17. 'True Blood' (2008-2014)
Don't let the disastrous later seasons distract you: For a few years there, Six Feet Under showrunner Alan Ball was the ringmaster of the sexiest, goriest show on earth. His adaptation of author Charlaine Harris' Southern Vampire Mysteries — centered on telepathic watiress Sookie Stackhouse, her vampire suitors Bill Compton and Eric Northman, and various other resident beasties — may never have delivered on the sin/sex/salvation promise of its opening credits. But, man, did it offered softcore thrills and bloody spills of the highest horror-TV order. Meanwhile, it gave vampire fans bored with the decidedly PG-13 antics of the Twilight teens an undead romance with a bit more bite. It's no stretch to assert that neither the Louisiana Gothic of True Detective nor the sensual slaughter of Hannibal would exist without it.