12. 'Night Gallery' (1969-1973)
You've already defined speculative, intellectually complex genre TV for a generation of viewers. What do you do for an encore? If you're Rod Serling, the answer is simple: You tap into psychological horror and double down on the darkness. The TV auteur's Nixon-era series presented short, sharp, scary vignettes (as many as four per episode) that were fueled by murder, guilt, revenge, hauntings, undead predators, and the untapped powers of the mind. By adapting works by such weird-fiction godfathers H.P. Lovecraft, August Derleth, Clark Ashton Smith, and Fritz Leiber, Serling further made the case for his own legendary status. And did we mention that Steven Spielberg made his directorial debut in the pilot?