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DARK And CREEPY SHOWS

By Benjamin Carr

WATCHMEN (HBO)

Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons' 1986 DC Comics masterpiece is the greatest graphic novel of all time. Though some could argue the case for Maus or Sandman, Watchmen stands above them by taking the superhero genre and making it adult, damaged and downright apocalyptic in a way nothing has ever been since. The movie version released in 2009 and directed by Zack Snyder was decent if bizarre. Damon Lindelof, one of the writers of Lost and The Leftovers, has crafted this new series starring Oscar winners Regina King and Jeremy Irons, alongside Don Johnson, Jean Smart and Tim Blake Nelson as a "sequel" to the original comics. Comic fans will know it ended with a devastating cataclysmic event that killed millions of people.

The new series begins 30 years after that in a bizarre, twisted future where the police must wear masks and hide their true identities to avoid being killed by vigilante mobs. Set largely in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the central character is Angela (King), a cop who dresses as a badass masked nun named Sister Night and fights crime in secret alongside a human lie-detector (Nelson) and her beloved chief (Johnson). The world is divided and still violent, with terrorists taking on the masks of vigilantes from the original series.

The show takes no time to explain to viewers what is happening, instead throwing them into the middle of a race riot, then immersing them in a world where Robert Redford is a divisive, unpopular celebrity president of the United States. But like the original comic, seeds are planted at the beginning that likely will pay off dividends for those who stick with it.

EVIL (CBS)

Procedurals are the comfort food of TV, the sort of thing you expect senior citizens to be able to easily digest on CBS, which anchors much of its programming in shows like NCIS, CSI and Criminal Minds. But, every now and then, CBS takes the style of a procedural and twists it. With their previous hit series The Good Wife, creators Robert and Michelle King anchored the case-of-the-week lawyer show with fascinating characters, cynical takes on the law and politics and real emotional stakes. The result was must-see.

Evil, their new show which has already been granted a full season by the network, is a deceptively simple premise with echoes of The X-Files. A skeptic and a true believer examine bizarre phenomenon, seeking answers. But the Kings do not create simple stories.

The show centers around Kristen, a court psychologist fired from the DA's office, who helps David, a Catholic priest-in-training who works for the Vatican, investigate whether a killer on trial is actually possessed by a demon. Though viewers might expect easy answers every week, the pilot and subsequent episodes are far more complicated and without easy answers. The cast led by Westworld's Katja Herbers and Luke Cage's Mike Colter, infuses their characters with heart and dimension. The whole thing is creepy, too, filled with shadows and monsters.

CREEPSHOW (Shudder)

Horror is having a television resurgence, with viewers having lots of options - like the new seasons of American Horror Story on FX, Castle Rock on Hulu and The Walking Dead on AMC. Of course, as these shows continue, the thrills become a bit predictable. With AHS: 1984, for instance, things have just become silly.

Viewers seeking new stories and legitimate shocks should turn to the Shudder streaming service, which has resurrected the old film series Creepshow as a weekly horror anthology show. Similar to the 1980s shows Tales from the Darkside and Tales from the Crypt, Creepshow is a mixed bag of terror from some of the best new minds in the genre, including Stephen King, Greg Nicotero and Atlanta natives Alex Orr and David Bruckner.

The first episode alone featured a King story and appearances from horror legends Adrienne Barbeau and Tobin Bell. Each story sticks around just long enough to freak you out a little bit, and then the show turns your attention toward another tale. It's a fun, efficient series, providing you with legit scares every week.

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