The Best TV Shows on Shudder

TV Lists Shudder
The Best TV Shows on Shudder

For the horror, sci-fi and thriller-minded among us, AMC’s Shudder has become an increasingly valuable resource. As one of the first niche streaming services to go big, it pioneered the idea that genre fans would be willing to pay a monthly fee just to gain access to a specific library of horror and thriller titles, and has since supplemented that library (which has grown and shrunk at various points in the last few years, like all streaming services) with a fair amount of original content—none receiving more attention than the well-received reboot of George Romero’s anthology Creepshow.

The nature of that reboot, however, highlights something people tend to overlook with Shudder: The service isn’t just stuffed with feature films, although we do have a list of the best movies on the service as well. At the same time, there’s a good number of TV series and “specials” floating around Shudder. Unsurprisingly, that includes several series from parent company AMC (no Walking Dead core series, but some related content), as well as a few interesting Shudder originals.

If you’re looking for some new, long-form horror to discover, then, check out a few of these series streaming on Shudder.

10. The 101 Scariest Horror Movie Moments of All Time

Created by: Marwar Junction Productions
Stars: Fede Alvarez, Edgar Wright, Mike Flanagan, Alexandra Essoe, Greg Nicotero
Original Network: Shudder

Effectively a tribute to the classic countdown miniseries of almost the same name that originally aired on TV network Bravo in 2004, The 101 Scariest Horror Movie Moments is a 2022 Shudder original, a comfortably familiar format that has been nicely updated for the age of “prestige horror,” featuring some excellent commentary by luminaries of the industry. To its credit, the picks here aren’t totally conventional, either—there are some genuinely off the wall selections, including a few that challenge the “horror movie” portion of the title. And then there are also just some tributes to horror films that haven’t received a ton of attention in the English-speaking world, such as Argentina’s 2017 Aterrados, or Terrified. There are a few choices made here that I don’t particularly agree with, most visibly the choice to have directors on as a talking head to discuss their own movies, but this special is still great background material for your next Halloween party. —Jim Vorel

9. Cursed Films


Created by: Jay Cheel
Original network: Shudder

Shudder’s Cursed Films is an immediately enticing docuseries that plumbs the depths of one frequent horror geek topic of discussion—the macabre histories of horror films themselves. Each episode of the five-part series “explores the myths and legends behind some of Hollywood’s notoriously ‘cursed’ horror film productions,” although it thankfully never truly veers too far into the realm of actual supernatural speculation. Rather, it’s more a tribute to troubled productions and films whose legacies have been forever associated with tragedies, be it the young death of Poltergeist actresses Dominique Dunne and Heather O’Rourke, or the real-life serial killer who managed to make it into a few minutes of footage in The Exorcist. The macabre trivia aspect, combined with some exploration of the tendency of horror fans to dwell on the disturbing, calls to mind the documentaries of Room 237 director Rodney Ascher, as horror fans ultimately are asked to turn their perception upon themselves and question why these stories of “cursed films” are so memorable. —Jim Vorel

8. Preacher


Created by: Sam Catlin, Evan Goldberg, Seth Rogen
Stars: Dominic Cooper, Joseph Gilgun, Ruth Negga
Original network: AMC

AMC’s Preacher had something of a short half-life in the American consciousness, landing like a bolt out of heaven in 2016 but fading into semi-obsolescence by the time it concluded in 2019. On some level, this was just a function of the show being unable to maintain the furious momentum with which it arrived, but at the same time Preacher was always destined to be a tough sell to a lot of folks–its hyper violent and profane take on Christianity was designed to rub many people the wrong way from the moment author Garth Ennis put pencil to paper in the classic Vertigo comic series this was adapting. Frankly, it’s a wonder that some of the material in Preacher, like its inbred Christ scion (played by All-American Rejects singer Tyson Ritter of all people), ever made it to the small screen at all.

What really works in Preacher from start to finish, though, is the chemistry and camaraderie between its three leads in Cooper, Gilgun and Negga, portraying the titular preacher infused with a celestial power, his Irish vampire best friend and longtime lover respectively. These three, with their bullshitting swagger, capability and indefatigable humor, make Preacher an eminently watchable road trip through the bastions of gospel weirdness, even in the periods where its core plot bogs down from time to time. Preacher certainly never lacked for ambition or daring, and its leads give it a solid foundation. —Jim Vorel

7. A Discovery of Witches


Created by: Deborah Harkness
Stars: Teresa Palmer, Matthew Goode, Edward Bluemel, Louise Brealey, Malin Buska, Aiysha Hart, Owen Teale, Alex Kingston, Valarie Pettiford.
Original network: Sky One

Television may have fallen a bit out of love with vampires, but if you’re still drawn to supernatural romances full of forbidden love, A Discovery of Witches will be right up your alley. Based on the All Souls trilogy by Deborah Harkness, this romantic fantasy series stars Teresa Palmer as Diana Bishop, a historian and reluctant witch who discovers a long-lost manuscript during her research that is said to contain the origin stories of witches, vampires, and daemons. To protect herself from those who seek the book and wish to do her harm, Diana rethinks her stance on magic and begins to embrace her powers with the aid of a sexy and powerful vampire known as Matthew Clairmont (Matthew Goode). A steamy romance soon blossoms between the two, but because an ancient covenant meant to protect supernatural beings from humans states they cannot fraternize outside of their kind, Diana and Matthew’s desperate love is a forbidden affair, which only serves to make things hotter. Now is the perfect time to fall in love with this escapist fantasy.

6. Eli Roth’s History of Horror

Created by: Eli Roth
Original network: AMC

Part of the “AMC Visionaries” series, which also included James Cameron’s series on science fiction, Eli Roth’s History of Horror is more or less what the name implies—a guided tour from Roth, a founding member of the “splat pack” era of extreme American horror, as he leads the viewer through various subgenres, complete with a bunch of famous talking heads. Episodes dive into such themes as “zombies,” “slashers” or “the demons inside,” and are good primers for those who don’t know as much about the history or roots of the genre. More than anything, though, they’re entertaining for the guests, which range from the likes of Jamie Lee Curtis talking Halloween to Tony Todd swinging by to discuss Candyman. This is sort of horror comfort food in a way; an indication that the genre means something to others, as it does to you. Of note: History of Horror is also a Shudder podcast, which likewise features Roth interviewing some big names (Stephen King, Edgar Wright, Quentin Tarantino) alongside some unexpected ones (how did they get Tippi Hedren to do this?). Both the series and podcast are full of interesting nuggets. —Jim Vorel

5. Chucky

Chucky Makes a Delightfully Deranged Return in a New Series Full of Familiar Mayhem

Created by: Don Mancini
Stars: Brad Dourif, Zackary Arthur, Alyvia Alyn Lind, Bjorgvin Arnarson
Original network: Syfy

Ask yourself: what do you want from a Chucky TV show? If you want believable dialogue, compelling characters, and a coherent narrative, this may not be the place. If you want a demon doll who creatively and excessively kills a host of human characters in ways that will make you laugh, groan, and be grossed out, then yes: Chucky delivers. Not that these two things can’t exist simultaneously, but when it comes to USA and Syfy’s campy horror series based on the enduring franchise, you need to opt-in to the good-time gory fun with these caveats in mind.

Chucky comes from Child’s Play mastermind Don Mancini, and takes place in Hackensack, New Jersey. The prolific killer doll is matched with a new friend quickly: Jake Wheeler (Zackary Arthur), an artsy middle-school outsider who likes making freaky doll sculptures, picks Chucky up at a yard sale. Jake can’t quite manage to pull Chucky’s head off to add him to his collection, though, and pretty quickly comes to understand that this Good Guy doll is actually a Bad Guy and a vicious killer—one who wants to ostensibly “help” Jake through some difficulties at school and at home, whether Jake wants him to or not.

Ultimately, the Chucky series is accessible for those starting out with the franchise and (I am assured) those who have enjoyed Chucky’s journey and various incarnations over the years. CG may smooth out some of his movements and facial expressions more than in the past, but the practical puppetry remains the star. Every time an unassuming kid or parent holds this bizarrely large doll, the tension begins to build. Will he wink, flip a bird, or grin before reaching for his knife? Or will he just remain calm and quiet, except for the occasional declaration: “Hi, I’m Chucky. Your friend till the end…” —Allison Keene

4. Creepshow

Created by: Greg Nicotero
Stars: David Arquette, Adrienne Barbeau, Tobin Bell, Giancarlo Esposito, Tricia Helfer, Dana Gould, Cailey Fleming
Original network: Shudder

In this version of Creepshow, the original fans get their nostalgia, with the old masters well represented and throwback tones well mimicked, while the new inductees get enough modernity to Trojan Horse in the show’s addictive camp. Like all anthologies, it’s hard for one review to suffice for the whole series. There’s going to be a segment that’s just terrible. That’s just probability at work. So, in order to best judge their potential for the future, you have to look at who’s curating and what they’ve brought to the table. Nicotero lives for this stuff and his segment is great; he gets it. In fact, Creepshow’s first pair of ghoulish tales so solidly nail what made the original so beloved (an unabashed sense of look-what-we-can-get-away-with fun) that it’s easy to get swept up in its own appreciation for the dark material. It might not all be perfect in the coming episodes, but it’ll certainly be a good gamble. Creepshow’s a Halloween party thrown by your favorite goths and worth attending simply to see what will pop out of the closet next. —Jacob Oller

3. Channel Zero

channel zero.JPG

Created by: Nick Antosca
Stars: Various
Original network: Syfy

Drawing inspiration from the Internet urban legends known as “creepypastas,” the anthology series Channel Zero assembled a deeply unsettling locale, featured solid performances (especially from Paul Schneider) and wove a steadily mounting tapestry of dread. I can’t stress enough how refreshing the format is—an hourlong horror drama that is seriously attempting to frighten, one where each season is compressed into a mere six episodes, with the audience knowing in advance that they’ll get a real conclusion. The result, therefore, is almost like a prestige horror miniseries: It reminds one of nothing so much as Stephen King’s IT, with its simultaneous stories in different timelines and themes of horror built around the moments when childhood psyches are shattered. It’s a series that featured one of the year’s best, genuinely frightening pilot episodes, which pulls its protagonist back into a web of small-town secrets and supernatural mystery, full of nightmare-inducing imagery and a persistent feeling of uneasy familiarity. Watching Channel Zero: Candle Cove is a bit like walking past the abandoned house you were afraid of in your childhood, and then suddenly remembering the repressed story of the one time you ventured over the threshold and discovered the ghosts within. —Jim Vorel

2. Hannibal

Hannibal Review: "Mizumono"

Created by: Bryan Fuller
Stars: Mads Mikkelsen, Hugh Dancy, Laurence Fishburne, Gillian Anderson
Original network: Fox

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again; Hannibal airing on a broadcast network was nothing short of a minor miracle. After a stellar inaugural year, Bryan Fuller and company dared to up the stakes for their second go-around, taking major creative risks in the process. These risks came in the form of (among other things) sealing the protagonist in jail for a third of the run, killing off a major character, and ending the season with what I can only describe as the visual equivalent of a mic drop. Even in its weaker moments, the show always offered something memorable, whether it be an impressive visual, or an intense dialogue exchange. And while some viewers no doubt came to Hannibal purely for its inventive, if highly gruesome imagery (there’s certainly that in spades), chances are they ended up staying for the compelling writing, hypnotic performances, and luscious, evocative cinematography. —Mark Rozeman

1. The Last Drive-In with Joe Bob Briggs

Created by: Joe Bob Briggs
Stars: Joe Bob Briggs, Diana Prince
Original network: Shudder

The Last Drive-In isn’t really a true TV series, but at the same time, it’s a modern extension of several beloved TV shows: The Movie Channel’s Joe Bob’s Drive-In Theater and TNT’s MonsterVision, both of which were hosted by the one and only Joe Bob Briggs. The revival of that same format on Shudder (more or less) was a slam-dunk proposition that proved to be so popular in its initial execution that it repeatedly crashed the Shudder platform via live viewership, demonstrating that the passion for well-executed “horror host” shtick is still as strong as ever. With that kind of response, it was only natural that The Last Drive-In eventually became a semi-regular feature for Shudder, often aimed around holiday events, such as the recent shows for Halloween and Thanksgiving. As it was in the original TV broadcasts, the draw here is in watching Briggs (aka, film critic John Bloom) hold court on various vintage horror films like some kind of backyard philosopher king, punctuating the films with bizarre trivia and bits of context about the eras in which they were initially released. Few observers of the genre possess both such a deep well of information and a willingness to view the past through glasses that are anything but rose-colored. Indeed, watching Briggs is often an excellent antidote to the crippling aspects of nostalgia in the horror world, as he is more than willing to dissect and criticize films that other hosts would roundly praise. Ultimately, The Last Drive-In is a framing device that simply adds more value to some of the films in the Shudder library. —Jim Vorel

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