Over the decades, television and film have always been fascinated with vampire stories. In recent times, though, special effects have improved and production budgets stretch much further, leading to an explosion of vampire-themed series on TV.
I remember in the mid-90s through to the early 2000s, when Buffy the Vampire Slayer captured the public’s imagination. The show spawned from an underwhelming B-movie, but went on to win universal acclaim for its exciting and adventurous storylines. The heroine of the piece even fell in love with a vampire who wanted to be good.
In 1991, before Buffy even reached our screens, author L. J. Smith released a set of books for young adults. The Vampire Diaries centred on the lives of two fang-toothed brothers and a young woman. Smith also wrote other fantasy series featuring werewolves and witches: The Night World and The Secret Circle. But it was The Vampire Diaries that really took off.
When Smith re-released the books around 2008, after taking a hiatus from writing, they were picked up by television. The show is now in its sixth series; storylines run in a different direction to the novels, but both are just as enjoyable.
Another bloodsucking tale that fared well on TV was True Blood, based on The Southern Vampire Mysteries by Charlaine Harris. The series ran for seven seasons from 2008 to 2014, and saw vampires living among humans, using manufactured blood rather than feeding on real flesh.
An absolute favourite of mine was the series Being Human, an original British drama about three flatmates – a vampire, a werewolf and a ghost. The show started with an hour-long pilot, and was one of six dramas that BBC3 viewers had to vote for to become a full series.
Being Human didn’t actually win the vote, and only after a petition from fans did BBC3 commission it. The result was a popular show that lasted for five seasons – an entertaining mix of comedy, sadness and scares.
Why exactly are we so fascinated by vampires? Our interest in the genre goes back hundreds of years. For women, vampires can be dangerous and sexy. They have an animal magnetism and, despite their gracefulness, an ability to overpower you and suck your blood. Vampires are also an integral part of the ever-popular horror genre, and audiences never tire of shock and gore.
These fanged fantasies will grace our screens for a long time to come.