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10 ways TV can do horror even better

Freddie Highmore and Vera Farmiga in "Bates Motel"
Freddie Highmore and Vera Farmiga in "Bates Motel"
A & E Television

Bates Motel” ended its second season May 5 and will be back for its third in early 2015. It’s one of the better genre shows on the air right now, and that’s saying a lot with the superb likes of “Hannibal”, “American Horror Story” and “The Walking Dead” in prime time. And while this year’s batch of “Bates Motel” episodes had too much drug cartel story and not enough focus on the core family, it still made for terrific TV horror.

In fact, there are opportunities for all the thrills and chills on the small screen to up the ante. Here are 10 ways horror can be done even better.

Make “Bates Motel” more about Norman and Norma

Sure it takes a village as horrific as White Pine Bay to make the Bates’ who they are, but next season needs to concentrate more on the twisted relationship between mother and son. The exploration of all that’s present in their dysfunctional co-dependency – obsession, fetishism, incestuous pining – has been barely (ahem) touched.

Have less shtick and more scares on “American Horror Story”

“Coven” was eerie and unsettling for the first half of season three. Then Stevie Nicks showed up and it all kind of went to hell. And not in a good way.

Create more anthology series

Characters need to die in horror stories, but it’s hard to kill off beloved series regulars. That’s not a problem in self-contained stories that end after a season. That’s what Ryan Murphy has been doing on “American Horror Story”. Let’s hope more follow his lead.

Renew “Hannibal”

If New York Magazine says it’s the best drama on TV ( then that should be good enough for NBC to renew it.

Move “Hannibal” back to Thursday nights

And do you know why “Hannibal” is on the bubble? The audience that stays home on a Friday night isn’t the kind that goes for edgier TV fare such as that with a serial killer lead ( Quite the contrary. Families, kids and seniors are far from the demographic for horror.

Renew “Dracula” too

It didn’t do well during its Friday night run either. Its lead-in “Grimm” is perfectly suited for younger viewers. “Dracula” is not. It's a complex and adult show that deserves a better fate than cancellation after one exceptional season.

And renew “Penny Dreadful” even though it hasn’t premiered yet

It actually doesn’t launch on Showtime TV until May 11, but its superb pilot is currently available on Showtime Anytime online ( Creator John Logan is one of Hollywood’s brightest talents and here’s hoping his new horror series is a huge hit.

Add more horror to the El Rey Network slate

It’s great news that there will be a second season of “From Dusk Till Dawn”. Let’s hope there will be more original series to come from Robert Rodriguez and company, maybe even another horror series or two.

Give John Carpenter the opportunity to do a show

He’s done well before on Showtime’s “Masters of Horror”. Why not let him run wild on TV again? David Lynch too, for that matter. And what could Eli Roth do within the confines of TV? Or Adam Wingard? There are lots of good horror filmmakers who could bring something chilling to the party on the tube as well.

More witches aren’t necessarily bewitching

They make for great antagonists, even protagonists in some cases, like on “AHS:Coven”, “Sleepy Hollow” and “Salem”, but instead of more witches, or for that matter, zombies and vampires, maybe it’s time to find other fish in the sea. Hey, wait a minute - what about something with the Creature from the Black Lagoon? Ah, that’s the ticket!

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