Staff Picks: The Very Best (and Worst) of Horror on TV
I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but TV has taken a turn over the last several years. There was once a big, fat, and spacious gap between the talent found in Hollywood blockbusters and the talent depicted on the small screen. The very idea of celebrities like Kevin Bacon or Halle Berry becoming series-regulars would seem far fetched a few short years ago, but that’s the future we live in. TV is no longer a place where talent gets its start or goes to die; it’s is a place where talent can flourish, whether you’re an actor, writer, director, or anyone in between.
Surprisingly enough, this renaissance of sorts has had a major impact on the horror genre. After all; TV studios have executives, those executives need people to tune in, and people love horror. With all of the quality genre programming currently available and on the horizon, we thought now would be the perfect time to check in with the Modern Horrors staff to cover the very best (and worst) that horror on TV has to offer.
Luke Rodriguez (Founder, Senior Editor)
The Best // The Strain
I’ll admit that I was rather uncertain of The Strain throughout the first several episodes. Avid readers of our content will know that I’m the world’s biggest hater when it comes to anything remotely close to a zombie, and FX’s The Strain was pretty damn close for a while. I was aware of the graphic novel that it was based upon, but I hadn’t (and still haven’t) ever given it a look.
That said, the somewhat formulaic approach and subject matter didn’t win me over immediately. In fact, my wife dropped off after the first few episodes and never came back. I was close, but I’m not sure I’ve ever been happier to have stuck something out. Much like the show’s viral infestation, The Strain has evolved into something far greater than I ever could have expected.
The characters are lush, the acting is remarkable, the story lines are abundant while remaining palatable, and the production values are absolutely stellar. Everything from the cinematography, to the color grading, to some of the best (if not the best) use of CGI ever used in the horror genre makes The Strain something more than a horror show. It’s almost like House of Cards with a vampire infestation at this point. If you’re not watching it, you should be. The first two seasons are available right now on Hulu.
The Worst // Outcast
While I was willing to give The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman’s new show its fair shake, I left the pilot episode feeling utterly deflated. It was a mashup of exorcism cliches backed by nonsensical character dialog that serves no purpose other than getting our main character from point A to point B.
There’s literally a moment where two old ladies see our lead character for the first time in years, and the first thing they can think to tell him is that he should go see the local sick boy that he has no affiliation with… who just so happens to be possessed. That’s lazy writing, folks.
Beyond that are some decent production values, but there are often some visual budgetary constraints. To make matters worse, the pacing is dreadfully slow and none of the characters are particularly relatable or even likable. Add that all up and you have a mostly boring show that doesn’t look great with lazy writing and characters that you couldn’t care less about. I dropped out after 4 episodes, and I don’t see myself returning anytime soon. Am I missing out on something awesome? Let me know.