by Lorie Lewis Ham
According to my mom, she is to blame for my love of vampires because she would let me watch Dark Shadows with her when I was just a baby. Whether it’s her fault or not, I’ve loved vampires for as long as I can remember and much of that love comes back again to TV vampires. Halloween seemed like a perfect time to take a look at some of my favorites, and some of the most popular, TV vampires.My favorite TV vampires will always be those on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Spike, played by James Marsters, may forever be my all time favorite. He’s charming, witty, dangerous and yet sometimes very sweet and vulnerable–even before he got his soul back. He’s also pretty darn sexy. I know there’s almost as much controversy over Spike versus Angel as later year teens had over Edward versus Jacob, but for me I love them both and would not envy Buffy having to choose between them. Angel, played by David Boreanaz, is brooding, tall, dark and handsome. His dangerous side though is frightening and only comes out when he loses his soul and becomes Angelus.
Angel spun off onto his own show as a vampire detective seeking redemption. In this show, we were able to get to know Angel on a deeper level than we had on Buffy, and I loved this show as well–a perfect mix of vampires and mystery, my other love.
Years later True Blood came along with a more gruesome and bloody portrayal of vampires than previously seen on TV, largely because they are on HBO. While I watched the first couple of seasons of this show, and enjoyed the southern charm of Bill Compton, played by Stephen Moyer, and the intimidating Eric Northman, played by Alexander Skarsgard, this show was just a bit too bloody for my tastes.
Some compare Vampire Diaries to Buffy, and I can definitely see similarities. They both started out with a high school setting and Damian Salvatore (my personal favorite), played by Ian Somerhalder, does remind me a bit of Spike with his bad boy charm and down deep a heart of gold brought out by love. Young Elena Gilbert is torn between Damian and his brother Stefan Salvatore, played by Paul Wesley, who reminds me a bit of Angel.
One often forgotten more recent vampire TV show (2007) was Moonlight, starring Alex O’Loughlin, now of Hawaii 5-0 fame, as Mick St. John. As a vampire detective, he brought me back to the earlier days of Angel. A brooding, vampire trying to do good. His best friend, vampire Josef Kostan played by Jason Dohring, was a devil whose good side only came out when Mick would need his help. This show had so much potential, I was sad when it didn’t make it beyond season one.
Through the years since Dark Shadows, vampires on TV have taken many forms–we love them as villains and as heroes. This season the villainous side seems to be more prominent with the new vampire TV shows The Originals, a Vampire Diaries spin-off which premiered October 3, and Dracula which just premiered on NBC October 25.
According to IMDB, the series introduces Dracula, played by Jonathan Rhys Meyers, as he arrives in London, posing as an American entrepreneur who maintains that he wants to bring modern science to Victorian society. In reality, he hopes to wreak revenge on the people who ruined his life centuries earlier. There’s only one circumstance that can potentially thwart his plan: Dracula falls hopelessly in love with a woman who seems to be a reincarnation of his dead wife. In the end, will Dracula be portrayed as a villain or a hero? I will be watching to find out what the latest vampire on TV will be like because seldom are even the villain vampires completely villain or completely heroes–vampires are complex creatures who always seem to be torn between their two natures. Perhaps we love them because on a smaller level, so are we.
If you love vampires too, you can catch Dracula on NBC Fridays at 10 p.m. and The Originals on CW Tuesdays at 8 p.m. You can also find many of the above vampire shows on Hulu Plus and Netflix.