10 Most Gruesome TV Shows Of All Time

These shows will make you wince, and not always for the reasons you think.

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Television censorship has come a long way in the past 70 years. From it being taboo for Lucy and Ricky to share a single bed to showing Dennis Franz's ass on network television, the social morays of the era have always dictated what can be shown. Basic cable has opened the door to even more violent, sex-filled carnage - allowing words like "s**t" and "ass" after 10 p.m.

The film industry suffered the same problem from the moral majority in the thirties with the self-imposed Hays Code, a pre-MPAA self-imposed ruling that disallowed onscreen kisses to last longer than a certain number of seconds, crime could never be rewarded or glorified and violence was - at best - obscured. When the MPAA was formed, ratings went from G to R, with the rare X rating that often barely got screened in theatres. PG-13 was a compromise reached due to Steven Spielberg's Indiana Jones and The Temple of Doom.

But since the dawn of HBO, Showtime and the formerly as known "skinemax", TV has been a free for all. Though you have occasional incidents like Charlles Rocket using the F word live on SNL and Janet Jackson's "wardrobe malfunction", it's normally a safe space.

It's easy to pick out shows from such networks, but what about the ones that still manage to slide through the cracks of primetime, the ones for which you don't necessarily pay extra? You might be surprised what you find.

10. Sons Of Anarchy

Hannibal Gruesome

Most gruesome shows are full of monsters, murders, cannibalism, creatures and nightmarish imagery, but for those who prefer their violence a little more grounded and gritty, FX's Sons of Anarchy reigns supreme. Following the SAMCRO biker gang, led by Jax Teller (Charlie Hunnam), creator Kurt Sutter continued his unflinching look into racism, corruption and lawlessness he first explored writing for The Sheild.

It's not all that far from reality, either, grounding the violence in reality with a real-life Hell's Angel as a technical advisor.

The word "gruesome" can be broadly defined, from its core roots to gore and violence to blunt, unforgiving cruelty. And though Sons of Anarchy has a fair heaping of the former with brutal torture, rape, shootings and stabbings, the true gruesomeness of the show is borne of vigilantism, vengeance and betrayal.


Kenny Hedges is carbon-based. So I suppose a simple top 5 in no order will do: Halloween, Crimes and Misdemeanors, L.A. Confidential, Billy Liar, Blow Out He has his own website - thefilmreal.com - and is always looking for new writers with differing views to broaden the discussion.