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Film & TV on DVD - John Doe Film News & Reviews

Greetings Film Fiends and welcome to John Doe's Film Blog. 30 years of dedicated celluloid obsession has meant that I have seen a few films. Drawing attention to some of the lesser discussed gems that I love. Cult classics, obscure curios and quality genre pictures. This blogs purpose is to translate some of my passion for these films and with luck, inspire you the reader to go check em out.

John Doe’s 15 Favourite Horror TV Shows : Part 1

Part 1: John Doe's Favourite Horror TV Series'

Read Part 2- John Doe's favourite Horror Anthologies by clicking HERE

carnivale, hbo, horror tv, nick stahl, clancy brown
Roll up, roll up for the Carnivale of freakish horrors and mutated delight

Being in the U.S and experiencing Halloween for the first time was for John Doe an excuse to go all out on horror for the month of October.

Still dripping scarlet fluids and peeling of decrepit false flesh Mr Doe embraced the dark, evil rituals of his first all Hallows night in the USA. As a result his blog suffered from such a hemophiliac loss of creative blood that it would have even left a vampire withering in its own starving misery.

The festive mood still lingers and having previously posted his 13 Great Horror Movies for Friday the 13th The Doe has decided to list his all time small screen horror favourites.

Pure horror on TV is even rarer than finding it in cinemas. Generally it gets merged with Science Fiction or Fantasy so a little liberty has been taken with the list below. That being said all the shows have moments of genuine chills and a self evident adoration for the genre itself.

Divided into 2 parts, the first (The Series) being continuous sagas driven by episodic storytelling. The second (The Anthologies) is shows comprised of stand alone short stories

The Series

American Gothic (1995)
Lording over a small South Carolina town called Trinity, the devilishly enigmatic Sherriff Lucas Buck (Gary Cole) is obsessed with a gifted young boy named Caleb (Lucas Black). Criminally canceled just as it was truly hitting its stride, this Sam Raimi produced series combines it dark intent with a mischievous sense of humour.

American Gothic Trailer

carnivale dvd, hbo, horror tv
Carnivale DVD
Carnivale (2003)
The battle between good and evil, heaven and hell rages in this Lynchian Deadwood meets American Gothic series produced by Ronald D Moore (Battlestar Galactic). The production design is faultless, the script eagerly plays with the mysterious characters and the dense storytelling make it worthy of several viewings. The cast including Clancy Brown (Highlander) and Nick Stahl (Bully) are as good as any that have slimed onto the small screen and the epic scope of its tale made John Doe want to bite the head of a chicken when it was cancelled after only two seasons.

the kindom, riget, horror tv, lars von trier
The Kingdom - Riget DVD
Riget aka The Kingdom (1994)
Controversial Filmmaker Lars Von Trier (AntiChrist, Breaking Waves) happily exists on an existential plain of his own and this TV miniseries capitalizes on his esoteric eccentricities. Set in a state of the art hospital where things gradually get weirder and weirder to get specific would do you the reader an injustice, just know that this challenging brain food that serves its dish cold.

x files, david duchovny, chris carter, gillian anderson
The X Files Complete Box Set DVD
Chris Carter’s Millennium (1996) and The X Files (1993)
It is hard to choose which of these two horror/sci-fi morsels was superior. The Mulder and Scully show aka The X Files may have been more science fiction based but contained its share of atmospheric terror. The fact that Stephen King and Dean Koontz wrote episodes justifies including it in a horror list too. Millennium however thrived in a dark,foreboding tension that was forever indebted to Lance Henriksen’s (Near Dark, Aliens) skillful strength of menace.

The moody Intro sequence for Millennium

dead like me, horror comedy, horror tv, mandy potemkin
Dead Like Me Complete Series DVD
Dead Like Me (2003)
This is a quirky horror/comedy about a young girl named George (Ellen Muth) who discovers that after death she has been assigned to Grim Reaper duties. Witty with colorfully imaginative deaths, a self aware script created by Bryan Fuller (Heroes, Wonderfalls) and the twisted after-life politics amuse. Mandy Potemkin (The Princess Bride) makes it a must watch. Oh and you guessed it, canceled before it's time while Buffy ran 7 years, makes no sense to Doe

For all us fans here is the trailer for the Dead Like Me movie released on DVD in 2009

Click HERE for Part 1 of John Does Favourite Horror Anthologies
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29 Comments. [ Add A Comment ]
1. November 8th 2009 @ 23:38. Bryn Says:
Edging into my Dark side of the court again are we JD?

The Kingdom. Yes.

Never heard of Carnivale though.

What about Werewolf ....?
2. November 8th 2009 @ 23:53. JohnDoe Says:
I exist in the darkness, you know that....sometimes it just can't be helped

Elevate Carnivale to the must-see-now category Bryn,

As for Werewolf it was fun but not worthy.....there were a lot that I had to cut.....when i got to 15 favorites I decided know me i could have been there for a week so i strictly chose off the top of my head.

Any other series you dig? I'm sure in my Anthologies list you will have a few, that was hard to keep down, never realised how many of the great horror show were.
3. November 9th 2009 @ 02:32. Bryn Says:
Of course you lurk in the Dark ... was just ribbing you.
I'll see if Dr. What has Carnivale ...
4. November 9th 2009 @ 03:58. Matt Shea Says:
JD - nice idea for a list. Re: Carnivale - I've only ever seen a few episodes of this and have forever been meaning to check it out proper. Thanks fro reminding me! Riget sounds fantastic...
5. November 9th 2009 @ 10:02. Anonymous Says:
OMG - I love Carnivale - have the entire set on DVD - nearly time for another viewing. It was meant to be six seasons but due to budget they ended it after the two but the end of season two wrapped it up perfectly. I did want more though. Bryn you should hire this one out - the entire show screened on ABC.

And I really miss American Gothic - that kid ended up moving to the XFiles movie.

And The Kingdom was brilliant - loved it!

Don't you miss Supernatural And could Death Note be classified as a TV thing? It is f'n great!

I think I watch way too much TV.
6. November 9th 2009 @ 13:59. Mountain Fog Says:
Well, I saw the first part of Carnivale, and it was great indeed. I have not been able to get into series too much, however, I saw some of the first run of X Files series and that was interesting, but after doing so much research in the real UFO area, it started to piss me off, as it purloined a few actual events that then relegated them to the 'I saw that on X Files' disbelief bin.

However, going back a wee bit, as a very young boy in the early 60's I grew up watching The Twilight Zone and Outer Limits, which scared the begeesus out of me and my older siblings, but we forced ourselves to watch them every week!

I would have liked to see Dead Like Me too. Is that available in DVD stores?


7. November 9th 2009 @ 16:34. JohnDoe Says:
Your welcome Matt, everyone needs a reminder on Carnivale from time to time.

With the Kingdom aka Riget make sure you grab the original and not the Stephen King remake.

8. November 9th 2009 @ 16:41. JohnDoe Says:
Hi Jason,

Carnivale is certainly one we agree on. i am just working my way through it for the third time and it just seems to improve with each screening.

The budget was huge for each episode and it is easy to see why they couldn't afford to go on, shame though because 6 seasons would have been superb.

The kid from American Gothic is Lucas Black, he was great in Sling Blade and now he has grown up was also good in Jarhead.

I hated Supernatural, another of those good ideas done for Death Note, it is incredible and a huge oversight on my part....Death Note should have made my list
9. November 9th 2009 @ 16:44. JohnDoe Says:
Hi Mountain Fog,

I can see why the X Files pissed you off...the quality also decreased on the show rapidly after season 5...i stopped watching once Mulder left.

You should be able to find Dead Like Me on DvD, I have both seasons that were released.

As for Twilight zone and Outer Limits wait till part 2 of my list where I tackle Anthologies. (Hint, they are two of my favourite shows ever on Tv)
10. November 9th 2009 @ 20:26. Jason King Says:
Lucas Black, that's him - I think he was also in Friday Night Lights. Love Jarhead.

Pity you don't like Supernatural - I really enjoy it.
11. November 10th 2009 @ 00:00. Morgan Bell Says:
i love American Gothic, ive got it on dvd, i love the dramatic device of having a really conniving character and then all the rest of the characters blissfully unaware he is behind all the schemes

Battlestar had Gaius Baltar, Oz had Ryan O'Reilly, Othello had Iago

i also really enjoyed Dead Like Me, i saw the complete series on dvd recently, i dont know how horror it is but it was funny
12. November 10th 2009 @ 10:40. Natalina Says:
JD, you and I are on the SAME page with these picks!

Carnivale...Love. It's a series I've watched a few times and I never get tired of it. I'm constantly lending the DVDs out to people (read: forcing people to watch).

Dead Like Me is such a favorite, although I have to say I was desperately disappointed by the movie. Very very very disappointed. It was completely lacking the vibe of the TV show. Sucked.

And in a strange coincidence, I just got done leaving a comment on Bryn's blog mentioning Millennium. I adored that show. Right up my paranormally charged alley! Love love love that show.
13. November 10th 2009 @ 20:09. Anonymous Says:
I remember when they used to put American Gothic on Scifi,I loved that show.You should also include "Forever Knight" and "Poltergeist : The Legacy"
14. November 10th 2009 @ 20:49. Tracy Says:

I've always meant to watch Carnivale and am even more keen now.

Great list.

15. November 11th 2009 @ 02:23. James Rickard Says:
How timely! I was just thinking about American Gothic last night!!!!
16. November 11th 2009 @ 06:29. Catherine Stebbins Says:
really great list. I have seen season 1 of tales from the crypt and it is such a blast. and I have seen season 1 of carnivale when it aired and I was addicted to it. Then season 2 aired and I did not get hbo and when i heard it was cancelled i decided not to continue it because i was so angry about not getting a conclusion to this story but i need to revisit it. and i've been meaning to see the kingdom for years and years. i need to just watch it. again, great list!!
17. November 11th 2009 @ 18:23. JohnDoe Says:
Hi Jason,

Supernatural is the kind of show i would normally enjoy, but watching it the execution seemed limp and pandered to much to the teen soapy market.

That being said I can see the appeal.
18. November 11th 2009 @ 18:32. JohnDoe Says:
Hi Morgan,

I agree with the joys of American Gothic. I own it on DVD too and the "all knowing character" device works a treat and I also like the examples you give for other successful employments of the device.

Dead like Me is not the sort of show i would normally like because of it's horror-lite approach but the writing is just so much fun and the characters really grow as it evolves.
Being about grim reapers and obsessions with death is why i consider it my eyes not all horror films are scary, just as all scary movies are not neccessarily horror.

Thanks for the visit.

19. November 11th 2009 @ 18:38. JohnDoe Says:
Hi Natalina,

LOL - forcing Carnivale on friends...sometimes its just for their own good

I haven't seen the Dead Like Me film, but with the way the series ended I am glad they tried to insert an extra chapter...I must say that with Mandy, its not gunna be the same...expect feedback on the content of the movie once I have seen it.

Millennium was a must-watch for me when it first aired and i haven't seen it since, but man I loved it too/... I think i need to join Lance again.

20. November 11th 2009 @ 18:51. JohnDoe Says:
Hi anonymous,

Forever Knight was actually on my first draft and then when i limited teh list it was cut, still a fun show though.

the Poltergeist TV series was a little bland for me, i did like the first film, but even its bigscreen sequels left me with a bitter taste in my mouth..

I am so pleased with all the love being shared for American Gothic, surprised so many of my readers are fans because few of my friends in the outside world even watched it.

Thatnks for the visit.
21. November 11th 2009 @ 18:54. JohnDoe Says:
Hi Tracy, get on the Carnivale band wagon now....

What are some of your favourite Horror shows?
22. November 11th 2009 @ 19:00. JohnDoe Says:
That could be seen as creepy, James...maybe its just creepy we both love the twisted show
23. November 11th 2009 @ 19:05. JohnDoe Says:
Thank You Catherine,

I'm sure you can tell by what i wrote that i was crushed and raging upon cancellation of Carnivale. Though it doesn't tie up all the loose ends in Season 2, the finale makes it a tolerable externally forced conclusion.

The Kingdom is a visual nightmare that etches its imagery into the mind...intriguing plot too, get on it!

24. November 11th 2009 @ 19:12. Morgan Bell Says:
yeah the Dead Like Me movie did suck, too many cast changes, too much out of character behaviour, all together a bit of a stinker
25. November 11th 2009 @ 19:24. JohnDoe Says:
damn, that makes me sad Morgan...then the original writer (Bryan Fuller) was forced to make bad changes by the producers even when the first series was in production. (Eg: Georges dad was meant to be gay but execs said no and instead made him have a traditional affair with a student...and you can tell from the set up earlier it was not meant to be such a shallow betrayal.)
26. November 12th 2009 @ 08:25. Morgan Bell Says:
George's dad being gay would have made a lot more sense
27. November 12th 2009 @ 18:49. JohnDoe Says:
Hi Morgan,

When I watched the series for teh first time I thought they had certainly set the father up to be felt clumsy or should I say lazy when it was a traditional affair. the second time I watched it really annoyed me.

28. January 22nd 2010 @ 11:31. Luke Says:
I fuckin love Carnivale.
29. February 3rd 2010 @ 17:59. JohnDoe Says:
That's my feelings too Luke, just you put it more eloquently than I

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