Even before the rise of cable and streaming platforms, with their lack of standards and practices departments, TV had the ability to scare the shit out of us. Classic series like Twin Peaks and The Twilight Zone weren’t hampered by commercial breaks and a lack of swears — instead, the fantastic storytellers behind those and other shows
Of course, with the advent of television made for an adult audience, able to handle some boobs and swears and a lot more blood, TV has managed to get a whole lot scarier. This list of the scariest episodes ever was narrowed down from a “short list” of nearly 100 options, and we’ll keep updating it as new shows enter the pantheon. (Which seems like a very likely possibility, given how many horrors are currently packed into the real world.)
For now, behold our picks for the Scariest TV Episodes Ever. Because the kinds of scary represented by these episodes varies wildly from disturbing psychodrama to flat-out thriller are awfully disparate (and also, everyone’s fears are different), we decided against ranking this list (which means that, yes, all the X-Files episodes we had to mention are all at the end). There might be nightmare fuel that we’ve left off, or episodes of certain shows that you think happen to be scarier than the ones listed. But there’s no doubting that these picks will at the very least give you a chill.