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Master List of Lovecraftian TV shows


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#21 Tigger_MK4

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Posted 20 September 2008 - 07:17 AM

Or even "Millenium?" The first two seasons are gold. The last season is poop.



Actually, with due respect to Mr Glancy, whose work I admire, I'd invert that - I'm a big fan of the third season but not the second.

However, I think we'd agree its worth checking out.


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#22 Ktotwf

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Posted 07 July 2009 - 09:32 PM

Well, I just watched some Lovecraftian television. The first I have ever seen in fact.

Not even "Lovecraftian-esque", but an actual story taking place within the Cthulhu Mythos.

It was an 80's Twilight Zone episode called "Gramma", based on a story by Stephen King, about a boy who is terrified of his dying grandmother.

They slowly reveal that his dying Grandma is some sort of horrible monstrosity, and halfway through the episode the boy digs under the floorboards and finds the Necronomicon and his Grandma's diary of Yog-Sothoth witch cult practices.

I thought the Grandma was a Deep One based on her bizarre reptilian appearance, but the ending of the episode implies that she passed on her soul to her grandson, not something I think Deep Ones do.

#23 Dr_Locrian

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Posted 07 July 2009 - 09:41 PM

I just recently watched the first six episodes of the late '70's series Sapphire & Steele. I'm absolutely amazed that I'd never heard of it before! I really loved the first story that takes place entirely in a house being invaded by strange beings from outside the "corridor" of time. And I hear that the series gets better from there, as it moves from being a kid oriented series into more adult territory.

BTW, is it just me, or is British children's television just ten times weirder and scarier than anything we Yanks had as kids?!

#24 Sinister-Ornament

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Posted 07 July 2009 - 10:04 PM

BTW, is it just me, or is British children's television just ten times weirder and scarier than anything we Yanks had as kids?!



I've envious of you Dr_Locrian of the stories of Sapphire and Steel you haven't seen the best yet which to my mind is the second story (Set on a Railway Station) and the fourth(?) story which is set in a junk shop, both these stories still after repeated viewings still sends shivers up my spine.

Oh, and after you finished watching them you can get more stories on audio (a company called Big Finish does them – they have different people playing the leads though).

There is some great British Tv I'll do some name checks but its hard to work out if something is Lovecraftian or not. I mean I wouldn't have said Children of the Stones was, but I think atmosphere is a great help and it is sometimes worth watching something just for the one idea.

(The Owl Service, Moondial, The Box of Delights, Dramarama, Ultraviolet, The One Game, Oktober, Edge of Darkness, The Nightmare Man, The Day of the Triffids, The Stone Tape, Hammer House of Horror, Jekyll, Beasts)
'EuClidEan diCe woUlD noT aVaiL iN aNy cAse!'
My Evoking Horror Techniques Thread
The British Horror Film Forum

#25 YunusWesley

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Posted 07 July 2009 - 10:28 PM

Weirdness, aliens, terror, psi-powers?

Let's not forget The Tomorrow People. *Another* British show, rebroadcast on cable in the 80s, Stateside. I have no idea if it holds up, but it was serious nightmare fuel for me as a child.

These opening titles just gave me the serious half-remembered flashback willies.

*edit* I flubbed the url previously.

#26 Guest_squashua_*

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Posted 08 July 2009 - 03:22 PM

I'm Netflix'ing The Lost Room, which was a miniseries show on the Sci Fi channel about a room from a 60's hotel that disappears into the universe or something.

Very Hastur-esque in theory, but I'll watch to see the execution.

BTW, way to resurrect a thread.

#27 Dr_Locrian

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Posted 08 July 2009 - 03:31 PM

I've envious of you Dr_Locrian of the stories of Sapphire and Steel you haven't seen the best yet which to my mind is the second story (Set on a Railway Station) and the fourth(?) story which is set in a junk shop, both these stories still after repeated viewings still sends shivers up my spine.


Looking forward to the rest of it, definitely! And I'll have to see if any of those other shows you mention are available on the ol' Netflix--thanks for the tips.

And about the Lost Room: IMO it was worth seeing, but in many ways it was more enjoyable as a mine for gaming ideas than as a story (kind of falls apart towards the end).

#28 Guest_squashua_*

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Posted 23 July 2009 - 03:29 PM

And about the Lost Room: IMO it was worth seeing, but in many ways it was more enjoyable as a mine for gaming ideas than as a story (kind of falls apart towards the end).


Finished episode 6 (final episode) last night. The show felt like a series pilot, but it unfortunately never got made.

I enjoyed it a lot.
Here are some non-to-increasingly spoiler points of LOST ROOM:

- There is a hotel room that has become unstuck from reality.
- All objects in the room at the time of reality unsticking, as well as the key to the room, became imbued with various reality-altering abilities.
- And by reality, I mean Matrix-style reality alteration stuff.
- Various warring cults have formed around these mysterious reality-altering objects, of which there are at least one hundred, that have been distributed out among the populace.

#29 golfsale

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Posted 27 April 2016 - 08:10 PM

I've just watched an episode of Sanctuary entitled "Normandy" (series 3 episode 17). Very World War Cthulhu.



#30 ScS

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Posted 28 April 2016 - 02:47 PM

Finished episode 6 (final episode) last night. The show felt like a series pilot, but it unfortunately never got made.

I enjoyed it a lot.
Here are some non-to-increasingly spoiler points of LOST ROOM:

- There is a hotel room that has become unstuck from reality.
- All objects in the room at the time of reality unsticking, as well as the key to the room, became imbued with various reality-altering abilities.
- And by reality, I mean Matrix-style reality alteration stuff.
- Various warring cults have formed around these mysterious reality-altering objects, of which there are at least one hundred, that have been distributed out among the populace.

 

I loved that series. I especially liked the classic weirdness of the premise.

All of the supporting characters tried to use logic to exploit the artifacts, to understand the phenomenon, and failed. The protagonist only succeeded by embracing the weirdness, by acting on instinct and hope.

Nothing is ever explained, and practically nothing is finished, and everyone goes forward into a uncertain future, ultimately knowing even less about the universe than they thought they knew before.

I especially liked the most vague possible explanation for the entire event: "God died in that room".



#31 yronimoswhateley

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Posted 30 April 2016 - 02:00 AM

Just want to say first that this is a great thread, full of some suggestions that are new to me!

 

Most of my own suggestions were mentioned already, but I'll mention them again:

  • Threshold:  this would be my choice for one of the most Lovecraftian (in spirit) shows on television; too bad it vanished before its first season was even finished.
  • Star Trek:  I'd never thought of it until someone else in this thread mentioned it, but the original Star Trek does use some standard weird fiction tropes from time to time (it probably helps that some episodes were written by folks who, if I remember correctly, were among Lovecraft's correspondents, or at least were very familiar with Lovecraft's work!  Robert Bloch, Richard Matheson, Theodore Sturgeon, Harlan Ellison....)  If nothing else, there's the Gene Roddenberry standard theme of the crew routinely journeying into space, meeting the gods, and finding out that the gods are little more than sufficiently-advanced, insane aliens who enjoy abusing their authority over mere humans....  Still, I'd rate it low on a Lovecraftian scale, as this show really didn't develop the bleak cosmic atmosphere of truly Lovecraftian fiction very far.
  • Doctor Who and Torchwood:  These shows over all weren't especially Lovecraftian, though a couple stories really got close in mood and atmosphere, and one or two stories from the classic era were almost certainly directly inspired by Lovecraft; still, these shows are worth mentioning anyway, since they really get it right when they do dip their toes in the weird fiction waters.  (I'd suggest that most of the "Lovecraftian" vibe from this series can be attributed in the original run to influences from the Quatermass franchise, and in the "New Who" revival run to the dark fiction inclinations of contributors like Neil Gaiman.)
  • Anthology series:  These are generally uneven, but would occasionally delve into Lovecraftian horror, and are worth checking out, even if in some cases you have to pick through them with a fine-toothed comb to find anything that is both Lovecraftian and watchable:
    • Night Gallery:  After Rod Serling's Twilight Zone ran its course, Serling moved on to this lesser-known show (which in turn morphed into the short-lived, inferior and quite forgettable The Sixth Sense). As an anthology horror/dark-fantasy show, the Night Gallery over all was not particularly Lovecraftian, but contributer Jack Laird appears to have been a big fan of Lovecraft and at least a handful of episodes/segments were either direct adaptations of Lovecraft stories, or made use of Lovecraft's creations (generally in parodies), or were written by Lovecraft's correspondents, friends, fans, or direct influences (Fritz Lieber, Algernon Blackwood, Richard Matheson, Jack Laird....)  The occasional parody was cute, and there are a few other segments that really nail the right atmosphere of Lovecraftian horror or fantasy without any direct links to Lovecraft, but for the connoisseur,  "Pickman's Model" and "Cool Air" segments are really the ones to look out for!
    • Boris Karloff's Thriller:  Poor Thriller!  Hosted by the legendary Boris Karloff, this series' bread-and-butter was at first generic crime/detective stories, and the show quickly made the mistake of trying to directly compete with Alfred Hitchcock Presents as a crime show, only for Alfred Hitchcock himself to take the challenge personally, roll up his sleeves, fight dirty, and all but blot Thriller from existence by "headhunting" Karloff's writers away from his show, running Alfred Hitchcock Presents in the same time slot, and generally doing the crime/detective story much better than Karloff's show did (it didn't help that Thriller's crime/detective stories were, to be honest, usually quite boring and forgettable at their best, and bloody awful at their worst!)  Where this show really excelled was when it played with Gothic and supernatural horror, though, and some of its best episodes came from stories that were drawn from Lovecraft fans and friends (Robert Bloch, Charles Beaumont, Richard Matheson, August Derleth....)  Aside from the Gothic and supernatural elements, Thriller's only other advantage over Alfred Hitchcock's show was in its ability to push the envelope of lurid violence a bit further than genre television ever had before, and some of the better stories in this show were also surprisingly violent and overtly occult for their time.
    • The Outer Limits:  This show was generally more straightforward New Wave Science Fiction, but could occasionally dip into vaguely Lovecraftian territory, at least in its original run (the 1990s revival series might be another story....)  The Twilight Zone original run might have done so a couple times as well, but not as often (it seemed to prefer a very different flavor of dark fantasy), while its 1980s revival was a little more likely to delve into other territory (someone else mentioned the adaptation of Stephen King's Lovecraft pastiche "Gramma" from the 1980s revival, which was a very good example of this).
    • Tales from the Darkside:  along with its (generally inferior) successor Monsters sometimes delved into Lovecraftian territory.  Ray Bradbury Theater, Amazing Stories, Darkroom, and a few other 1980s anthology shows occasionally went there, too, but it's a mixed bag.
    • Masters of Horror:  and its successor Fear Itself occasionally dipped directly into Lovecraftian horror, with at least one episode (an adaptation of "Dreams in the Witch House") between them being directly based on a Lovecraft story.  Night Visions and The Hunger were other 1990s anthology shows that might have dipped into the same territory (though my memory on details is a bit vague).
  • Dark Shadows:  The original run of this Gothic horror soap opera had a subplot running over couple seasons that was loosely inspired by "Shadow Over Innsmouth", "The Dunwich Horror", and other Lovecraft tales, involving tainted bloodlines, alien gods, eldritch lore, and that sort of thing.  (The 1980s revival didn't seem to last long enough to go there.)
  • The X-Files and Millennium:  I enjoyed both of these shows and they are worth checking out anyway, but any Lovecraftian elements were minor, and would probably have been borrowed more from The Nightstalker and decades of indirect Lovecraftian influence than any direct, conscious source.  If nothing else, there might be a couple explicitly Lovecraftian stories in the X-Files that I might have forgotten, and some of the cults in Millennium could make for some fun inspiration for Call of Cthulhu or Delta Green RPG scenarios.
  • The Nightstalker:  a couple episodes from the original run of this very influential cult favorite came consciously close in spirit to Lovecraftian horror, with its amateur "detective" (a skeevy tabloid reporter for a low-budget newspaper) delving into Gothic Horror-inspired monster-of-the-week stories, killing the monsters with fire, losing the evidence, and barely surviving to tell the tale to an indifferent and useless public, his eccentric co-workers, and his bewildered, put-upon, and constantly-angry boss.  (This basic premise went on to inspire dozens of similar television shows in the decades since, including the highly successful The X-Files, and would make an excellent framing story for pretty much any Call of Cthulhu RPG campaign ever.)
  • Supernatural:  taking its cues from Nightstalker, some of the monster-of-the-week stories our amateur "detectives" (well-armed, working-class ghost hunters) have gone on have had a decidedly or even explicitly Lovecraftian feel to them, with H.P. Lovecraft himself actually appearing as a character in the back story to at least one episode of the show.  The lengthy "Leviathan" story arc from one of the later seasons (involving ancient, primeval, supernatural abominations escaping from their sealed-evil-in-a-can prisons) was pretty much made of Lovecraft pastiche....
  • Invasion:  I agree with the poster who suggested this sadly short-lived Invasion of the Body Snatchers TV adaptation:  the films also had a quite Lovecraftian touch to them, in the form of intelligent vegetables that travel through space without space ships to take over the bodies of humans.  About the only thing missing would be occult conspiracy references and direct references to the Great Race of Yith, the Necronomicon, and vast epochs of vigintillions of years of cyclopean, rugose, gibbous, and eldritch horror....
  • Extant:  to be honest, I wasn't crazy about this show and felt it really didn't work in its second season, but the first season, at least, seemed to work on a vaguely Lovecraftian level.  The story was in many ways similar to Invasion of the Body Snatchers meets Village of the Damned, with alien fungi impregnating an astronaut as the first step in unleashing their formless, mind-controlling psychic hybrid children onto the Earth.  (If the first season could be compared to Village of the Damned, then the second season could be compared to the sequel Children of the Damned, with both the second season and the similar sequel failing to engage me as completely as the originals for similar reasons - namely, in that the second season and sequel really weren't particularly creepy, and suffered from being slightly preachy and talky.  YMMV.)
  • Quatermass franchise:  I'm mostly only familiar with the Hammer films based on the television shows, but the wildly imaginative Quatermass and the Pit, AKA Five Million Years to Earth, in particular is quite Lovecraftian (with buried corpses of ancient alien cultists who inspired witchcraft folklore, which are awakened from their slumber in a living spaceship to unleash a nightmarish psychic god made of something other than matter upon the Earth!), and I highly recommend it.  The excellent Quatermass Xperiment has its fair share of cosmic horror elements as well, and pretty much any of the television shows or films in this franchise are worth checking out.  (These serials would be a major inspiration for Doctor Who and Torchwood, and those later shows' main source of cosmic-horror/weird-fiction influences.)
  • Dark Intruder:  this was, believe it or not, a pilot for a 1965 weird fiction television show which never made it to television due to being too dark, violent, and scary for early 1960s television, and it was turned instead into a (short) "B" horror film.  Brought to us by Night Gallery's Jack Laird, the show contained many direct references to Mythos lore (with throw-away dialogue routinely referring to Azathoth, Dagon, Nyoghta, and more), as well as cultists, immortal ghouls, demon-gods, creepy tomes and artifacts, and more.  I thought it was actually quite good, very similar in tone and execution to Curse of the Demon and other great black-and-white horror films from the era, and worth checking out - one wonders what might have happened had this been given a chance to launch a televisions show!
  • Intruders:  a 2014 series that, sadly, disappeared after only one season on BBC America, about an ancient, secret cult who can project their minds after death into the bodies of other people.  The Lovecraftian atmosphere was at best sort of vague in the first season, but I suspect that it would have gotten more overt had the show been given a chance to develop elements such as the "ghost machine" (some sort of creepy fringe science device that let ordinary people hear disembodied spirits), the cult's ancient conspiracy, its library full of strange tomes written by generations of the same personalities in different bodies, and so on.
  • Babylon 5:  the writers for this show routinely mined classic fantasy literature for inspiration, with direct and indirect references to King Arthur, Shakespeare, Lord of the Rings, and Call of Cthulhu (among many, many others).   Once the show established its setting, we quickly get introduced to the "First Ones", sufficiently-advanced aliens who once strode the galaxy like gods, outgrew their mortality, warred among each other until they all fell, and now lurk in the shadowy places between the stars, playing with younger civilizations like pawns in epochs-long games of chess, and insinuating themselves into mortal religions and legends and cultural nightmares through direct interference, mysterious nearly-magical technologies, and shadowy psychic powers in order to disrupt the anthills of younger mortal civilizations like sullen, overgrown children who haven't yet outgrown the galaxy enough to leave it for even more ancient and shadowy corners of the universe....  The plot of one made-for-TV movie, Babylon 5: Thirdspace, is more or less "The Call of Cthulhu - in SPACE!" (an extra-dimensional space-born First One corpse-city surfaces from hyperspace, driving the sensitive artists and such exposed to its psychic presence mad); beyond that, the series in general routinely touched on common weird fiction and cosmic horror tropes, really giving a sense of a vast, ancient, thoroughly Gothic universe full of shadows for unspeakable horrors, soul-chilling secrets, and mind-shattering mysteries to lurk in.
  • True Detective:  the first season, at least, with numerous references to R.W. Chambers' Lovecraft inspiration The King in Yellow, had a definite weird fiction feel to it; the second season (with a different cast of characters and a new story line) is worth checking out as well, but was a much more conventional police procedural.

Edited by yronimoswhateley, 30 April 2016 - 02:09 AM.

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#32 mvincent

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Posted 02 May 2016 - 10:07 PM

Some other TV series' that I thought I'd mention:

Penny Dreadful: not explicitly Lovecraftian, but is well done and provides excellent imagery for Gaslight era horror.

Boardwalk Empire: not Lovecraftian or even horror in any manner, but can be an excellent 1920's resource.

Ash vs. the Evil Dead: well... the Necronomicon is still the central plot device. Similarly...

Todd and the Book of Pure Evil is also centered around a Necronomicon-like book

Tremors (the TV series): contains Grabboids.


Edited by mvincent, 02 May 2016 - 10:24 PM.


#33 yronimoswhateley

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Posted 04 May 2016 - 01:40 PM

I keep forgetting to mention:

  • Garth Marenghi's Dark Place - which comes across as an affectionate parody by the some of the boys responsible for The IT Crowd and The Mighty Boosh of a low, low-budget 1980s vanity-project horror TV show that it seems I really ought to recognize, but can't really put my finger on.  They hit so many of the right notes on badly-written weird fiction/cosmic horror tropes poorly-translated into bad television and film, I can't help suspecting the writers might be closet fans of Lovecraft and his imitators....

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#34 PoC

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Posted 04 May 2016 - 01:48 PM

Garth Marenghi's Darkplace features a few guest appearances by Graham Linehan (Father Ted, The IT Crowd), who is a Call of Cthulhu fan. We interviewed Graham in Yog Radio #45.



#35 RobP

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Posted 10 May 2016 - 02:26 PM

I third Darkplace, was a great affectionate spoof

I'd also add 

The League of Gentlemen - dark humour,  particularly the couple in the "local" shop, wouldn't be out of place in Innsmouth

 



#36 ralfy

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Posted 18 May 2016 - 08:02 AM

Doomwatch

 

The series was set in the then present day, and dealt with a scientific government agency led by Doctor Spencer Quist (played by John Paul), responsible for investigating and combating various ecological and technological dangers.

 

 

https://en.wikipedia.../wiki/Doomwatch



#37 ReydeAmarillo

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Posted 18 May 2016 - 12:45 PM

Disappointed that no one has menioned the short lived and much missed (well by me anyway) UK TV show:-

 

https://en.wikipedia...ange_(TV_series)

 

A team formed of a Defrocked Priest, Nurse, Computer/Electronics wizz kid and a mediumistic young man investigating and stopping demonic activity in the local city (Bristol I think??).

 

Very atmospheric and eerie with the team working from limited information, scouring ancient books and newspapers alike and often having many misteps before they track down the "Demon of the Week". And in the background the Uber-Demon Asmoth (who killed the Priest's wife) looms large and unidentified.



#38 johnmcfloss

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Posted 18 May 2016 - 02:03 PM

Twin Peaks, possibly. Certainly in tone. Most Lynch feels like it's based in a world where Hastur had risen.

 

And also Gravity Falls. Which despite being a modern children's cartoon (which, I've got a lot of time for, I'd argue we're in a bit of a renaissance), kinda feels like someone syndicated Twin Peaks for Saturday mornings, and managed to do it justice. It's a little monster-of-the-weeky in places, but the metaplot resolves entirely around understanding, protecting and finding grimoires of supernatural knowledge, ancient/alien technology, and the risk of madness.


Edited by johnmcfloss, 18 May 2016 - 02:19 PM.


#39 deuce

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Posted 19 May 2016 - 07:32 AM

I just want to thank Yronimos for re-upping this fine thread. Much Innsmouth gold to be found herein. The vaults and coffers of Yoggie are deep, and filled with eldritch gems, obviously.  B)



#40 yronimoswhateley

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Posted 20 May 2016 - 06:05 PM

Thank you, Deuce!

 

It seems like there's still a few shows out there that haven't been called out yet, but I'm stumped on thinking of them.  There is still:

  • Land of the Lost - best remembered for being an adult-friendly 1970s Sid and Marty Krofft kids' show, it's creative use of extremely low-budget and vaguely psychedelic special effects, stop-motion dinosaur puppets, and most of all for the eerie Sleestaks: savage, menacing, antediluvian serpent-men who worship strange gods and rule what appears to be a strange, Dreamlands-like alternate dimension somewhere deep inside the Earth and outside normal space and time.  The first couple seasons are generally fondly remembered, but I seem to recall the last season saw a drop in quality due to executive meddling, and the 1990s revival and 2009 film were generally forgettable.

Edited by yronimoswhateley, 20 May 2016 - 06:07 PM.

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