DISCLAIMER: The following contains spoilers for Mike Flanagan‘s Netflix “Flanaverse” shows. Proceed at your peril. 

Mike Flanagan’s Flanaverse

The horror renaissance is in full swing, with new and exciting auteurs coming to the fore. Chief among them is horror maestro Mike Flanagan, a filmmaker with a unique onscreen style and vision. His proprietary blend of Gothic horror, jump scares, terrifying visual elements, relevant thematic exploration and thought-provoking writing make for an entertaining (and fulfilling) watch. 

Below, I’ve ranked the five Netflix Flanaverse shows. I’ll never stop geeking out over good horror, and each of these is a necessary addition to my annual Halloween viewing rotation. 

5. The Midnight Club 

The members of the Midnight Club.

The Midnight Club follows a group of terminally ill teens in the ’90s as they reside in a seaside hospice. Every night, they meet in the library to tell each other stories. They also forge a special pact: when the next person dies, they must send a sign from beyond the grave. 

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While this Flanaverse series ranks last on my list, I appreciate Flanagan’s pivot to something different. There’s nothing wrong with giving the formula a good shaking. The Midnight Club is a beautifully thoughtful and moving meditation on grief, the process of death and how making that final transition off this mortal plane doesn’t have to be so terrifying.

Bolstered by impactful performances from the main cast, these nuanced, complex characters are profoundly relatable. This one tugs at the heartstrings, to be sure. 

4. The Haunting of Bly Manor 

Hannah kneels before an altar in a small countryside church. She clasps her hands while looking upward in the miniseries The Haunting of Bly Manor.

The Haunting of Bly Manor certainly delivers more of a Gothic horror edge than The Midnight Club. Set in the ’80s, it follows an American nanny, Dani (Victoria Pedretti), who looks after a man’s niece and nephew at Bly Manor.

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There, she bonds with Owen (Rahul Kohli), the chef; Hannah (T’Nia Miller), the housekeeper; and Jamie (Amelia Eve), the groundskeeper. Dani and Jamie strike up an epic romance, too. Of course, the ancient manor’s gruesome history unfurls, causing Dani to experience terrifying phenomena. 

I love the sweeping love story intermingled with the Gothic horror. There aren’t quite as many jump scares, but the ghosts and horror elements are well done. Plus, it’s such a melancholic narrative that the terror is almost inherent in its immense sadness. 

3. The Haunting of Hill House

Theo Crain sitting on a couch with her head resting on her hand on The Haunting of Hill House, a Flanaverse series.

The Haunting of Hill House is pure, unadulterated psychological horror. Presented as an amalgam of flashbacks and present-day scenes, the series follows the Crain family as they confront horrifying memories of their time at Hill House. Like Bly Manor, the ghosts and terror elements are genuinely chill-inducing, with haunting imagery to give you nightmare fuel. 

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As with every Flanaverse series, the performances are top-tier, with Victoria Pedretti, Oliver Jackson-Cohen and Carla Gugino particularly standing out. 

This show is a high-octane, fast-paced, thought-provoking deep dive into loss, grief, addiction, mental illness and more. Flanagan cleverly explores these themes, showcasing them in a relatable way.

2. The Fall of the House of Usher 

Prospero, Camille, Napoleon, Bill-T and Tamerlane sit at a dining room table while looking at their father in The Fall of the House of Usher Season 1 Episode 1, "A Midnight Dreary," a Flanaverse series.

The Fall of the House of Usher is perfect for fans of Edgar Allan Poe’s catalog. Flanagan delivers a delicious dose of Gothic horror that’s an homage to Poe’s most famous works, peppered with Easter eggs aplenty, and a dark satire that takes aim at the wealthy one percent. The series chronicles the downfall of the Usher family and their pharmaceutical empire, with one woman, Verna (Gugino), strangely connected to the grim proceedings. 

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Carla Gugino serves up a tour de force performance alongside titan performers like Carl Lumbly, Bruce Greenwood, Rahul Kohli, Mary McDonnell, Samantha Sloyan and T’Nia Miller. The whole cast is superb, though. 

I was blown away by the production values for The Fall of the House of Usher, along with the intricate details Flanagan incorporates into the spine-tingling narrative. It’s lush, dark, sweeping and brimming with brilliant dialogue. 

1. Midnight Mass 

Still of Rahul Kohli and Robert Longstreet in Netflix's Midnight Mass, a Flanaverse series.

Swooping in at number one on my Flanaverse shows list is none other than Midnight Mass. The series centers on an isolated island community that starts experiencing miraculous events upon the arrival of a charismatic priest.

Flanagan tackles a well-known theme in horror here: religion. He seamlessly dissects Catholicism and bigotry among the religious while introducing a unique form of vampire. In fact, I’d never seen vampires like this in contemporary TV. They have a classic, old-school feel. 

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As someone who grew up in a religious household, Midnight Mass really resonates with me. It asks probing questions about what happens after death, whether we can truly become immortal and whether redemption is possible. Can we genuinely be forgiven for our wrongdoings? 

Hamish Linklater delivers an Emmy-worthy performance as Father Paul. He has such a compelling, towering onscreen presence. Kate Siegel offers my favorite performance of hers in a Flanaverse series. Samantha Sloyan knocks it out of the park as the detestable Bev Keane (we all know a Bev Keane, let’s be real). Rahul Kohli’s Sheriff Hassan is one of the few characters to root for, thanks to Kohli’s innate charisma and grounded portrayal. 

Midnight Mass‘s ending is simultaneously heartbreaking, inevitable and fitting—it’s what happens when we fall prey to mob mentality and our prejudices. The series’ true horror lies in how we treat each other, with Flanagan’s signature visual flair and tight writing elevating the story. 

How would you rank the Netflix Flanaverse shows? Sound off in the comments below. 

TV Review: THE MIDNIGHT CLUB

Melody McCune
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