Don’t believe the end of year hype: horror is alive and well. Despite studio horror feature films like Annabelle, The Purge: Anarchy and Ouija making legit cash this year and indie horror making a name for itself, for some reason people want to try and trick you into thinking that the genre bubble has burst. According to the television slate for 2015, the naysayers would be mistaken. Next year is overflowing with genre titles, some new, some old, some returning and lots going to pilot. The Walking Dead has boasted epic viewership and all of the networks plus basic and premium channels want a piece of that gory, sweet, bloody action.
Before we dive into the new crop of horror programing set to grace your sets in 2015, let’s talk about what’s coming back. Hannibal is currently shooting a portion of its third season in Italy (which makes since considering that Hannibal Lecter and Bedelia Du Maurier were last seen flying off into the sunset on their way to Europe after the shocking season two finale). We also learned that Michael Pitt has left the series and Horns actor Joe Anderson will be replacing him as Mason Verger. Bates Motel is also coming back to A&E for its third season season, as is the final season of Netflix series Hemlock Grove.
Returning for sophomore offerings are El Rey’s first scripted series From Dusk Dill Dawn, originally based on the Robert Rodriguez film of the same name, and Salem which airs on WGN America. Guillermo del Toro has promised to continue to be deeply involved in his FX series The Strain, telling Collider that he cleared his schedule in early 2015. “I want to be available because I love this so much,” he shared. The Strain was met with a mixed reception by fans and critics so it will be interesting to see if the show hits its stride with its second season offering.
Penny Dreadful is also coming back and it’s also the one I’m most excited for. I was shocked at how much I loved the Showtime original series and am crossing my fingers that John Logan and company continue down the path that they started last season. Here’s hoping for some more stand alone flashback episodes, too. Something tells me that there’s a lot to be mined from Vanessa Ives’ past…
Also returning are FX’s anthology series American Horror Story: Probably Aliens/Mutants, Definitely Season 5, Maybe with Jessica Lange After All and the ratings juggernaut The Walking Dead.
After all of those successful horror series, it’s no surprise that the other networks would want to get in on the action. The Walking Dead‘s former showrunner Glen Mazzara is spearheading Lifetime’s Damien series, which tells the story of Damien Thorn from The Omen when he’s all grown up. Mazzara has been tweeting photos from the writers’ room for the series and there are a lot of people who have high hopes for this one. Scream Queens, the horror/comedy anthology series from the creators of Glee, has announced Jamie Lee Curtis and Emma Roberts as the season one leads and Blumhouse and Eli Roth’s demonic possession series South of Hell is currently in production in Charleston, SC. There have been lots of rumors swirling around MTV’s Scream series, which we hope will follow in the footsteps of Teen Wolf. Still, much remains to be seen about the next steps for the franchise.
Ash vs. Evil Dead is officially coming to Starz with the original team — Sam and Ivan Raimi, Rob Tapert, and Bruce Campbell — very much in tact, boomstick and all. There have been reports of not one but two Phantom of the Opera shows headed to network television, one a full blown musical series and one that is not. I remember rumblings of a network Exorcist-based procedural and it feels like there’s always some Frankenstein reimagining in the works somewhere, so I guess we have to take all of these reports with a grain of salt.
Finally, the long awaited top secret spin-off of The Walking Dead known as Cobalt has revealed casting decisions and some plot details over the last few weeks. I have a hunch it’s going to be a popular series, much like its big sister.
Finally, pilot season is coming up in early 2015 which means that there are additional horror offerings that could be joining our list of regularly scheduled programming. And what do you know! They’re all based on existing properties. This includes genre favorite Adam Wingard directing Oblivion for Showtime, Seth Rogen and Adam Goldberg directing the Preacher pilot for AMC, and TNT’s alleged Firestarter miniseries titled The Shop that we haven’t heard much about since its initial announcement back in May of 2014.
You can stay tuned to Nerdist for our regular TV-Caps and our weekly Horror Happenings column for all the updates on future genre projects. Speaking of, what are you most excited for in the new year, horror fans? I am digging horror on TV and it seems like there might be something for everyone in the 2015-16 season. Tell us your most anticipated genre shows in the comments below!