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June 09 2010

Metacritic's 10 best and worst vampire TV shows. How does Buffy fare?

That Forever Knight isn't in their top five is a crime against good taste. Even still, go Buffy!

Since, ahem, Angel is also featured in the list, I've changed the category to "General".

My favorite line? "[O]mnipresent Internet polls asking readers if they prefer the Zeitgeist-dominating vamps of Twilight, The Vampire Diaries, or True Blood."

Nice shout-out to our submissive colleague here. ;-)
I'd place Vampire Diaries higher up. What a surprise that show turned out to be.

And Angel should be first. :P

[ edited by Wyndam_ on 2010-06-10 00:40 ]
Buffy is not a vampire TV show.

It is a slayer TV show. About slaying monsters. I'd say there are a good sized minority of episodes that don't feature vampires once.

Episodes 3 and 4 from season 1, for example. The show stopped being a vampire show that fast.
A well deserved position for the Buff there.

But what was with the dig at The X-Files. '3' might not be the best episode of the series, but it wasn't exactly "wretched."
rocknjosie, do you mean "majority"? Don't know if that's the literal case. While there were a lot of episodes not dealing with vamps as the major threat, they were the go-to for "let's throw in some action". Don't know why this came to me first, but Wild At Heart began with vamps in the teaser, but was a were-wolfy episode. But agreed, it wasn't even about werewolves.
Well they do refer to these as "vampire-themed." I think it's fair to call a series about a vampire-slayer "vampire-themed."
Watch it, Metacritic! For the record I've never played sub to vamp doms. They have me confused with Simon's buddy, Riley ;). Also, Angel is so much better than True Blood that it's not even funny.
No I mean large minority, probably like 30-40% of all Buffy eps don't feature vamps, but that's a made up figure.

It's a "vampire-themed" show, sure, but I used to play "One of these things is not like the others" as a kid watching Sesame Street, and Buffy was the only show not staring at least a half-vampire.
rocknjosie said:

It's a "vampire-themed" show, sure, but I used to play "One of these things is not like the others" as a kid watching Sesame Street, and Buffy was the only show not staring at least a half-vampire.

I don't know--I wouldn't say that True Blood stars a vampire anymore than Buffy does, as the lead is Sookie. Bill (or maybe Eric soon) is the romantic lead, the same way Angel or Spike was throughout the course of the show (I guess we did lacked a vampire romantic lead for a certain period of time).
Thanks for posting this. I probably would have missed Being Human without the writeup here, as all the BBC America offerings since I got cable have been awful or at least uninteresting to me. The premise (a variety of supes as roommates) had occurred to me as a basis for a novel. Forever Knight was my first fandom and I appreciated the two references in the article.
Forever Knight was on three years, not four. And it trumps the rip-off Moonlight in every way.

I just got the DVDs and found a Whedon connection in the first episode. Zach Ward, who played Zane in Epitaph One and Two on Dollhouse was a victim (and Nicole DeBoer's friend.)

Oh, and another one. Allan Kroeker, who directed many episodes, including the first, also directed for Dollhouse and Firefly.

[ edited by redeem147 on 2010-06-10 15:27 ]
Angel is so much better than True Blood that it's not even funny.

And yet I actually get more enjoyment out of watching TB, Z . . . :-)
That's because you fancy Anna Paquin, my friend :).
rocknjosie said:

No I mean large minority, probably like 30-40% of all Buffy eps don't feature vamps, but that's a made up figure.

Well according to IMDb Trivia:
There are just eight episodes in which no vampire appears. The episodes in which there's no vampire are "Witch", "The Pack", "I, Robot... You, Jane", "The Puppet Show", "Inca Mummy Girl", "Living Condition", "Fear, Itself" and "Beer Bad".

So even when the vampires weren't an integral plot point they still featured in almost every ep.
YES! I love that Dracula the Series made the list. SO CHEESY! (Seriously, check out the opening credits on YouTube...)

And Tamara Gorski, who played the actress Rebecca Lowell in season 1 of Angel was in a couple episodes. Much fun.
Yeah, sorry, rocknjosie, but Angel or Spike were regulars for most of the series, except season 1 and early season 4. Plus what Kaan said.
I have found that there is a problem with older choices (imo) such as Forever Knight. I had rather fond memories of the show until I looked at it on Hulu recently and found it much less appealing. The show hadn't changed but I had. I have come to the realization that I can't watch shows done at that pace/tempo. Its too slow and plodding.
Nice to see Being Human on the list but I would have included Ultraviolet as well and put it somewhere in the top 5. Highly recommended viewing if you've never seen it.
Yeah, they mention 'Ultraviolet' in the blurb but it's not in the listed 10 (not only a younger Stephen Moyer and a younger Jack Davenport - what is it with the past and people being younger ? Someone should look into it - but a younger Idris Elba too, playing vampire hunter Vaughan Rice. Under "proper hard" in the dictionary it just has his picture ;).

'Being Human' is pretty watchable, bit inconsistent and personally I find Russell Tovey slightly OTT as George but it's good fun and appropriately dark when necessary. And Herrick is a great character, sort of a British Angelus in his own slightly bureaucratic way, like a psychopathic civil servant (which he pretty much is I suppose), menacing in his averageness. Similar feel to 'Ultraviolet' in its low-key approach to supernatural entities in fact (but then "low-key" is kind of British TV's Unique Selling Point, certainly genre TV anyway - mixing the incredibly strange with almost oppressive ordinariness is something we do better than most IMO).
Yeah, I enjoyed Ultraviolet, I haven't gotten around to watching 'Being Human', yet.
Buffy definitely belongs at the top, but I would have put Angel second. I loved season 1 of True blood, but season 2 was just so over the top. But I'll probably still watch S3, I love the actors and the genre and .... werewolves, now!

I found Being Human totally un-watchable.
I also think Vampire Diaries should be higher up. It's much better than I would have ever thought.
Ah, JDL. . Its too slow and plodding. Maybe that's why I like it. As I get older, so am I.
"'Being Human' is pretty watchable, bit inconsistent and personally I find Russell Tovey slightly OTT as George."

I really like Being Human, but I have to agree with you there. In someways, I think that demonstrates a problem with the show as a whole. Tonally, they never seem too sure where to pitch it. There are scenes that are quite clearly flagged up as "The Comedy Bit", which will be followed by some swift gear change into something quite horrific. Obviously, there is nothing wrong with going from comedy to serious, but the shifts in tone never feel natural, unlike, for example, Buffy. The actors themselves don't often seem too certain how they should be acting scenes too, which is sometimes understandable.

I remember one scene in particular, during the parent-teacher night George was attending when he suddenly starts turning into the wolf. You can see quite clearly one of the extras trying very hard (and failing) to stifle a laugh as he lunges around the room screaming. It is pretty hard as a viewer not to laugh when he does that too.

Still, I'm glad it is getting some recognition. I do really enjoy it, although I found some of the plot developments in the recent series to be a little clunky or too fast. The cliffhanger ending has made me eager for the next series though.

[ edited by Vandelay on 2010-06-10 19:39 ]
I'll chime in for Ultraviolet. I bought it from Amazon and I love it. Wish it had stayed longer to tell more story... young Steven Moyer (hot, hot, hot).

I also love True Blood, both seasons. Season 2 seems to get critized for too many orgy scenes, and/or too much Light of Day church stuff (I read various internet posts while the episodes aired that complained about those things) but while watching the disks I think all of it is great.
@Passion - People complained about orgy scenes? They were great.

In fact, I found season 2 to be quite the step up from season 1, particularly as it didn't suffer from the problems of the first few episodes. What exactly did people find objectionable with the Light of Day church story? I thought it worked quite well.
'True Blood' is good fluffy fun IMO. There's nothing to it but it's well made, sometimes laugh out loud funny and is full of attractive people who're happy to get naked at the drop of a hat for important, plot intrinsic reasons. As things stand, I won't particularly miss it when it goes but i'm happy to be entertained while it runs.

(and season 2 smoothed out some of the dialogue issues season 1 had, added dimensions to many of the previously uni-dimensional characters and also improved in leaps and bounds by having much more Michelle Forbes in it. All TV shows are improved by having much more Michelle Forbes in them, this is a known thing)
I decided I wasn't going to watch True Blood when they were advertising it with interviews with the cast and Vinnie from Home and away (Ryan something) said that True Blood is "Buffy... for smart people."
My eyes hurt from rolling.
Hah, life imitating art. It's so like Jason to come out with something like that ;).
Ha - Sage - absolutely a Jason statement! And all this time I thought Ryan was such a wonderful actor, maybe he's not acting as much as I think he is...hummmm.

The orgy and Light of Day complaints I read were on TV without pity forums - I used to read them last year when things were slow at work (back when I actually had a job). I used to read all the episode threads because I don't have HBO and refuse to pay for it just to get True Blood - I wait and buy the season on BluRay. By the time I see it I am incredibly spoiled but a year is a long time to wait to see what happens next. Maybe people complained so much because they had to wait a week between each episode so the LODI storyline seemed to move too slow, and the orgies seemed repetitive. I watch the season straight through and I have no problem with the pacing.

Michelle Forbes rocked the MaryAnn character - and I remember reading people complaining about her too. Guess the lesson is you can always find people who will complain about everything.

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