About Horror on TV

The Bates Family

Norman and Norma Bates from Bates Motel

Trends emerge in TV just as trends emerge in anything else. Over the past few years there has been an upsurge in the number of horror TV shows that have been hitting the air. In many ways, this is likely because of the success of the Walking Dead. Let’s get this straight. The Walking Dead didn’t start horror TV, but it was the first time a horror show really took off beyond just the niche market it was trying to target. Being Human is a remake of the UK show of the same name and definitely falls under horror, even if it takes a decidedly lighter tone. The upswing of these shows is taking the horror genre to new levels rather than remaining the mostly cheesy theatre only genre it was becoming.

The New Shows
Every season more networks appear ready to take the risk of a horror TV show being added to their line up. It adds diversity to the swamping of procedurals and failed comedies that seem to make it through pilot season and to series. Most networks now have at least one horror show. CW has had Supernatural for 9 years and seems to be doing rather well for them, season after season. Dexter lasted for 8 seasons, not all of them wonderful. The other networks are finally noticing that the horror genre isn’t the death sentence it once was. NBC seemed to have figured that out the quickest with Grimm, Hannibal, and Dracula all on their current roster. Fox has Sleepy Hollow, which treads the lines between wonderful execution and pure ridiculousness so wonderfully, I rarely feel that I’m walking into bad horror. Instead, I know I will be tuning in to a show that will hold my attention in a good way for an hour.

Why TV is Good for Horror
Horror, in many ways, has transcended the 80s and 90s love for slasher films. Yes, they still exist, but the horror that seems to resonate more currently is that of uncertainty. The deadly being that is right under your nose, schmoozing, but can deceive and betray. Or the enemy that is out there rallying and you don’t know when or how they will strike next. Each of those scenarios is difficult for a movie to portray in an hour and a half, while still wrapping everything up. Instead, a show allows tension to build. Other things that can be terrifying can be used as plot twists to the story. Ultimately, a TV show has the time to weave in additional intricacies that make the story better. Slow burns work better for TV because other things can be done in the mean time, where a movie would become to fractured. All of that said, there are some stories that are one and done and are best left for a film.

The boys of Supernatural

Sam and Dean Winchester and Cas

More to Come
New horror shows keep emerging. Syfy is pushing a new series Helix. Every year we get a new tale in American Horror Story. Horror is a new trend for TV, now that executives realize that horror isn’t the terrible risk it once was. In the past we had a few shows that were of the genre. We are reaching a point where nearly every major network and many of the cable networks are striving to have at least some horror programming on their prime time line up. It is good news for the genre as it will push it to new levels as it finds new ways to reach and scare it’s audience. At the same time, there is some worry that oversaturation may occur. Either way, I am glad to have a bit of a change in the current line up.

Do you enjoy horror on TV? Which medium do you prefer, TV or Film?

One thought on “About Horror on TV

  1. Pingback: Horror on TV | So, I pondered...

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