Seems like every time you turn around these days, a new horror-based show is hitting the television screen.
On Monday, for instance, the 10-episode "The Terror" began on AMC. Based on Dan Simmons' 2007 novel, it focuses on the true story of an 1845 expedition to discover the Northwest Passage through the Arctic. The expedition never showed up on the other side, and Simmons took the truth and added a supernatural element to it.
Previews of the miniseries show an appropriately creepy vibe, and 10 episodes should be enough to cover the doorstop of a book, but hopefully not drag like it did. The 769-page novel was about 300 pages too long. Simmons obviously did voluminous research on the expedition and realities of the era, but then seemed incapable of editing out a single piece of information that he'd come across.
"The Terror" is just the latest horror offering on TV. Many have been made but, truth is, few have lasted.
"The Exorcist," something of a follow-up to the 1973 film, was effectively scary, but Fox canceled it after two seasons.
"Outcast" on Cinemax, about a guy who can drive demons out of humans basically with his fists, was canceled after two seasons even though it was based on a graphic novel series by Robert Kirkman, creator of "The Walking Dead."
"The Alienist," currently on TNT, is psychological horror, but no less terrifying and intense than supernatural. Based on the 1994 novel by Caleb Carr, it's a miniseries, so it has no chance of being canceled.
"Legion" isn't so much horror as a mind-altering freakfest, but it has unnerving moments. Set in the world of the X-Men with no mention of the X-Men, it probes the nature of reality and whether anything that we see around us actually exists. Its second season starts the first week of April.
And, of course, there's the big monster in the room: Netflix's "Stranger Things," the best Stephen King novel never written by Stephen King. An excellent series for its first two seasons, it's heading into its much-anticipated third.
Horror films such as "It" and "The Conjuring" make a ton of money, and horror has long been known as a low investment/high return brand of film. But judging from the number of horror series tossed onto TV and soon tossed off, being unsettled regularly isn't a goal of most folks. Too bad. A little fear with your fun can be a good thing.
Contact Shawn Ryan at firstname.lastname@example.org.