The Vampire Diaries is poised to end its eight-season run on The CW in March 2017. With its array of brooding vampires, beautiful women and nasty villains, the series has garnered 35 various awards and an impressive 52 nominations, so it's not unrealistic to say the teen drama has left its mark on the paranormal world.
Almost 20 years ago, another paranormal drama had just as much success as The Vampire Diaries, if not more.
The Vampire Diaries' Legacy Will Be Judged Against Buffy The Vampire Slayer's
Buffy debuted in 1997 and ended its seven-year run in 2003. It racked up 52 awards and 129 nominations, easily outdistancing #TheVampireDiaries.
Needless to say, Buffy the Vampire Slayer is one of the most popular vampire shows that has ever aired on television. To this day, an interview with Joss Whedon can't take place without questions about his breakthrough series. Fans continue to maintain sites to discuss their favorite episodes, reveal interesting tidbits about the characters, and follow the actors' careers.
And the story isn't even technically over! Seasons 8, 9 and 10 of Buffy continued in comic book format, and Season 11 is on its way.
The Vampire Diaries Has Certainly Given Buffy A Run For Its Money — But Is It Enough?
Both series have birthed successful spinoffs. Angel, based on a character from Buffy, ran for five seasons, while #TheOriginals, a spinoff from The Vampire Diaries, will premiere its fourth season in March 2017, though with only a 13-episode order. (There is speculation, however, that #Netflix will pick up the vampire series to continue it beyond Season 4.)
With fansites, fanfiction, and even a convention dedicated to the successful series, The Vampire Diaries fandom is a force to be reckoned with. And no one would correct you if you were to say this series sent Paul Wesley and Ian Somerhalder to the top.
But even with all this series has to offer, will the relevance remain after the show is off the air? Can we expect the same level of fandom in 20 years that Buffy has maintained?
The Big Difference Is Nostalgic Social Media Vs. Real-Time Social Media
Let's think back to 1997 when Buffy the Vampire Slayer arrived on television. Facebook, Twitter and the other social media sites didn't exist; Sunnydale High and the Scooby Gang were talked about in school hallways and in the cafeteria. Friends discussed the latest episode over a landline telephone, rarely found in homes today. And even the office water cooler saw its fair share of chatter about Buffy's escapades.
In a manner of speaking, the series earned is popularity through word of mouth, with little assistance from the internet.
Twenty years later, Buffy is being discovered by new viewers thanks to #Netflix, and fans are sharing their love of the series by creating websites, forums, and Facebook fan pages. Our favorite slayer ignited a fandom that is even more empowered today because of social media.
The Vampire Diaries began in 2009 after the advent of #Facebook, #Twitter, #Tumblr and other social media outlets. And the series grew in popularity as episode guides, quotes, memes, reviews, recaps and GIFs were shared hundreds of thousands of times over the following eight seasons. Clearly, The Vampire Diaries owes much of its success to the internet.
To that end, since The Vampire Diaries had the advantages of social media when it debuted, it won't have the "new" factor such as when a Buffy fan discovers a Facebook page dedicated to the slayer. The excitement of finding a 20-year-old show on the Internet won't exist because the teen drama already has a spot on the web.
Only Time Will Tell Which Show Is Remembered Longest
There's no doubt that The Vampire Diaries will remain beloved for a long time to come, but whether or not its legacy will last as long as Buffy's remains to be seen. The popular paranormal drama may surprise us all — and a DC Comics series based on the drama began in 2013, so the popularity of both shows may have a vampire's longevity.
Do you think The Vampire Diaries will still be as popular in 20 years as it is now?