9. Night Gallery
Air Dates: November 8, 1969 - May 27, 1973
Best Episode: "The Caterpillar" (March 1, 1972)
After the massive success of his first genre-specific TV creation, The Twilight Zone, Rod Serling gave the anthology format another look with Night Gallery, more of an on-the-nose horror program than Zone. The results, while not nearly as superlative as his Zone output, were frequently excellent, and almost always creepy.
The show's concept was a unique one: Before each story began, Serling introduced the tale with an abstract yet fitting painting, an illustrated picture that captured the segment's essence. Not all of Night Gallery's entries were memorable, though, a problem that's easily attributed to the show's reliance upon multiple segments per episode, rather than one half-hour narrative at a time, a la The Twilight Zone.
But when Night Gallery worked, it brilliantly married cold-blooded horror with primetime TV. The best tales were, unsurprisingly, written by Serling himself, such as the demonic “Camera Obscura”, revolting “The Caterpillar”, and the H.P. Lovecraft adaptation “Pickman's Model".