I present to you The Only List of Dark Shows and Movies You Will Ever Need. I know that is a bold claim, but it is true. Turmoil is my specialty. I decided it would be convenient to post a list of my favorites here and update it regularly. Enjoy!
Dark Shows and Movies
(in alphabetical order)
I’ve linked to where you can watch when possible. Most Amazon links should be free if you have Prime. I haven’t paid to watch anything, and, aside from Prime, I don’t have any select subscriptions. Assume none of this is uplifting or family-friendly. You may recognize many of these if you have followed me online for more than a minute.
- The Americans: This was another show my husband enjoyed. My husband is a big government action/thriller guy, whereas I am a more tortured detective gal.
- Bodyguard: My husband enjoyed this more than I did, but I loved Richard Madden’s inscrutable countenance throughout.
- Bosch: American police procedural web television series starring Titus Welliver as Los Angeles Police detective Harry Bosch. The show takes its inspiration from the Michael Connelly novels City of Bones (2002), Echo Park (2006), and The Concrete Blonde (1994).
- The Bridge: Yes, it’s in Svenska. Yes, it’s worth reading the subtitles and I’ve written about it before. There is an American adaption set on the US/Mexico border, but it’s just okay.
- Broadchurch: This series featured both David Tennant and Olivia Colman, so you know to expect complicated characters and outstanding performances. I don’t care if it’s a Cheetos commercial; I will watch anything with David Tennant or Olivia Colman (especially Oliva Colman).
- Endeavor: slow to start, but I was eventually charmed by his mess of a life.
- Father Brown: This is the closest to family-friendly you will get with this list. I watched it for free on Netflix, but it looks like it’s only available on Amazon with BritBox.
- The Frankenstein Chronicles: Not going to lie, this got weird.
- Good Omens: David Tennant. Mostly tween-friendly.
- Grandchester: Not my favorite (think of it as an alcoholic Anglican Father Brown knock off), but Al Weaver kept me coming back.
- Hell on Wheels: This is a Western, which isn’t usually my cup of tea, but Anson Mount is a strong character actor. The first few seasons are better than the last.
- Hinterland: Once you accept Mali Harries’s suburban mom’s haircut, you’ll be fine.
- Hunters: My husband enjoyed this more than I did. It has that Quentin Tarantino vibe he likes, and has me shrugging my shoulders.
- Jack Taylor: Good if you’re in a pinch, but it’s nothing special.
- The Killing: This is a classic and one of the first canceled series that Netflix picked up and made their own. It’s not available on Netflix anymore, but you can be alerted when it is or just watch it on Amazon.
- Lucifer: Not dark! It’s quite goofy and ridiculous, but I Iove it and can’t wait until the final 5th season.
- Luther: This series is exceptionally dark but very, very good. I would happily listen to Idris Elba recite tax code. Ruth Wilson is also excellent.
- Manhunt: Unabomber: Great if you’re a fan of true crime and want to debate if Ted Kacynzski had a point.
- Marcella: This female detective is an absolute disaster. Dark and satisfying. I’m waiting for the next season.
- McDonald & Dodds: Ambitious DCI McDonald takes a promotion from fast-paced London to picturesque Bath. She assumes everyone will need to catch up to her level, especially the quiet, nondescript Dodds, who still uses (gasp!) a pencil and memo pad.
- Mindhunter: It’s all the more disturbing because of the hints of truth. Cameron Britton, as Edmund Kemper, makes my skin crawl.
- Narcos: My husband loved it.
- Ozark: I have what I call a two-season curse. Sometimes I will enjoy a show until the second season and then be done with it. Ozark was like that for me. I’m trying to get back into it because I know so many people love this show.
- Paranoid: Enjoyable, if not memorable.
- Peaky Blinders: I picked this one out for my husband when it first came out, and he loved it. I suspect this show started the undercut hair trend.
- Reckoning: Explores the darkest corners of the male psyche through the eyes of two fathers, one of whom is a serial-killer.
- River: It’s no longer available on Netflix, but it is on Amazon. Stellan Skarsgard is fantastic in this. The ending. Ugh.
- Sherlock: The BBC show with Benedict Cumberbatch, which is outstanding, not the Robert Downey Jr. movie, which is not. Sherlock is one of my favorite shows of all time. I’ve watched the series twice, which I have never done before.
- Shetland: This was on Netflix, but it looks like it’s only available via BritBox now.
- The Suspicions of Mr. Witcher: Olivia Colman
- The Umbrella Academy: I normally steer clear of superheroes, but this one I enjoyed.
- Unforgotten: SO GOOD
- Unorthodox: Do not ask me why I found Orthodox Yanky Shapiro (Amit Rahav) so sexy, but boy, I sure did. I’m not alone.
- Vera: This show about an emotionally stunted female detective is the only show we have paid to watch, but season 1 is free on Amazon. Her floral grandmotherly dresses are the icing on the cake.
- Wallander: Kenneth Branagh not doing Shakespeare or Star Wars! (I’m still not over his split with Emma Thompson)
- Wind River: I woke up in the middle of the night and realized I forgot to add movies. Here’s one about a murder on a Native American reservation.
- Zodiac: no longer available on Netflix, but check Hulu.
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