The wildly popular American Horror Story has accomplished a rare TV feat: airing for 12 seasons and counting (and yes, it's already been renewed for a lucky 13th). Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk's creepy FX franchise is an over-the-top delight that's equally at home in classic horror movie territory (witches, haunted houses, summer camp massacres) and weirder realms (aliens, supernatural hotels, freak shows, presidential elections). Some seasons are more thrilling than others, but it's always exciting to see what AHS will do next.
But there's another, equally important question to answer: What will you watch when you're not watching American Horror Story? We've scared up some alternatives. Below, we have a list of great horror shows, ghastly anthologies, and other shows from Murphy and Falchuk to keep you entertained.
I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say that if you are a huge fan of American Horror Story, then you'll probably also like American Horror Stories. The spin-off of American Horror Story takes the anthology to the next anthological level, with each episode containing its own self-contained story. This structure makes it more like Tales From the Crypt than American Horror Story, but there are nods to AHS, including familiar cast members and a premiere episode that returns to Murder House. The show's writers include Murphy, Falchuk, and AHS writer and Dexter vet Manny Coto, among others. However, it has the same issues that other horror anthology series have, which is that the quality between episodes varies wildly. -Tim Surette
Always looking to show off your gothic horror knowledge? You'll feel at home with Penny Dreadful. The three-season series, set in Victorian London, kicks off by following Malcolm Murray (Timothy Dalton) and Vanessa Ives (Eva Green) as they set out to rescue Murray's daughter, Vanessa's childhood friend, who's been kidnapped by someone or something sinister. Along the way, they befriend or battle lots of familiar faces for fans of gothic horror literature, like Dr. Frankenstein (Harry Treadaway), Dracula (Christian Camargo), and Dorian Gray (Reeve Carney). There are also witches, vampires, and other creatures that go bump in the night. It's gruesome and strange and full of an endless roster of interesting characters. -Maggie Fremont
If you're looking for an anthology series that's a little more psychological thriller and less, well, in-your-face AHS horror, Castle Rock is a great option. It only aired for two seasons, but even within that short time frame, it feels like a fully realized horror universe, and that's because it comes with an advantage: It has the works of Stephen King as its built-in mythology. Although each season tells a different story, each takes place in the small town of Castle Rock, Maine, and both are filled to the brim with people, places, themes, and callbacks every King fan will recognize. Lizzy Caplan as Misery's Annie Wilkes in Season 2 is a real standout, and the Season 1 standalone episode "The Queen" is widely considered to be the series' best. -Maggie Fremont
Well, if you're looking for a show to haunt your dreams, you've found it. Any horror show with creepy kids is already 10 times scarier than one without, and Servant definitely has that... with an even creepier twist. Servant, executive produced by M. Night Shyamalan, tells the story of Dorothy (Lauren Ambrose), a woman who's had a psychotic break after the death of her baby. In an attempt to help her heal, she and her husband, Sean (Toby Kebbell), use a lifelike doll that they keep in their home. Dorothy believes the doll is their actual son, so you it's already pushing the boundaries of that creepy scale. But it's only once they hire a deeply unsettling nanny, Leanne (Nell Tiger Free), that things start getting really weird. Like, (SPOILER!) that-doll-may-be-turning-into-a-real-baby weird. And while the premise of the show has shock value, it's the quiet, claustrophobic way the series is shot (the action mostly takes place within the couple's Philadelphia townhouse) that gives it that extra chill-inducing vibe. -Maggie Fremont
American Horror Story loves a good cult, which just so happens to be a major element of Archive 81. The series centers on an archivist (Mamoudou Athie) who's tasked with restoring old tapes that were salvaged from a fire, only to find himself getting sucked into the world of the grad student (Dina Shihabi) who appears in the footage — and the mysterious cult she was investigating. The show jumps back and forth between two timelines, which helps make this an extra twisty, extra scary mystery that any AHS fan should enjoy unraveling. -Allison Picurro
Who doesn't love a good old-fashioned ghost story? Mike Flanagan's The Haunting anthology series has given us two, but Hill House from Season 1 reigns supreme (although those melted face ghosts from Bly Manor will certainly leave an impression). It's not just the scares that set Season 1 apart — although there are several moments that will have you jumping — but how seamlessly the horror aspects work into the emotional story of the Crain family, forever changed the summer they move into the titular mansion in 1992. The story alternates between that time and the state of the family in the present, where the now-adult Crain siblings are haunted by both the supernatural and some very real-world internal turmoil that adds heart and heft to the proceedings. If you remain unconvinced, just wait until you reach the season's high note in Episode 6, "Two Storms," an installment that is not only a technical wonder — it plays out in a way that feels like one continuous shot — but a perfect blend of horror and heartbreak. -Maggie Fremont
Midnight Mass, another series from horror writer-director extraordinaire Mike Flanagan, is set on a remote fishing island that is shaken up by the arrival of a new Catholic priest (Hamish Linklater), who quickly gains a horde of devoted followers in the community as he seemingly begins to perform miracles. But nothing is ever what it seems on a Flanagan show, and as it becomes clear that there's a sinister threat looming over the island, each episode unfolds with a certain amount of gripping eeriness. American Horror Story is altogether both freakier and sillier than Midnight Mass, a show less concerned with things that go bump in the night than your average scary series is, but it won't disappoint you if you're looking for more scares (and why would you be here if you weren't?). -Allison Picurro
Let's talk monsters, shall we? And that's both supernatural monsters and monsters of the human kind, because HBO's Lovecraft Country, based on Matt Ruff's novel of the same name and adapted for television by Misha Green, tackles both. Set in the 1950s, the series follows Atticus Freeman (Jonathan Majors) as he travels through Jim Crow-era America in search of his missing father Montrose (Michael K. Williams) with his uncle George (Courtney B. Vance) and friend (and show-stealer) Leti (Jurnee Smollett). Along the way they fight racists and monsters and monsters who turn into racists. And then things get weird. It only ran for one season, but what a season it was. -Maggie Fremont
If you're not watching Evil, you're doing it wrong. The series hails from Robert and Michelle King, the never-boring duo who brought us The Good Wife and The Good Fight, and just as you'd expect, Evil provides the unexpected. It's a weird and wild procedural that follows a team of three assessors investigating possible demonic possessions and miracles for the Catholic Church: Kristen Bouchard (Katja Herbers), a forensic psychologist and a mostly non-believer; Ben Shakir (Aasif Mandvi), a contractor, techie, and resident skeptic; and priest-in-training (later priest) David Acosta (Mike Colter), a man of faith and turtlenecks. Yes, Evil provides some truly wild and terrifying cases of the week — many making thought-provoking and biting social commentary, as is par for the course with the Kings — but it also builds a complex and creepy mythology that continually adds layers to the series. There are demons and angels and unhinged children and hairy horned beast therapists. In short, there's something for everyone here. -Maggie Fremont
Season 4 of American Horror Story was the Freak Show edition, and it focused on a whole bunch of horrifying things that went down at a circus, which makes sense because the circus is inherently creepy — I'm not interested in what you're selling, clowns, OK? For more weird stuff happening under the big top, there's HBO's Carnivàle. The series follows a traveling circus during the 1930s Dust Bowl and strikes a startlingly different tone than American Horror Story. It's dense, with a complicated and continuously growing mythology. It's surreal, full of characters having visions and otherwordly, seemingly impossible, many times sinister events. It is both bleak and biblical as it grapples with real-world problems following the Great Depression and the epic ongoing battle between good and evil. If any of that sounds good to you, you're in for a treat. -Maggie Fremont
There's a healthy amount of shows about witches out there (like Charmed, A Discovery of Witches, and Motherland: Fort Salem, to name a few of the more recent witchy outings), but perhaps the one that comes closest to the camp of American Horror Story: Coven is Netflix's Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. Based on the characters from the Archie comics — and wildly different from the other Sabrina TV adaptation, the more wholesome Sabrina the Teenage Witch — this take on the story of the part-human, part-witch Sabrina (Kiernan Shipka) embraces the dark side of the Sabrina universe. Yes, there's still Aunt Hilda (Lucy Davis) and Aunt Zelda (Miranda Otto) and, at one point, a love interest named Harvey (Ross Lynch), but there's also a lot of Satan worshipping and ruling over hell, and battles between good and evil forces, too. So, like, a little different from the Sabrina you might be familiar with. -Maggie Fremont
With Outcast, The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman brought us yet another wonderfully messed up and seriously scary show. Unlike The Walking Dead, this one only lasted two seasons and is much more of a self-contained story, and it's worth checking out for fans of horror TV. The show stars Patrick Fugit as a man who has been dealing with the effects of being possessed by supernatural forces since he was a kid (American Horror Story has dealt with demonic possession, so AHS fans should feel right at home here), and the series explores themes like religious fanaticism and the nature of evil. It takes itself much more seriously than AHS, but it will suck you in with its compelling story. -Allison Picurro
For fans of Ryan Murphy's anthology series format who are ready to take a break from horror for a while (it's for your health), American Crime Story should fit the bill. Each season, American Crime Story does a deep dive into a different true life event. Season 1, The People vs. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story, tells the story of, you guessed it, O.J. Simpson's murder trial from all sides and includes standout performances by Murphy regular Sarah Paulson as prosecutor Marcia Clark, Courtney B. Vance as "if it doesn't fit, you must acquit" defense lawyer Johnnie Cochran, and Sterling K. Brown as co-prosecutor Christopher Darden, among others. The second season turned its focus to the 1997 murder of fashion designer Gianni Versace (Édgar Ramírez) at the hands of serial killer Andrew Cunanan (Darren Criss). If neither of those true crime stories do it for you, perhaps you'll be interested in the long-awaited third season of the series, Impeachment, covering Bill Clinton's (Clive Owen) White House sex scandal. Beanie Feldstein takes on the role of Monica Lewinsky, who also happens to be a co-producer on the series. -Maggie Fremont