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!


Natalie (Mindful Musings) said...

I love all of these shows, though I still need to finish Buffy and Angel, because I've got a few seasons left of the two. Moonlight was amazing (probably my favorite out of all of these), I really enjoyed Blood Ties, and I'm currently watching The Vampire Diaries and True Blood. I was really surprised that I liked The Vampire Diaries as a show, because I wasn't a huge fan of the books. Great post! :)

Iffath♥Ahmed said...

Nice choices Jenny! I love True Blood and The Vampire Diaries, and although I'm not as keen as you on the Buffy-lover factor, I still think it's so amazing! :)

LovesSam said...

Oh my goodness, what a fab post!! my favourite vampire tv show will and probably always be Vampire Diaries. I've never really found Buffy all that appealing, but I know, I know, I will watch the first season and see if it kicks ass as much as you promise it does.

The Book Bug said...

Though I have not seen any of these shows yet, Joss Wheden did pretty well on Astonishing X-men, which I was suprised enough to find out he wrote. Or did whatever because comics are you know...mostly pictures. Brill post!

SarwatC said...

Obviously totally agree with you on Buffy and TrueBlood (except the Sookie character, she's so lame!) BUT how can you have missed out Being Human!?!
What's so great is that you've got vampires being vampires, utterly inhuman and really struggling with their humanity, rather than making token gestures (oh, we only feed on animals? Big deal. So do we all). The slaughter on the train carraige is one of the best bits of tv ever!

Becky said...

Wow, I never realised there were so many different vampire shows. I'm obviously loving Vampire Diaries even though I think she should never have broken up with the gorgeous Matt in the first place.

Ah, Buffy! I wonder if I could rent the box sets from Blockbuster...

prophecygirl said...

Sarwat - I agree, the train slaughter is fantastic, and I love how Mitchell and Co. are portrayed.

For some reason, I don't think of Being Human as a vampire show. I know, I know - you could argue the same thing with Buffy/Angel, because they include more big bads than just vampires. I think it's just me, but I don't know. To me, Being Human is a supernatural show. Hope I make sense but, y'know, feel free to tell me I'm talking rubbish ;)

Susie Day said...

Poor Moonlight: as you say, if they'd waited a year or two it would probably still be on air (though I only ever saw a couple of them and spent the whole time thinking 'this would be more fun if Gunn and Fred were in it').

BUFFYBUFFYBUFFY. Best ever. I know you don't need any persuading on that front though!

Rosey said...

Love all those but have not seen Blood Ties and didn't get into Vamp. Diaries too much. Miss Angel, Buffy, and Moonlight bad!!! So mad it only got 1 season :(

SusanKMann said...

Vampire Diaries and True Blood have to be my favourite Vamp TV Shows. I wasn't that keen on Moonlight but I did love Blood Ties, it ended way too soon. Buffy and Angel, what can I say classics which will never go out of date. I love your room it looks awesome. xx

stacy - said...

I *heart* True Blood, but I think the books are much, much better than the show.

Vampire Diaries...I better go now, have 4 episodes to watch!

Great post, excellent job. Really, you make me want to go watch all the shows from begining to end.

SarwatC said...

Well...I have to TOTALLY disagree with you. Why do we watch Being Human? Yes, George is sweet and Annie's great. But Mitchell..?
Bad-ass. Conflicted. Gorgeous (how many times does he remove his shirt or what?) and dark. The perfect vampire. All others are schoolchildren playing at grown ups in comparison.
Plus you missed another one, Mona the Vampire. It's got VAMPIRE in the title!

prophecygirl said...

Sarwat - I'm actually not that big of a Mitchell fan! Terrible, I know. I think George is the best thing about the show - I'd happily watch it if it was just him. Oh, and I don't think Mitchell's *that* gorgeous.. there must be something wrong with me!

Ahh Mona.. yes. I couldn't write about them all, so I just spotlighted my top 6 ;)

Luisa Plaja said...

Buffy Buffy Buffy. That's all I'm saying. :)
Great post!

Just Your Typical Book Blog said...

I heart me some Buffy and Angel! (Though I pretty much dislike Season 5 of Angel. I mean seriously some of that stuff that happened made me just say WTF so loud.) I was very disappointed when they cancelled Moonlight. I've never seen Blood Ties and I couldn't get into Tru Blood at all.

Just Your Typical Book Blog said...

And I forgot to add that I am really loving Vampire Diaries. It started off a bit rocky, but I'm hooked on it! And hai there Stefan and all his hotness. *Swooooon*

Kate Evangelista said...

Moonlight! You added Moonlight. I just can't stop drooling over Alex O'loughlin. He can bite me any day.

Nina said...

MMMM, I havent heard of Moonlight and Blood Ties before and True Blood isn't airing here in Holland. I love, adore Buffy, Angel not so much. Also Vampire Diaries, hooked but not loving it! :)

So Many Books, So Little Time said...

I LOVED Moonlight! I was distraught when it was cancelled. Thank God for box-sets!

I lvoe The Vampire Diaries too, True Blood kinda and I promise to watch Buffy and Angel soon. :)

vampirephile said...

I'm a vamp fan like most/all here. Have watched just about any a/o everything related to the genre, tv and film.
I'm chiming in one here for Blood Ties.
Apart from those two episodes you recommended another very notable one is Blood Ties "Heart of Fire" (season 1 epi 8). Where Henry goes all feral due to starvation by the priest!

~ Soni (VampirePhile)

YA Vampire Books said...

GREAT post! I'm a big vamp fan, and you've succeeded to list all my favorite vampire shows! ;) Haven't watched Angel yet though, had to finish 7 seasons of Buffy first ;) but I'll get to it very soon!
I love Vampire Diaries as well, definitely better than True Blood in my opinion! (hellooo Damon & Stefan!)

Sarah said...

I loved Buffy & Angel and am a big fan of True Blood. I'm currently recording the Vampire Diaries but am planning on re-reading the books before I start watching the series. I've not seen Blood Ties and Moonlight but I'm going to have to check them out :o) Thanks for the recommendations - I'm really enjoying your Vampire week!!

Book Chick City said...

I love all the shows on your list. I wish they didn't cancel Moonlight and Blood Ties as although they weren't in the same league as Buffy or Angel, I still really enjoyed them. I wasn't sure what to make of True Blood at first, but I'm liking it more and more! And I'm just loving Vampire Diaries *Stefan!!!!!* Great picks :)

Shannon said...

Surely these can't be in order of your favorites. If they aren't, then my mistake. If they are, then what were you thinking?!! True Blood should be first, not fifth!! If not for the plot and the mystery alone, then do it for ERIC NORTHMAN...tall, dreamy, hot, beautiful vampire.