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A Fang Lover's Paradise: Television's 8 of the Most Fascinating Vampires on the Small Screen
What is a vampire? Okay, that may sound like an insane question to ask because Twilight has been the only thing on everyone's mind for weeks now (good and bad). The question is designed to get at what people truly get from the word. When most people think of vampires, they think of them as the ultimate embodiment of wicked behavior and want to pursue that fantasy of mortal danger. Call it the "Bad Boy" effect if you will. It's the feeling of pursuing something or someone who's simply unattainable no matter what time and space issues plagued the relationship.
After carefully examining some past and present movie vampires, it was decided to focus on the supernatural trend on the small screen with the recent crop of the shows that have graced the network airwaves in the past and in more recent years as well. Here are a list of eight of the coolest and most dangerous TV Vampires on network and cable television. Read on to see if you agree or disagree with the list.
Damon Salvatore (Ian Somerhalder) in The Vampire Diaries- When this bad boy Salvatore brother arrived in Mystic Falls, he left a trail of bodies in his wake. The first season followed Damon as the ultimate villain/wild card who was totally unpredictable. Somerhalder gave Damon's wickedness a sense of humor and vulnerability to make him more of an anti-hero in recent seasons. Damon still does things that Elena (Nina Dobrev) doesn't like, but he does them with good reason. His love for Elena seemed to more genuine and adult than her puppy love relationship with his fellow vampire brother Stefan (Paul Wesley) who suffered from too much doom and gloom to make the cut. Somerhalder's Damon is much more dynamic and has a decent chemistry with Dobrev that could rival his TV brother Wesley. Hard to choose which one Elena should end up with, but Somerhalder gets our vote.
Angel (David Boreanaz) in Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel- How's this for a concept? A fictional vampire with a soul who feels remorse for his actions? That's the idea behind Angel's (David Boreanaz) on Buffy. He crossed paths with Vampire Slayer Buffy (Sarah Michelle Gellar). He served as her supernatural mentor/friend, but the relationship grew more complicated when they fell in love. The only catch was that they couldn't be intimate, because he would lose his soul and go on a killing spree. Hence the relationship couldn't work, but it earned Boreanaz his own spin-off show in Angel as a Vampire PI who solved supernatural cases on a daily basis. His slow burn chemistry with Gellar made teenage audiences swoon and feel sad when their relationship ended. Once you kill the one you love, there's no going back. That's a lesson Buffy learned after season two. Audiences, on the other hand, haven't yet so far.
Henry Fitzroy (Kyle Schmid) in Blood Ties- Schmid played Henry as a mixture of a tortured artist and had the dangerous humor of Somerhalder's Damon. The only problem was that Ties wasn't given the proper chance to thrive and got cancelled without giving audiences a satisfying conclusion. Schmid's hesistant chemistry with Christina Cox's PI was more interesting to watch than the cases themselves. The idea of a PI and a vampire working together and forming a genuine relationship was much more interesting. The triangle with her former partner wasn't really that exciting. Oh well, that's a shame because the show had some potential, even though there were some apparent flaws that needed to be repaired. Time to rent the DVDs to see what the fuss was about.
Mick St. John (Alex O'Loughlin) in Moonlight- The show that introduced one of the coolest vampires on network television. He was a sauve PI with a sense of humor and a dark past with the woman who made him what he is today. It's a shame that the show ended after one season, because it had serious potential. O'Loughlin had decent chemistry with Myles, but their characters' relationship had a slight ick factor to it that no one could get around. He saved her from his ex when she was a child and is now dating her. Kind of a creepy concept. That issue could be overlooked because O'Loughlin's Mick was so dynamic to watch. Sadly, now that's only in reruns.
Eric Northman (Alexander Skarsgard) in True Blood- Many would assume that Anna Paquin's real husband/co-star Stephen Moyer's Bill would have made the cut, but he didn't because of the uneven writing that's been done for the character. The writers couldn't decide in the past season or so if he was a genuine good vampire or just a wolf in sheep's clothing. Eric, on the other hand, wears everything on his shelve, even last night's dinner. Skarsgard gave Eric a sense of confidence that explained away his brash behavior with a little smile and a metaphorical wink for audiences to shrug it off. His chemistry with Paquin's Sookie was spark filled to say the least. Eric's new bromance with Bill should also lead to some interesting conversations down the line. Can't wait to see what will unfold next season.
Spike (James Marsters) in Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel- In terms of wicked behavior, Marsters' Spike did a lot of it on both of his shows. He was the punk rocker disguised as a blood thirsty vampire. Marsters made the Spike the literal embodiment of Billy Idol right down to the bleach blond hair. His character's love/hate relationship with Buffy (Sarah Michelle Gellar) bordered on character assassination, but the actor made it seem credible. Spike's rivalry/bromance with Angel (David Boreanaz) was also interesting because they both competed and lost Buffy's affections. Tragically wicked indeed in terms of irony.
Lily Munster (Yvonne De Carlo) in The Munsters- Why would a sitcom character be included on the list? It's quite a simple answer. Even though the show played everything for laughs, De Carlo gave Lily a sense of mystery and allure that made it fascinating to watch the numerous TV Land marathons that pop up every so often. Check your local listings to see why she made a very lasting impression.
Barnabas Collins (Jonathan Frid) in Dark Shadows- Let's put in this way. Tim Burton and Johnny Depp wouldn't be making a movie based on the show if it wasn't for Frid's iconic portrayal of the dangerous Collins. His presence alone made the audience shudder for five seasons. The early 90s TV remake isn't even worth discussing.
In the end, most vampire characters are a mixture of hit and miss portrayals. Sam Witwer's Aidan on Being Human suffered from too much guilt and not even enjoyment. Paul Wesley's Stefan on The Vampire Diaries is going through a dark time in his long life. The list goes on depending on story lines and seasons. The point is that vampires on television tend to show the darker side of life to teach the other characters that there's always a price to pay with perfection and the desire to have it. Immortality comes with the cost of loneliness. At least, the small screen allowed these characters some companionship, even if it's only for an hour.