Stars: Hugh Dancy, Mads Mikkelsen, Caroline Dhavernas, Laurence Fishburne, Hettienne Park, Gina Torres, Gillian Anderson

There are many good, and hideous, reasons why Hannibal creator Bryan Fuller was welcomed into the horror community with open arms this year. Because somehow, by some act of network TV magic, he and the creative team behind NBC's Hannibal conceived grisly and imaginative post-murder imagery that rivals, if not exceeds, what's being done in genre films. There's the shot of victims' back-skin being elevated into angelic wings; the one where a young girl's lung-free body is mounted onto a deer's head; or the sight of a guy's throat cut open and vocal chords used as violin strings.

Again, these aired on NBC, shortly after Parks and Recreation and The Office. It's no wonder that Hannibal—starring the great Mads Mikkelsen as the titular doctor and the similarly impressive Hugh Dancy as his long-time fictional counterpart, Will Graham—barely received its second season pickup, due to low ratings. As critics everywhere and the show's small but loyal following know, though, it's much more than a small-screen slaughterhouse. Intelligent, fearless, cold-hearted, and shocking, Hannibal is an expertly crafted gem that's unlike anything else on television. —Matt Barone