Tales from the Dark Side of Love Giveaway – Dark TV Shows We Love to Love - Guest Post from Nancy Wood

You can’t go wrong with TV shows that showcase the ‘your husband/wife/lover/fiancé/ is not who you think they are’ theme. Don’t we all have a little bit of that hidden in our psyche? A Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde personality trait? My favorite TV shows combine tight plots with extreme character deceit. They’re dark. They’re riveting. They’re breath-stopping. And they can keep you from falling asleep at night.

Here are five of my favorites. How about you?
Breaking Bad                                    

I was one of the few who didn’t get hooked on Breaking Bad when it first broadcast back in 2008. I’m watching it now and am on Season 4. Walter, cancer-ridden husband and father, high school chemistry teacher turned meth cook, is the obvious master of deceit. But I’m intrigued by his wife, Skyler. She seems to bounce back and forth between honesty and deceit, truth and lies. It’s as if she wants to trust Walt, but time and time again, discovers how complicated and almost impossible that is. When Walt moves back in, after she’s told him to leave and drawn up papers for a divorce, she rekindles her affair with her boss. I love the scene, early in season 3, when she announces the affair, in the kitchen, before dinner. She’s not at all contrite, apologetic, or remorseful. She’s harsh, leaning in close, saying something along the lines of: “You want to know what I did today, Walt? I f***ed Ted Beneke.”

Cold and cruel, made even more so because of the surprise. I love this show!
Created by Vince Gilligan

Starring Bryan Cranston, Anna Bunn, Aaron Paul, Dean Norris, Betsy Brandt, RJ Mitte, Bob Odenkirk, Giancarlo Esposito, Jonathan Banks Laura Fraser, Jesse Plemons

The Sopranos

Who could forget The Sopranos, the HBO series about a New Jersey crime family? There’s a lot in The Sopranos that’s dark and meets my standard for deceit and betrayal. Tony for starters, who gives new meaning to the phrase, “He’d just as soon look at you as stab you in the back.” But I still think about the death of Christopher Moltisanti’s fiancé, Adrianna, in season 5. Christopher is mob boss Tony’s cousin and protégé. The FBI finds a way in, giving Adrianna the choice of a wire or jail time on an accessory to murder charge. Adrianna won’t do it and tells Christopher everything, hoping he’ll run away with her. Take the witness protection offer. She really thinks he’ll do it. But in the end Christopher’s loyalty lies with Tony and the rest is TV history. A car ride with another of Tony’s men, the frigid woods in late winter, a gun, Adrianna crawling away. It’s cold. Chilling. Keep-you-up-at-night-disturbing.

Created by David Chase

Starring James Gandolfini, Lorraine Bracco, Edie Falco, Michael Imperioli, Dominic Chianese, Steven Van Zandt, Tony Sirico, Jamie-Lynn Sigler, Drea de Matteo

The Blacklist


There are many levels of deceit running through The Blacklist. Former FBI agent Raymond Reddington turned master criminal surrenders to the FBI after years of being on the run. His condition is that he’ll only talk to special agent Elizabeth Keene, Lizzie for short. Odd, yes. But even spookier is how Raymond suggests, without any absolute evidence, that her charming, tightly-wound schoolteacher husband, who by all account seems perfect in every way, is in fact, a duplicitous spy. There’s just enough that’s not quite right, just enough to keep her off-kilter. Now that the series is two shows in to season 2, it’s apparent that the thread of Lizzie’s husband will be an ongoing theme. I can’t wait to see how this plays out!

Created by Jon Bokenkamp

Starring James Spader, Megan Boone, Diego Klattenhoff, Ryan Eggold, Parminder Nagra, Harry Lennix

Twin Peaks


Twin Peaks, created by Mark Frost and who else but David Lynch, ran for two seasons only, in 1990 and 1991. It followed the investigation into the murder of homecoming queen Laura Palmer. The show itself was a disturbing cross between horror, sci-fi, and camp. There are plenty of layers of deceit in this show, but when time travel and the supernatural were thrown into the mix, the opportunities for betrayal grew exponentially. The mildest character, Laura’s dad, Leland Palmer, who loved his family, turned out to be someone, or something, you didn’t think possible. If you haven’t watched this show, watch it. It will keep you up at night. I promise.

Created by Mark Frost, David Lynch

Starring Kyle MacLachlan, Michael Ontkean, Mädchen Amick, Dana Ashbrook, Richard Beymer, Lara Flynn Boyle, Joan Chen, Eric Da Re, Sherilyn Fenn, Warren Frost, Harry Goaz, Michael Horse, Piper Laurie, Sheryl Lee, Peggy Lipton, James Marshall, Everett McGill, Jack Nance, Kimmy Robertson, Russ Tamblyn, Kenneth Welsh, Ray Wise
The Twilight Zone

When I discovered The Twilight Zone, I was transfixed. The show originally ran from 1959 to 1964, for a total of 156 episodes. Each episode provided a small disturbing nugget of a morality tale. Plenty of the episodes focused on sci-fi, paranormal, drama, psychological thriller, suspense, horror. There were a few chilling episodes that highlighted deceit. One of the most memorable in this genre aired in 1963. Called “In His Image,” it featured a seemingly normal mild-mannered fellow, Alan Talbot, who’s just met the love of this his life. His new love interest thinks he’s normal enough until his memory betrays him, he hears voices, throws a religious fanatic under a train, and meets his doppelganger. He might just be having a nervous breakdown. Or is it something more? By our standards now, the episode does not pack the same punch as a Breaking Bad or Sopranos episode. But it stands out for me as one of the first in this ‘I-am-not-who-you-think’ genre. See if you can find it.

Series created by Rod Serling

Episode directed by Perry Lafferty and written by Charles Beaumont
Starring George Grizzard, Gail Kobe, Katherine Squire, Wallace Rooney, James Seay, George O. Petrie

Bianca's Note: I love, love, love the Twilight Zone!  I have too many favorite episodes to count, but one of my favorites is "Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder."
Nancy Wood is the author of Due Date, published in May 2012.  She's offering the choice of a signed paperback or eBook, so enter below for your chance to win!
She’s finishing up her second book in the series, Nightlights, and hopes to publish this year.

Connect with Nancy here:

Email: nancy@nancywood-books.com

Twitter: @NancyWoodAuthor http://twitter.com/NancyWoodAuthor

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  1. Good choices, Nancy. All terrific shows in their time.

  2. I didn't watch Breaking Bad until it was over, too. Then I binge watched all the seasons (I DVR'd the last season when they did the marathon before the finale) with Chaz continually asking what kind of twisted show was I watching. It took me a few episodes, but I'm finally sold on The Blacklist. James Spader is masterful in that role and that's what kept me watching when I was still feeling iffy about it. I love The Following and Criminal Minds. One of my all time favorites is The Pretender which only got a few seasons, but even some of the antagonists had that softer side that was explored in subplots which made me love the show even more.

  3. Totally with you on Breaking Bad, comes second only to 24 in best of all time! I've just finished the Sopranos. MY other favourites of this type - The Wire, Boardwalk Empire, The Shield. If you haven't, do watch them!! Did you see my post, on Monday? if not, please have a look - you will like it!


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