Welcome to our first annual Grave Decay horror awards! We covered a lot of horror television & streaming series over the past year, and we’re a little late with this award because we had so many hours of binge-watching to do.
All of the shows that we reported on throughout the year were in our pool of consideration – the only criteria was that the series had to have a new season premiere in 2018. After compiling a list of eligible shows, we narrowed the field down to ten nominees, which we then ranked.
So without further ado, here are the nine nominees & one winner of our first-ever Best Horror TV Series award:
10. Castle Rock
We first reported on our tenth favorite horror series of 2018 back in May, Hulu’s Castle Rock. Produced by J.J. Abrams and based on the works of Stephen King, the show was created by Sam Shaw & Dustin Thomason and stars Andre Holland, Jane Levy, Sissy Spacek, Melanie Lynskey, Bill Skarsgard, Scott Glenn, and Terry O’Quinn.
A psychological-horror series set in the Stephen King multiverse, Castle Rock combines the mythological scale and intimate character storytelling of King’s best-loved works, weaving an epic saga of darkness and light, played out on a few square miles of Maine woodland. The fictional Maine town of Castle Rock has figured prominently in King’s literary career: Cujo, The Dark Half, IT and Needful Things, as well as novella The Body and numerous short stories such as Rita Hayworth and The Shawshank Redemption are either set there or contain references to Castle Rock. Castle Rock is an original suspense/thriller – a first-of-its-kind reimagining that explores the themes and worlds uniting the entire King canon, while brushing up against some of his most iconic and beloved stories.
9. Supernatural (Season 13)
Our ninth favorite horror TV show of 2018 was season 13 of The CW’s Supernatural, which featured a powerhouse, half-animated crossover episode with fellow mystery solvers Scooby-Doo & gang. The series was created by Eric Kripke and stars Jared Padalecki, Jensen Ackles, and Misha Collins.
When they were boys, Sam and Dean Winchester lost their mother to a mysterious and demonic supernatural force. Subsequently, their father raised them to be soldiers. He taught them about the paranormal evil that lives in the dark corners and on the back roads of America… and he taught them how to kill it. Now, the Winchester brothers crisscross the country in their ’67 Chevy Impala, battling every kind of supernatural threat they encounter along the way.
8. The Haunting of Hill House
We reported on our eighth favorite horror series of 2018 back in August, Netflix’ The Haunting of Hill House. Based on the novel of the same name by Shirley Jackson, the show was created by Mike Flanagan and stars Michiel Huisman, Carla Gugino, Henry Thomas, Elizabeth Reaser, Kate Siegel, Timothy Hutton, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Lulu Wilson, Victoria Pedretti, Mckenna Grace, Violet McGraw, Paxton Singleton, and Julian Hilliard.
Flashing between past and present, a fractured family confronts haunting memories of their old home and the terrifying events that drove them from it.
7. Ash vs Evil Dead (Season 3)
The third & final season of Starz’ now-cancelled Ash vs Evil Dead was our seventh favorite horror TV show of 2018, which we first reported on way back in January. The series was created by Sam Raimi and stars Bruce Campbell, Dana DeLorenzo, Ray Santiago, Lucy Lawless, and Arielle Carver-O’Neill. We’re sorry to see this one go, the combination of gore, humor, and high production values were all welcome additions to television.
Ash, having gone from murderous urban legend to humanity-saving hometown hero, discovers that he has a long lost daughter who’s been entrusted in his care. Kelly returns with a new friend to warn Ash and Pablo that evil isn’t done with them yet. Blood is thicker than water in the battle of good vs Evil Dead.
6. The Purge
Back in May we first reported on our sixth favorite horror TV show of 2018, USA’s The Purge. The combination of multiple different story lines and trying to figure out what exactly Lee Tergesen’s character “Joe Owens” was up to made for some great binge-watching. The series was created by James DeMonaco and stars Gabriel Chavarria, Jessica Garza, Hannah Emily Anderson, and Lee Tergesen.
The Purge revolves around a 12-hour period when all crime, including murder, is legal. Set in a dystopian America ruled by a totalitarian political party, the series follows several seemingly unrelated characters living in a small city. Tying them all together is a mysterious savior who’s impeccably equipped for everything the night throws at them. As the clock winds down with their fates hanging in the balance, each character is forced to reckon with their pasts as they discover how far they will go to survive the night.
We first reported on our fifth favorite horror TV show of 2018 back in March, SyFy’s Nightflyers. Based on the novella by Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martin, the sci-fi/horror series was created by Jeff Buhler and stars Eoin Macken, David Ajala, Sam Strike, Maya Eshet, Angus Sampson, Jodie Turner-Smith, Brian F. O’Byrne, and Gretchen Mol.
Set in the year 2093, Nightflyers is a psychological thriller that follows a team of scientists aboard the Nightflyer, the most advanced ship ever built, as they embark on a journey to find other life forms. Their mission takes them to the edge of the solar system, and to the edge of insanity, as they realize true horror isn’t waiting for them in outer space—it’s already on their ship.
4. The Walking Dead (Seasons 8b & 9a)
Seasons 8b & 9a of AMC’s The Walking Dead is our fourth favorite horror TV show of 2018 which we first reported on way back in February. The seasons contained both the end and aftermath of the so-called “all out war” between Rick Grimes and the other survivors and Negan’s Saviors, which has been building since season 6. Based on Skybound Entertainment’s comic book series of the same name by Robert Kirkman, the TV series was created by Frank Darabont and stars Andrew Lincoln, Norman Reedus, Lauren Cohan, Danai Gurira, Melissa McBride, and Jeffrey Dean Morgan.
Season 8b Synopsis:
All out war has had a devastating impact on every person involved. The communities themselves are fractured. Alexandria has been destroyed, the Hilltop finds themselves pinned, and the Kingdom is shattered – half of them dead, the other half controlled by the Saviors.
At the very center – Rick, having been distracted by the conflict, has just returned home to learn that Carl, who heroically shepherded the Alexandrians to safety during Negan’s attack, has been bitten by a walker. Once his sole motivation in this otherwise stark existence, Rick is forced to deal with this reality. Carl has always been a beacon of hope, a symbol for the remaining thread of humanity – lessons that the survivors around him would be wise to take with them as this war surges onward.
But Rick isn’t the only person who’s living in peril. Aaron and Enid are in a dire situation at Oceanside – unclear if they’re in friendly territory, or if they’ve just made new enemies. Father Gabriel will do his part in attempting to smuggle Dr. Carson safely back to the Hilltop and a pregnant Maggie is wrestling with the many moral gray areas that come with leadership during war. In a standoff with the Saviors, she must decide how to proceed with the dozens of POW lives she’s currently in control of, as well as new complications that come with being a leader.
In addition to the war, Negan continues to deal with struggles within his ranks as workers, traitors, and others’ thirst for power cause conflict at the Sanctuary. Having gifted the Saviors a major victory, Eugene’s loyalty is repeatedly tested as new obstacles present themselves.
As all-out-war consumes us, the line between good and evil continues to blur. People fighting for what they believe in. Everybody working together for something bigger – to feel safe and have a world worth living in.
Season 9a Synopsis:
Last season brought the culmination of “All Out War,” which pitted Rick Grimes and his group of survivors against the Saviors and their cunning leader, Negan. With Negan’s life in his hands, Rick had a character-defining choice in front of him. By making the unilateral decision to spare Negan, Rick upheld the values his late son, Carl, championed in order to build for the future, but created conflict within his group.
Now, we see our survivors a year and a half after the end of the war, rebuilding civilization under Rick’s steadfast leadership. It is a time of relative peace among the communities as they work together, looking to the past to forge the future, but the world they knew is rapidly changing as man-made structures continue to degrade, and nature takes over, changing the landscape and creating new challenges for our survivors.
As time passes, the communities confront unexpected obstacles, danger, and of course, walkers, but nothing quite prepares them for the formidable force they are about to encounter, which threatens the very idea of civilization that our survivors have worked so hard to build.
3. American Horror Story (Season 8)
In May we first reported on our third favorite horror TV show of 2018, the eighth season of FX’ American Horror Story: Apocalypse. For the first time in this anthology, this season made connections between others, and brought back some of the most memorable characters from the show’s past, all culminating in the end of days. The show was created by Ryan Murphy & Brad Falchuk and stars Sarah Paulson, Evan Peters, Kathy Bates, Lily Rabe, Emma Roberts, Joan Collins, Billy Eichner, Leslie Grossman, and Billie Lourd.
After the nuclear apocalypse, the world’s chosen elite survive in secure Outposts created by the mysterious Cooperative. On the American West Coast, Ms. Wilhemina Venable (Paulson) and Ms. Miriam Mead (Bates) run Outpost Three with an iron fist. The unexpected arrival of Michael Langdon (Fern), a Cooperative representative determined to save society with a secret paradise, throws their order into chaos. However, underneath the surface of humanity’s salvation lies a battlefield for the final conflict between good and evil.
2. Channel Zero (Seasons 3 & 4)
Taking our number two spot is another anthology series and another two-season entry with the third and fourth season of SyFy’s Channel Zero (Butcher’s Block & The Dream Door, respectively), which we first reported on way back in January. It seems like each season of Channel Zero gets better than he last, so with the latest two seasons both premiering in 2018, the show had a truly stellar year. Season 3 (Butcher’s Block) featured a handful of creepy characters, disturbing events, and Rutger Hauer! Then came season 4 (The Dream Door) which introduced us to the unforgettable “Pretzel Jack”, knocking it out of the park once again. The show was created by Nick Antosca and season 3 stars Holland Roden, Olivia Luccardi, Rutger Hauer, Krisha Fairchild, and Brandon Scott, while season 4 stars Brandon Scott, Maria Sten, Steven Robertson, and Steven Weber.
Season 3 (Butcher’s Block) Synopsis:
Alice Woods and her schizophrenic sister Zoe have moved to a small town to start over. Alice lives in constant fear of inheriting Zoe’s illness. On the outskirts of town lies Butcher’s Block, a hellish neighborhood where junkies roam and lawlessness abounds. It is here the sisters encounter Joseph Peach and his eerily charismatic family. The Peach’s are not your ordinary family; they live above the Butcher’s Block in a dimension that is dark utopia. They offer the sisters a place at their table with promise of a world without worry and without illness. The sisters soon find that the cost of living the good life comes at an unimaginable price and there is a fine line between escaping insanity and embracing true madness.
Season 4 (The Dream Door) Synopsis:
Tom (Scott) and Jillian (Sten), a pair of childhood friends turned newlyweds who are hoping to transform Tom’s childhood home into their own dream house. Though Jillian has high hopes for the new life they’re starting, Tom is trouble by secrets they both keep in their pasts. Those secrets might be trouble enough, but then they discover the secret door hidden in their basement, and their very lives may suddenly be at stake. Ian (Robertson), a grad student who lives next door to Tom and Jillian, becomes swept up in the mysteries surrounded the door. Jillian’s therapist Abel (Weber), learns about the door through their sessions, even if Jillian might not be entirely sure what he’s thinking about it.
1. Chilling Adventures of Sabrina
We first reported on our favorite horror series of 2018 back in May, Netflix’ Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. Based on the 90’s sitcom Sabrina the Teenage Witch, the show was created by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and stars Kiernan Shipka, Jaz Sinclair, Michelle Gomez, Chance Perdomo, Lucy Davis, Miranda Otto, Richard Coyle, Ross Lynch, Tati Gabrielle, Lachlan Watson, and Bronson Pinchot. The acting, dialogue, effects, sets, and overall production value of this series are top-notch, and we were surprised at just how dark the show is compared to the 1990’s TV series that it’s based on.
Half witch. Half mortal. On her 16th birthday, Sabrina (Shipka) has to make a choice between the witch world of her family and the human world of her friends. With her aunties (Otto & Davis), her cat Salem, and her boyfriend Harvey Kinkle (Lynch), Sabrina will face horrors and new adventures in the mysterious town of Greendale.
Well that wraps up the 2018 Best TV Series category. Congratulations to Netflix, Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, Kiernan Shipka, and the rest of the cast & crew of Chilling Adventures of Sabrina for the win despite incredibly tough competition from both new & veteran shows, and thanks to all the nominees for creating these awesome stories!