The moderate success of George A. Romero's horror anthology film Creepshow led to initial inquiries about the possibilities of a Creepshow series. Because Warner Brothers owned certain aspects of Creepshow, Laurel Entertainment, which produced the film, opted to take their potential series into a similar, yet separate, direction, including changing the name to Tales from the Darkside. The new name reflected Creepshow's focus, that of a live-action EC-based horror comic book of the 1950s like Tales from the Crypt or The Vault of Horror, though the series would not carry the trappings of a comic as Creepshow did.
Some episodes of the series were written by or adapted from the works of famous authors. Stephen King's short stories "Word Processor of the Gods" and "Sorry, Right Number" were amongst them. Works by Frederik Pohl, Harlan Ellison, Clive Barker, Michael Bishop, Robert Bloch, John Cheever, Michael McDowell and Fredric Brown were also featured.
A number of stories and episode novelizations were published in the book Tales from the Darkside: Volume One in 1988.
After wrapping, Tales from the Darkside was succeeded by Monsters in 1988, a similarly-styled syndicated weekly horror anthology also produced by Laurel and longtime Romero associate Richard P. Rubinstein.
The series was followed by Tales from the Darkside: The Movie in 1990. Stephen King also contributed a short story to this film, "The Cat From Hell". The film starred Deborah Harry, Christian Slater, William Hickey, Steve Buscemi, and Julianne Moore (the first three had previously appeared in episodes of the TV series). Tom Savini has called this film "The real Creepshow 3".
The series was originally syndicated weekly by Tribune Broadcasting, with most stations airing it after midnight. After ending production, it was picked up by LBS Communications for barter-based syndication (with the exception of the episode The Apprentice, and a few reruns of earlier episodes which were distributed by Lorimar-Telepictures). Worldvision Enterprises later became the series' distributor, and the rights currently are held by Worldvision successor CBS Television Distribution.
On November 17, 2008, CBS Home Entertainment (distributed by Paramount) announced the first season of Tales from the Darkside would be released on DVD February 10, 2009 complete with audio commentary by producer George Romero on the episode "Trick or Treat".
The opening/closing theme to the series was performed by Donald Rubinstein (who co-wrote the theme with Erica Lindsay). Donald (brother of Laurel Productions' founder, Richard P. Rubinstein) had worked on scores for Laurel Productions in the past, such as the films Martin and Knightriders. George Romero wrote the narration.
As in the case of The Twilight Zone and The Outer Limits, the series begins each episode with a montage of images—in this case, several shots of a forest and countryside which fade to a negative image as the title appears—accompanied by Paul Sparer's foreboding voice-over:
Each episode would also end with a second voice-over during the closing credits:See List of Tales from the Darkside episodes.
CBS Home Entertainment (distributed by Paramount) has released the four seasons of Tales from the Darkside on DVD in Region 1.
In Region 2, Revelation Films has released all four seasons on DVD in the UK.
The DVD release contains an altered soundtrack without the original music score. Episodes released on VHS during the 1980s do contain the original music score throughout.
In November 2013, it was announced that Joe Hill, Alex Kurtzman, and Roberto Orci are developing a reboot of Tales from the Dark Side with CBS Television Studios for The CW.
At Comic Con 2014 Joe Hill announced that he would serve as the creative director and will guide the course of the show. When asked about the project Hill said: "Darkside is a loose reboot of Tales From The Darkside. It tells stories about different characters. It also tells an ongoing story. I love the original Tales From The Darkside, The Outer Limits, and The Twilight Zone, but I think in a post X-Files world there's really no room for a straight anthology show. There has to be more. I like stories that work like puzzle boxes, every episode is turning another facet. We have something a little like that in Darkside that I am pretty excited about where you are watching it and every episode is a different story but three or four episodes in, you're going, 'Wait a minute, these parts actually all go together don't they?' I think that's kind of exciting and I think the viewers will like that too."
On February 2, 2015, The CW Announced that Darkside has given a pilot order and has been added on their upcoming 2015-2016 schedule. Joe Hill stated on his Tumblr account on February 20, 2015 that filming for the pilot episode "begins shortly". Filming for the pilot episode of Darkside started on March 19, 2015. Filming for the pilot episode wrapped up on April 4, 2015. On April 10, 2015, Joe Hill revealed on his Tumblr account that he has written more episodes of the first season than just the pilot episode.
On April 18, 2015, Joe Hill announced on his Twitter account: "We wanted to bring Darkside into the internet age, so the new title is actually Tales from the Darkside.
On May 7, 2015, The CW passed on the reboot series of Tales from the Darkside, but it was reported to be of interest to cable networks Syfy, MTV, VH1 and possibly Hulu. Joe Hill later confirmed on his Tumblr that no network picked up the series.
On May 12, 2016, it was announced that the first three scripts (the would-be episodes "The Window Opens", "The Sleepwalker", and "Black Box") all penned by Joe Hill, would be published in a hardcover edition by IDW publishing. The book was published in November 2016.
On February 21, 2016 it was announced that horror author Joe Hill would turn what he intended to be the reboot television series into a four issue comic series also titled Tales From The Darkside. The first issue, "The Sleepwalker", will release in June followed by two back-to-back issues of "The Black Box" (which builds the mythology) and by the fourth issue, "The Window Opens". The series is slated to be only four issues, but Hill and IDW are open to expanding it into a regular comic series if the series is well received.