ByJonathan Patrick, writer at Creators.co
Writer | Fanboy | Firebender | Creator
Jonathan Patrick

It is hard to imagine a time when the only popular vampire show on television was Buffy the Vampire slayer. Since Joss Whedon's cult classic kicked off a resurgence in vampire popularity in the late '90s, television has been teeming with with shows featuring the undead, each one seemingly more interesting than the last.

As the horror genre continues to thrive and grow, several unique and inspired shows have aired, feeding fans' thirst for bloodsuckers, horror and romance. Here are 12 of the best vampire shows of all time, giving us the greatest that vampirism has to offer on the small screen.

1. Buffy The Vampire Slayer (1997-2003)

'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' [Credit: 20th Century Fox Television]
'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' [Credit: 20th Century Fox Television]

Buffy the Vampire Slayer started as a midseason replacement in 1997, and quickly became one of the most influential shows of all time. The series followed the adventures of Buffy Summers (Sarah Michelle Gellar), the latest in a line of women chosen by fate to be a slayer. With the guidance of her watcher and the aid of her friends, battled vampires, demons and the forces of darkness until the series ended in 2003.

  • Breakout Character: Buffy Summers (Sarah Michelle Gellar)
  • Best Episode: The Gift
  • Best Season: Season 5
  • Why You Should Check it Out: Witty, fun and a tearjerker to boot, is the original vampire series that paved the way for many other shows in the genre and showed that girl power is no joke.

2. Hemlock Grove (2013-2015)

'Hemlock Grove' [Credit: Netflix]
'Hemlock Grove' [Credit: Netflix]

Netflix’s Hemlock Grove, based on Brian McGreevy’s book, explores the strange residents and deadly forces of a small Pennsylvania town. Roman Godfrey (Bill Skarsgård), heir to a wealthy family, rules the high school as a heartless aristocrat until befriending Peter (Landon Liboiron), a gypsy claiming to be a werewolf. Alongside Roman’s sister, Shelley, a modern-day Frankenstein, and Olivia (Famke Janssen), his otherworldly, bloodsucking and imposing mother, Roman and Peter unleash on the horrors and secrets they and their families possess.

  • Breakout Character: Olivia Godfrey (Famke Janssen)
  • Best Episode: Boy in the Box
  • Best Season: Season 1
  • Why You Should Check it Out: Hemlock Grove will not only intrigue you with its mystery and folklore, but shock and provoke you with its sensuality, terror and gore.

3. American Horror Story: Hotel (2015-2016)

'American Horror Story' [Credit: FX]
'American Horror Story' [Credit: FX]

American Horror Story: Hotel is the fifth installment of the horror anthology series and centers around the inhabitants of Los Angeles’ eerie Hotel Cortez. A permanent home for the strange and terrifying, the Cortez is ruled by a bloodsucking fashionista known as The Countess (Lady Gaga). The past and present narratives of the Cortez are interwoven with the tale of John Lowe (Wes Bentley), a detective drawn to the hotel while pursuing a serial killer who selects his victims according to biblical teachings.

  • Breakout Character: Liz Taylor (Denis O'Hare)
  • Best Episode: Be Our Guest
  • Why You Should Check it Out: Arguably the most dynamic and horrifying season of the series, Season 5 provides a fresh take on vampire horror that is both sexy and blood-chilling.

4. Angel (1999-2004)

'Angel' [Credit: 20th Century Fox Television]
'Angel' [Credit: 20th Century Fox Television]

This Buffy spinoff details the trials of Angel, a vampire whose soul was restored by a gypsy curse. With over a century of murder and torture to atone for, himself is tormented by guilt and remorse. To redeem himself, he works as a private detective in Los Angeles with Buffy alumni Cordelia (Charisma Carpenter) and Wesley to "help the helpless." Along with a rogues gallery of vampires, demons and the evil law firm Wolfram & Hart, Angel must also battle his own inner demons.

  • Breakout Character: Cordelia Chase (Charisma Carpenter)
  • Best Episode: Not Fade Away
  • Best Season: Season 5
  • Why You Should Check it Out: Angel is a must for any Buffy fan, but the buck doesn't stop there; Angel will touch you in ways unlike any other as the original vampire with a soul blends love, adventure and magic in ways unparalleled.

5. True Blood (2008-2014)

'True Blood' [Credit: HBO]
'True Blood' [Credit: HBO]

Deep in Louisiana, True Blood centers on Sookie Stackhouse, a mind-reading waitress in love with Bill Compton, a 173-year-old vampire. Compton is one of many vampires who have "come out of the coffin" in response to “Tru Blood,” a synthetic blood that allows vampires to survive without feeding on humans.

Adversaries come in the form of conservative locals who are intolerant of mortal/vampire relationships, chief among them being Sam Merlotte, Sookie's lovestruck boss.

  • Breakout Character: Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin)
  • Best Episode: Timebomb
  • Best Season: Season 1
  • Why You Should Check it Out: Outrageously sexy and enjoyable, the ever popular provides a thrilling and provocative narrative, weaving together humor, mystery, romance, horror and heartbreak with finesse.

See Also:

6. The Strain (2014-Present)

'The Strain' [Credit: FX]
'The Strain' [Credit: FX]

Based on the books by Guillermo del Toro, sees Dr. Ephraim Goodweather, head of the CDC's Canary Project, called to investigate an airplane that landed in New York City with all its passengers dead. A viral outbreak soon manifests, expressing similarities to an ancient strain of vampirism. As the virus spreads, Goodweather, his team, and some of the city’s populace wage war against a plague that could be the end of humanity.

  • Breakout Character: Dr. Ephraim Goodweather (Corey Stoll)
  • Best Episode: For Services Rendered
  • Best Season: Season 1
  • Why You Should Check it Out: A truly horrifying series, The Strain will entice and startle viewers with Guillermo del Toro's vision of the vampire apocalypse, complete with bloodsuckers unlike those you've ever seen before.

7. The Originals (2013-Present)

'The Originals' [Credit: The CW]
'The Originals' [Credit: The CW]

In this spinoff of The Vampire Diaries, The Originals kicks off with the return of Klaus — the original vampire-werewolf hybrid — to New Orleans to determine if rumors of a plot against him are true. He finds a former protege in power and inciting tension within the supernatural community. With the help of his brother, Elijah, Klaus forms an unexpected alliance with the local witches to reclaim the city that their family helped build.

  • Breakout Character: Klaus Mikaelson (Joseph Morgan)
  • Best Episode: A Ghost Along the Mississippi
  • Best Season: Season 3
  • Why You Should Check it Out: While is sure to entertain fans of its predecessor, the series quickly learns to stand on its own feet, telling an adult narrative that intertwines magic, horror and Southern charm.

8. Being Human (2011-2014)

'Being Human' [Credit: Syfy]
'Being Human' [Credit: Syfy]

Based on the BBC series of the same name, Being Human focuses on three roommates: a werewolf named Josh (Sam Huntington), a vampire, Aidan (Sam Witwer), and a ghost, Sally (Meaghan Rath), trying to live as human. The series unfolds as the three try their best to help one another navigate the difficulties of living double lives while coexisting in a world filled with normal people.

  • Breakout Character: Josh Levison (Sam Huntington)
  • Best Episode: There Goes the Neighborhood: Part 3
  • Best Season: Season 1
  • Why You Should Check it Out: A splendid blend of comedy, horror and supernatural elements, Being Human is a unique series with a fast-paced narrative that will give you all the feels.

9. The Vampire Diaries (2009-2017)

'The Vampire Diaries' [Credit: The CW]
'The Vampire Diaries' [Credit: The CW]

In the supernaturally charged town of Mystic Falls, Virginia, the recently orphaned Elena Gilbert (Nina Dobrev) falls in love with Stephan, a 162-year-old vampire (Paul Wesley), and so begins . When Stefan's brother Damon (Ian Somerhalder) returns to town, things become complicated as he plans to resurrect a vampire and past lover who looks identical to Elena. As a love triangle develops between the three, both brothers protect Elena while facing villains and threats to Mystic Falls, including Katherine.

  • Breakout Character: Damon Salvatore (Ian Somerhalder)
  • Best Episode: The Departed
  • Best Season: Season 7
  • Why You Should Check it Out: Taking cues from both Buffy and Twilight, The Vampire Diaries offers a familiar narrative that quickly matures into its own brand, mixing elements of executive producer Kevin Williamson's teen drama Dawson's Creek and the Scream movies.

10. Preacher (2016-Present)

'Preacher' [Credit: AMC]
'Preacher' [Credit: AMC]

Based on the comic book series of the same name, follows Jesse Custer (Dominic Cooper), a small-town Texas preacher given extraordinary powers through possession by the renegade spawn of an angel and a demon. Along with his ex-girlfriend (Ruth Negga) and a vampire (Joseph Gilgun), Custer starts on a journey that will take him to heaven, hell and everywhere in between as he tries to find God.

  • Breakout Character: Tulip O'Hare (Ruth Negga)
  • Best Episode: Sundowner
  • Best Season: Season 1
  • Why You Should Check it Out: Praised for its great cast and wonderful mixture of humor and horror, Preacher has what it takes to satisfy those familiar with the comics as well as those who are experiencing one AMC's most successful new shows for the first time.

11. Dracula (2013-2014)

'Dracula' [Credit: NBC]
'Dracula' [Credit: NBC]

In this new take on Bram Stoker's famous novel, (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) heads to London under the guise of an American entrepreneur enlightening Victorian England with modern science. In truth, the vampire harbors plans of vengeance against those who destroyed his life centuries ago. Things take an interesting turn when Dracula unexpectedly falls in love with a woman who seems to be his dead wife reincarnated.

  • Breakout Character: Alexander Grayson (Jonathan Rhys Meyers)
  • Best Episode: Let There Be Light
  • Best Season: Season 1
  • Why You Should Check it Out: Despite only running for one season, Dracula presents viewers with new and playful twists on an otherwise well-worn tale, leaving us with a fascinating new version of the world's most famous vampire.

12. Penny Dreadful (2014-2016)

'Penny Dreadful' [Credit: Showtime]
'Penny Dreadful' [Credit: Showtime]

Bringing together the likes of Dr. Frankenstein and Dorian Gray, Penny Dreadful explores the origins of classic literary characters in this Victorian-era London psychological thriller. The tale begins with explorer Sir Malcolm, a father doing whatever is necessary to save his daughter, lost to the city’s creatures. Along with his seductive and clairvoyant accomplice, Vanessa Ives, Malcolm recruits Ethan Chandler, and adventurous American, to help find his daughter and fight the monsters of London’s underworld.

  • Breakout Character: Dr. Victor Frankenstein (Harry Treadaway)
  • Best Episode: A Blade of Grass
  • Best Season: Season 1
  • Why You Should Check it Out: An impressive period piece unparalleled by any other supernatural show to date, Penny Dreadful unapologetically embraces its take on gothic horror, resulting in a show filled with foreboding, tension and genuine scares and delights.

What is your favorite vampire television series? Share in the comments below!

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