Vampire narratives have always been a main focus in the horror genre with films like The Lost Boys in the 1980s and even back to the 1930s with the cult classic, Dracula. The spark in vampire films caused an influx in books in this genre, ultimately creating numerous TV shows and further film offerings; twilight being one of the most recent series of films with the latest, Breaking Dawn Part 2, taking over $300 million worldwide.
There are many successful and popular TV shows that focus on the storyline of vampires: The Vampire Diaries and True Blood being two of these. Whilst they might appear similar from afar, the storylines, humour and style are completely different, especially with one being aimed at adults and the other predominately teenagers.
The Vampire Diaries follows the life of Elena Gilbert (Nina Dobrev), a schoolgirl in a small town called Mystic Falls who’s struggling with the aftermath of her parent’s death. That is until she meets Stefan Salvatore (Paul Wesley), a vampire. She falls madly in love with him and after finding out his secret doesn’t seem to mind too much. Stefan’s brother, Damon (Ian Solmerhalder), is the bad boy and plans to cause chaos and bloodshed in the small town. Throughout the series Damon’s true side plays out as the history of the Salvatore brothers gets revealed, showing a slightly more compassionate edge to the ‘bad vampire’. Elena is not a dull human as you might expect – she’s the doppelgänger to a character named Katherine Pierce, also a vampire. Both characters (played by Dobrev) have completely different characteristics. Elena is reserved while Katherine is a nasty vamp who wants to force misery on anyone she can. Dobrev plays these characters excellently and at first made me wonder if it was really the same person. The different seasons introduce new people and diverse supernatural beings. There are werewolves, witches and even un-killable vampires, which contribute to making this an exciting TV show to watch.
True Blood is similar on some levels but is generally very different to The Vampire Diaries. The fact that True Blood is rated 18 means that the TV show can air more graphic scenes as it’s shown after the watershed. If you’ve ever watched True Blood you’ll probably agree that there’s an abundance of vivid killing scenes along with sex and swearing. The TV show comparably follows a girl, Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin), in a small town in Louisiana. She’s a fairy who works as a waitress and meets a gentleman, Bill Compton (Stephen Moyer), who’s a very old vampire. She falls in love with him throughout the series and they have an intense relationship. What I should add is that everyone knows about vampires in this series compared to The Vampire Diaries. There’s a group of vampires named The Authority who are trying to change the views of the public on vampires. There’s a big focus on sex and drugs with the drug ‘V’ (vampire blood), which gives users a feeling of extreme euphoria. The producers know that this is a big problem in America, especially southern states and explore common issues regarding this.
It’s not just the storylines that differ though, the little factors vary too, for example how to turn a vampire. In The Vampire Diaries someone must drink vampire blood before they die and then they return as a vampire in transition. The transformation from human to vampire is not complete until they drink human blood otherwise they die. In True Blood a person has to have died before they can be turned and buried underground until the sun sets with vampire venom in their blood. In relation to vampires walking in the sun, this isn’t possible at all for the vampires in True Blood but for The Vampire Diaries this can be done as long as a witch casts a spell on a certain piece of jewelry, which the vampire has to wear.
In all, the two shows share a similar quality as they stem from a book, but they head down different routes at the stories progress. The target audience is a major differentiating factor and the content varies considerably. If you want to watch something fairly straightforward with never-ending love stories and good action then The Vampire Diaries is for you. If, however, you like your violence explicit, with plenty of adult humour and sexual references, True Blood is the way to go. I myself like them both but sway more towards True Blood. It’s personal taste at the end of the day.
Remember guys, whichever you prefer, stay safe and always carry a stake.