In recent years, the horror genre has found a new home on our television screens. There have been horror shows on T.V. in the past, but the recent surge of such shows has made many people question why horror is rapidly moving to the small screen. Recent shows that come to mind when thinking of horror include: American Horror Story, The Walking Dead, Hannibal, Bates Motel, The Following, From Dusk Till Dawn, etc. Regardless of which of these series horror fans watch, we must agree that the genre is dominating television ratings. Again, we have to ask ourselves why this is the case.
Horror has always been a popular genre, but rarely have we seen so many true genre shows on T.V. Let’s admit the fact that television is much different than it used to be. Many shows these days, regardless of the genre, are much more cinematic today. T.V. shows are reminiscent of films in their quality, including both form and content. Horror shows specifically are just much more filmic than they once were, say even like Tales from the Crypt, which was a great genre series, but it felt much more like “television” rather than “film.” It is hard to differentiate between television shows and films these days which complements horror’s road to the small screen.
The rating system for T.V. today is also very different than our grandparents’ conception of what was allowed to be showed in previous times. Many horror shows today have material that is equivalent to that of an R-rated film. What we are able to view in our homes on various networks is a lot less restricted than what was on screens say even fifteen years ago. Audiences are able to enjoy well conceived material at home without having to worry about harsh censorships regulations preventing them from seeing what they really want to see.
In today’s day and age, with things like Amazon Prime, Hulu, Netflix, and Video-On-Demand (VOD) services, audiences don’t really need to rely on trips to movie theaters to see the media they want to view. We can pretty much watch anything we want from the comfort of our own homes. This is another reason why horror is so popular on T.V. at the moment. VOD services even offer a “Same Day as Theater” option, providing viewers with the convenience of watching some movies at home the same day they premiere on the big screen.
In the horror community, many fans feel as though modern horror films are lacking originality. One could argue that everything has been done, so it is difficult to come up with a new concept. However, another could argue that it is not the blueprint material that really matters, but rather the unique, personal, genuine voice that filmmakers attach to their films. Some recent horror shows could be considered unoriginal, like Hannibal and Bates Motel, for example.
Both series are inspired by popular horror franchises that have made their indelible marks on not only the horror genre itself, but also the entire film industry. These series obviously complement their corresponding films, but they do so with a twist. Hannibal takes bits and pieces from the series along with new material and creates this new rendition of the world of Hannibal Lector. Bates Motel is a modern reimagining of and prequel to the original Psycho film. Each series puts a new, unique spin on the stories they are derived from, making the viewing experience an exciting breath of fresh air for audiences.
Horror has undoubtedly found a new home on our television screens. More and more horror series are being announced constantly. There has already been word of a Scream series in the works as well as a Friday the 13th series. The success of horror on T.V. has created this trend of more and more genre shows being developed by multiple networks, i.e. AMC, A&E, FOX, FX, MTV, NBC, etc. It’s exciting to see all of this horror coming to the small screen in various formats and even better that it seems as though there is no end in sight.