Succession s3

(Photo by HBO)

The 112 Best HBO Series, Ranked by Tomatometer

Updated: January 3, 2022

Game of Thrones’ may have been HBO’s most popular show ever — but is the epic fantasy series HBO’s all-time best-reviewed show?

Well, the short answer is no.

The longer answer is that the premium cable network offers plenty of new, buzzworthy series on its current lineup with higher scores than the drama, including dark comedy Barry, the sci-fi mystery of Westworld, and award-winning drama Big Little Lies. And that’s not to mention HBO’s signature prestige dramas including The Sopranos, Chernobyl, and Western period drama Deadwood.

In 2020, the highly anticipated first season of horror-fantasy Lovecraft Country and troubling docuseries The Vow joined those classics in our list of HBO’s best shows, along with a few more new additions in 2021: docuseries The Lady and the DaleAllen v. Farrow, and Tiger Woods–focused Tiger; series Painting with John, and J.K. Rowling’s crime series C.B. Strike, whose new season gave it the number of reviews needed to join the list. And then there was the zeitgeist-capturing duo of crime drama Mare of Easttown and biting comedy The White Lotus


Read more:


We’ve rounded up Tomatometer scores for the best HBO series and miniseries to make a list to fill your binge-watch calendar into next year. To qualify for the list, a series must have at least 10 reviews counting toward its score.

Is your favorite HBO title missing? Tell us in the comments.

Updated: Landscapers

Arli$$ (1996)
62%

#113
Synopsis: Arliss Michaels is the super athlete's super-agent, wheeling and dealing in the higher echelons of the sports world - an... [More]

Little Britain USA (2008)
64%

#112
Synopsis: British comedy stars David Walliams and Matt Lucas transplant some of their most popular "Little Britain" characters -- including Fat... [More]

Entourage (2004)
65%

#111
Synopsis: Led by Vince, an actor deemed the next big thing, four buddies migrate west from Queens, N.Y. Usually within his... [More]

Avenue 5 (2020)
67%

#110
Synopsis: A confident, controlled and personable space cruise ship captain tries to get along with everyone.... [More]

Sex and the City (1998)
70%

#109
Synopsis: A sex columnist, Carrie Bradshaw, and her three friends -- Samantha, Charlotte and Miranda -- explore Manhattan's dating scene, chronicling... [More]

True Blood (2008)
68%

#108
Synopsis: Small-town Louisiana waitress Sookie Stackhouse already is viewed as an oddball by her friends and neighbors, since she can read... [More]
Directed By: Alan Ball

Ballers (2015)
72%

#107
Synopsis: A superstar during his football playing days, Spencer Strasmore tries to find the same success as a financial manager for... [More]

The Comeback (2005)
73%

#106
Synopsis: "The Comeback" tells the story of a B-list sitcom star so desperate to revive her career that she agrees to... [More]

Tiger (2021)
74%

#105
Synopsis: Tiger Woods' dedication and obsession with the game of golf takes him not only to the heights of international fame... [More]
Starring: Tiger Woods

#104
Synopsis: Following the parallel lives of identical twin brothers Dominick and Thomas Birdsey in a story of betrayal, sacrifice and forgiveness.... [More]

Vinyl (2016)
74%

#103
Synopsis: The music scene in 1970s New York is still awash in sex and drugs, but rock 'n' roll is giving... [More]

The Vow (2020)
72%

#102
Synopsis: Following the experiences of people deeply involved in the self-improvement group NXIVM, an organization under siege with charges including sex... [More]
Starring:

#101
Synopsis: Well into the second generation of a grand televangelist tradition, the world-famous Gemstone family is living proof that worship pays... [More]

Perry Mason (2020)
75%

#100
Synopsis: Legal drama set in 1932 Los Angeles and based on novels and short stories penned by Erle Stanley Gardner.... [More]
Directed By: Tim Van Patten

The Undoing (2020)
75%

#99
Synopsis: A therapist's life unravels after she learns that her husband might be responsible for a widespread disaster.... [More]
Directed By: Susanne Bier

Industry (2020)
88%

#98
Synopsis: Graduates from all walks of life compete for a limited number of available full-time employment opportunities at Pierpoint, a top... [More]

Divorce (2016)
78%

#97
Synopsis: Raising two children together and sharing more than 10 years of marriage have taken a toll on Frances, who is... [More]

True Detective (2014)
78%

#96
Synopsis: Law enforcement officers navigate a web of conspiracy to deal with a bizarre murder.... [More]

Mosaic (2018)
79%

#95
Synopsis: Exploring the psychological underpinnings of love and murder in a small town, the six-part series "Mosaic" -- directed by Oscar... [More]

The Third Day (2020)
79%

#94
Synopsis: A man and a woman make separate journeys to a mysterious island off the British coast.... [More]

Bored to Death (2009)
79%

#93
Synopsis: This offbeat comedy series stars Jason Schwartzman as young writer Jonathan Ames, who turns his fantasies culled from reading suspense... [More]

The Young Pope (2016)
80%

#92
Synopsis: Young and charming, newly elected Pius XIII, aka Lenny Belardo, is the first American Pope in history. His ascension appears... [More]
Directed By: Paolo Sorrentino

Big Love (2006)
80%

#91
Synopsis: Bill Henrickson seems like a typical suburban husband and father, except for the fact that he has three wives, nine... [More]

Agents of Chaos (2020)
81%

#90
Synopsis: Alex Gibney examines Russia's interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.... [More]
Starring: Andrew Weissmann

John Adams (2008)
82%

#89
Synopsis: Adapted from David McCullough's Pulitzer Prize-winning biography, this lavish seven-part miniseries chronicles the life of Founding Father John Adams, starting... [More]

Mildred Pierce (2011)
81%

#88
Synopsis: Based on the title character introduced in James M. Cain's classic 1941 novel, the five-part miniseries stars Kate Winslet as... [More]

#87
Synopsis: An adaptation of Ingar Bergmann's 1973 Swedish TV miniseries about a marriage falling apart.... [More]

Six Feet Under (2001)
81%

#86
Synopsis: Laced with irony and dark situational humor, the show approaches the subject of death through the eyes of the Fisher... [More]
Directed By: Alan Ball

His Dark Materials (2019)
81%

#85
Synopsis: During her search for a kidnapped friend, a seemingly ordinary but brave young woman from another world uncovers a sinister... [More]

Westworld (2016)
81%

#84
Synopsis: Westworld isn't your typical amusement park. Intended for rich vacationers, the futuristic park -- which is looked after by robotic... [More]

C.B. Strike (2017)
82%

#83
Synopsis: Based on the best-selling novels by Robert Galbraith (aka J.K. Rowling), Tom Burke ("The Musketeers") stars as private detective Cormoran... [More]

#82
Synopsis: Based on the EC Comics series of the same name, this campy and stylized anthology series recounts a string of... [More]

Luck (2011)
82%

#81
Synopsis: A three-year stay in federal prison has given Chester "Ace" Bernstein plenty of time to think, and what he devises... [More]

Allen v. Farrow (2021)
82%

#80
Synopsis: A four-part series documenting the accusation of sexual abuse against Woody Allen involving Dylan, his then 7-year-old daughter with Mia... [More]
Starring:

Vice Principals (2016)
83%

#79
Synopsis: "Eastbound & Down" creators Danny McBride and Jody Hill team again for a dark comedy series -- no surprise there!... [More]

Efterforskningen (2020)
84%

#78
Synopsis: Head of the Copenhagen Police's Homicide unit Jens Møller investigates the murder of Swedish journalist Kim Wall.... [More]
Directed By: Tobias Lindholm

Animals. (2016)
84%

#77
Synopsis: HBO's decidedly adult animated comedy series ventures into the nether regions of Earth's least inhabitable environment, New York City, which... [More]
Directed By: Jay Duplass, Mark Duplass

Synopsis: An exploration of the exploitative and genocidal aspects of European colonialism, from America to Africa, and its impact on society... [More]
Starring: Josh Hartnett
Directed By: Raoul Peck, Rémi Grellety

Generation Kill (2008)
86%

#75
Synopsis: Highly trained young Marines of the First Reconnaissance Battalion struggle with inadequate supplies, bureaucratic snafus and poor communication as they... [More]

Rome (2005)
86%

#74
Synopsis: Two Roman soldiers are caught up in the historical events of an era that included the death of a republic... [More]

Enlightened (2011)
87%

#73
Synopsis: An ambitious corporate executive, Amy Jellicoe has succeeded despite the fact she can be her own worst enemy. After a... [More]

Synopsis: Ronan Farrow brings to life his interviews with whistle blowers, journalists, private investigators and other sources, conducted for his podcast... [More]
Starring: Ronan Farrow

Room 104 (2017)
88%

#71
Synopsis: Fascinated by what really happens at that corporate chain hotel near the airport -- from the funny and weird to... [More]

Extras (2005)
88%

#70
Synopsis: Andy Millman is a British fellow who quits his day job to pursue fame and fortune in the film industry.... [More]

Lovecraft Country (2020)
88%

#69
Synopsis: Atticus Black joins his friend Letitia and his Uncle George to embark on a road trip across 1950s Jim Crow... [More]

McMillion$ (2020)
89%

#68
Synopsis: The story of an ex-cop turned security officer who rigs the McDonald's Monopoly game promotion for a decade, stealing millions... [More]

Years and Years (2019)
89%

#67
Synopsis: An ordinary British family contends with the hopes, anxieties and joys of an uncertain future in this six-part limited series... [More]

Music Box (2021)
89%

#66
Synopsis: Concentrating on pivotal moments or stretches for a popular artist or band, an iconic album or the music business as... [More]
Starring:
Directed By: Bill Simmons

The White Lotus (2021)
89%

#65
Synopsis: The exploits of various guests and employees at a tropical resort over the span of a week.... [More]

Girls (2012)
89%

#64
Synopsis: An aspiring writer and her three friends, all in their early 20s, together try to make sense of what life... [More]
Directed By: Judd Apatow, Jenni Konner

Big Little Lies (2017)
89%

#63
Synopsis: Based on the same-titled bestseller by Liane Moriarty, "Big Little Lies" weaves a darkly comedic tale of murder and mischief... [More]

Game of Thrones (2011)
89%

#62
Synopsis: George R.R. Martin's best-selling book series "A Song of Ice and Fire" is brought to the screen as HBO sinks... [More]
Directed By: David Benioff, D.B. Weiss

Angels in America (2003)
90%

#61
Synopsis: Adapted from Tony Kushner's award-winning plays about social, sexual, religious and other issues facing 1980s America as the AIDS crisis... [More]
Directed By: Mike Nichols

We Are Who We Are (2020)
90%

#60
Synopsis: Two American kids who live on a U.S. military base in Italy explore friendship, first love, identity, and all the... [More]

The New Pope (2020)
90%

#59
Synopsis: As Pope Pius XIII hangs between life and death in a coma, charming and sophisticated moderate English aristocrat Sir John... [More]
Directed By: Paolo Sorrentino

Looking (2014)
90%

#58
Synopsis: Three best friends living in San Francisco share the nuances and complexities of contemporary gay relationships as they explore a... [More]
Directed By: Andrew Haigh, Sarah Condon

Gentleman Jack (2019)
92%

#57
Synopsis: It's 1832 in West Yorkshire, England -- the cradle of the evolving Industrial Revolution -- where landowner Anne Lister is... [More]

Togetherness (2015)
90%

#56
Synopsis: The spark in parents Brett and Michelle Pierson's marriage is all but extinguished. When his best friend, out-of-work actor Alex,... [More]

In Treatment (2008)
90%

#55
Synopsis: Based on an Israeli Academy Award-winning TV drama series, "In Treatment" features a psychologist confronting some uneasy personal truths. For... [More]

Euphoria (2019)
88%

#54
Synopsis: An American adaptation of the Israeli show of the same name, "Euphoria" follows the troubled life of 17-year-old Rue, a... [More]

Synopsis: The journey of Barack Obama, from his early upbringing to his time as the 44th U.S. president, set against the... [More]
Starring:

The Pacific (2010)
91%

#52
Synopsis: Based on the accounts of Marines in World War II, this 10-part miniseries follows the intertwined journeys of three U.S.... [More]

Eastbound & Down (2009)
91%

#51
Synopsis: After substance abuse and insanely self-destructive and obnoxious behavior throw a knuckle ball at his Major League Baseball career, former... [More]

The Outsider (2020)
91%

#50
Synopsis: Based on Stephen King's best-selling novel of the same name, "The Outsider" begins by following an investigation which at first... [More]

The Leftovers (2014)
91%

#49
Synopsis: In a global cataclysm, "The Sudden Departure," 140 million people disappeared without a trace. Three years later, residents of Mapleton,... [More]

Da Ali G Show (2000)
92%

#48

Oz (1997)
92%

#47
Synopsis: Inmates and correctional officers inside the Oswald State Correctional Facility, nicknamed "Oz," battle for power and survival amid warring factions... [More]

Getting On (2013)

#46
Synopsis: Based on the BBC series of the same name, "Getting On" follows the daily lives of overworked nurses and doctors... [More]

Deadwood (2004)
92%

#45
Synopsis: "Deadwood" is set in a mining town that was not part of any U.S. state or territory in the post-Civil... [More]

Sharp Objects (2018)
92%

#44
Synopsis: Based on the debut novel of the same name by writer Gillian Flynn ("Gone Girl"), the eight-episode series "Sharp Objects"... [More]

The Sopranos (1999)
92%

#43
Synopsis: Tony Soprano juggles the problems of his fractious family with those of a "Family" of a different sort - the... [More]

Boardwalk Empire (2010)
92%

#42
Synopsis: Atlantic City at the dawn of Prohibition is a place where the rules don't apply. And the man who runs... [More]

#41
Synopsis: "Seinfeld" co-creator Larry David plays a version of himself on the improvised series. He faces a constant barrage of life's... [More]

Our Boys (2019)
94%

#40
Synopsis: Set in the summer of 2014, the series is based on the true events which led to the outbreak of... [More]

The Deuce (2017)
93%

#39
Synopsis: Created by George Pelecanos and David Simon, who also collaborated on HBO's "The Wire" and "Treme," the semifictional drama series... [More]

Veep (2012)
93%

#38
Synopsis: "Politics is about people," former Sen. Selina Meyer is fond of saying. Unfortunately, the people Meyer, a charismatic leader and... [More]

2 Dope Queens (2018)
94%

#37
Synopsis: Jessica Williams and Phoebe Robinson -- described as hilarious and socially aware at the same time -- bring their hit... [More]

Synopsis: New evidence comes to light in the abduction and murder of approximately 30 African American children and young adults occurring... [More]
Starring:

#35
Synopsis: Cutting edge musical comics Bret McKenzie and Jemaine Clement travel from their native New Zealand to New York in search... [More]

Olive Kitteridge (2014)
94%

#34
Synopsis: Oscar-winner Frances McDormand ("Fargo") and Oscar-nominee Richard Jenkins ("The Visitor") star in the four-part drama "Olive Kitteridge," adapted from Elizabeth... [More]

The Night Of (2016)
94%

#33
Synopsis: Based on the BBC series "Criminal Justice," HBO's eight-part production "The Night Of" stars John Turturro ("O Brother, Where Art... [More]

The Wire (2002)
94%

#32
Synopsis: This series looks at the narcotics scene in Baltimore through the eyes of law enforcers as well as the drug... [More]

Silicon Valley (2014)
94%

#31
Synopsis: Partially inspired by co-creator Mike Judge's experiences as a Silicon Valley engineer in the 1980s, this comedy series follows the... [More]

Succession (2018)
94%

#30
Synopsis: Although he has no plans to step aside as the head of Waystar Royco, the international media conglomerate controlled by... [More]

#29
Synopsis: Whistleblowers, insiders, newly leaked documents, behind-the-scenes access to investigations and exclusive interviews offer insights into Big Pharma, political operatives and... [More]
Starring:

#28
Synopsis: Acclaimed actress, writer and producer Tracey Ullman, a longtime HBO favorite, returns to the network to front another sketch comedy... [More]

Mare of Easttown (2021)
95%

#27
Synopsis: Small-town Pennsylvania detective Mare Sheehan investigates a murder as life crumbles around her.... [More]

#26
Synopsis: An exploration of the case of the Golden State Killer who terrorized California in the 1970s and 1980s, committing 50... [More]
Starring:
Directed By: Liz Garbus

()
%

#25

My Brilliant Friend (2018)
97%

#24
Synopsis: Pseudonymous author Elena Ferrante has written four mega-popular Neapolitan novels that explore the complicated intensity of female friendship. "My Brilliant... [More]

Chernobyl (2019)
95%

#23
Synopsis: Brave men and women act heroically to mitigate catastrophic damage when the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant suffers a nuclear accident... [More]

Watchmen (2019)
96%

#22
Synopsis: Based on the celebrated graphic novel by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons, the exciting and dark "Watchmen" takes place in... [More]

Sally4Ever (2018)
97%

#21
Synopsis: Written, directed by and starring Julia Davis (creator of the original British series "Camping"), "Sally4Ever" is an HBO/Sky Atlantic co-production... [More]
Directed By: Julia Davis

Band of Brothers (2001)
97%

#20
Synopsis: This series, originally broadcast on HBO, tells the story of Easy Company, 506th Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division, U.S.... [More]
Directed By: Phil Alden Robinson

Landscapers (2021)
98%

#19
Synopsis: A seemingly ordinary British couple become the focus of an extraordinary investigation when two dead bodies are discovered in the... [More]

Treme (2010)
96%

#18
Synopsis: Set in post-Katrina New Orleans, this hourlong drama series, from "The Wire" executive producers David Simon and Eric Overmyer, follows... [More]

Insecure (2016)
97%

#17
Synopsis: Modern-day black women might be described as strong and confident; in other words, just the opposite of Issa and Molly.... [More]

Betty (2020)
98%

#16
Synopsis: Young women navigate the predominantly male-oriented world of skateboarding in New York City.... [More]

Synopsis: John Oliver won an Emmy for his work as a writer on "The Daily Show With Jon Stewart," but it... [More]
Starring: John Oliver

High Maintenance (2016)
98%

#14
Synopsis: The Guy is a nameless marijuana dealer in Brooklyn who delivers his goods via bicycle to stressed-out clients across New... [More]
Starring: Ben Sinclair

I May Destroy You (2020)
98%

#13
Synopsis: After being sexually assaulted in a nightclub, Arabella's life changes irreversibly and she is forced to reassess everything, including her... [More]

Barry (2018)
99%

#12
Synopsis: Disillusioned at the thought of taking down another "mark," depressed, low-level hit man Barry Berkman seeks a way out. When... [More]
Directed By: Alec Berg, Bill Hader

We're Here (2020)
100%

#11
Synopsis: An American reality television series featuring former "RuPaul's Drag Race" contestants Bob the Drag Queen, Eureka O'Hara and Shangela Laquifa... [More]

The Corner (2000)
100%

#10
Synopsis: The life of a family living in poverty in West Baltimore.... [More]

Synopsis: This series is composed of surreal sketch comedy pieces dealing with everything from politics and religion to popular culture. The... [More]

Painting With John (2021)
100%

#8
Synopsis: Filmed at his worktable, artist John Lurie hones his intricate watercolor techniques and shares reflections on what he has learned... [More]

The Lady and the Dale (2021)
100%

#7
Synopsis: The story of Elizabeth Carmichael, who released a fuel-efficient vehicle during the 1970s gas crisis; as she wins over major... [More]
Starring:

Synopsis: Documentary filmmaker John Wilson embarks on an odyssey of self-discovery and cultural observation by covertly filming the lives of fellow... [More]
Starring: John Wilson

The Defiant Ones (2017)
100%

#5
Synopsis: "The Defiant Ones" tells of the unbreakable bond of trust and friendship between music legends Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre,... [More]

#4
Synopsis: Writer/director/producer Terence Nance is the mastermind behind this project, a "show about the beauty and ugliness of contemporary American life,"... [More]
Starring: Terence Nance

Los Espookys (2019)
100%

#3
Synopsis: A primarily Spanish-language comedy (with English subtitles), the series follows the adventures of Renaldo, a horror and gore enthusiast who... [More]

#2
Synopsis: Seeking to address the failures of the comedy landscape and entertainment industry to include vital voices, this narrative series set... [More]

#1
Synopsis: Hey now! This series offers a behind-the-scenes look at late-night talk show host Larry Sanders (Garry Shandling) and the production... [More]


Like this? Subscribe to our newsletter and get more features, news, and guides in your inbox every week.

Featured image: Mario Perez/HBO


On an Apple device? Follow Rotten Tomatoes on Apple News.

Being Human (BBC America), True Blood (HBO), BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Season 3, 1996-2003 (©20thCentFox/Courtesy Everett Collection); What We Do in the Shadows (FX), THE VAMPIRE DIARIES, (from left): Paul Wesley, Nina Dobrev, Ian Somerhalder, (Season 1), 2009-. (photo: Andrew Eccles / © CW / Courtesy: Everett Collection)

(Photo by BBC America; HBO; ©20thCentFox/Courtesy Everett Collection; FX; Andrew Eccles / © CW / Courtesy: Everett Collection)

TV Vampires By Tomatometer

Even before the fall 2008 premieres of True Blood on HBO and Twilight in theaters ushered in the vampire craze of the late 2000s, television had immortalized the mythological creatures in series dating back to the early days of the medium.

Off-kilter 1960s sitcom The Munsters included bloodsuckers in its cast of spooky characters, and supernatural soap opera Dark Shadows, which debuted in 1966, introduced a number of nightwalkers over its six-year run.

Rotten Tomatoes has compiled a list of TV’s best and worst vampire series. While the shows don’t all have to be solely about vampires, each of the series on this list must have significant characters with the urge to suck blood. That’s why even though General Hospital spin-off Port Charles didn’t start off as a supernatural series, it made this list anyway because of the series’ vampire-related story lines.

True Blood and The Vampire Diaries, of course, feature prominently, but there are also many that debuted before Edward Cullen sparkled in the sunlight — the grand dame of teen supernatural soap operas, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, for one. We’ve also added newcomers, including the based-on-the-film FX comedy What We Do in the Shadows and Dracula, a Netflix-BBC co-production from Sherlock creators Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat.

Check out our list of the best vampire TV shows ranked by Tomatometer. Shows that don’t have series-level scores are listed alphabetically after the numbered entries.

()
%

#38

Van Helsing (2016)

#37
Synopsis: In this reimagining of the classic Dracula story, the world is dominated by vampires, requiring humans to work together to... [More]

Valemont (2010)

#36
Synopsis: A young woman investigates the mysterious death of her brother at an elite university.... [More]

Ultraviolet (2018)

#35
Synopsis: An online community of amateur sleuths uses technology to solve crimes -- and make quirky friends -- in a quest... [More]

()
%

#34

()
%

#33

#32
Synopsis: Newspaper reporter uncovers supernatural causes in his investigations.... [More]

()
%

#31

()
%

#30

Dark Shadows (1966)

#29
Synopsis: A vampire returns to his family mansion in Collinsport, Maine.... [More]

()
%

#28

Blood Ties (2007)

#27
Synopsis: While trying to solve a complicated murder case, Toronto private investigator Vicki Nelson encounters dashing Henry Fitzroy, who looks to... [More]

Moonlight (2007)
22%

#26
Synopsis: In this eerie mystery series, private investigator Mick St. John is charismatic, resourceful and undead. Alex has been a vampire... [More]

Hemlock Grove (2013)
38%

#25
Synopsis: Based on the book by Brian McGreevy and executive produced by acclaimed horror master Eli Roth ("Hostel"), this Netflix original... [More]

Dark Shadows (1991)
50%

#24
Synopsis: When a modern-day groundskeeper opens the Collins family crypt during a treasure hunt, Barnabas Collins, the 200-year-old family vampire, emerges... [More]
Directed By: Dan Curtis

Blade: The Series (2006)
50%

#23
Synopsis: Krista Starr returns from Iraq to learn that her twin brother, Zack, has died under mysterious circumstances. Krista soon meets... [More]

Dracula (2013)
53%

#22
Synopsis: In an update of Bram Stoker's iconic novel, Dracula travels to London, pretending to be an American entrepreneur with an... [More]

Midnight, Texas (2017)
61%

#21
Synopsis: Based on Charlaine Harris' book series by the same name, "Midnight, Texas" follows the lives of the strange inhabitants of... [More]

The Passage (2019)
62%

#20
Synopsis: Based on author Justin Cronin's trilogy of the same name, "The Passage" is a character-driven action drama that focuses on... [More]

Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: Favoring garish style over effective storytelling, the fifth American Horror Story strands a talented cast at Ryan Murphy's Hotel.

True Blood (2008)
68%

#18
Synopsis: Small-town Louisiana waitress Sookie Stackhouse already is viewed as an oddball by her friends and neighbors, since she can read... [More]
Directed By: Alan Ball

Death Valley (2011)

#17
Synopsis: Maintaining law and order is the mandate of the UTF, but this isn't exactly Benson and Stabler working the streets... [More]

Shadowhunters (2016)
76%

#16
Synopsis: On her birthday, Clary Fray discovers a surprise concerning her life. The teenager is not who she thinks she is... [More]

Being Human (2011)
77%

#15
Synopsis: "Being Human," based on a BBC series of the same name, features three 20-something roommates who each try to keep... [More]

Dracula (2020)
71%

#14
Synopsis: The Count Dracula legend transforms with new tales that flesh out the vampire's gory crimes -- and bring his vulnerability... [More]
Directed By: Sue Vertue

The Strain (2014)
79%

#13
Synopsis: Dr. Ephraim Goodweather, the head of the CDC's New York-based Canary Project, is called upon to investigate when an airplane... [More]

#12
Synopsis: Sarah Michelle Gellar takes on the role of Buffy Summers in this TV version of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," based... [More]

The Munsters (1964)
83%

#11
Synopsis: The family at 1313 Mockingbird Lane is a little... different. Dad Herman looks like Frankenstein's monster; mom Lily and her... [More]

The Originals (2013)
84%

#10
Synopsis: Klaus, the original vampire/werewolf hybrid, returns to New Orleans -- which his family helped build -- to investigate rumors of... [More]

The Vampire Diaries (2009)
86%

#9
Synopsis: This supernatural drama, based on the series of novels by L.J. Smith, details the lives of two brothers, Damon and... [More]

Preacher (2016)
87%

#8
Synopsis: Fulfilling a promise to his deceased father, one-time outlaw Jesse Custer returns home to West Texas to take over his... [More]

Angel (1999)

#7
Synopsis: Leaving his true love, Buffy, behind in Sunnydale, the vampire Angel tries to get a fresh start in Los Angeles.... [More]

Supernatural (2005)
93%

#6
Synopsis: This haunting series follows the thrilling yet terrifying journeys of Sam and Dean Winchester, two brothers who face an increasingly... [More]

Castlevania (2017)
94%

#5
Synopsis: Inspired by the popular video game series, this anime series is a dark medieval fantasy. It follows the last surviving... [More]

Penny Dreadful (2014)
91%

#4
Synopsis: Many people are familiar with classic literary characters like Dr. Frankenstein and Dorian Gray. "Penny Dreadful" brings those and other... [More]
Directed By: John Logan, Sam Mendes

#3
Synopsis: "A Discovery of Witches" is a fantasy series based on the similarly-named novel of the "All Souls" trilogy, written by... [More]

Synopsis: Based on the feature film of the same name from Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi, "What We Do in the... [More]

Being Human (2008)
100%

#1
Synopsis: Deciding to turn over a new leaf, a group of friends who also happen to be vampires and werewolves move... [More]


Like this? Subscribe to our newsletter and get more features, news, and guides in your inbox every week.

Penny Dreadful, True Blood, Teen Wolf, True Blood, Being Human (Showtime, HBO, MTV, Syfy)

(Photo by Showtime, HBO, MTV, Syfy)

15 Werewolf TV Shows, Ranked by Tomatometer

While there are plenty of TV series about easy-to-film supernatural creatures like witches and vampires, it’s much harder to make a fantastical lupine transformation happen on a TV budget and shooting schedule. But there are still plenty of series dedicated to werewolves, some with their names in the title — Teen Wolf, for one — and some with other creatures in their names — Buffy the Vampire Slayer (don’t forget that Oz was a werewolf).

Then again, special effects in television have improved dramatically over the past 20 years (and gotten much cheaper to produce), which means the transitions seen in recent series like The Vampire Diaries, True Blood, and yes, Teen Wolf, look pretty darn impressive compared to the decades before. Still, The Munsters had a werewolf in its cast of spooky creatures — though, like the hybrids on The Originals, he was half vampire too.

Rotten Tomatoes has compiled a list of the best and worst werewolf-related television shows. While the series don’t have to solely focus on werewolves to be included, the do have to include significant werewolf characters or storylines (hence the inclusion of so many vampire shows). The series are ranked by Tomatometer score, and shows without series-level scores were omitted — sorry, Bitten!

Don’t see your top dog here? Tell us about it in the comments. 

Wolf Lake (2001)
20%

#15
Synopsis: A pack of werewolves living in human form in a small Washington state town -- where human disappearances have been... [More]
Directed By: Alex Gansa, Rick Kellard

Hemlock Grove (2013)
38%

#14
Synopsis: Based on the book by Brian McGreevy and executive produced by acclaimed horror master Eli Roth ("Hostel"), this Netflix original... [More]

True Blood (2008)
68%

#13
Synopsis: Small-town Louisiana waitress Sookie Stackhouse already is viewed as an oddball by her friends and neighbors, since she can read... [More]
Directed By: Alan Ball

Death Valley (2011)

#12
Synopsis: Maintaining law and order is the mandate of the UTF, but this isn't exactly Benson and Stabler working the streets... [More]

Being Human (2011)
77%

#11
Synopsis: "Being Human," based on a BBC series of the same name, features three 20-something roommates who each try to keep... [More]

Teen Wolf (2011)
81%

#10
Synopsis: The high-school anonymity Scott McCall was trying to break free from couldn't have happened in a more mysterious, complicated way.... [More]

#9
Synopsis: Sarah Michelle Gellar takes on the role of Buffy Summers in this TV version of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," based... [More]

The Munsters (1964)
83%

#8
Synopsis: The family at 1313 Mockingbird Lane is a little... different. Dad Herman looks like Frankenstein's monster; mom Lily and her... [More]

The Originals (2013)
84%

#7
Synopsis: Klaus, the original vampire/werewolf hybrid, returns to New Orleans -- which his family helped build -- to investigate rumors of... [More]

The Vampire Diaries (2009)
86%

#6
Synopsis: This supernatural drama, based on the series of novels by L.J. Smith, details the lives of two brothers, Damon and... [More]

Angel (1999)

#5
Synopsis: Leaving his true love, Buffy, behind in Sunnydale, the vampire Angel tries to get a fresh start in Los Angeles.... [More]

Penny Dreadful (2014)
91%

#4
Synopsis: Many people are familiar with classic literary characters like Dr. Frankenstein and Dorian Gray. "Penny Dreadful" brings those and other... [More]
Directed By: John Logan, Sam Mendes

Synopsis: Based on the feature film of the same name from Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi, "What We Do in the... [More]

The Order (2019)
100%

#2
Synopsis: When Belgrave University student Jack Morton joins a fabled secret society, the Hermetic Order of the Blue Rose, he is... [More]

Being Human (2008)
100%

#1
Synopsis: Deciding to turn over a new leaf, a group of friends who also happen to be vampires and werewolves move... [More]


Like this? Subscribe to our newsletter and get more features, news, and guides in your inbox every week.

Game of Thrones series finale s8ep6 (Courtesy of HBO)

(Photo by HBO)

FALL 2019 TV SURVEY: 20 TV Shows That Defined the 2010s

For Rotten Tomatoes’ annual Fall TV Survey, we asked thousands of our users what they’re most looking forward to in the coming TV season and to reflect on the best shows from seasons past.

We’re looking at TV series that were so iconic in their era that they essentially defined the decade in which they aired the majority of their seasons. (If a show aired half its seasons in one decade and the other half in another, we tended to count it toward the earlier decade.) So we asked our survey respondents which shows best represented each of the five most recent decades.

Game of Thrones stole the 2010-2019 category, garnering 74% of the vote, compared to No. 2 Stranger Things’ 56%, and The Big Bang Theory’s 45% for third place.

We also asked which TV star ruled in the decade — no surprise here: The entire cast of Game of Thrones won with 45% of the vote; followed by Benedict Cumberbatch, who snagged 9% of the vote (Sherlock showed up at No. 24 in the list of TV titles that “defined the decade”); and, in third place, Veep‘s Julia Louis-Dreyfus with 8%.

Disagree with the survey results? Tell us in the comments who you think should have made the list or have been ranked higher.

Veep (2012)
93%

#20
Synopsis: "Politics is about people," former Sen. Selina Meyer is fond of saying. Unfortunately, the people Meyer, a charismatic leader and... [More]

Synopsis: Even though things are always changing for the Kardashian family in ways they never expected, Kim, Kourtney, Khloe and the... [More]

Doctor Who (2005)
90%

#18
Synopsis: An eccentric yet compassionate extraterrestrial Time Lord zips through time and space to solve problems and battle injustice across the... [More]

True Blood (2008)
68%

#17
Synopsis: Small-town Louisiana waitress Sookie Stackhouse already is viewed as an oddball by her friends and neighbors, since she can read... [More]
Directed By: Alan Ball

Better Call Saul (2015)
98%

#16
Synopsis: He wasn't always Saul Goodman, ace attorney for chemist-turned-meth dealer Walter White. Six years before he begins to represent Albuquerque's... [More]

#15
Synopsis: Live from New York for more than four decades, celebrity hosts join an award-winning ensemble cast to perform comedic sketches,... [More]
Directed By: Lorne Michaels

Glee (2009)
70%

#14
Synopsis: Optimistic teacher Will Schuester heads up McKinley High School's glee club -- New Directions -- a place where ambitious and... [More]

Grey's Anatomy (2005)
84%

#13
Synopsis: The medical drama series focuses on a group of doctors at a hospital in Seattle, including several who began their... [More]

Black Mirror (2011)
84%

#12
Synopsis: Featuring stand-alone dramas -- sharp, suspenseful, satirical tales that explore techno-paranoia -- "Black Mirror" is a contemporary reworking of "The... [More]
Starring:

The Handmaid's Tale (2017)
83%

#11
Synopsis: Based on the best-selling novel by Margaret Atwood, this series is set in Gilead, a totalitarian society in what used... [More]

#10
Synopsis: Leslie Knope, a midlevel bureaucrat in an Indiana Parks and Recreation Department, hopes to beautify her town (and boost her... [More]

Modern Family (2009)
85%

#9
Synopsis: Told from the perspective of an unseen documentary filmmaker, the series offers an honest, often-hilarious perspective of family life. Parents... [More]

This Is Us (2016)
94%

#8
Synopsis: The Pearson family's generational story unfolds in this emotional drama. In moments of love, joy, triumph and heartbreak, revelations emerge... [More]

#7
Synopsis: "American Horror Story" was created by the co-creators of "Glee," but the shows have little in common besides that. The... [More]

Synopsis: This British drama series follows the lives of the Crawley family and its servants in the family's classic Georgian country... [More]
Directed By: Julian Fellowes

#5
Synopsis: Piper Chapman is a public relations executive with a career and a fiance when her past suddenly catches up to... [More]

The Walking Dead (2010)
80%

#4
Synopsis: Based on the comic book series written by Robert Kirkman, this gritty drama portrays life in the months and years... [More]

The Big Bang Theory (2007)
81%

#3
Synopsis: Mensa-fied best friends and roommates Leonard and Sheldon, physicists who work at the California Institute of Technology, may be able... [More]

Stranger Things (2016)
91%

#2
Synopsis: Mysteries unravel in a small Midwestern town in the 1980s, involving supernatural forces, secret experiments and one strange girl.... [More]

Game of Thrones (2011)
89%

#1
Synopsis: George R.R. Martin's best-selling book series "A Song of Ice and Fire" is brought to the screen as HBO sinks... [More]
Directed By: David Benioff, D.B. Weiss


Like this? Subscribe to our newsletter and get more features, news, and guides in your inbox every week.

Daenerys in Game of Thrones season 8, episode 4 (HBO)

(Photo by HBO)

Expectations for the final season of Game of Thrones were higher than the Red Keep’s tallest spire, and, unfortunately, fans and critics alike were not universally impressed with the way creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss ended the story. Unlike the previous seven seasons — all of which are Certified Fresh with Tomatometer scores well into the 90s — season 8 is not only the lowest-scoring season on the Tomatometer, it is also the first-ever Rotten season of HBO’s fantasy series.

How does that work? Let’s do a bit of math: While the average score of each of season 8’s episodes is a Fresh 68%, a number of season-level reviews (those that consider the season in its entirety) published following the finale have brought the overall season score down into the Rotten range.

“This final season was all about big-huge set pieces, and a lot of the complexity burned away,” wrote Entertainment Weekly’s Darren Franich of the season as a whole. And Slate’s Willa Paskin noted in her review of the series finale, “Benioff and Weiss organized their entire series around an ending that they didn’t write to.”

But Thrones is not the only beloved series that critics felt whiffed its final at-bat. Series with high expectations for their final episodes include everything from HBO’s bro-tastic showbiz satire Entourage to PBS’ prestige TV detective drama Sherlock. And though those expectations might not have been quite as high as the dizzying, dragon-y heights that GoT needed to live up to, both of those series similarly seemed to let down longtime viewers.

Below, Rotten Tomatoes has gathered a list of beloved series whose early seasons were high-scoring and usually Certified Fresh — meaning they all received a large number of reviews, with many from top critics, and a score of more than 75% on the Tomatometer — and whose last season or two descended into Rotten territory. Some shows, like The Office, The West Wing, or How I Met Your Mother, managed to turn Rotten penultimate seasons around into Fresh final ones (which is why those three are not included below). But others, including Game of Thrones, Dexter, and Arrested Development, take their place among history’s best-reviewed shows with poorly reviewed endings.

A note: We’ve only included series with robust scores, and we would also like to reiterate that this is not an indictment of the included series, but rather a numbers-focused presentation of score drops.


Game of Thrones 89% 

Starks at the funeral in Game of Thrones season 8, episode 4 (Helen Sloan/HBO)

(Photo by Helen Sloan/HBO)

Highest-rated season: Game of Thrones: Season 4 (2014) 97%
Final season:  Game of Thrones: Season 8 (2019) 55%
Drop: 44%

While showrunners Benioff and Weiss were never going to please everyone, critics pointed to the series’ penultimate episode, “The Bells,” as a prime example of how “a transportive, well-acted, smartly written drama even non-genre fans can appreciate” (per the RT Critics Consensus for season 1) could devolve into such a divisive experience for fans. The Critics Consensus for “The Bells” in particular echoes a common complaint from the show’s closing moments: “too much plot in too little time muddles the story and may leave some viewers feeling its conclusions are unearned.”


Dexter 71% 

Michael C. Hall as Dexter (Showtime)

(Photo by Showtime)

Highest-rated season: Dexter: Season 2 (2007) 96%
Final season: Dexter: Season 8 (2013) 33%
Drop: 61%

Seasons 1, 2, 4, 5, and 7 of Showtime’s serial killer drama are all Certified Fresh, but seasons 6 and 8 plunged into Rotten territory. The Critics Consensus for season 6 counts “heavy-handed symbolism, an unimpressive villain, and a redundant arc for America’s favorite serial killer” among the reasons for its low score, while the season 8 summary calls it a “a bitterly disappointing final season that is so hesitant to punish its anti-hero for his misdeeds, it opts to punish its audience instead.”


Weeds 70% 

Mary-Louise Parker in Weeds (Showtime)

(Photo by Showtime)

Highest-rated season: Weeds: Season 2 (2006) 100%
Final season: Weeds: Season 8 (2012) 40%
Drop: 60%

The dark comedy followed suburban widow Nancy Botwin (Mary-Louise Parker) as she began to deal pot to make ends meet following the unexpected death of her husband — and eventually transformed into an international drug kingpin. But while the first season was Certified Fresh and the subsequent ones were generally well-liked, RT’s Critics Consensus for the eighth and final season notes that the “final installment burns the series’ remaining goodwill down to a sorry roach with perfunctory plotting and a sense that this story no longer resembles the one fans fell in love with.”


The Killing 68% 

Mireille Enos and Joel Kinnaman in The Killing (AMC)

(Photo by AMC)

Highest-rated season: The Killing: Season 1 (2011) 94%
Final season: The Killing: Season 4 (2014) 47%
Drop: 53%

The Seattle-set slow-burn mystery pursued by homicide detectives Sarah Linden (Mireille Enos) and Stephen Holder (Joel Kinnaman) started off with “thoughtful writing, believable characters, and realistic horror, even if its season finale was unsatisfying,” per the first season’s Critics Consensus. By the fourth season, resurrected by Netflix following AMC’s cancellation, it succumbed to “silliness” and strayed into “distractingly overwrought territory.”


True Blood 68% 

Anna Paquin and Alexander Skarsgard in True Blood (HBO)

(Photo by HBO)

Highest-rated season: True Blood: Season 3 (2010) 91%
Final season: True Blood: Season 7 (2014) 44%
Drop: 51%

HBO’s vampire drama, based on the Southern Gothic Sookie Stackhouse book series by bestselling author Charlaine Harris, took a few seasons for critics to warm up to it (it started at a barely Fresh 61% in season 1 and reached a series high of 95% in season 3). But the third season’s “graphic thrills, steamy romance, and biting satire for its fans” made way for a Rotten final two seasons, as the series ran out of steam and its seventh season was “content to limp along on familiar plot points.”


Arrested Development 74% 

Arrested Development (Netflix)

(Photo by Netflix)

Highest-rated season: Arrested Development: Season 1 (2003) 100%
Final season: Arrested Development: Season 5 (2018) 55%
Drop: 45%, though the drop from season 1 to season 4 was even more drastic at 73%

The first season of the formerly short-lived Fox gem is among the rare seasons Certified Fresh at 100%, and the subsequent two seasons that aired on the broadcast network are also strong with 94% and 100% Tomatometer scores, respectively. Netflix’s revival, on the other hand, can’t quite “live up to its own past.” At least the series’ fifth season (55%) was a bit of a second chance for the cast and creators, as season 4’s Critics Consensus put it simply: “They’ve made a huge mistake.” (Though the series has not officially been canceled, there’s no word on whether Netflix plans to make another season.)


UnREAL 81% 

Lifetime

(Photo by Lifetime)

Highest-rated season: UnREAL: Season 1 (2015) 98%
Final season: UnREAL: Season 4 () 50%
Drop: 43%

All three seasons of the dark, Bachelor-skewering drama that aired on Lifetime were Certified Fresh and brought renewed respect to the female-focused network. The fourth season, however, “fizzled out” and went directly to Hulu (“but the clever antics, confidence, and high energy” remained intact, per the season 4 CC).


Sherlock 78% 

Sherlock - BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH (Courtesy of Laurence Cendrowicz/Hartswood Films & MASTERPIECE)

(Photo by Laurence Cendrowicz/Hartswood Films & MASTERPIECE)

Highest-rated season: Sherlock: Season 2 (2012) 94%
Final season: Sherlock: Season 4 (2017) 54%
Drop: 39%

The first three full seasons of Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat’s modern Sherlock Holmes adaptations were all Certified Fresh with scores in the 90s. But the 2015 Christmas special wasn’t quite as well-received, and the fourth season, which came four years after season 3, was marred by “the lofty expectations created by the series’ lengthy hiatus.” Hm, sounds familiar…


Entourage 65% 

(Photo by HBO)

Highest-rated season: Entourage: Season 5 (2008) 76%
Final season: Entourage: Season 8 (2011) 46%
Drop: 30%

While the Hollywood antics of heartthrob Vinny Chase (Adrian Grenier) and his hangers-on were mostly well-received — most seasons of the HBO comedy are sitting comfortably in the 70s — the seventh season saw a turn as poorly received as Chase’s fictional epic, Medellin. As season 8’s Critics Consensus put it, “With Entourage‘s best stories behind it, the series finale feels like a merciful end.”


Prison Break 61% 

Prison Break's Dominic Purcell and Wentworth Miller (Fox)

(Photo by Fox)

Highest-rated season: Prison Break: Season 1 (2005) 78%
Final season: Prison Break: Season 4 (2008) 50%
Drop: 27%

The Fox drama’s self-explanatory title meant that the series was always going to have to fight against its own premise — there are only so many prisons to break out of, after all — but after a Certified Fresh debut season and a second installment that maintained the series’ “propulsive momentum,” per season 2’s CC, things went downhill. The third and fourth seasons were both Rotten at 50% — and while the original series finale delivered closure for fans, “the season’s ludicrous, plot-breaking twists betray the feeling that this saga should have ended a jailbreak or two before.” Fox’s 2017 revival nearly a decade after the series’ original end, didn’t fare much better: “familiar faces and frenetic action aren’t enough to make up for a plot that manages to bore while beggaring belief,” per the Critics Consensus.


Like this? Subscribe to our newsletter and get more features, news, and guides in your inbox every week.

For a star under 40, Anna Paquin is exceedingly accomplished: She won a Best Actress in a Supporting Role Oscar at 11 years old for her role in The Piano; starred in one of HBO’s biggest hit series, True Blood; and played teen superhero Rogue in four films of the blockbuster X-Men franchise.

On her latest series, Pop’s Flack, Paquin is responsible for saving celebrity reputations from turmoil, sometimes recovering their stardom from boredom or plateaued intrigue. She plays Robyn, a take-no-s— publicist for the biggest crisis-management — sorry, challenge-management — company (aka public relations firm) in England.

The lurid scandals and frenzied social media fallout Robyn deals with on Flack feel undeniably timely, but Paquin, who also executive produces the series, promises that Robyn is “absolutely not” based on her Hollywood experiences with publicists or public relations reps. Creator Oliver Lansley told reporters at the show’s Television Critics Association panel in February that Paquin’s character is actually an amalgamation of people he’s met, not just publicists.

“All of the stories came from a nugget of truth,” Langsley said of the nightmare scenarios Robyn has to manage, from Freudian slips to botched cosmetics and extramarital affairs.

Robyn and her fellow publicists regularly trade personal information for professional security, something Lansley said is quite common in the industry. Flack is all about how celebrity clients trade one scandal for another, conveniently wielding shame and sympathy to protect or regain their status.

Ahead of Flack’s premiere, Paquin shared what she admires about Robyn and hinted just how wild the show’s ride will be. But first, she tells us what shows she deems binge-worthy.


Anna Paquin headshot (courtesy Pop)

(Photo by courtesy Pop)

What’s appointment viewing for you?

Oh, I don’t have any… I don’t even know what day or time things are on, but I’m presuming it’s either when my children are going to bed or when I already would like to be asleep.


 What’s in your streaming queue?

Netflix

(Photo by Netflix)

I like documentaries. The darker the subject matter, the better. I’m a big true crime [fan].

Are you going to watch new Ted Bundy special on Netflix?

I’ve already watched it. It’s fascinating, if you’re into that genre. But I also listen to those podcasts about stuff like that so…

Like Dirty John?

Oh my god, that was great. But again, I didn’t know it was a TV show until I listened to the podcast and I was like, “Oh, I feel like there’s posters up for some, is it the same thing?” I’m a little bit in my mother bubble.


 What shows are on your DVR?

Showtime

(Photo by Showtime)

We are currently watching Escape at Dannemora… We’re up to episode five, so if you’ve seen the rest of it, don’t spoil it.


What’s coming soon that you’re excited for?

Pop

(Photo by Pop)

Flack. I’m serious. If I wasn’t in it, this would be a show I would be obsessed with. I mean, that opening scene’s pretty killer, right?


Sophie-Marie for Rotten Tomatoes: What drew you to the character of Robyn?

What’s not to love? I mean, she’s talented, smart, troubled and really good at her job — and morally ambiguous in all kinds of ways that I think are very real, raw, and authentic. And she gets some really, incredibly fun, smart, well-written dialogue. It kind of ticks all the boxes for me.

What makes her so good at a job that requires her to kind of walk a moral line, or jump right off the moral cliff, so often?

She had a really f—-d up childhood, you know? I mean, she basically raised her younger sister because their mother was mentally unwell. … You end up finding out more about that as the series goes on. But there’s also kind of a fight to survive-ness, like, “I will do whatever I need to do because I don’t have a safety net.”

She’s someone who has grown up in a household where mood stability was not a given and the ground rules changed all the time, because that’s the nature of living with someone who’s an addict or who has mental health issues. So that’s not abnormal for her. So, one sister ends up with this sort of perfect, by-the-book family life and [Robyn] ends up [being] someone who isn’t really sure who she is without the job of making other people’s illusions a reality.


Pop

(Photo by Pop)

I really love that reading of her character.

Yeah. And I would argue that what she does, she believes she’s doing for the right reasons. When she is lying to people in her private life, it’s because she doesn’t want to hurt people. She doesn’t want to be a source of pain.

It’s just that the world doesn’t really work like that. And when people find out, they’re not always happy that you protected them from the truth. Sometimes they’re absolutely irate that you thought that they couldn’t handle it or that you disrespected them in that way. And she’s kind of just keeping her head above the water, really.

Do you consider her an anti-heroine?

I guess it kind of depends how you define that. I mean, I guess? But I feel like that’s a sort of very broad term… I don’t think she’s like any other sort of woman I’ve seen on a TV show, so I’d kind of like to put her in her own little category by herself.


Pop

(Photo by Pop)

How does social media complicate her job and place the show in the current moment?

That’s actually a really interesting question because when these scripts were originally being developed, it was kind of before the social media bubble had really hit. So, one of the things we had to do in development, right before production, was go back in and do surgery on them so that the nature of the news cycle was up-to-date with what it actually is — which is “it happened three seconds ago, it’s already gone viral.”

What that does for plot is: creates a level of urgency to everything — there’s always a ticking clock. The scripts were wonderful before that was an element of it, but as far as just sort of upping the stakes, and keeping everyone’s heart racing just a little bit faster, and your audience going on the ride with you, where it is urgent now. Some of these crises are very fluffy to your average person who works really hard for a living and doesn’t have anything handed to them. It’s like, “Oh, really? You had plastic surgery and people found out? Poor you.” But to [the celebrities Robyn represents], it is the most important thing in the world.

I think that the addition of the way the internet and social media has changed the news cycle has only actually helped the show.


Anna Paquin on Flack, Pop

(Photo by Pop)

This show is pretty serious, but it’s billed as a dramedy. How would you describe Flack’s sense of humor?

Smart. Darker than dark. And delicious.

That’s true. It’s very rewarding.

Yes. It’s unapologetic. We do not color inside the lines.

That’s what makes it so…

Fun?

It’s so much fun.

One minute you’re laughing at something and you feel like, “Am I a terrible person for laughing at this?” And then there’s some sort of emotional punch that you didn’t see coming. We have a very talented writer, Oli Lansley, who created this series, and that’s all him.

The show could very easily have slipped into a procedural format —

Absolutely. It was very important to us that it not just be a procedural show. It’s fun, but its not as interesting. Getting to know the person and understand why they’re making the choices they are. There’s episodes later on where there’s some crisis happening at work, but there’s this whole other s—storm happening in her private life. The two impact each other.

[Sometimes], you end up making choices and your private life or your work life that maybe are compromised because of each other and it’s just more interesting because that’s real life.

Any good professional, you try not to bring your private life to work, but there’s some things that sometimes something’s gonna give.


Pop, Anna Paquin

(Photo by Pop)

You’ve done fantasy with True Blood, mystery with Bellevue, and now you’re in a dramedy. Do you have a favorite genre to work in?

No, I like smart material. I like good dialogue. I like interesting plot. I don’t really mind what beat, genre, context, medium it is… Talent is talent.

Do you watch your own shows?

Well, I mean, yes. I produced this, so I’ve seen every single frame of every single second that we’ve shot several hundred times. I’m not someone who, if I didn’t have a reason to, would seek out watching my own work because I don’t really enjoy staring at my face on screen.

Flack premieres Thursday, February 21 at 10 p.m. on Pop.


Chilling Adventures of Sabrina season 1 keyart (Netflix)

(Photo by Netflix)

With Netflix’s Chilling Adventures of Sabrina offering a darker take on the fresh-faced teenage witch — and Certified Fresh on the Tomatometer with a 91% score to boot — and a new version of Suspiria spooking it up on the big-screen, witches have been working some epic magic on audiences lately.

Need more proof that vampires and zombies have moved on from the spotlight? Take a look at American Horror Story: Apocalypse, which is revisiting its season 3 witches from the Certified Fresh Coven, or The CW’s rebooted Charmed, which has introduced a new generation to the power of three.

Dark magic and sorcery have cemented their place in episodic entertainment over the years, which is why we thought it was the perfect time to concoct a list of TV’s very best witches. Among these magic-doers, you’ll find two very different Sabrina Spellmans, Game of Thrones‘ sinister Melisandre, a whole gang of fabulous American Horror Story women, and a teenage vampire slayer’s loyal best friend. In addition to these icons, wand-twirlers from Penny Dreadful, True Blood, Once Upon a Time, and Bewitched also make an appearance.

So break out the bubbling cauldrons and dust off that flying broom as it’s time to rank these TV witches from best to worst below. And if you don’t see your favorite magic-conjurer on our list, tell us in the comments!

When HBO turned author Charlaine Harris’s Sookie Stackhouse novels into True Blood, it became the most outrageous vampire show on television. Now Harris’s Midnight, Texas novels are next, and while NBC can’t match the graphic content of HBO, they’ll find other ways to shock you.

There are vampires in Midnight, Texas too, but also psychics, ghosts, witches, were-creatures, assassins, and much more. Manfred Bernardo (Francois Arnaud) plays a psychic who’s a tad worn out from allowing hostile spirits use his body. He flees to Midnight, TX, where he meets all sorts of other creatures and the town’s human inhabitants.

Arnaud and cast members Arielle Kebbel, Sarah Ramos, Dylan Bruce, Parisa Fitz-Henley, and Peter Mensah spoke with Rotten Tomatoes about Midnight, Texas, offering 10 things to know before you visit Charlaine Harris’s macabre town.


1. THE MOST DANGEROUS WOMAN IN TOWN IS HUMAN

Cathy Kanavy/NBC

Kebbel plays Olivia, a hit woman who partners with a 200-year-old vampire. More on him later.

“I’m human but I’m more dangerous than many supernaturals,” Kebbel said. “Olivia had a traumatic childhood and it’s part of what’s made her the woman that she is today. I trained almost every day because for me, it was a mental space. I felt like if Olivia’s an assassin, to be an assassin, I have to know what it feels like to eat, breathe, and sleep always watching. ”


2. ARNAUD PLAYS MANFRED AND ALL HIS SPIRITS

There are some visual effects for the spirits, but when they take over Manfred, that’s Francois Arnaud playing the ghost wreaking havoc inside Manfred.

“I was adamant about wanting it to be physically difficult for him, during and after,” Arnaud said. “I came up with this scary voice, but I get possessed later on in the show by kinder, gentler spirits as well. It’s always a little painful but it’s not always as grueling psychologically.”


3. MIDNIGHTERS ARE COOL WITH SECRETS.

(Photo by Cathy Kanavy/NBC)

A lot of the citizens of Midnight, Texas have a past they don’t talk about, which makes it the perfect community for outcasts. Bobo (Dylan Bruce), for example, arrived after 16 years on the run.

“No one asks questions about your past, but everybody seems to have demons in their past that they’re running from,” Bruce said. “It terrifies him, the fact that this secret that he’s been holding for so long can come to life with these bad dudes that are after him and pretty close to catching him.”

Creek (Ramos) didn’t have a choice in moving to Midnight.

“Her family moved there when she was probably 10 or so,” Ramos said. “As is hinted at, nobody really goes to Midnight, TX unless you’re hiding something or unless you have secrets. So the family definitely had a secret that brought them there. Creek doesn’t exactly know what it is.”


4. VAMPIRES LEECH MORE THAN BLOOD IN MIDNIGHT.

Lemuel Bridger (Mensah), or Lem to his friends, is Olivia’s vampire partner. Harris came up with a whole new set of vampire rules for Midnight, Texas, including the ability to leech energy instead of blood.

“He actually has the ability to take someone’s pain away, which is part of his relationship with Olivia, his love interest in this,” Mensah said. “Or in protecting Midnight, he’s actually able to extract enough to kill.”

That rough past Kebbel described makes Lem a necessity.

“There are times where that pain is too much for her,” Kebbel said. “The anger, the rage, is just too much. Lem is able to actually leech it out of her. So she gets a release from his leech, and in turn, he uses that energy as food so that he doesn’t have to suck on blood.”

So how often does Lem have to leech so he doesn’t get, er, thirsty?

“He’s been known to take off into the wilds and go find some blood if he needs it,” Mensah said. “If not, he can survive an awful long time just taking energy.”


5. WITCHES GOTTA PAY THE BILLS TOO.

(Photo by Cathy Kanavy/NBC)

The magic shop in Midnight, Texas has more powerful goods than Neeful Things. Fitz-Henley plays Fiji Cavanagh, the witch who runs the store.

“I own a little shop called Inquiring Mind where I sell crystals and herbs and things,” Fitz-Henley said. “I also do some spells. I’m in love with Bobo but he doesn’t know it, for very, very, very good reason.”


6. MOST VISITORS ARE DANGEROUS.

(Photo by Cathy Kanavy/NBC)

Midnight welcomes outsiders as residents, but they find that most of the forces just passing through are a threat to them.

“When we have outsiders coming to town, more and more they’re demonic entities,” Kebbel said. “We don’t really know what is attracting them to our town because this is more than we’ve ever had before. It’s the first time that Olivia hasn’t been able to fight them the way that she knows how.”


7. THE CHARACTERS LOOK DIFFERENT THAN YOU IMAGINED.

(Photo by Cathy Kanavy/NBC)

This is true of every adaptation, even Game of Thrones. The cast plays the characters faithfully, with some physical compromises. In some cases, even the actor fought for more authenticity.

“I have a few piercings on the show,” Arnaud said. “I wanted to have a few tattoos as well. In the books, he’s definitely more of a punk and I think on television they want the lead character to remain appealing to the broadest spectrum of people. I would’ve gone a little bit further, but I understand. It’s fine. People may be surprised by that, some readers of the book.”

Fitz-Henley may not look like a woman struggling with her weight, as Harris describes Fiji, but she can embody the universal struggle with self-image.

“For so many of us, our perception of ourselves and our reality of ourselves is different,” Fitz-Henley said. “She feels like she’s not the right size. I’m a different size than her. I know some people have been concerned about that. I know I’m very familiar with some of those struggles, just making sure to be true to her experience.”

Kebbel extrapolated Olivia’s descriptions to create her own backstory. “What I really heard in the books immediately was anger,” Kebbel said. “Someone’s only that angry if they’re that hurt. If they’re that hurt, it means they’ve loved, and if they’ve loved, they’ve lost. The books gave me kind of like a blueprint to discovering what lies beneath the assassin.”


8. CREEK IS HERE TO STAY.

.Cathy Kanavy/NBC

Ramos gave Creek a different characterization than Harris. Described as timid in the books, Ramos says she gave her more of a sardonic sense of humor. That will also make her a longer-lasting character, as Ramos intends to stay on Midnight, Texas as long as she can.

“Creek’s character is probably the most changed from the books because she leaves in the first book,” Ramos said. “She’s gone at the end of it and never comes back. It doesn’t seem like that’s going to happen here.”

Creek has a reason to stay in Midnight, for now.

“She’s really staying there because she doesn’t want her little brother to be alone with her borderline abusive father who’s an alcoholic,” Ramos said. “She’s kind of put her dreams on hold.”


9. BIG THINGS GO DOWN IN EPISODE EIGHT.

The first season of Midnight, Texas is 10 episodes. Kebbel promises the last three are massive, beginning in episode eight.

“Basically from episode 8-10, we all looked like we had gone through a tornado, a hurricane, a sandstorm, a flood, any other natural disaster,” Kebbel said. “Every day we were cleaning out our eyes, we were cleaning out our ears. I just want people to know that when they see that dirt, it’s not makeup. It’s really us.”


10. MANFRED AND CREEK MAY BE MEANT TO BE.

(Photo by Virginia Sherwood/NBC)

When Manfred comes to Midnight, he and Creek have a healthy flirtation. She has no powers, but a medium may be the closest thing to a human she’s got in a town like this.

“She doesn’t really have any friends in town,” Ramos said. “There’s nobody her age, so when Manfred comes to town, it’s like a breath of fresh air. He’s cute, and sparks fly immediately. It’s something entertaining for this small town girl in her small town life.”

Manfred may sense a bit more in Creek. “I also think at first he’s just very lonely, and everyone antagonizes him from the start except her,” Arnaud said. “I think because she’s been surrounded by so many strange people her whole life, she doesn’t judge so quickly, and I think he’s always felt judged.”

In Speed they said relationships based on intense circumstances never work out. That doesn’t stop lovers from trying.

“I do think Midnight is a really romantic place,” Ramos said. “People are always fighting for life or death, fighting to protect their loved ones and fighting to stay alive for their loved ones. It’s not somewhere where you can be if you don’t have strong feelings about the people that you’re with because otherwise, it wouldn’t be worth it.”


Midnight, Texas premieres July 24 on NBC.

This week on streaming video, we’ve got an Oscar-winning drama, a raunchy animated film, and a handful of smaller films on subscription services, while new titles available on FandangoNOW include a couple of Oscar nominees this year, an old Hollywood classic, a John Wayne western, and more. Read on for the full list.


New on Netflix

 

Milk (2008) 93%

Sean Penn won a Best Actor Oscar and screenwriter Dustin Lance Black the Best Original Screenplay Oscar for their work in Gus Van Sant’s biopic of slain San Francisco politician and gay rights advocate Harvey Milk.

Available now on: Netflix


Sausage Party (2016) 82%

Seth Rogen and Kristen Wiig lend their voices to this raunchy animated comedy for adults about a number of supermarket food items who suffer a crisis of faith when they realize their purpose is to be devoured by humans.

Available 2/23 on Netflix


New on Amazon Prime

 

Shotgun Stories (2007) 88%

This first successful collaboration between director Jeff Nichols and star Michael Shannon centers on two families linked by the same father who become bitter rivals when the father dies.

Available now on: Amazon Prime


Author: The JT LeRoy Story (2016) 77%

This Certified Fresh documentary tells the story of a 40-year-old housewife who became the talk of the literary world when she penned an acclaimed but fictional autobiography under the titular pseudonym, a young male writer.

Available now on: Amazon Prime


American Teen (2008) 70%

This documentary follows five different teenagers — each of whom fits a specific high school stereotype — in a small Indiana town as they experience their senior year.

Available now on: Amazon Prime


Saint Ralph (2004) 64%

This period drama centers on a 14-year-old boy in 1950s who trains to run the Boston Marathon in hopes that winning the race will miraculously pull his mother out of a coma.

Available now on: Amazon Prime


New on FandangoNOW

 

Sunset Blvd. (1950) 98%

One of the best movies ever made about movies, Billy Wilder’s portrait of a delusional Hollywood has-been holed up in a decaying mansion is darkly funny, deeply poignant, and features terrific performances from Gloria Swanson, William Holden, and Erich von Stroheim.

Available now on: FandangoNOW


Moana (2016) 95%

Newcomer Auli’i Cravalho and Dwayne Johnson lend their voices to Disney’s latest treat, about a Polynesian chieftain’s daughter who is tasked with tracking down demigod Maui in an effort to save her tribe.

Available now on: FandangoNOW


Miss Hokusai (2015) 93%

This animated biopic from Japan tells the story of 19th century artist Katsushika Ōi, whose masterfully painted portraits and erotic sketches were sold under the name of her famous father.

Available now on: FandangoNOW


Shattered Glass (2003) 92%

Hayden Christensen and Peter Sarsgaard star in this drama based on true events about Stephen Glass, a promising young writer who rose quickly in the journalism world until his career was marred by scandal.

Available now on: FandangoNOW


Jackie (2016) 88%

Natalie Portman stars in this portrait of First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy during the days immediately following the assassination of JFK.

Available now on: FandangoNOW


Zodiac (2007) 90%

– Director’s Cut

Jake Gyllenhaal and Robert Downey Jr. star in David Fincher’s gripping retelling of the real-life search for the notorious Zodiac serial killer who terrorized San Francisco during the 1980s. This director’s cut is five minutes longer than the theatrical release.

Available now on: FandangoNOW


Hondo (1953) 89%

John Wayne and Geraldine Page star in this western about a cavalry scout who attempts to protect a frontierswoman from an impending Apache attack.

Available now on: FandangoNOW


They Call Us Monsters (2016) 83%

This documentary examines the lives of juvenile offenders in the California penal system.

Available now on: FandangoNOW


The Cooler (2003) 77%

William H. Macy and Maria Bello star in this drama about an unlucky gambler in severe debt whose luck starts to change when he meets an alluring cocktail waitress.

Available now on: FandangoNOW


XX (2017) 69%

This horror anthology film includes four stories all directed by women — including Karyn Kusama and Annie Clark (aka singer/songwriter St. Vincent) — framed by stop-motion animated segments.

Available now on: FandangoNOW


True Blood 68%

Alan Ball’s supernatural HBO drama, based on the books by Charlaine Harris, imagines a world in which vampires are out in the open and in conflict with each other about whether to live in peace with humans or to prey on them.

Available now on: FandangoNOW

Kate Beckinsale continues her fight against Lycans and her own faction in Underworld: Blood Wars, prompting this week’s gallery of the hottest vampires from movies and television. And because we couldn’t possibly fit all that undead sexiness in just 24 pictures the same way Beckinsale slips into a leather onesie, let us know in the comments which vampires we missed that get your blood flowing!

TV vampire fans suffered a painful loss in August, when HBO’s True Blood aired its series finale after seven sudsy seasons of sharp-fanged melodrama. All is not lost, however; the CW’s The Vampire Diaries begins its seventh season on October 8, and in honor of its return, we decided to dedicate this week’s list to a look back at some of the small screen’s most noteworthy nosferatus. It’s time for Total Recall!


Dark Shadows (1966-71, 1991, 2004)

Dark-Shadows

Initially something of a Hail Mary pass for a network whose daytime lineup struggled against its broadcast rivals, ABC’s Dark Shadows added a novel supernatural twist to the nascent TV soap medium, weaving a gothic tale of monsters, werewolves, zombies, witches, and everyone’s favorite vampire, Barnabas Collins (Jonathan Frid). Always a solid hit, Shadows nevertheless fell under the axe in 1971, largely because its audience skewed heavily younger than other soaps (and therefore had significantly less buying power). But like any good vampire, it proved hard to kill, briefly resurfacing with a new cast on NBC in 1991 and again at the WB in 2004, when an unaired pilot filmed for the network. There’s also the Johnny Depp-led 2012 film adaptation, which most fans of the original would probably like to forget — and they can, since the bulk of the show’s initial run is still available, and audio dramas starring the original cast continue to be produced.

Watch Trailer

 


The Night Stalker (1972)

Night-Stalker

Years before he became part of an annual holiday tradition as the cantankerous father in A Christmas Story, Darren McGavin helped enthrall millions of viewers as the lead in ABC’s The Night Stalker, a hugely successful adaptation of the Jeff Rice novel The Kolchak Papers, about a Las Vegas reporter who slowly becomes convinced that a vampire is responsible for a series of grisly murders in the area. Originally aired in January of 1972, Stalker earned a 33.2 rating and 54 share, practically guaranteeing a sequel (which soon arrived in the form of The Night Strangler) and spawning a full-on series (1974-’75’s Kolchak: The Night Stalker), as well as a belated remake (2005’s short-lived Night Stalker). Deeply influential, Rice’s creation (initially adapted by I Am Legend author Richard Matheson) inspired a long list of writers that includes X-Files creator Chris Carter, who years later cast McGavin as Arthur Dales, the agent who essentially founded the X-Files program.

Watch Trailer

 


Forever Knight (1989)

Forever-Knight

After checking out of General Hospital, starring in 1984’s Hard to Hold, and exhausting an impressive string of ’80s Top 40 hits, reformed pop idol Rick Springfield turned his focus to his acting career. One of his first orders of business? 1989’s Nick Knight, about an LAPD detective who also happens to secretly be a centuries-old vampire. Sadly, CBS didn’t wish that they had Rick’s pilot, and ended up airing it as a TV movie instead of picking up the series — at least until 1992, when they moved it to Canada, replaced most of the cast (including Springfield), and aired the result as Forever Knight.

Watch Trailer

 


Kindred: The Embraced (1996)

Kindred
There have been lots of vampire TV shows, but only one was based on a video game, starred C. Thomas Howell, and had its plug pulled after a measly eight episodes: Kindred: The Embraced, which aired on the Fox network during the spring of 1996. Howell played SFPD detective Frank Kohanek, who’s understandably concerned when he discovers that in addition to plain old mortal criminals, his beat is also home to scores of vampires led by one particularly nasty bloodsucker who masquerades as a mobster named Julian Luna (Mark Frankel). It isn’t the worst premise — and at the time, reviews calling the show a “cross between The Godfather and Melrose Place” meant it as much more of a compliment than one might assume today — but by the end of the season, Howell was on to other projects.

Watch Trailer

 


Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997-2003)

Buffy

The film version of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, starring Kristy Swanson as the titular stake-wielder and Luke Perry as her scruffy teen paramour, seemed more likely to be buried in a ’90s time capsule than to serve as the inspiration for a long-running small-screen institution, but as ESPN’s Chris Berman might say, that’s why they make the TV shows. Starring Sarah Michelle Gellar as Buffy, the broadcast Slayer — adapted by the movie’s screenwriter, future Avengers wrangler Joss Whedon — served as a surprisingly flexible forum for its creator’s imagination, expanding from its supernatural teen premise to hold a broadening mythology (the Buffyverse!) that encompassed everything from spinoffs to tie-ins and even a musical episode. Few vampire shows started from less auspicious-seeming beginnings — and few have demonstrated the genre’s flexibility with its compelling verve.

Watch Trailer

 


Port Charles (1997-2003)

Port-Charles

Unlike the other shows on our list, Port Charles didn’t always have a vampire theme; in fact, when it debuted as part of the ABC daytime lineup in 1997, it was a straight spinoff of General Hospital that focused on interns at the medical school across the street. Over time, however, in an effort to cut costs and lure younger viewers, the show adopted quicker, finite telenovela-style arcs while incorporating an extreme supernatural element that eventually saw the town of Port Charles overrun by a passel of vampires that included Caleb Morley (Michael Easton), whose sinister obsession with Livvie Locke (Kelly Monaco) proved so popular with viewers that not even multiple deaths could put an end to the character. Port Charles was canceled in 2003, seemingly ending Caleb’s story for good, but he returned a decade later when Easton, then playing his One Life to Live character John McBain on General Hospital, took on a dual role to solve the mystery of Caleb Morley once and for all. Maybe. This vampire stuff can get complicated.

Watch Trailer

 


Angel (1999-2004)

Angel

Few spinoff series are ever truly taken seriously in their own right, and when Buffy the Vampire Slayer debuted in 1997, few could have guessed that it would ever be able to weave the sort of robust, sprawling mythology that could support a brand new show, let alone one that would last for five seasons and attract a passionate fanbase of its own. But then came Angel, starring David Boreanaz as the titular vampire first introduced in Buffy‘s debut episode. With a rich backstory that stretched back hundreds of years and included a gypsy curse that restored his human soul (as well as a bottomless, brooding guilt for all the heinous things he’d done during his evil days), plus a setup that found Angel moving to L.A. and fighting evil as a (what else?) P.I., the character proved more than capable of telling plenty of stories in his own corner of the broadening Buffyverse, and despite the show’s surprisingly premature cancellation in 2004, those tales continue to be told in the comics, where Angel, Buffy, and assorted other characters from the shows live on.

Watch Trailer

 


Blade: The Series (2006)

Blade-TV

Initially planned as a Showtime series that would have brought big-screen Blade Wesley Snipes back to the role he played in the Blade film trilogy, Blade: The Series was temporarily derailed when Snipes sued New Line, the studio behind the movies — but not even legal action was enough to stop the idea of weekly vampire-huntin’ action, and the show was eventually greenlighted by Spike TV with Kirk Jones, a.k.a. former Onyx member Sticky Fingaz, in the lead. Blade: The Series pulled healthy numbers for the network, scoring the most-watched original series premiere in Spike TV’s history, but the channel simply wasn’t equipped to sustain the kind of budget that an open-ended show about the struggle to purge the world of vampires requires. After one 13-episode season, the plug was pulled, sending Blade back to the comics… for now.

Watch Trailer

 


Moonlight (2007-2008)

Moonlight

Your wedding day is stressful enough without having to worry about having your neck tapped after the guests go home, but that’s the cross that Mick St. John (Alex O’Loughlin) has to bear; before he and his new bride (Shannyn Sossamon) could even get the honeymoon started, she revealed her vampirism to him — and passed it along. Moonlight picks up decades later, when Mick’s working as a P.I. who collars bad guys while battling his bloodlust, staving off attraction for a human woman (Sophia Myles), and renewing his turbulent acquaintance with his former bride, who was assumed dead but is actually lurking around claiming to have a cure for vampirism. In spite of that rather loaded premise, Moonlight was a critical punching bag during its brief run, and in spite of fairly healthy ratings, a hiatus prompted by the writers’ strike of 2007-08 put the final stake in the show’s heart.

Watch Trailer

 


Being Human (2008-2013)

Being-Human

There were two Being Humans, with one broadcast by the BBC and its North American remake on Syfy, but thanks to the wonders of the ever-expanding cable dial, they both aired here, so we’re flipping a coin and focusing on the original here. Certainly one of the more critically lauded series on our list, Human starred Russell Tovey and Aidan Turner as a werewolf and vampire who have somehow managed to become best buds; as part of their ongoing effort to fit into human society, they work at a local hospital and room together — although as the series opens and they’re moving onto their new place, they discover that it just so happens to be inhabited by a ghost (Lenora Crichlow). Taken another direction, Being Human might have been laugh track-worthy, but it used its outlandish setup as the springboard for a thoughtful treatment of weighty social themes — and didn’t skimp on the action, either. The Syfy version, while not quite the award-winning sensation the original was, still earned healthy ratings for the network; perhaps best of all, both shows had the good sense to tell their stories within a relatively compact framework, with the original bowing out after 37 episodes and its successor bidding farewell after 52.

Watch Trailer

 


True Blood (2008-2014)

True-Blood

Unlike a lot of vampire-themed productions, Alan Ball’s HBO hit True Blood didn’t fall back on “hey, vampires” for its supernatural drama; instead, inspired by author Charlaine Harris’ Southern Vampire Mysteries books, it imagined a hypothetical near future in which the development of synthetic blood leads to vampires “coming out of the coffin” and revealing themselves to humanity — and then splitting themselves into factions over whether it’s better to assimilate or maintain separate societies. If that makes the show sound like a lot of high-minded speechifying, don’t worry — as any True Blood viewer will eagerly tell you, it’s a lot darker and sexier than that. Revolving around the small-town Louisiana adventures of a telepathic human-faerie hybrid named Sookie (Anna Paquin), it explores weighty themes like equal rights and substance abuse while leaving plenty of room for sexytime and sanguine fluid.

Watch Trailer

 


The Vampire Diaries (2009-present)

Vampire-Diaries

Execs at the CW may have offed Angel before fans (and/or series creator Joss Whedon) were ready to let it go, but that didn’t mean the suits in the building were entirely blind to the appeal of a vampire series; in fact, five years later, it was bloodsucker season once more, when the network debuted The Vampire Diaries, a suitably soapy adaptation of the bestselling L. J. Smith book series about young Elena Gilbert (Nina Dobrev) and her teen embroilment in a vampiric love triangle that just happens to be the tip of a very large, incredibly dramatic superantural iceberg in her small Virginia town. Six seasons and running, Diaries is enough of a signature hit for the network to deserve the place of honor on this week’s list — and it now boasts its own spinoff series: The Originals.

Watch Trailer

 


From Dusk Till Dawn (2014-present)

From-Dusk-Till-Dawn

Writer-director-producer-El Rey network exec Robert Rodriguez is an entertainment industry unto himself, and when you hold all those cards, you get to write your own rules — hence From Dusk till Dawn: The Series, the small-screen continuation of the 1996 film that starred George Clooney and Quentin Tarantino as a pair of hoods whose journey toward a Mexican safehouse is complicated when they stumble into a strip club that just happens to be full of vampires. After spawning a video game and a pair of sequels, Dusk dawned on Rodriguez’s network in 2014, with D.J. Cotrona and Zane Holtz stepping in for Clooney and Tarantino.

Watch Trailer

 


The Strain (2014-present)

The-Strain-TV

Guillermo del Toro is overflowing with ideas, and he’s got plenty of tenacity, too: After initially conceiving The Strain as a TV show but failing to find a buyer, he teamed up with author Chuck Hogan to turn it into a novel trilogy — and then, after the books spilled over into a comic series, took the story back to television, where The Strain made its FX debut in July of 2014. A grimly compelling look at the grisly rise of a horrific vampire army, it continually tests network TV’s ability to give del Toro’s freakshow imagination free rein, and so far, audiences can’t turn away.

Watch Trailer