Gothic drama series are the epitome of eerie and spine-chilling stories, blending just the right amount of horror and terror. These shows embrace the captivating aesthetic of gothic dramas, which center around fear and an unsettling atmosphere. From timeless Victorian horror to modern twists, the finest gothic drama series offer a wide array of bone-chilling experiences. Determining the top gothic dramas may seem like a formidable task, but fear not! This list has been meticulously ranked based on your preferences, making it a breeze for you.
The most extraordinary gothic dramas often unfold in captivating Victorian Gothic settings, delving into related themes. Nevertheless, they are not confined to these elements alone. For instance, both The Essex Serpent and Penny Dreadful take place in the same era but take distinct approaches to weave their haunting tales. Some gothic dramas may not immediately strike you as fitting the genre, but brace yourself, for shows like Netflix’s The Haunting of Hill House and The Haunting of Bly Manor are actually inspired by classic gothic novels. Other remarkable gothic dramas worth mentioning include The Terror, Midnight Mass, and Chapelwaite.
Which television gothic drama series do you believe perfectly embody the genre? Choose your favorites and witness the cream of the gothic drama crop rise to the surface.
The genre has recently welcomed thrilling additions such as V.C. Andrews’ Dawn, Somewhere Boy, and Great Expectations.
1. Penny Dreadful
Penny Dreadful is a treasure trove of gothic wonders, bringing together famous characters like Dracula, Dorian Gray, and Victor Frankenstein in a dark and indulgent story. Eva Green shines brilliantly as the mysterious Vanessa Ives, whose haunting backstory unravels in the shadowy, gas-lit streets of London. With each episode, Penny Dreadful satisfies our fascination with the dark and eerie, leaving us completely enchanted.
Actors: Timothy Dalton, Eva Green, Josh Hartnett, Reeve Carney, Billie Piper
Premiered: May 9, 2014
2. The Haunting of Hill House
The Haunting of Hill House has become a huge hit, attracting a massive fanbase with its creepy vibes and well-developed characters. The cast, led by Victoria Pedretti and Oliver Jackson-Cohen, does an amazing job bringing the troubled Crain family to life. What sets the show apart is how it seamlessly blends supernatural elements, psychological horror, and heartfelt family dynamics, creating a captivating web of suspense and unease.
Actors: Michiel Huisman, Carla Gugino, Timothy Hutton, Elizabeth Reaser, Oliver Jackson-Cohen
Premiered: October 12, 2018
3. The Terror
The Terror is an incredible blend of historical fiction and supernatural horror, taking inspiration from the doomed Franklin Expedition. The show’s cast, featuring talented actors like Jared Harris, Tobias Menzies, and Ciarán Hinds, truly anchors the story. We witness the crew’s harrowing journey through treacherous conditions and the constant presence of a sinister force. With its gothic vibes and the isolation of the Arctic setting, The Terror manages to send shivers down our spines.
Actors: Derek Mio, Shingo Usami, Naoko Mori, Cristina Rodlo, Kiki Sukezane
Premiered: March 26, 2018
Salem takes us on a thrilling journey back to the eerie 17th-century witch trials. It paints a chilling picture of malevolence, the macabre, and the supernatural. The cast, led by the talented Janet Montgomery and Shane West, infuses the show with life and brings to life the dark themes of deceit, possession, and forbidden desire. Salem has a way of enchanting viewers, urging us to delve further into the shadows and uncover the bone-chilling secrets that lie in wait.
Actors: Janet Montgomery, Shane West, Seth Gabel, Ashley Madekwe, Tamzin Merchant
Premiered: April 20, 2014
5. The Haunting of Bly Manor
The Haunting of Bly Manor is a follow-up to the hugely successful Hill House, and it weaves a haunting tale of ghostly apparitions and heart-wrenching sorrow. Victoria Pedretti reprises her role, this time as an American au pair who is tasked with caring for two orphaned children on a vast English estate. The show draws inspiration from rich literary sources and captivates viewers with its eerie charm that taps into our deepest fears of loss, love, and the mysteries of the unknown.
Actors: Victoria Pedretti, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Henry Thomas, Amelia Eve, T’Nia Miller
Premiered: October 9, 2020
6. Kolchak: The Night Stalker
Kolchak: The Night Stalker, a cult classic from the 70s, combines investigative journalism and the paranormal, revealing a range of supernatural foes. Darren McGavin brings charm and strength to his role as Carl Kolchak, the main character who tirelessly uncovers hidden truths. This show truly captivates viewers, appealing to our intrigue for the mysterious and the unseen.
Actors: Darren McGavin, Simon Oakland, Jack Grinnage, Ruth McDevitt
Premiered: September 13, 1974
7. The Crow: Stairway to Heaven
The Crow: Stairway to Heaven is a hidden gem from the late 90s that tells the captivating story of Eric Draven, brought to life by the enigmatic Mark Dacascos. This show takes us on a journey of justice and redemption as Draven, armed with supernatural abilities, seeks revenge. With its distinctive gothic vengeance vibe, the series strikes a perfect balance between darkness and tenderness, captivating us with its expert blend of light and shadow.
Actors: Mark Dacascos, Marc Gomes, Sabine Karsenti, Katie Stuart, Lynda Boyd
Premiered: September 23, 1998
8. Midnight Mass
Midnight Mass is a captivating story that takes place on a secluded island, where a community lives with an eerie sense of the unknown lurking beneath their everyday lives. This character-centered tale, brilliantly portrayed by Kate Siegel and Zach Gilford, delves into the chilling horrors that lie within fear, faith, and the quest for redemption. It truly solidifies its place as a contemporary gothic drama, leaving audiences haunted well beyond the end of the show.
Actors: Zach Gilford, Kate Siegel, Hamish Linklater, Annabeth Gish, Michael Trucco
Premiered: September 24, 2021
Dark, the German Netflix series, is a total binge-worthy package that hooks viewers right from the start. It cleverly combines time-travel and gothic elements, creating a truly unique and captivating storyline. As we delve into the labyrinthine narrative, we uncover the unsettling secrets that haunt the small town of Winden. And let’s not forget about the amazing cast, led by the talented Louis Hofmann and Maja Schöne, who effortlessly draw us into a world filled with doppelgängers, hidden family connections, and sinister plots. Brace yourself for an exhilarating gothic adventure as Dark takes us on a thrilling descent into chaos.
Actors: Oliver Masucci, Karoline Eichhorn, Jördis Triebel, Louis Hofmann, Maja Schöne
Premiered: December 1, 2017
10. The Essex Serpent
The Essex Serpent, inspired by the novel of the same name, cleverly combines gothic mystery with authentic Victorian vibes. It transports the audience to a captivating era filled with legends, marvels, and hushed fears. Tom Hiddleston and Claire Danes skillfully portray a friendship shaped by the enigmatic occurrences surrounding the legendary creature. They delve into the depths of human emotions, showcasing both its inherent beauty and its haunting darkness.
Actors: Claire Danes, Tom Hiddleston, Frank Dillane, Clémence Poésy, Hayley Squires
Premiered: May 13, 2022
11. The Rig
The Rig really captures the essence of gothic storytelling with its dark and foreboding premise. Picture this: a remote offshore oil rig is haunted by an unknown and puzzling threat. What makes the show even more intriguing is its fantastic ensemble cast. These actors bring to life characters who constantly teeter on the edge of sanity and madness, all while trying to unravel the sinister secrets that surround them. The Rig creates a nail-biting and claustrophobic atmosphere, immersing viewers in a world dripping with gothic horror.
Actors: Martin Compston, Iain Glen, Emily Hampshire, Rochenda Sandall, Owen Teale
Premiered: January 6, 2023