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The best vampire shows to sink your teeth into before the 'Vampire Academy' premiere
Vampires and television shows go together like teenagers and angst! Check out these series before even more vampiric content hits our television screens.
Vampires never go out of style, if the number of television shows that feature them is any indication. On the eve of more vampire shows on the horizon such as Peacock’s Vampire Academy and AMC’s Interview With The Vampire, here is a list of the top vampire series already out there. Give them a watch before Peacock's Vampire Academy sinks its teeth into us on Sept. 15 and Interview With The Vampire premieres on Oct. 2 on AMC+.
What We Do in the Shadows
What We Do in the Shadows proves that vampires can not only be highly dramatic, but also quite funny. The mockumentary comedy takes place in the present day and centers around a group of vampires (and their familliars) who live together on Staten Island and can’t quite seem to adjust to modern life. The show already has four seasons out, and FX has greenlit a fifth and sixth season as well. That’s a lot of vampiric shenanigans to look forward to.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
In the '90s series Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the residents of Sunnydale, California, happened to live on a hellmouth that gave the town a high-than-normal vampire population. The good news for the folks of Sunnydale, however, is that high school student Buffy Summers is the Vampire Slayer, a woman with supernatural strength who is a regular student by day and — along with her friends — slays vampires and demons by night. You can see Buffy’s influence on later teen vampire shows, and its seven seasons are worth watching more than once.
Angel is a spinoff of Buffy that focuses on the Slayer’s eponymous ex, a vampire burdened with a soul. The brooding Angel heads to Los Angeles and, along with some other characters from Buffy as well as some new folks, starts a private agency to help the helpless, often the helpless being attacked by some sort of evil supernatural force.
Vampire shows don't always center on handsome creatures of the night, and there's nothing pretty about the vampires in The Strain. The series comes from Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan and centers around a doctor with the CDC who leads the fight against a vampiric virus that is infecting those in New York City and beyond. The vampires on this show are, in a word, monstrous, with long slithering tongues that may or may not give you nightmares for weeks.
Another show where vampires are up to no good is SYFY’s Van Helsing. The show is set in the near future where vampires have taken over, and humanity’s only hope of survival comes from Vanessa Helsing, whose blood can turn vampires back into humans. The vampires don’t like that, naturally, and will do all they can to stop her. The show ran for five seasons and ended in June 2021.
Joe Hill’s novel, NOS4A2, proves that vampires can make anything creepy, even Christmas. This AMC series adaptation of his work features an ancient evil being (played by Zachary Quinto) that sucked the life force out of children to stay perpetually young. The show centers around Vic McQueen, a woman who has a supernatural ability to track down Qunito’s character and who is extra determined to find and kill him after he kidnaps her son.
The British limited series Dracula came from Sherlock creators Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat (both of whom are also alums of Doctor Who). This three-episode series centers around the titular vampire (Claes Bang) and is based on Bram Stoker’s original novel. Gatiss and Moffat bring a modern sensibility and a touch of humor to the classic tale, and over the course of this series, we also get more about the backstory of Dracula.
Dark Shadows is a series from the late ‘60s and early ‘70s that focused on the Collins, a wealthy Maine family who has some supernatural underpinnings. One of those underpinnings is that family member Barnabas Collins (Jonathan Frid) is a 200-year-old vampire. The show was a gothic soap opera, and one full of melodramatic performances and supernatural intrigue. Since it first aired, it has gained a cult following and even had a remake in the early ‘90s.
What if vampires came out of the shadows and lived openly among us and were (for the most part) incredibly hot? That’s the basic premise of HBO’s True Blood, a show based on the books by Charlaine Harris that mostly takes place in Lousiana and revolves around Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin), a waitress who finds out she has special powers of her own and finds herself in love with the new vampire in town, Bill Compton (Stephen Moyer). The series’ last few seasons weren’t as well-received as the first few, but the first three seasons are well worth a watch.
A Discovery of Witches
Another star-crossed vampire romance is in A Discovery of Witches, where a biology professor at Oxford, who also happens to be a 1,500-year-old vampire, falls in love with a historian, who also happens to be a witch. Their romance is a big no-no, but the two’s chemistry is undeniable. It’s like an adult version of Twilight and is based on the books by Deborah Harkness.
The Vampire Diaries
The CW’s The Vampire Diaries spawned an entire teen angst-filled vampiric franchise. The show, created by Kevin Williamson and Julie Plec (the latter of whom co-created Peacock’s upcoming Vampire Academy) premiered in 2009 and took place in the supernaturally charged town of Mystic Falls, Virginia. The series initially centered around a young teenager, Elena, who falls in love with a 162-year-old vampire named Stefan. The show ran for eight seasons and included a broader cast with their own sets of vampiric-related drama.
The first Vampire Diaries spinoff was 2013’s The Originals. This show moved away from Mystic Falls and headed to New Orleans, and centers on three Mikaelson siblings: the werewolves (or werewolf hybrids) Klaus, Elijah, and Rebekah. The three face their own imbroglios in supernatural politics in New Orleans, and Klaus, a vampire-werewolf hybrid, also starts the series with his own hybrid child on the way via a one-night stand he had with the werewolf Haley during Season 4 of The Vampire Diaries.
The second Vampire Diaries spinoff on The CW (or, more accurately, a spin-off of a spin-off, since it builds off of The Originals) was Legacies. The show centers around teenager Hope Mikaelson, the aforementioned daughter of Klaus and Hayley who has witch, vampire, and werewolf bloodlines. The show has Hope as a student at the Salvatore School for the Young and Gifted, a place that helps supernaturally inclined kids control their abilities. The show ran from 2019 and its fourth and final season aired in June of this year.
Looking for more vampiric drama? Check out the upcoming series, Vampire Academy, on Peacock.