If you’re a fan of scary things, love a good scary movie or a scary book to read, you’re not alone. Horror is a very popular genre these days, especially in the month of October and TV has taken notice. For decades, horror was the thing you were least likely to see on your TV. It came and went, occasionally with success, but more often it disappeared quickly. Shows like Buffy The Vampire Slayer, True Blood, Twin Peaks, and The X-Files were very successful series; but they were few and far between. However over the last few years there has been a huge influx of television shows in the horror genre, proving that the powers that be on TV are realizing that horror doesn’t always mean that it can’t also be a good high quality show.
The first show to really get the ball rolling and made people stand up and take notice was AMC’s The Walking Dead. Premiering in 2010, it was an extremely gory horror show about the zombie apocalypse that not only became very popular; it became the highest rated cable television show in TV history. The Walking Dead, based on a comic book series, set ratings records on a regular basis. It even spawned a spin-off series, Fear The Walking Dead.
With the unprecedented success of The Walking Dead, other networks started to take notice and the horror genre took off.
Since then virtually every major network has dipped their toes into the horror waters. FX has had shows like American Horror Story and The Strain, both critically acclaimed and very popular among fans. In 2013, NBC premiered Hannibal, based on Hannibal Lecter from Silence of The Lambs. CBS had a pretty successful run with Stephen King’s Under The Dome. FOX had Sleepy Hollow in 2013. Showtime has Penny Dreadful. The CW has The Vampire Diaries, iZombie, and Supernatural. Netflix got into the game with Hemlock Grove. A&E has had success with Bates Motel, based on the teenage years of Psycho’s Norman Bates. This year alone, MTV premiered Scream, based on the popular film series, and FOX has Scream Queens. FOX has also announced that a revival of The X-Files will return in January and Showtime will revive Twin Peaks next year.
The horror genre has appeared to become a staple in today’s TV landscape, and it appears as though it is here to stay. There are also many horror shows in development for the coming year, including a series based on the Friday the 13th film series, and Starz will be bringing a series based on The Evil Dead film series to its network later this year. Horror authors Clive Barker (Hellraiser), and the aforementioned Stephen King have shows in development, as does popular horror filmmaker Rob Zombie.
Horror is no longer the genre that was a guilty pleasure. Horror fans no longer have to be afraid to admit that they love horror films and shows. Recent projects like the ones mentioned in this column have proven that horror can be high quality and successful if done right.
Happy Halloween everyone!
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