Monday, 19 April 2010
Vampire Week: TV with Bite
I'll admit it: I have a TV show addiction. Whether it be Buffy, Dawson's Creek or Band of Brothers, I'll watch it. Lucky for me, there have been a handful of really good vampire shows over the years, and here are my top picks, along with reasons why you should be watching them!
1. Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997 - 2003)
Welcome to Sunnydale! I can't even begin to explain how much I LOVE this show. I struggle putting it into words, so I usually just show people a picture of my bedroom, AKA. The Buffy Museum (couple of pics here and here).
BtVS is the best acted, written and produced show I've ever had the pleasure of watching. Joss Whedon created a fun, fresh, and exciting show, and brought vampires into the limelight once again. Sarah Michelle Gellar (Buffy) led the cast of awesome, along with Alyson Hannigan (Willow), Nicholas Brendon (Xander) and Anthony Stewart Head (Giles). Not forgetting David Boreanaz (Angel) and James Marsters (Spike), who played the BEST VAMPIRES EVER.
Joss used monsters as a metaphor for teenage life, and all the ups and downs we go through. He created a strong, independent female character, and showed girls that, yes, we can kick some ass too. The Scooby Gang rocked week after week, and never has a show made me cry as much as this one did. Master Joss, I give you the vampire salute.
Reason to watch: It's just amazing. Well acted, ridiculously well written and full of vampires, demons and the forces of darkness. Not sure what I just quoted? Watch the show.
Recommended episode: 'Welcome to the Hellmouth' (1x01). Start from the beginning. (Then watch 'Prophecy Girl' (1x12), and tell me what you think!)
2. Angel (1999 - 2004)
Did anyone else have a slight heart attack when they heard Angel, also known as Delightful David, was getting his own show? I know I did. Not only did I have Buffy to watch, I now had Angel... Thursday nights would never be the same again. (And they weren't. Really. I wouldn't leave the house.)
Angel was a more adult show than Buffy. It had more blood, more violence, and an overall darker tone. It was based in LA, and saw Angel making a living as a PI, with the help of Cordelia (Charisma Carpenter) and Wesley (Alexis Denisof) who you might remember from Joss's other show. It wasn't ever as good as BtVS for me, though I still loved it, and it'll always be my second favourite show. Seasons 1 and 5 were particular highlights, along with various crossover episodes with BtVS.
Angel really did have a great journey on this show, and the writers never failed to let his character change and evolve. It's possibly the most successful spin-off show on record, and is now continuing, along with BtVS, in comic form.
Reason to watch: It's the brain child of Joss Whedon and David Greenwalt, and is about a vampire with a soul seeking redemption. Oh, and Sarah Michelle Gellar appears from time to time.
Recommended episode: 'City of' (1x01). It's still my favourite.
3. The Vampire Diaries (2009 - present)
The Vampire Diaries is my new obsession when it comes to TV. Tuesdays are no longer all about 90210: they're now strictly Stefan and Damon celebration day (And what a day THAT would be!).
Based on L. J. Smith's books of the same name, The Vampire Diaries is one of the most popular shows of the 2009 - 2010 season. Its ratings are good, it has a HUGE following, and has already been renewed for a second season (YES!). I'm sure this has nothing to do with the sex appeal Paul Wesley (Stefan) and Ian Somerhalder (Damon) carry, but y'know, it must be a factor. Or is that just me being really, really shallow? Nina Dobrev (Elena) is also excellent in her leading lady role, and shows those brothers who's boss.
I'm only up to episode 13, but I'm so far past the point of being hooked that it doesn't stop me recommending it. Kevin Williamson (Dawson's Creek) is behind its adaptation, and he's done a fantastic job of making it work. With the Twilight fandom as it is, the time was just right for this show!
Reason to watch: Two hot vampire brothers battling it out over a girl, sunlight and the backdrop of Mystic Falls. What sounds better than that?
Recommended episode: 'Pilot' (1x01). Trust me, you don't want to miss Damon's entrance.
4. Moonlight (2007 - 2008)
Moonlight was one of those short-lived shows that I followed religiously. Just as I was really starting to fall head-over-heels in love with Mick St. John (Alex O'Loughlin) and Co., it was cancelled. Had it been on air a couple of years later, I have no doubt it would have done better but, sadly, timing wasn't on its side.
So what's the gist, you ask? Mick St. John is a private investigator, who also happens to be a vampire. Similar to Angel, yes, but only in the general premise. He lives in LA, has a thing for reporter Beth Turner (Sophia Myles) and is best friends with fellow vamp Josef Kostan (Jason Dohring). It really is better than it might sound, I promise.
Reason to watch: Vampires! Jason Dohring of Veronica Mars fame! And if that's not enough, it also has some brilliant action scenes.
Recommended episode: Aside from 'No Such Thing as Vampires' (1x01), 'Love Lasts Forever' (1x11) is the best episode, in my opinion.
5. True Blood (2008 - present)
If you haven't heard of this show yet, where have you been for the last year? Admittedly it's not my favourite (I find it a bit too slow), but it's extremely popular, and has done great things for the vampire genre.
Based on the bestselling Southern Vampire Mysteries book series by Charlaine Harris, True Blood has been a massive hit for TV studio HBO. The books have been reprinted with TV covers, Charlaine has toured the UK, and the show is talked about everywhere. It's a lot more adult than any of the other shows I've mentioned, and includes more blood, sex and violence than the average Vampire Diaries viewer will be used to. Still, I own the DVD boxset and am eagerly awaiting Season 2... slow or not, it has fangs!
Anna Paquin and Stephen Moyer do a great job of playing Sookie and Bill, though Bill isn't how I personally imagined him. My favourite character is Sookie's brother Jason (Ryan Kwanten), and I also have a soft spot for Lafayette (Nelsan Ellis). I'm probably in the minority when it comes to this, and I probably shouldn't admit it, but I prefer The Vampire Diaries!
Reason to watch: It's well made and well written, and if you're a fan of the books, I'm sure you'll love it.
Recommended episode: 'Strange Love'. I think it's one of those you have to watch from the beginning.
6. Blood Ties (2007)
Based on Tanya Huff's Blood series of books, Blood Ties was another show that ended far too soon. Granted, it wasn't as amazing as those I've previously mentioned, but it was still worth watching.
It followed PI (yes, another PI!) Vicki Nelson (Christina Cox), and vampire Henry Fitzroy (Kyle Schmid), who just happened to be the 480-year-old illegitimate son of Henry VIII. They have a bit of a romantic thing, fight lots of bad creatures and solve lots of paranormal-related crime. The scenes of fast vampire movement were done well, and though it took me a bit longer to get into, I really enjoyed it. Again, it's a shame it wasn't on air a couple of years later, as I think it would have been more popular.
Reason to watch: Henry Fitzroy. He's a cool vampire.
Recommended episode: 'Blood Price Part 1' (1x01), and 'Blood Price Part 2' (1x02). You'll witness the good vampire speed I was talking about!