Who Needs Sleep with Great TV?

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Dunia Sarkis, Staff Columnist

Happy October! My favorite pre-Halloween activity involves watching scary shows and crying myself to sleep afterward, so I’ll be sharing some of my favorites to help you set the mood for Spooky Season. Before I begin, I would like to mention that my criteria for “scary” may not be the most reliable; it doesn’t take much more than a jumpscare and a drop of blood to keep me awake at night for at least a week.

If you haven’t heard of our first show, “American Horror Story” (“AHS”), where have you been for the past 10 years? Created by Ryan Murphy, this terrifying show is a fan favorite. Each season stands alone, but much of the cast remains throughout the series, playing new characters and depicting new plotlines every season.

I must admit that I haven’t actually had the guts to finish a full season of this show. I started “AHS: Asylum” and was immediately scared out of my mind. I had to skip through the episodes and never dared to watch past the second season.

If you’re a fan of horror and still haven’t seen this show, do yourself a favor and watch it as soon as humanly possible! Even though my wimpy brain couldn’t handle it, I’ve heard nothing but praise for this show, and I even had a hard time finding negative reviews online, which is a first.

If you liked “AHS,” you may also enjoy “The X Files.” FBI agent Dana Scully is assigned to keep an eye on Agent Fox Mulder, who has a fixation on the “X Files”—unsolved cases Mulder thinks extraterrestrial forces may have caused. Though Scully was sent to keep Mulder under control, they become an unlikely duo: the skeptic and the believer. Each episode explores a different X file, with Mulder and Scully consistently expressing their conflicting theories on each case. With 11 total seasons, the show lasted from the 90s to early 2000s, gaining a cult following along the way. It was rebooted in 2016 for two extra seasons.

This show is on my exclusive shortlist for favorite shows of all time. Even though I’ve been watching it since 2018, I’m still on the fourth season. It’s an embarrassing stat, especially for a professional binge-watcher like me, but I’ve spent so much time in the last three years researching the series and learning every fact I possibly could that it never even occurred to me to actually finish it first.

When I started the show, I immediately fell in love with Scully, played by the remarkable Gillian Anderson. And as my obsession with her character grew, she quickly surpassed the exclusive shortlist of my favorite characters and has undoubtedly become my number one favorite of all time. Not only is she a well-developed and interesting character, but her influence has also moved beyond the screen. Her character launched “The Scully Effect,” a proven theory that young women who watched “The X Files” after its release in the 90s had a significantly higher likelihood than average of pursuing careers in STEM.

You may also enjoy “The Haunting of Bly Manor.” Set in the 1980s, this show follows an American nanny who makes her way to England and finds a job in a manor in the English countryside, blithely unaware of the history of the family who employed her.

Despite the show’s original appeal for its scariness, its true genius lies in the story. Throughout the series, which only lasts nine episodes, there are lots of confusing events and weird occurrences that seem to go unanswered.

Slowly, the missing pieces are filled in, and the story comes together perfectly. I know I couldn’t be any more vague, but the show is so dense that one little leaked detail could spoil it immediately. I guess you’re just going to have to watch it if you want to find out! Not only is the story itself captivating and suspenseful, but there’s also some lovely romance. This may sound like an exaggeration, but I can assure you that I’ve never seen such a well-developed and thoughtful romance in any other show.

As you may have deduced, I do not do too well with scary shows. I watched “Bly Manor” three times through, and other than a few frightening, but predictable, moments, I made it through practically unfazed. The one-season show is an add-on to the first series from the same creators, “The Haunting of Hill House.” I’ve heard it’s much more frightening, so I have never dared to watch it.

After all, I need my sleep.