Top 3 Hidden Gem TV Shows You Should Binge Watch
The Horror Edition
We're all spending a lot more time in front of our screens these days, keeping ourselves inside where we're safe and waiting for the pandemic to blow over. For a lot of us, that means we've already chewed through our list of shows we've been meaning to watch, and we've chased it with our old favorites that we turn to in our times of need. If you're coming up dry for new shows to feed that hunger inside you, and you'd like some fictional fears to deal with as a change of pace, here are three spooky shows that even diehard horror fans may have missed.
For more posts on spooky shows and frightening films, such as 5 Horror Movies About Real Demons as well as What Is The Monster in "The Ritual"? make sure you take a moment to check out my full Vocal archive!
Anthology TV shows are an old standby of the horror genre, and while most of us are familiar with Tales From The Crypt or The Twilight Zone, one of the lesser gems of the genre is Monsters.
This show started in 1988, and ran all the way to 1991, producing three full seasons with 24 different episodes each. While a lot of the episodes were truly terrifying (from a forgotten native god that turns a white profiteer to dust when he cheats the tribe, to a mutated queen bee who only reveals herself after she sucks in a human lover), roughly 11 or so of the total episodes are meant as dark comedy.
The series overall has solid writing (with episodes like "The Moving Finger" based off of a Stephen King short story as a standout), and impressive makeup and puppetry for the time. Twist endings are extremely common, and the occasional celebrity cameo from stars like Tori Spelling and Steve Buscemi adds an element of fun to the show. While it lacks the swear words, full-frontal nudity, and gore of other shows that didn't have to deal with network limitations, it more than makes up for it in attitude and style.
Best of all, at time of writing Monsters is on Amazon Prime!
#2: Friday the 13th (The Series)
As a diehard fan of Jason Voorhees, I was super excited when I first discovered this show... only to be disappointed that it has nothing to do with Crystal Lake's infamous slasher. Originally titled The 13th Hour (which could have eliminated a lot of confusion), the show was about a pair of cousins who inherited a curious shop that came with a dire curse.
It seems that, before he died, their uncle had been dealing in dangerous items on behalf of the devil. Now the two cousins have to track down the awful items he sold, recollecting them and putting them under lock and key so they can't hurt anyone else.
That was a fun premise, and the show ran for most of three seasons starting in 1987 and ending in 1990. With strange macguffins ranging from a white glove that could take away sickness (but which then gave it to the wearer until they passed it on to someone else), to the original pendulum used by Mesmer to hypnotize people, the series covers a lot of weird, wild ground. With a vibe that's more similar to The X-Files or Warehouse 13, it's a lot of fun to see where they went... even if the rumor of Jason's mask turning up as the third season finale probably isn't true.
#3: Forever Knight
While not everyone considers Forever Knight to be a horror show, it's about a vampire police detective, so I feel it belongs on this list. More to the point, though, Nick Knight came on the scene in May of 1992, and this series is responsible for so many of the story beats that we associate with the modern-day vampire story that it should be viewed as a trend-setter if nothing else.
Set in Toronto, Ontario, Nick Knight is a detective who works the night shift, using his powers and experience as an 800-year-old vampire to solve crimes, and to preserve the veil so that his mortal allies don't run afoul of the things that live in the shadows. With flashbacks to earlier points in his life, as well as meddling from old allies and enemies both, there's always a tension just below the surface in this show. Part of it is wondering when Nick's friends are going to put the pieces together... and part of it is wondering when the fangs are going to come out. It's a lot like the old Incredible Hulk TV show in that way, and the tension never stops working on you as a viewer even if you figure out the formula for the episodes.
With 3 seasons and 70 episodes, it's easy to get sucked into Nick's world, and to get invested in both his struggles, and those of the supporting characters. And if you haven't had a decent vampire show in your life for a while, then this is the cure for what ails you.