GUYANA TRAGEDY: THE STORY OF JIM JONES; Big Love; Waco; The Source Family (CBS Television/ Courtesy: Everett Collection; HBO; Paramount Network; Independent Pictures)

Cults on TV by Tomatometer

In one of the first TV portrayals of dangerous cult influence, 1980 miniseries Guyana Tragedy: The Story of Jim Jones told the disturbing story of a leader who prompted 913 people to commit mass suicide in South America. Powers Boothe won an Emmy for his portrayal of Jones.

This week, Taylor Kitsch debuted as David Koresh in the six-part Paramount Network miniseries about the 51-day 1993 standoff between the FBI, ATF, and members of the Branch Davidian sect. The clash, in which 76 people died, began because the group was suspected of weapons violations and escalated into a deadly fire at the Davidian compound in Waco, Texas.

Where does Waco stand among its cults-on-TV brethren? The following 11 dramatic series and documentaries tell tales of charismatic people and controversial spiritual movements.

#1
Adjusted Score: 97.812%
Critics Consensus: Thoroughly disquieting but impossible to ignore, Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief is a searing investigative work from a master documentarian.
Synopsis: Directed by Oscar winner Alex Gibney and based on the book by Pulitzer Prize winner Lawrence Wright, Going Clear profiles... [More]
Directed By: Alex Gibney

Big Love (2006)
79%

#2
Synopsis: The complicated life of Bill Henrickson, a Utah businessman who also happens to be a polygamist with three wives and... [More]

The Path (2016)
77%

#3
Synopsis: A family struggles with relationships, marriage and power during a controversial religious movement in this drama series.... [More]

Synopsis: Controversies surrounding the church of Scientology are explored.... [More]

#5
#5
Adjusted Score: 66.685%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: It's 1971 and communes and new religions are on the rise. The Source Family are an "Aquarian tribe," a secretive... [More]

Adjusted Score: 76.25%
Critics Consensus: American Horror Story: Cult intrigues with timely, over-the-top creepiness - and lots of clowns - despite being hampered by broad political generalizations and occasional holes in the narrative's logic.
Synopsis: Season 7 of the FX horror anthology. ... [More]

Waco (2018)
68%

#7
Synopsis: The untold story exploring the true life details leading up to and chronicling the 1993 standoff between the FBI, ATF... [More]

Aquarius (2015)
77%

#8
Synopsis: A police sergeant in the 1960s tries to hunt down cult leader Charles Manson in this crime series.... [More]
Directed By: Jonas Pate

The Following (2013)
59%

#9
Synopsis: THE FBI estimates there are currently up to 300 active serial killers in the United States.... [More]

Cult (2013)
38%

#10
Synopsis: There is television and there is the world we live in. In the shadows where they meet, there is CULT.... [More]

The Prisoner (2009)
17%

#11
Synopsis: A reworking of the 1960s cult hit about an amnesiac held in a mysterious area called the Village, where inhabitants... [More]

Waco airs Wednesdays at 10/9C on Paramount Network.


Tag Cloud

Mary Poppins Returns jamie lee curtis television historical drama Opinion Amazon richard e. Grant DGA hist miniseries Ovation Trivia Apple Calendar Winter TV YouTube Red VH1 FOX spinoff Valentine's Day crime drama theme song Western Tarantino unscripted Lifetime Shondaland Mindy Kaling 2015 Super Bowl LGBTQ boxoffice based on movie 2018 ABC Winners Oscars Stephen King Elton John APB CBS Hulu Mary Tyler Moore OWN justice league dceu Schedule San Diego Comic-Con docudrama harry potter USA Network USA Amazon Prime Crackle Creative Arts Emmys Epix Universal 2016 Anna Paquin Nat Geo TCM dragons Fall TV Awards Tour Character Guide festivals Polls and Games Acorn TV Tumblr ABC Family talk show LGBT adaptation social media American Society of Cinematographers HBO Premiere Dates romance Summer Teen Rocketman Watching Series cooking Holidays Freeform Marvel Lucasfilm zero dark thirty Warner Bros. Food Network Election 007 witnail Sundance BBC TV Land Superheroes anime Song of Ice and Fire 24 frames Superheroe animated CBS All Access natural history Countdown Britbox DC Comics binge green book 2019 Logo Comics on TV composers Comedy PaleyFest Star Wars Chilling Adventures of Sabrina FXX Ellie Kemper medical drama cinemax PBS SXSW Disney Horror sitcom Emmys A&E YouTube Premium Writers Guild of America Nickelodeon cops AMC E3 Dark Horse Comics Paramount Biopics true crime Cosplay GLAAD Mary poppins Reality golden globes SundanceTV 21st Century Fox Starz Showtime Cartoon Network Film Festival nature 2017 Fantasy Interview Spike Pride Month The Arrangement Set visit Mudbound BET Certified Fresh mutant Grammys Fox News Columbia Pictures Reality Competition Drama DirecTV Sundance Now TBS Captain marvel GoT police drama Black Mirror adventure cats Masterpiece Best and Worst TV Box Office 45 E! game show DC Universe National Geographic Vudu Thanksgiving Rock ratings aliens crossover travel Musicals Rocky Women's History Month Country Musical doctor who Nominations Podcast Pirates Marathons Year in Review TNT TIFF facebook ESPN Toys Trophy Talk Awards Christmas strong female leads Quiz TCA 2017 The CW DC streaming service Red Carpet science fiction what to watch period drama Rom-Com spy thriller NYCC Comic Book FX Pop MTV President Ghostbusters Sneak Peek Esquire psycho Martial Arts Music Action Sci-Fi El Rey technology biography robots Spring TV Tomatazos Bravo TruTV Cannes Heroines streaming Pet Sematary Brie Larson Shudder Star Trek Paramount Network elevated horror singing competition CNN award winner teaser discovery RT History Disney Channel Extras Trailer History diversity space political drama Comedy Central RT21 TLC blaxploitation finale Infographic Adult Swim Kids & Family Walt Disney Pictures Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt spider-man The Witch sports Netflix dramedy sequel Photos CW Seed comic casting TCA ITV GIFs 20th Century Fox dc NBC Syfy war Animation BBC America Sony Pictures mockumentary disaster anthology crime IFC comiccon supernatural Pixar New York Comic Con cults zombies Mystery crime thriller zombie Video Games MSNBC First Look CMT WGN vampires serial killer See It Skip It Chernobyl politics SDCC Spectrum Originals YA X-Men VICE MCU psychological thriller IFC Films Lionsgate transformers thriller toy story