11th: Hemlock Grove (2013 – present, Netflix)
Hemlock Grove is an original horror television series created by Eli Roth. Set in the fictional village from Pennsylvania that gives the name to the series, the story is centered on Peter Rumancek (Landon Liboiron), a teen Roma boy, who becomes the main suspect in the gruesome murder of two teens.
While this accusation is false, one presumption is true – Peter is a werewolf and in order to clean his name and get rid of all the unwanted attention, he sets out to find out the real killer with the help of Roman Godfrey (Bill Skarsgård). But Peter is not the only one with a dark secret. Roman’s rich family is rumored to be behind something truly sinister.
Delightful weird gore
With the village’s main employment source conducting unorthodox disturbing experiments which imply the existence of humanoids and with werewolves and their unstable psychotic cousins the vargulves all over the village, things seem as if they couldn’t get worse. But they do.
Other creatures lurking in the dark or in their fancy mansions are upirs, immortal Ukrainian vampire-like beings, part human, part witch and part demon. With all of them in Hemlock Grove, you can expect blood baths as explicit traumatizing murders.
Third time non-lucky?
With Netflix making their full series available, it is hard to say whether they are going to be renewed or not. In what concerns Hemlock Grove, the executive producer Eli Roth announced the renewal for the third season, but he also broke the sad news that there is not going to be a fourth one. At least Eli Roth declared that “We are looking forward to taking the last and final season into some dark and unexpected places, and to giving viewers the killer finale you’d come to expect from Hemlock Grove.” So the finale is going to break some hearts, but at least is going to be amazing.
10th: Bates Motel (2013 – present, A&E)
Bates Motel produced by Carlton Cuse, Kerry Ehrin and Anthony Cipriano is a contemporary prequel of – as its title points out – Robert Bloch’s novel and Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 movie “Psycho”. Starring Vera Farmiga as Norma Louise Bates and Freddy Highmore as her son Norman, the series follows their lives after the death of Mr. Bates.
Looking for a new beginning, Norma purchases a motel on the coast of Oregon. But things do not go as tranquil as expected. On one of the first nights after the opening, the former owner breaks in and sexually abuses Norma. The consequence? The two Bates kill the rapist and hide the body. Now all that is left is to avoid the police dig too far.
Life of crime
When finding out who are the main characters of Bates Motel, no one would imagine that they are not actually the villains. They are wicked, but the worst. In fact, the series’ complexity comes from its well-written various characters.
The show’s character list covers an incestuous rapist – Caleb Calhoun (Kenny Johnson), drug addicts, a strong-willed and resourceful, yet criminal young man – Norma’s other son Dylan Massett (Max Thieriot), the nice Sheriff of doubtful morality Alex Romero (Nestor Carbonell) and the other women from Norman’s life, his cystic fibrosis suffering best friend Emma Decody (Olivia Cooke) and the attractive and popular Bradley Martin (Nicola Peltz) who has her own dark passenger.
Different, yet faithful
It is not Hitchcock, but it surely is good compelling idea and even horror-haters might love it too. Vera Farmiga gives a performance to die for. Her Norma is a loving, sometimes overbearing mother. She is manipulative, complicated, possessive and doesn’t hesitate guilt tripping her son by showing a needy side, but all in the name of love. The relationship between her and Norman is constructed to look nothing but innocent, but at the same time giving the audience the feeling that everything gets worse and more wrong.
9th: The Strain (2014 – present, FX)
The Strain is an American vampire horror series created by Guillermo del Toro – who also directed the pilot episode – and Chuck Hogan. The Strain is based on the best-selling eponymous novel trilogy written by the two creators. The story is focused on Dr.Emphraim Goodweather(Corey Stoll) the head of the Center for Diseas Control Canary Team in New York. Ephraim’s and his team’s job is to investigate and protect the humans from the ancient and evil strain of vampirism, because once a vampire is turned, he will go after their loved ones.
Ready, vampire attack, chaos!
The story starts with a plane landing. But instead of happy families getting reunited or enjoying their arrival in New York City, the passengers are apparently dead because of some parasitic worms and only four people are alive, though suffering from an infection. Only Professor Abraham Setrakian (David Bradley) knows what really happened and is aware that a vampire army is about to rise.
What is really interesting about this TV series is that the vampires are not elegant and romantic, but cruel, brutal and with the sole purpose of killing; a bunch of infernal killing machines with “stingers”. One can say that it is one of the most interesting twists on the vampire myth.
Creepy and convincing
The Strain was generally praised by its audience. Although the beginning was a little slow for the fans’ tastes, it did live up their expectations – just like a good book, it takes a while until you get to its substance. With a thrilling atmosphere and an original storyline that does not allow knowing what is coming next, The Strain is clever and very good executed. The acting is compelling and solid and characters are anything but dull. In other words, it is unavoidable addicting and a must watch.
8th: Angel (1999 – 2004, The WB)
Angel is the spin-off of the very adored and popular Buffy The Vampire Slayer TV series. The show is centred on its eponymous main character (David Boreanaz), the enigmatic vampire ex-boyfriend of Buffy, Angel. After he moves out from disaster-prone Sunnydale, Angel finds himself in the fabulous Los Angeles. Looking for redemption, Angel lurks on the dark alleys in search for people to be saved, but only after he encounters someone from his most recent past and an ally of a similar background as him, his real adventures start.
New Team. New Monsters.
When Angel left Buffy, he did not plan on keeping contact with any of his acquaintances from Sunnydale, but destiny brings him face to face with a struggling Cordelia Chase (Charisma Carpenter).
Together, the two and Angel’s new pal, an Irish half-human, half-demon named Allen Francis Doyle (Glenn Quinn), start their own hero-business. But after the death of Doyle and Cordelia’s new psychic powers, a new old friend, Wesley Wyndam-Pryce (Alexis Denisof), joins the team, who manages to turn from a goofy character to a brave rogue.
Soon, a demon hunter Charles Gunn (J. August Richards) and a young genius Winifred “Fred” Burkle (Amy Acker) become part of the group in order to deal with creatures such as the time travelling demon Sahjan, The Scourge demons, the Drokken, the old poor annoying vampire Drusilla, the paranoia demon Thesulac, Angel’s alter ego Angelus and evil granddaughter Jasmine and pretty much everyone from the “law” firm Wolfram and Hart.
Of course, there are also struggles in the group with love triangles forming between Angel, Cordelia and Darla and later Connor and between Wesley, Fred and Gunn. Love triangles, which were solved only by one of them dying and breaking our hearts.
Cancelation and Legacy
On May the 19th 2004 Angel aired its last episode. With 5 seasons and 110 episodes, the spin-off ended one year later after Buffy the Vampire Slayer. While the original show had plenty of time to prepare a great finale, Angel’s was not welcomed as it was not expected. Having great ratings and a huge fan-base, the show was supposed to be renewed for at least one more season.
Though, the producer Joss Whedon was too confident and him pressuring the bosses The WB lead to the cancellation of Angel. Despite the hasty decision and the fans’ petitions and campaigns, the show was gone for good. About this issue, the writer David Fury revealed that “The WB said that it was a big mistake to cancel Angel. There was a power play that happened that just didn’t fall out the way they wanted it to.” Well… at least the series continued with a number of comic books.