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42% Of People Think This Is The Best Horror TV Series Of All Time

One could easily make the case that right now is the best time there's ever been to be a horror fan since the eighties. On the big screen, we've seen the rise of some of the more unique and creepy franchises since that hallowed era; the last decade alone has given us the Insidious movies, the films of the Conjuring universe (both of those thanks to horror maestro James Wan), and the Sinister flicks, to name a few. We've also gotten some truly brilliant original standalones, such as It FollowsThe Babadook, Get Out, and A Quiet Place, not to mention the amazingly inspired remake of The Evil Dead thanks to Fede Alvarez, and a Stephen King adaptation (It: Chapter One) which became the highest-grossing horror flick of all time.

The rise of prestige cable series and streaming services has also given the genre the chance to flourish on the small screen like never before. Series like Stranger Things, The Mist, Bates Motel, and Castle Rock have proven that the television horror serial can be just as terrifying as any theatrical release, while also engaging in the kind of world-building and character development that is done most effectively over many seasons rather than a couple of hours. There have been so many great and widely varied horror series over the last decade or so that it's tough to pick our favorite — so we asked our readers to do it for us. We took to our YouTube channel to ask fans to cast their votes for the greatest horror TV series of all time, and unlike our winner, we won't keep you in suspense — here are the results.

Looper readers put The Walking Dead first among TV horror series

169,000 fans worldwide participated in our survey, and of those, a healthy 42 percent cast their votes for the clear winner: The Walking Dead. The iconic AMC series has, so far, given us ten seasons and two awesome spin-off series (Fear the Walking Dead and The Walking Dead: The World Beyond), and will soon branch out into feature films with three movies centered on the series' original protagonist Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln). 

While even the series' staunchest fans would acknowledge that it's had its ups and downs, it's tough to argue with The Walking Dead, which premiered in 2011, taking the crown. It's done an admirable job of adapting the brilliant Image Comics series of the same name, staying reasonably true to the source material while being unafraid to deviate from it just enough to chart its own narrative path (and throw a few surprises at fans). The series has featured more shocking deaths of beloved characters than any series this side of Game of Thrones, made household names out of the likes of Lincoln, Norman Reedus, and Jon Bernthal, and been a decade-long showcase for some of the best makeup effects on television.

While the flagship series is set to conclude after next season, more spinoffs — including one centered on Reedus' Daryl Dixon and his longtime friend and ally, Melissa McBride's Carol Peletier, and an anthology serial titled Tales of the Walking Dead — are set to keep the franchise in the public eye for years to come. The Walking Dead is certainly worthy of the title, but it is a bit shocking that it garnered over twice as many votes as the first runner-up, one of the most innovative series in TV history.

American Horror Story took second place in Looper's survey

Coming in second with 20 percent of the vote: the FX anthology series American Horror Story, a wildly daring show which features a largely consistent ensemble cast playing different characters in each season. AHS, which also premiered in 2011, has landed some seriously legendary acting talent; powerhouse stars like Jessica Lange, Kathy Bates, Joan Collins, and Angela Bassett have all been featured players. But it's also made stars out of some previously little-known cast members, including Taissa Farmiga (the kid sister of Conjuring franchise star Vera Farmiga), Sarah Paulson, Emma Roberts, and Evan Peters.

American Horror Story has also had its peaks and valleys, which is especially understandable given its anthologized format. But even its weaker seasons have fielded some of the most viscerally terrifying television moments of the last decade, and its stronger ones — like the brilliantly structured Coven, the sublimely creepy Hotel, and the slasher homage 1984 — are inspired, spine-tingling stories by any measure. AHS has run strong for nine seasons, and we can look forward to a lot more of its nerve-jangling goodness: in January 2020, FX renewed the series through season 13 (via Deadline), with the tenth outing set to hit the airwaves in late 2021.

Two of the best series of the last decade rounded out the survey

Coming in third with 18 percent of the vote is another anthology series: Black Mirror, which began life on Channel 4 in the U.K. before jumping to Netflix. For five seasons, the technology-oriented show has featured some of the most boldly inventive, often disturbing storytelling on TV. Even its weaker entries tend to stick in the viewer's craw long after they're over, and its stronger ones — like season 1's "Fifteen Million Merits," season 2's "White Bear," and season 3's "Playtest" and "San Junipero" — rank among some of the best TV episodes of any genre in the last decade.

Bringing up the rear with 11 percent of the vote is NBC's Hannibal, the only broadcast network series of the bunch. The prequel series centered on iconic Silence of the Lambs villain Hannibal Lecter, which ran from 2013-2015, was a critical darling and a showcase for the powerhouse acting of its lead, Mads Mikkelsen. Unfortunately, it was done  after only three seasons, largely thanks to its unfortunate status as one of the most pirated series of its era

The remaining 10 percent of our survey's respondents chose "Other," and a few of their most oft-mentioned suggestions are definitely worthy of inclusion in the conversation. They include the Netflix original series The Haunting of Hill HouseShowtime's Penny Dreadful, the classic Tales From the Crypt, the long-running CW serial Supernatural, and of course, the granddaddy of them all, Rod Serling's beloved anthology series The Twilight Zone.