Perhaps it’s because of their immortality that vampires find it seriously hard to die. Autumn sees the arrival of two new TV series dedicated to vampires: The Originals, a Vampire Diaries spin-off and a new Dracula starring Jonathan Rhys Meyers. So which, over the course of the last fifty years, have been the cult TV series that have reinvented the mythology of vampires?
Top 10 Best Vampire
TV Series Ever
If, in recent years, the myth of vampires has been poorly treated at the movies with the Twilight saga, the TV series have, on the other hand, known how revamp its fascination with new stories and new heroes (or anti-heroes) and above all new heroines.
2014 will mark the end of one of the most successful examples of this, namely True Blood which – minus Alan Ball as showrunner – will draw to an end forever, with the last 10 episodes of season 7, a series that has known how to incredibly replaying the vampire as a symbol of diversity. One of the last actors to join the cast, Rob Krazinsky aka Warlow, confirmed that the final series will a memorable one: “You’re going to have more deaths this season than any other season and it’s always very exciting. Deaths are always great. We’re going to lose some real heavy hitting characters, some major characters.”
So with the passing of one historic TV series, two more vampire stories are ready and waiting to go. The successful Vampire Diaries and its spin-off, The Originals, are both set to premier on October 3rd.
The backdoor pilot of The Originals was episode 4×20 of the Vampire Diaries and after it was broadcast CW decided to produce the thirteen episodes of the first season that will therefore have as leading actors the already known Mikaelson siblings (Joseph Morgan, Clair Holt and Daniel Gillies), Hayley the werewolf (Phoebe Tonkin) and the new arrival, Marcel, the favourite vampire of Klaus and current “king” of New Orleans (Charles Michael Davis). New female characters, the witch Sophie Deveraux (Daniella Pineda) and the blonde Camille (Leah Pipes), who will probably take Caroline’s place in Klaus’s heart. Guaranteeing its success is the involvement of Julie Plec who, along with Kevin Williamson, devised and created The Vampire Diaries which – we’d like to remind you – actually originated from the novels of Lisa Jane Smith.
Less close to the teenage target audiences will be Dracula (premiering on October 25th), from Sky Living and NBC and co-produced by the English production company Carnival (of Downton Abbey fame). The show is created by Cole Haddon but the showrunner will be Dan Knauf, the man behind the cult HBO series, Carnivàle. Set in the 19th–century, the story tells the tale, in episodes, of Alexander Grayson, aka Dracula, who arrives in Victorian London bringing modern science with him from America: what he has actually come for is to wreak vengeance on his persecutors. In London he falls in love with Mina Murray, whom he believes is the reincarnation of his late wife. Another character is Jonathan Harker, a social-climbing journalist, here too a name of Stoker fame. Playing the part of Dracula is Jonathan Rhys Meyers, the part of Mina is played by Arrow’s Jessica De Gouw and that of Jonathan Oliver by Jackson Cohen. One interesting fact: Van Helsing, the hunter, is played by Thomas Kretschmann who in Dario Argento’s Dracula 3D actually played the part of the blood sucking count himself. And this Friday, almost a year after its release in Italy, the almost catastrophic work from the Italian master of horror will be available on VOD and on a limited theatrical release. If you’re brave enough, why not take a look at the reviews on Rotten Tomatoes (and the trailer).
But we did promise you a journey through the best that TV has succeeded in squeezing from the blood of count Dracula. This is our own chart of the top 10 TV vampire series.
Lost Girl (2010-2013)
Canadian TV series: in actual fact it is horrible, but we felt obliged to include it in the listings. Lost Girl is the story of Bo, a succubus who killed anyone who slept with her: she learned to cohabit with this dangerous power in a shadowy world of paranormal creatures. These include vampires and werewolves (including her own beloved, Detective Dyson, who is a dead ringer for Christ Martin). Now revamped, season 4 is just about to begin.
A British, six-part TV series that ended after only its first season, Demons tells the story of a teenager who discovers that he is the last descendant of the celebrated vampire hunter, Van Helsing. Amid demons, zombies, werewolves and vampires, the young man learns to live midway between the paranormal and a “normal” life. An English TV series is always well worth watching.
This is the gamble that didn’t pay off for CBS: Moonlight was launched with a disastrous pilot and immediately withdrawn. Then, in stepped David Greenwalt, the co-creator of Buffy and Angel and the story of Mick St. John, vampire investigator at the service of mankind was told in 16 TV episodes. And that was that. Angel was better.
Sanctuary (2007 – 2011)
The first season of Sanctuary originated as an extension of the web series of the same name: the premier screening of the first episode resulted in record viewing figures for the SyFy channel. The series tells the story of Dr Helen Magnus who defends human being against the abnormals (even if quite often the opposite happens). A fine example of how to move from the Web to the TV screen.
A TV series that drew its inspiration from the half-human and half-vampire character of the Marvel Blade comics and that was launched following the adventures of the film, Blade. Trinity. Written by David S. Goyer (screenwriter of the movie trilogy as well as films like Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, Man of Steel and of the new series, Da Vinci’s Demons), the series was the first produced by the Spike network. Find it and have a look.
Dark Shadows (1966 – 1971)
The earliest illustration of the genre and still a truly unrivalled example of the same: Dark Shadows was in fact a veritable soap which brought the supernatural to the small screen for the first time. Firstly there were ghosts followed, a year after its start, by the vampire Barnabas Collins, and it was a resounding success. Much loved by Tarantino, Tim Burton and Johnny Depp (who in Tim Burton’s film of the same name played Barnabus, the vampire), the soap truly opened the doors to parallel universes, supernatural plots and a whole series of paranormal beings in an age that until then had never experience anything of the sort. If there is a vampire series that can justly be called ‘cult’ then Dark Shadows is it.
The Vampire Diaries (2009 – to date)
There’s not getting away from it: when it comes to it we are all eternal teenagers and the story of The Vampire Diaries, with its unlikely good vampire – bad vampire – pain in the neck female triangle has truly captured our imaginations (Team Damon, obviously). Initially we thought it was a no hoper, but then good old Kevin Williamson (do you recall The O.C.?) managed to get it into gear and TVD is one of the most successful TV series of recent years. And just like all the other successful series, it too was to have its own spin-off, The Originals.
True Blood (2008 – 2013)
By the time the very first note of the signature tune had been played, way back in 2008, True Blood had made us fall in love with it: surreal, verging on trash, erotic, ironic and brash, True Blood marked a true turning point in the vampire genre on TV. And if nothing else, it explored, reaching hitherto unscaled heights, the possibilities offered by having a total idiot as its heroine. Sookie, Bill, Eric and all the rest gave new connotations to the narrative possibilities offered by a paranormal universe of vampires, werewolves, fairies, shape-shifters, setting it in the torrid and squalid city of Louisiana. A special mention here goes to the web marketing that has always provided emotions.
Being Human UK (2009 – 2013)
British do it better. You can rest assured that if you give any English writers any topic whatsoever that they will transform it in ways that are unimaginable: the story of the search for normality (and humankind) of the strange trio of fellow inmates consisting of a vampire, a ghost and a werewolf – created by the genius Toby Whithouse – succeeded in telling the difference between British/European culture and that of America better than a thousand works on sociology. A special mention should be made of the ability to reinvent a series at its third season, following the departure of Adrian Turner and subsequently the remainder of the entire original cast. And even the final season wasn’t rubbish, which these days is not always a foregone conclusion (goodbye Dexter!)..
Buffy and Angel (1997 – 2003)
This is the unrivalled masterpiece that not only paved the way to a new wave of the supernatural on TV and to virtually all the current TV heroines, but that literally also laid the foundations, towards the end of the nineties, for all of the research, experimentation and creativity that the television medium had to offer in the 21st-century. The stories of Buffy the vampire slayer, created by the genius Joss Whedon, explored a totally new language of extended runs with episodes that will remain etched in the annals of TV history: from the pop tendency to quote from previous artists to the multiple layers of literature, from the cross-media entertainment of storytelling to the use of the metaphor as a true cornerstone of the entire series. And then there’s Spike, but then perhaps that is not a valid justification. We have also put the Buffy spin-off, Angel in equal first place, that continued the story from 1999 to 2004, precisely because we believe that the complexity of the Buffeyverse is worthy of a discussion all of its own. And an unequivocal first place.
Previously published on Bonsai Tv
Tagged with: #TV SERIES
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