The third season of THE WALKING DEAD just wrapped a week ago, and in normal years, that would mean that we would be entering a time of drought when it comes to horror on TV. But this is not a normal year, and the popularity of the drama set in a zombie apocalypse is finally catching up with the rest of television, giving us even more quality horror on TV than ever before! What can I say, other than we’re living in an era of great horror television, and I’m loving every second of it!
About a month ago saw the beginning of BATES MOTEL, a series that is sort of a prequel to Alfred Hitchcock’s PSYCHO. I say sort of because while the characters of Norman Bates and his mother (played brilliantly by Vera Farmiga) are before the events of PSYCHO, the time period is set in present day. While this revelation took me a bit by surprise and honestly took me a little while to get used to, I gotta say that I’m actually pretty happy with that decision, as it works for the show, and makes it more than just a period drama or some other silly shit. It’s atmospheric, seeing the Bates Motel and the infamous house towering over it in the background is a sight to see in each and every episode, and it’s a weekly escape that I look forward to week after week. And yeah, it’s creepy as hell.
But it doesn’t stop there! This past week, NBC decided to grow some balls and run a show that is graphically daring and up there in quality with the likes of cable networks (F/X, AMC, A&E) with HANNIBAL, which is a brand-new series dealing with the pre-RED DRAGON, pre-SILENCE OF THE LAMBS, pre-HANNIBAL (but post-HANNIBAL RISING) Hannibal Lector, as he helps yet another detective solve serial killer murders. Sure, it’s one episode in right now, so who knows if this is as good as it looks, but goddamn if this show doesn’t look like all kinds of awesome. As a fan of Hannibal Lector, its fun to see him week after week, being diabolical and creepy, not to mention the horrific horror of the grisly serial murders that are happening outside his control. The show just started, but hell… I’m in!
We’re about mid-season into THE FOLLOWING, and I don’t know if it’s the Kevin Bacon factor, the James Purefoy factor, or the Kevin Williamson factor, but I’m totally loving this shit! Seriously, this is a show that knows how to draw its audience in and keep them wanting more week after week. Every episode ends with a sort of cliffhanger that almost makes me want to wait for the show to hit DVD so I can plow through all the episodes in one sitting. What makes it interesting and scary is the cult element to the show, and that there are so many followers of this crazy f*cker, that anybody could be one of them, and it really puts the whole show on edge because, as the great Williamson said before…. everybody’s a suspect!!!
I can hear the naysayers now, complaining that the first aforementioned new shows (BATES MOTEL and HANNIBAL) offer nothing new and are more or less like remakes to their movie counterparts. And to that, I say… those people haven’t actually watched either of these shows. They’re way more than just remakes of PSYCHO and HANNIBAL, as they offer new stories, more in-depth character development, and have their own unique stamp on the lore of the original movies, that they’re actually a lot more original and less clichéd that a lot crap that’s on TV right now. These aren’t your run-of-the-mill weekly cop shows where they solve a crime week after week, but they offer something far more than that… and they’re shows that dabble in horror, featuring some really horrific shit (especially for television).
Maybe it’s the booze talkin’, but I’m absolutely loving this fine era of horror television. There’s some really great genre shows on right now, from BATES MOTEL to HANNIBAL to THE FOLLOWING, and I didn’t even mention shit like GRIMM, SUPERNATURAL, and even GAME OF THRONES to some degree (which isn’t necessarily horror, but gets mighty bloody when it wants to be). So much good stuff, there’s hardly enough time to keep up with it all… and that’s not a bad problem to have! And just think, when all these shows wrap in a month or two, we’ll still have the fourth season of THE WALKING DEAD to look forward to this coming Halloween, and all the epic horror TV starts over again. Goddamn, I love keeping my DVR busy!