Top 10 TV Shows You Shouldn't Watch Alone



Top 10 TV Shows You Shouldn't Watch Alone

VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Nathan Sharp
These are the shows you shouldn't watch alone… unless you want to be up all night.
You’d best watch these series with a friend. Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’re counting down ten TV shows you shouldn’t watch alone.

For this list, we’ll be looking at TV shows too scary to watch on your own, lest you become paranoid and spooked. We’re only including fiction on this list, so documentaries, ghost hunting shows, and reality shows like “Unsolved Mysteries” won’t be included (however spooky they may be).

#10: “The Haunting of Hill House” (2018)

Haunted house movies and TV shows are a dime a dozen, but very few make an impression quite like “The Haunting of Hill House.” While the show is primarily an exploration of grief, depression, and dysfunctional family relationships, it also finds time to present some truly terrifying sequences. Unlike a lot of popular haunted house stories, this show avoids cheap jump scares for the most part, relying instead on atmosphere, haunting visuals, and a slow building of dread. Oh, and there are ghosts constantly standing in the background of shots, just to make your viewing experience that much more paranoia-inducing. After watching this alone, you’ll be convinced that your house is haunted, and left investigating every little bump in the night.

#9: “Channel Zero” (2016-18)

“Channel Zero” is a unique show in that it wonderfully combines the production values of Hollywood with the imagination of the internet. The horror anthology series aired on Syfy and was based on four different creepypastas. Season one was based on Candle Cove, two on No-End House, three on Search and Rescue Woods, and four on Hidden Door. Each received a surprising amount of critical acclaim, with two of the four seasons scoring 100% on Rotten Tomatoes. At six episodes apiece, each season feels well-paced, the episode count allowing the story to build atmosphere and tension without growing too long or tedious. It’s a highly underappreciated series, and it was cancelled before its time. Bring back the creepypastas and sleepless nights!

#8: “The Terror” (2018-)

“The Terror” is a brilliant and bloodcurdling concoction that blends claustrophobia, madness, and good old-fashioned monster spooks. Adapted from the Dan Simmons novel of the same name, it’s based on the tragic true tale of the lost Franklin expedition, which became stranded in ice while attempting to locate the Northwest Passage. However, it’s how the series fills in the historical gaps that makes it so interesting. In this fictionalized account of their fate, the ship’s occupants must find a way to survive not only the brutally cold weather and haunting isolation, but also an unseen monster that’s stalking their ships. It plays with numerous subgenres of horror, all of which work well on their own, but which combine to create something utterly unique and terrifying.

#7: “True Detective” (2014-)

While not a horror series, the first season of “True Detective” is certainly unnerving. It starts with a disturbing discovery, as detectives Cohle and Hart investigate a bizarre crime scene that involves a corpse adorned with deer antlers positioned in a praying position. The entire season only escalates from there, building on the surreal and veering into “Twin Peaks” territory. In short, it is absolutely nothing like most police procedurals, despite its familiar concept. What makes “True Detective” so creepy is that the horror always feel grounded in reality - forcing viewers to contemplate what a dreary, brutal, and sinister place the world can be.

#6: “Chernobyl” (2019)

Speaking of dreary, brutal, and sinister, we might as well mention “Chernobyl.” Because holy cow is this some depressing stuff! HBO’s “Chernobyl” miniseries was one of the biggest surprise hits of 2019. It tells the complicated and tragic story of the Chernobyl disaster, delving into the political machinations behind-the-scenes, the expensive and elaborate recovery effort, and the deeply personal stories of the afflicted. The series captures the disaster itself in horrifyingly realistic detail, as well as the pain and suffering wrought upon those who battled the radiation. We all knew the general story of the disaster, but seeing it play out is absolutely devastating.

#5: “American Horror Story” (2011-)

“American Horror Story” is one of the most well-known - and loved - TV horror series. Sure, it can be a little corny at times, but there’s a reason it’s so popular. The beauty of anthology shows is that they present something new each season, so if you didn’t like one, you can always come back for the next. “American Horror Story” has run the horror gamut, including haunted houses and hotels, freaky asylums, witches, serial killers, cults, and the apocalypse. Some seasons are better than others, but “American Horror Story” still has a great track record and is responsible for some of the most outlandish and chilling television scenes of the decade. . . . Which is all the more reason not to watch it alone.

#4: “The X-Files” (1993-2002; 2016-18)

If there’s a horror story worth telling, it’s probably been told on “The X-Files.” While modern audiences may find “The X-Files” a little dated, it’s nevertheless a masterpiece of television. Before this, very few horror programs had made a significant impact with mainstream audiences. That all changed with “The X-Files,” a paranormal show for adults that spun a wide and complex mythology involving various unexplained phenomena, and of course aliens! When it wasn’t telling a gripping tale of UFOs and government conspiracies, it was thrilling us with memorable standalone stories. It became a cornerstone of horror television - one that continues to get under your skin even with repeat viewings. Just don’t watch alone with the lights off if you’re hoping to sleep that night.

#3: “Black Mirror” (2011-)

There are two reasons you may not want to watch “Black Mirror” alone. The first is that certain episodes are mind-blowingly terrifying. The second however is that they’re also incredibly thought-provoking, and discussing them can be as rewarding as the episodes themselves. Sure, there are a few duds sprinkled here and there, but “Black Mirror” has remained mostly consistent since its inception - providing us with modern day cautionary tales about the dangers of unchecked technological advancement. Of course, it’s not all sci-fi theorizing. Some episodes, including Shut Up and Dance, Smithereens, and The National Anthem, utilize current technology and grounded stories to achieve equally dazzling results. It’s guaranteed to get you thinking about the future, and really, what is scarier than that?

#2: “The Strain” (2014-17)

“The Strain” is easily one of the most criminally overlooked shows of the 2010s. It was created by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan and adapted from their Strain Trilogy of novels. The story follows Ephraim Goodweather, a doctor who must help save the world from vampirism. While the story is perhaps not the most original, and the style can be a little B-movie, it IS well told, complete with a thrilling pace and all the wonderful, gory vampire violence you’d expect from Guillermo del Toro. It will, however, have you checking under the bed and in the closet after you watch it - especially without a friend to share the scares with.

Before we look at the show you most definitely should not watch alone, here are a few honorable mentions.

“Castle Rock” (2018-)

“Sharp Objects” (2018)

“Mindhunter” (2017-)

“The Handmaid’s Tale” (2017-)

“Fortitude” (2015-18)

#1: “Hannibal” (2013-15)

Anthony Hopkins might be the creepiest, and most iconic Hannibal Lecter. But Mads Mikkelsen absolutely kills it in the role in the TV series “Hannibal”, making it his own and presenting a far more intimate portrayal of the cannibalistic serial killer. The show follows the interactions between Hannibal and disturbed FBI investigator Will Graham. It’s a wonderful series that masterfully blends intellectual cat-and-mouse thrills with pure, visceral horror. Mikkelsen portrays Hannibal with confidence, grace, and subtle menace. It’s one of the most accomplished horror shows of all time and unlike anything else seen on network television. Just invite a friend over before you start binging. And we don’t mean for dinner . . .