Tele-Tuesday: TV with Bite

Vampires are especially hot right now, but technically the story of the television vampire has been popular for decades.

The history and mythology of the vampire has us believing the following to be true for the supernatural creatures: vampires have super strength, lightening fast speed, immortality, eternal youth, and no souls (therefore no conscience).  Vampires have pale skin and are cool to the touch.  They fear holy water, crucifixes, and garlic, and sunlight will burn their flesh.  Vampires sleep in coffins during the daylight hours, and walk the night in search of food, or play toys; whichever you prefer to call it.  A vampire doesn’t have a reflection and can’t enter one’s residence without a proper invitation from the homeowner.  And, most importantly, a vampire experiences the most excruciating hunger that only blood will satisfy.

Intriguing, right? But there’s more!

More often than not, the television vampire is sexy.  Whether the blood-sucker is male or female, the character is both mesmerizing and seducing, and has the power of extreme mind control.  The older TV series show their vampires transforming into bats, giving them the ability to fly away; today, the vampire possesses lightening fast speed and doesn’t have to shape shift anymore.

Over the years, the television vampire has adapted and has discovered a few ways around previous restrictions.  For one, the vampire has emulated today’s watchful eaters, such as vegetarians.  Instead of feeding on human blood, vampires may drink only the blood of animals.  Spells and elixirs have assisted today’s vampire in walking among the living in broad daylight.  And garlic?  It’s been left behind as an old superstition.

Are you hooked yet?

Future TV with Bite posts will discuss vampire television in further details, but the list below provides just a taste of my television favorites:

Dark Shadows, 1966-1971 – ABC; 1991 – NBC; 2004 – The WB, and syndicated on Chiller today

Vampire Barnabas Collins (Ben Cross) hides his curse from the young and beautiful Victoria Winters (Joanna Going) who just happens to resemble Barnabas’ previous love hundreds of years ago.

Forever Knight 1989, 1993-1996 -CBS, and syndicated on Chiller today

Detective/Vampire Nick Knight (Geraint Wyn Davies) fights crime in an attempt to make up for his cold-blooded killings centuries before.  He manages to keep his secret from everyone, including his partner, except for the medical examiner/confidant, Dr. Natalie Lambert (Catherine Disher), who provides him at times with human blood.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer, 1997-2003 – The WB, and syndicated on multiple channels today

A young teenage slayer, Buffy Summers (Sarah Michelle Gellar), works alongside her watcher, her witchy best friend, Willow (Alyson Hannigan) , her vampire boyfriends, Angel (David Boreanaz) and Spike (James Marsters), her human friends Xander (Nicholas Brendon) and Cordelia (Charisma Carpenter), an occasional werewolf (Seth Green) and demon (Emma Caulfield), and fellow slayer (Eliza Dushku) to protect Sunnydale from the Big Bad.

Angel, 1999-2004- The WB, and syndicated on multiple channels today

A popular spinoff from Buffy, Angel (Boreanaz) and Cordelia (Carpenter) continue to battle evil in the search for Angel’s internalized redemption alongside with new minions: Wesley (Alexis Denisof), Charles (Jaime Augusto Richards III), Winifred (Amy Acker), and Connor (Vincent Kartheiser).

Moonlight2007-2008– CBS, syndicated on Chiller and SyFy today

Private Investigator/Vampire Mick St. John (Alex O’Laughlin) and reporter, Beth (Sophia Myles), fall in love while keeping Los Angeles and Mick’s secret safe.  Mick, however, keeps an even larger secret from Beth – his vampire wife, Coraline (Shannyn Sossamon), had kidnapped Beth as a little girl, and he was the one who saved her decades ago.  Moonlight may have only lasted the one year, however it remains one of my absolute favorites.

Two of the most popular television shows on today revolve around the vampire world, True Blood on HBO, and The Vampire Diaries on The CW.  These shows are so hot, they require a future Tele-Tuesday post all their own.

While not airing new episodes, these vamp series live-on in the ever-popular syndication world: Kolchak: The Night Stalker, 1974-1975 (Chiller and SyFy); Kindred: The Embraced, 1996 (Chiller); and Blood Ties, 2007, (syndicated outside the United States).  Chiller and SyFy run a different marathon every day making it easy to catch up on these older series; check them out!

What are your thoughts on the mythological versus the television vampires?  Which is your favorite vampire television series of all time?  Who is your favorite television vampire?  Do you think these television shows will live forever like their eternal characters, or will someone jab a stake through their heart?  I’d love to hear from you!

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36 Responses to Tele-Tuesday: TV with Bite

  1. Jen Kirchner says:

    Wow, there are quite a few shows here that I’ve never even heard of. Going to head over to Netflix and check them out. Thanks, Tiffany!

  2. Nothing beats Buffy and Angel in my book and since you’re talking vampires specifically, Angel gets the top spot. That was the first time I realized a vampire could be a superhero. Plus, he’s a detective. I think they created it for me.

    Blade on Spike TV was another good one cancelled way too fast. I heard Spike couldn’t afford to produce it anymore despite good ratings. And it ended of a cliffhanger. Grrr.

  3. You will probably get this answer a lot, but True blood is my favorite by far. In fact it is the only one I do watch. That being said if Black dagger brother hood came out with one, I would be all over it too.

  4. Don’t forget “Being Human” (the UK-BBC version NOT the US version – bleech!) Awesome vampires, and werewolves, ghosts (and more?)

    My husband and I watched all three seasons this spring and now we’re on the edge of our seat for season 4!

    • Being Human – got it! Thanks, Danielle. We have a few episodes left on the DVR to catch up on, but so far we really like it. We’ll have to catch the BBC version – everyone says it’s better! Thanks for stopping by!

  5. K.B. Owen says:

    How about Darren McGavin in Night Stalker? Really good. Used to scare the crap out of me as a teen.

  6. Catie Rhodes says:

    Tiffany, you will be forever cool in my book for mentioning Dark Shadows It’s the ultimate and original vampire soap opera. Dark Shadows proves the genre has been around for at least 40+ years.

    My favorite? Gee, doesn’t The Vampire Diaries star Ian Somerhalder AKA Weird Catie’s fantasy boyfriend? So, one guess that Vampire Diaries is my favorite vampire show.

    True Blood comes in a close second, because it stars Todd Lowe (Terry Bellefleur) who is from my neck of the woods. I said neck. Get it? Huhuhuh.

    The soap-opera-like nature of the interpersonal relationships is my favorite aspect of these shows. It’s over the top, and everybody who watches knows it. Do we accept it because we know vampires aren’t real? Or is there some other addictive hook?

    Loved your blog today.

  7. All I have to say is TG I have the Chiller channel 🙂 I get to watch all my favorites (when I’m home sick from work).

    BUT, I am with Andrew on this one. Buffy and Angel are my all time favorites. I’ve purchased most of the box sets from used book/dvd stores and have them playing in the background while I’m writing.

    I do watch True Blood, but I do find myself saying aloud to the hubby, “that’s not what happens in the book.”

  8. amyshojai says:

    Loved Dark Shadows…but my folks didn’t like me to watch it. Sheesh…

    • Hey, Amy! I can’t ever remember my parents sheltering me from television, and I’m so thankful! I could be delusional, but I’m pretty sure I had HBO in my room when I was five so I could watch Fraggle Rock. When the revival of Dark Shadows came on, I remember sitting with them every week and how very sad I was when the show didn’t return. Barnabas was dreamy….

  9. Tiff, you know I love me some Damon Salvatore, so I’d say Vampire Diaries is my absolute fave at the moment. Next in line would be True Blood — I can’t help but think the writing and pacing on that show is both phenomenal and brilliant all at the same time. Since I haven’t read the books (of either series) the story lines don’t seem tampered with to me yet. Also, I love, love, LOVE Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Not many shows can measure up to that one, IMO. I remember coming home from school to watch it, and I was mesmerized by hot, bad-boy vamp, Spike (I mean, seriously, are you surprised? LOL). That scene where Buffy and Spike took down the house fighting and…um…doing other stuff, and that scene overlooking the balcony at the club where Buffy and Spike…uh…chatted for a bit will forever remain two of my top favorite TV moments of all time.

    • Catie Rhodes says:

      I’ve read the Sookie Stackhouse books and am a big fan of them. Queen Charlaine said herself the story lines would change, though, because TV as a storytelling media does not support first person point-of -view. I thought I would lose interest when the story lines veered from the books; however, the screen writers have stayed true to character. Now, the books and the series mesh in my imagination.

      I didn’t read The Vampire Diaries before the TV series came out. I tried to read them after season one ended, and was just too used to the feel of the TV series to get into the books. The characters in the books had a totally different feel to me than the characters in the TV series.

      And Damon Salvatore is MY boyfriend. 😀

    • Ashley, you and I could watch TV together for hours….I actually cried at the series finale of Buffy. I go into withdrawals in the summertime without Damon….and I’m so very looking forward to True Blood this weekend! Do you watch the marathons on Logo, Ion, Chiller, and Syfy?

  10. I used to run home from school to try and watch Dark Shadows. I thought Barnabas was so cool back then. When I run across the books I get them to read.

    I enjoyed the original Buffy movie but the tv shows with Buffy and Angel are my all time favorites and I try to catch the reruns when I can. Joss Whedon is the master of storytelling. He is not involved with the new Buffy that’s being made for the big screen which I think is a shame.

    Next is The Vampire Diaries although I think they should have put them in college instead of high school. Not one of those characters look like, let alone act like, a high school kid. Even so I like the series and look forward to the new season.

    I did like Being Human, I haven’t seen the BBC version, so I will be looking forward to its return.

    I’ve seen True Blood but I like the books much better.

    • Angela! I agree with you – the should have cast the Vampire Diaries kids in college (same with Gossip Girl to be honest). I also thought the Buffy movie was great until the television series came out – much better. Whedon is a genius. I was sad to see his Doll House not make it longer than it did. Thanks for stopping by!

  11. Jami Gold says:

    Buffy will always be my favorite, but Dark Shadows was my “gateway drug” – err, my first exposure to vampires on TV. Like you, I also really enjoyed Moonlight.

    • Thanks for stopping by, Jami! I hope vampire TV lasts forever. I particularly love how Logo & ION play Buffy all the time. Do you happen to catch any of the marathons? Chiller & Syfy are great too. 🙂

  12. Jenny Hansen says:

    Tiffany,

    You’ll be proud of your TV-less friend because I’ve actually watched both Buffy (loved it) and True Blood (very entertaining but doesn’t hold a candle to the books). I get that the True Blood series is supposed to be different but I do love those books so much and the Sookie they have on the series doesn’t look like the Sookie in my head AT ALL. That being said, the vamp shows have it all: conflict, action, romance, SEX…what’s not to like about them. 🙂

    Thanks for another great Tele-Tuesday post! You know that I read your blog to fill my TV habit since I gave it up for 2011. Baby Girl’s Sesame Street and Disney videos just don’t fill the void like you do!

    • Jenny, I’m always amazed by your strength to give up TV….True Blood starts in 7 days. Are you going to miss it? I’ll have to do another TV w/Bite soon specifically dedicated to True Blood for you….thanks for stopping by!

  13. Piper Bayard says:

    I thought Spike was very sexy in Buffy. I got in on the last several seasons of that show, and then continued on with Angel. My all time favorite, though is Mick St. John from Moonlight. So sad when they cancelled that show. I don’t watch any of the new ones. I have a 13-yr-old daughter and overdosed on Twilight vampires a couple of years ago. Now, I would only watch re-runs of my early vampire loves. I love your Tele-Tuesday posts!

    • Piper – I will gladly share Mick St. John with you….why, oh why, wouldn’t CBS give that show more of a chance? It can’t be all that bad if it’s immediately picked up for syndication – can it? Thanks so much for stopping by!

  14. Pingback: The End is Near (and we deserve it). . . . Genetically Modified Cows Produce Human Breast Milk « Author Piper Bayard

  15. I am in the UK and I have to say my favourite tv vampire is John Mitchell from Being Human. Sadly, Aidan Turner who played him is filming The Hobbit right now so they decided to have him mercy staked by his best friend in the final episode of this series. I felt as if a friend had died it was so sad. I am not usually that attached to television shows. I watched an episode of the US version but was not really in to it.

    • Hi, Billie! I’ve heard the BBC version of Being Human is better than the USA Syfy version but I haven’t caught an episode yet. Aidan Turner didn’t finish out the season? That’s too bad….we have some episodes left on the DVR to check out. Thanks for stopping by!

  16. Pingback: About Writing On Wednesdays: Boogie To The Vampire Vibes « Curiocat is… Angela McGill

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