With Halloween around the corner, it’s not that hard to find programming that will entertain as well as disturb. Every station seems to be offering up gory goodness for you to watch while sipping something pumpkin spice or carving a face in a gourd. While Twitter is lighting up with new shows like Scream Queens and American Horror Story: Hotel, I’m over here like “Hey guys! Let’s just watch Criminal Minds.” You don’t even have to wait a week for a new installment—it’s on EVERYWHERE… ALL THE TIME! And if you can’t find it on one of the seemingly endless stations that heavily rotate its syndicated reruns, there’s 10 seasons worth on Netflix. That’s 233 episodes of Hotch and the gang saving America from the scariest SOBs that you can fathom. This criminally underrated (see what I did there?) show is always there for me, like a visual hug, that just happens to feature brutal crimes and twisted psychopaths.

The first few times I watched the drama it was begrudgingly with my folks. I was not too keen on watching my parents watch yet another cop show. At least this one didn’t have confusing initials like the CSI/SVU/NCIS’s of the world. However, I was soon a convert and fell in love with all things Criminal Minds; here are the main 3 aspects that make the show one of my favorites.

1. WTF Plots

One would think they would run out of twisted story lines after over 200 episodes, but they just keep topping themselves in the realms of creative depravity. Don’t be surprised if you lose sleep imaging a Babadook-like creature named Mr. Scratch appearing to you in visions or being turned into a life-sized doll by an unstable woman who has kidnapped you with her van.

2. The BAU family

Luckily, there is a light side to temper the dark plot lines; the ragtag group of criminal profilers seem to love each other like a little bullet-proof vest donning family. Of course most eyes shift to the obvious stud, Derek (Shemar Moore), whose playful flirtation with the nerdy and overly-accessorized cyber goddess Penelope (Kirsten Vangsness) is a fun reoccurring plot point. However, I only have eyes for Spencer Reid (Matthew Gray Gubler).

That’s right, the uber nerdy fella with the penchant for cardigans, old timey glasses and unpredictable hairstyles is probably the least likely badass. . .one would think. Somehow he uses his brain instead of his brawn and does it in a way that’ll make this lady swoon. Basically, he is the patron saint of hot weirdoes who don’t know they’re hot.

Also, if you follow the actors on Instagram (like any good fan should), you’ll find that they really are friends in real life. Aww, you guys!

3. Ex-Teen idols turned Serial Killers

Another key component is that the homicidal maniacs they track seem to be culled exclusively from a pool of ’90s celebrities, who are clearly looking for an image makeover. I have this fantasy that the producers have cut out people out of old Bop! magazines and put them into a hat to aid in the casting process. Here are some of my favorites scenarios that Criminal Minds has concocted over the years:

  • Frankie Muniz as a comic book artist with schizophrenia who isn’t coping well with the loss of his girlfriend.
  • Wil Wheaton shapeshifts into a total creeper 4.0 who owns a rustic lodge where people don’t check out. Also, bonus points that the star of the ’80s classic Teen Witch is the object of his misguided affection.
  • Dean Cain, the former man of steel, is now a murderer falling headlong into a gambling addiction.
  • James Van Der Beek as a killer who broadcasts on the internet…and kidnaps my beloved Spencer Reid. No, Dawson, NO!
  • Luke Perry is a delusional cult leader with a bevy of underage wives.

The list seriously goes on and on. If you ever were were a big fan of any actor of yesteryear, be prepared to have them be knocked off their pedestals by the profilers in the criminal behavior unit! Perhaps I left some out, but you have 233 episodes to watch on Netflix (or more, every Wednesday night on CBS), so make sure to keep a tally of the sinister turns for all your beloved favorites. Just remember next time you are flipping through the channels (once again, it’s ALWAYS ON!), give it a chance. It’s a slippery slope and soon you’ll be obsessed.

(Images via CBS, Instagram)