Since the introduction of vampires to our mainstream conscious by Bram Stoker more than a hundred years ago, society has developed a love affair with those blood thirsty fanged creatures. This love affair has moved from one medium to another – from books to movies and now to TV with the success of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
Over the last few years television has seen a vampire invasion of sorts. A crop of new television shows that have vampirecentric storylines that expand upon the vampire mythology we have grown to know.
Basic vampire mythology is for the most part the same in all the shows, each with a few “refinements” or “enhancements” to help differentiate these shows from each other. To be honest, I have found that some of these “enhancements” a bit hard to swallow.
For instance, in True Blood, vampires can enter a church and can even stand next to a crucifix without any consequences. Additionally they can have a reflection and can be photographed. Sunlight makes them ill and eventually will kill them.
Like True Blood, Moonlight takes an outside of the box approach to the vampire mythology. -For example, neither crucifixes nor garlic have any effect on the walking dead. Furthermore, a stake through the heart only paralyzes the vampire instead of killing them; silver also has the same effect. And as in True Blood, sunlight does not lead to incineration, but instead makes them so ill that it could eventually lead to a slow death.
However, for the most part, all the shows do follow the certain accepted vampire lore – beheading and fire will kill a vampire, silver is harmful, they have “superhuman” strength/speed/hearing, they appear for the most part like humans, have enhanced libidos, sleep during the day, and look at humans as a lesser life forms whose purpose is to serve either as slaves or cattle for feeding for the vampires.
On a lighter note, all the shows except for Blade and Moonlight used a form of offbeat humor to sell the idea that vampires are not nearly as evil as Bram Stroker lead everyone to believe in his 1897 novel. This humor is not over the top, but so subtle in nature that does not distract from the show’s intent. A technique which Joss Whedon and Alan Ball have mastered in their respective shows -Buffy/Angel and True Blood.
Here is how I rank the top vampire television shows over the last 10 years:
So, what is your favorite television vampire show? If you ask my wife, she would tell you that I like Buffy due to Sara Michelle Gellar…but I beg to differ. You can’t go wrong with the series that provides suspense, humor, great cast, pop culture refinances, and a terrific writing staff that never received the acclaim that more main stream shows receive.