2012. American audiences are expecting more episodes around the corner.

The zombies in The Returned don't look like grotesque monsters as you've seen them in AMC's Walking Dead. They look more like physical ghosts that haunt friends and family. The zombies still think they are alive. Gobert explores the theme of existentialism regarding the value of life and death. Returning zombies are troubled they don't fit in with their hometown community that is troubled by serial killing. Gobert experiments with actors effected by separation of loved ones and how they emotionally cope with encounters with the shocking unexpected.

NBC's Hannibal earns high critical approval

Hannibal” “is the last of this season’s serial killer shows. It’s also, by a very wide margin, the best.”

Alan Sepinwall of Hitflx.com

“finely acted, visually scrumptious and deliciously subversive”

Jeff Jensen of Entertainment Weekly

“feverishly twisted, fascinatingly macabre and visually remarkable.”

Matt Roush of TV Guide

NBC renews Hannibal inspite of low ratings

Mad Mikkelsen plays the cannibal serial killer in NBC's Hannibal. The television series is adapted from Thomas Harris's Hannibal Lecter novel trilogy, Red Dragon,Silence of the Lambs, and Hannibal. Bryan Fuller is the executive producer and writer. Will Dancy is a criminal profiler played by Hugh Dancy. Jack Crawford, FBI behavioral investigator, is played by Laurence Fishburne.

Hannibal only scored a 1.9 total viewer rating for its season finale but the network saw optimistic signs that saved the show from cancellation. Merciful grace was given because of NBA playoffs that hurt Hannibal's potential viewership. The final game 7 between the Miami Heat and the San Antonio Spurs drew 21.6 million viewers. Hannibal's ratings fluctuated between 2.4 and 2.7 total million viewers for 7 weeks, a strong indication the show was supported by a strong fan base. The 7 day DVR factor gave Hannibal a huge lift. The show received a 77 percent increase among the 18-49 year-old demographic. It is the strongest increase of any broadcast television show during 2012 and 2013. The series was also supported by top-rate critical praise.

CW's The Originals takes place in New Orleans

The Originals is a new hit show for the CW
The Originals is a new hit show for the CW | Source

New Dracula series shows potential

NBC's Grimm and Dracula are double feature horror on Friday nights

NBC premiered their new version of Dracula, October 25, 2013, and scored a solid 1.8 rating among the 18-49 age demographic. There are concerns the show might get cancelled. November 8, the show almost lost an entire rating point, but showed promise again, equaling its premiere rating the following week. Recent 3 day DVR returns were positive and increased the pilot episode viewership to 56 percent and a 2.8 rating.

Grimm, the dark fairy-tale horror show is averaging 5.7 million viewers and growing 15 percent each week in the 18-49 age demographic. Grimm is in its third season and returning in 2014. Viewers enjoy Portland homicide detective, Nick Burchkhardt's (David Giuntoli) encounters with zombies, serpents, and werewolves, in the horrifying world of the Brothers' Grimm.

New Orleans a popular destination for horror

What two new horror shows were placed in the background of New Orleans in Fall 2013?

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MTV's hit show Teen Wolf

MTV's Teen Wolf is created by Jeff Davis and a remake of the 1985 movie that starred Michael J. Foxx. The popularity of the television show influenced cable show producers to follow each episode with a question and answer session, a practice established by AMC's Walking Dead.

The show develops aspects of horror, humor, love, gritty physical sex and high school life.

Tyler Posey is an acting star that plays the number 1 beast and it takes him four and a half hours to get into his complete werewolf makeup.

Teen Wolf is about a high school kid, Scott McCall, who is challenged by his best friend, Styles Stilinski, to help police officers find a dead body in the woods, but the dare gets him bitten by a werewolf. He becomes an alpha wolf and faces supernatural conflicts. A cute girl named Allison is the leader of her hunting family. The series include rival alpha werewolves, including twins, and a female banshee.

Teen Wolf was renewed with 12 new episodes in 2014. First half season 3 ratings were rock solid. The show averaged 2.8 total million viewers. MTV targeted an 18-34 year-old demographic and was supported by a 2.5 rating. Those numbers peaked Teen Wolf's highest success.

The Walking Dead amc television series

The Walking Dead:  Compendium One
The Walking Dead: Compendium One

I've personally watched "The Walking Dead" episodes on Netflix. Great characters and plot situations are invested in fighting zombies, phenomenal make-up jobs. This compendium introduces "the first eight volumes of the fan-favorite, New York Times Best Seller series collected into one massive paperback collection! Collects The Walking Dead #1-48. This is the perfect collection for any fan of the Emmy Award-winning television series on AMC: over one thousand pages chronicling the beginning of Robert Kirkman's Eisner Award-winning continuing story of survival horror- from Rick Grimes' waking up alone in a hospital, to him and his family seeking solace on Hershel's farm, and the controversial introduction of Woodbury despot: The Governor. In a world ruled by the dead, we are finally forced to finally start living.

 

3 Major Characters of True Blood

Sookie Stackhouse ( Anna Paquin)

"She is a human/fairy hybrid from Bon Temps, Louisiana and has the power to hear the thoughts of others." Sookie is the major character of the show. She often works as a waitress in Merlotte's Bar and Grill. She has had sexual relationships with both Vampire Bill, Eric, and a werewolf hybrid, Alcide Herveaux ( Joe Manganiello).

Eric Northman ( Alexander Skarsgard)

The Swedish born anglo-saxon turned vampire in 930AD. Eric is over 1000 years old. He is the "vampire sheriff of Louisiana 5." He is owner of Fangastia, a vampire bar, in Shreveport. The tall Swede is sometimes Vampire Bill's best friend, often his rival, and has a sweet spot for Sookie.

Bill Compton ( Stephen Moyer)

Bill turned into a vampire in 1865 and resides in Bon Temps, Louisiana. The invention of True Blood influenced him to live peacefully among humans. But he converted to the Sanguinista Movement - belief in the vampire bible - vampiries should dominate humans. Vampire Bill thinks he is the chosen one of Lilith. In earlier seasons, he is the only serious boyfriend of Sookie.


HBO's smash hit True Blood

HBO's True Blood, a modern vampire television series featured outstanding characters and plot twists in the first two seasons. Writers of the show helped build a strong loyal following. The cable show created by Alan Ball is adapted from Charlaine Harris's numerous southern horror novels, Sookie Stackhouse.

True Blood is actually a synthetic drink that was developed by the Japanese. Vampires drink it and survive without having to prey on humans.

True Blood drew more than 12 million viewers when the show was hot.

There is plenty of vampire sex in True Blood. In fact, sex seems to permeate among all the characters in the show from shape shifters to werewolves. True Blood created Reverend Steve Newlin and his wife, Sarah ( Anna Camp). Fellowship of the Sun attracted Sookie's brother, Jason ( Ryan Kwanten). It is an anti-vampire Christian organization. Jason has sexual relations with the reverend's wife.

True Blood endured several seasons because of outstanding colorful supporting characters and compelling situations. Hoyt (Jim Parrack), a young road crew worker breaks away from his domineering mother because he wants to have sex with a vampire, Jessica ( Deborah Ann Woll). Lafayette (Nelsan Ellis), a gay short order cook is a medium but has sex with a Mexican boyfriend, consequently, he is possessed by a Mexican demon and turns more powerful. Those are a couple of comical relief highlights that have entertained millions of fans when True Blood has been at its best.

Conclusion

The horror show genre is fun and exciting for television executive producers, writers, actors, and viewers. In recent years, we've seen fresh horror television series for a wide audience range. Vampire Diaries and Teen Wolf love to show horror on the high school campus, but recently several of the characters in Vampire Diaries moved on to college. Walking Dead love to scare us with grotesque zombies. The Returned loves to horrify us with returning life-like zombies. Bates Motel gives us an opportunity to learn about the psychotic Norman when he was a young kid. American Horror Story: Coven gives us an eerie look at New Orleans' voodoo. The Originals cast prove they can build a fan following apart from Vampire Diaries. Fresh new horror series are scoring well with television ratings. I imagine there are more pleasant surprises for us around the corner.

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    • Colleen Swan profile image

      Colleen Swan 3 years ago from County Durham

      Hi, another great hub. I enjoy the diversity of your subjects and always feel I've learned something after reading them.

    • rebelogilbert profile image
      Author

      Gilbert Arevalo 3 years ago from Hacienda Heights, California

      Thank you, Colleen. We've turned into good pen pals of late. Have a great weekend.

    • simplehappylife profile image

      SA Williams 2 months ago from Earth

      another interesting hub...I know this is an older article, but have you checked out Netflix's original series Santa Clarita Diet? It's a horror comedy starring Drew Barrymore. Very Funny and gross LOL :)

    • rebelogilbert profile image
      Author

      Gilbert Arevalo 8 weeks ago from Hacienda Heights, California

      I haven't seen Drew's new show yet. We recently hooked netfix back-up. I have shows I want to review. And, yes, this contemporary hub is-out-of-date. But it take time to view and review new programs. I'll get to it sometime. Thanks for looking at some of my hubs, S.A. Williams. I appreciate it. Tonight it's your turn. I'm glad my classic horror hub doesn't need as much work.

    • simplehappylife profile image

      SA Williams 8 weeks ago from Earth

      Cool, then you should definitely check it out. It's pretty funny :)

      You're Welcome and Thanks So Much :)

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 2 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      The only one of these I've seen is Grimm. I just don't have the time to watch much television, but I do love horror. I still remember going to some of the classics as a kid...The Tingler?

    • rebelogilbert profile image
      Author

      Gilbert Arevalo 11 days ago from Hacienda Heights, California

      Thanks for looking at the hub, Bill. I appreciate it. You're not kidding about all the horror television shows. I need to update this hub, there are many new shows I haven't reported about, there always are. I hope this summer, now that my favorite Spring shows are over, I can check out some shows on Netflix, not that I have all the time in the world to watch new programs. You know how it is working on writing projects.

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