It seems like every year a new vampire series comes out, and each one continues to increase our thirst for more vampire entertainment.
Vampires used to be merely folk legend, but then they found a place in literature, and subsequently in film and television. TV has reinvented vampires completely, giving them the ability to love and be loved–as demonstrated by the The Vampire Diaries’ Salvatore Brothers and Angel from Buffy–as opposed to only depicting them as predatory creatures.
These 10 vampire TV shows are the best of the best and range from older classics to series just released this year. You’ll want to sink your teeth into all of them.
Did we miss your favorite vampire show? Let us know in the comments!
Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997-2003)
Buffy, a series that was life-changing for so many people, is now 20 years old–isn’t that scary? The influential series follows Buffy Summers (Sarah Michelle Gellar), a young Vampire Slayer who sets out to battle forces of darkness: vampires, demons, and more. The series is iconic and continues to slay to this day.
The detective drama Angel was a Buffy spin-off. Produced by Buffy creator Joss Whedon, the show centers around the vampire Angel, who seeks to redeem his tormented and guilt-ridden soul by working as a Los Angeles private detective to “help the helpless.” Angel is a must-watch that proves vampires can be the good guys.
The Vampire Diaries (2009-2017)
The Vampire Diaries is a show it's easy to become obsessed with. It not only has an incredibly talented cast, but also a great storyline.
The show ran for eight seasons, and follows vampire brothers Damon and Stefan Salvatore, who have concealed their vampire identity for centuries. When they head back to Mystic Falls, the town where they first became vampires, Stefan falls in love with high school girl Elena. Elena bears an undeniable likeness to vampire Katherine Pierce, who seduced both brothers when they were mortal.
Not surprisingly, a gripping supernatural love triangle between Elena, Stefan, and Damon ensues.
True Blood (2008-2014)
True Blood’s opening sequence is bloody amazing, but that’s not the only reason we love the show. The series, even more than previous shows on this list, uses vampirism to explore and reflect different aspects of human sexuality.
In True Blood, vampires experience the trials, tribulations, and nightmares of intimacy and relationships. Recently out-of-the-coffin vampires also struggle for equal rights and to be accepted by the anti-vampire establishment–a clear allegory for the LGBTQIA community.
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Forever Knight (1992-1996)
This '90s show undoubtedly set the precedent for more recent vampire series like Angel. Forever Knight centers around Nick Knight, an ancient vampire turned Toronto cop. Nick, who longs to be human again, uses his vampire powers to help crack down on crime as penance for the centuries he spent killing humans to slake his blood lust. But even when he's trying to bring peace to the city, Nick can't help but attract trouble.
Based on the Vertigo comics by writer Garth Ennis, Preacher's brand of dark urban fantasy distinguishes the series from the countless other comic adaptations on TV right now. The show's protagonist is Jesse, a preacher recently returned to lead a congregation in his Texas hometown. But Jesse has a sordid, strange past, and between the influence of his volatile childhood friend Tulip and the charming-but-violent Irish vampire Cassidy, Jesse's search for God is anything but peaceful. Vampire Cassidy might not be the show's main character, but he's an undeniable force on Jesse and on Preacher's plot overall.
The Originals (2013-ongoing)
If you like a side of family drama with your vampire series, then you’d most likely enjoy The Originals. The series is a spin-off of The Vampire Diaries, but has come to find its own place within the world of supernatural television.
The show centers around powerful Original Vampire siblings Klaus, Rebecca, and Elijah Mikaelson, who return to New Orleans after fleeing it in 1919. The family resolves to take back New Orleans and protect it from a battle taking place between vampires, werewolves, and witches.
Being Human (2008-2013, 2011-2014)
What happens when a vampire, werewolf, and ghost become roommates? You’ll have to watch this cult hit series to find out, but the short answer is that the supernatural creatures embark on adventures and do whatever it takes to protect each other.
The original British series ran on the BBC from 2008-2013. In 2011, Syfy released a remake that aired in the U.S. and Canada until 2014.
Dark Shadows (1966-1971)
If you're not familiar with the Dark Shadows show, you might still recognize its name: in 2012, Tim Burton adapted the cult classic series into a horror comedy film of the same name that featured Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter. But whether Burton’s film captured the show’s essence is debatable.
The original Dark Shadows is more than a little campy by today's standards, but considering it first aired in 1966, that's to be expected. The over-the-top show supernatural soap follows the Collins family, whose home in a fictional Maine town is filled with creepy characters, including the vampire Barnabas Collins.
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Carmilla is a Canadian YouTube web series that gained a cult following for its humor, heart, and positive LGBTQIA representation.
The single-camera series is loosely adapted from Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu's 1872 novel of the same name, and follows Laura, a first year student at the fictional Silas University in Austria, as she begins to investigate the disappearance of her roommate.
All of the episodes are in vlog format, so you really feel like you’re experiencing everything Laura is, or as if you’re watching a real YouTube vlogger. If you burn through the show and find yourself wanting more, don't worry—a Carmilla movie is slated for release in fall of 2017.
Featured still of "The Vampire Diaries" via Warner Bros.
This article was originally published on July 12th, 2017.