The thriller genre is expansive in its perception. Back in the old days, this genre’s perception was synonymous with the horror genre. And for good reason too. Both genres signify that there is something bad about to happen. But personally I would like to think that horror is one of the sub-genres of thrillers. With that in mind, the following are my picks for the top 5 TV Shows (thriller) of all time.
Dark is not your usual thriller. The setting is gloomy and sombre but signifies an impending doom. The show focuses on time travel and how one infinitesimally small bad decision leads to a sequence of chaos.
The series contains 3 seasons. The first season of the show is a bit slow. And some critics even called it very similar to Stranger Things at the time. But little did anyone know that the show runners were just getting started. The first season laid the groundwork for the fireworks that the next two seasons would provide. At first, viewers might think that this is one of those shows where they use the age-old sci-fi instrument: time-travel. However, that is not the case. While time-travelling is a crucial element of the show, it does incorporate some elements from Norse mythology. The most eye-catching mythology it incorporates is considering time as a repeating cycle. Norse mythology is not directly mentioned or referenced. But going through the show, it is hard not to miss the easter eggs.
Amid the breath-holding suspense and twists, the show focuses on family values, friendship and self-independence. A story so gripping, it even got praise from legendary author Stephen King.
This show already has an entire piece dedicated on our website. So be sure to check it out once you are done watching it!
This is one of the all time classics. A show about an individual’s misguided sense of justice, it makes even the viewers question their sense of morality. Dexter, the titular character, is a forensic analyst for Miami P.D. with a traumatic past. He was rescued from his past by a police officer who eventually adopted him. His colleagues at Miami P.D. which includes his adopted sister, consider him to be a timid and well-mannered person.
Little do they know that after his day job, he delivers vigilante justice to criminals found guilty in the court of law. During his killings, the mental projection of his now dead adopted father acts as his advisor.
Spanning 8 seasons, the series has Dexter face adversaries in each of them. The most popular season of the show is undoubtedly the 4th one as Dexter meets someone who shares the same blood lust as he does. Except, while Dexter has his dead adopted father act as his moral
compass and keep him in check, this new enemy (portrayed by the iconic John Lithgow) is straight psychotic.
The ending of the series was met with mixed reviews but the good news is, it is coming back for another season. This season will give Dexter the closure he needs from his trauma and promises to provide tons of fan-service.
This British anthology series centres around events influenced by technology. Saying that, it would be unfair to say that all of Black Mirror’s episodes are thrillers. The most prominent thriller centric episodes in the entire series are Playtest, White Bear and Metalhead.
My personal favourite is Playtest starring Wyat Russell. Russell’s character is a backpacker who runs short of money during one of his trips in Europe. Stranded, he volunteers at this famous game development company. Little did he know what he was getting himself into.
This episode relays the message that while AI technologies are very useful and awe-inspiring, misusing AI technology does more harm than good for humanity.
While talking about Black Mirror, it would be amiss to not mention its solo movie till date, “Bandersnatch”. Bandersnatch is not your typical movie though. Released in 2018, it is an interactive psychological thriller movie which makes the viewers choose scenarios to drive the plot forward. The nature of this interactive movie causes it to have many endings. Therefore, it becomes a bit difficult for a viewer to reach all the endings in a single setting. Nonetheless, the experience of watching it, warrants a mention here.
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s literature masterpiece is well-known to everyone. There are countless live-action reimagining of the story too. However, none comes close to the one produced by the British Broadcasting Channel (BBC).
Starring Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock Holmes) and Martin Freeman (John Watson), the series follows the duo as they tackle the most legendary cases of the Sherlock Holmes story. Each episode is distinct in their own way. At the same time, they are interconnected. While the criminal cases are different in each episode, they most certainly lead up to something big in each season’s finale.
Till now the show has 4 seasons. After the release of the 4th, there have been rumors whether or not there will be a 5th season. This has nothing to do with the show’s popularity. More so, it has to do with Cumberbatch’s availability. His performance as Holmes catapulted him to superstardom status. And as a result, he is preoccupied with participating in other projects at the moment.
It is difficult to find a particular season or episode that stands out more than the other. This is because the series consistently excels in providing titillating entertainment which warrants its place as one of the great thriller TV series.
The Walking Dead (TWD)
The list of the top 5 TV Shows (thriller) of all time cannot be completed without mentioning a post-zombie apocalyptic show. Based on a comic book series of the same name, TWD follows a group of individuals in a post-apocalyptic world and their coming to terms with it. Spanning 11 seasons, the 11th season will be the show’s last in 2022.
This is not your usual zombie show. There is not much gore. There are some survival scenes where flesh eating shots are shown but the show eventually moves on from such events. While the setting is still a post-zombie apocalypse, the show moves on from humans vs zombies to humans vs humans.This is where the series takes an interesting turn.
In a universe such as this, resources are definitely scarce. This leads to human factions squaring off against each other. The series uses this opportunity to sparsely portray the element of compromise.
Till now, the series or the comic books it is based on indicates no cure for the zombie disease. Therefore viewers, both regular and casual, are enthusiastic to see how this long-running series ends.