Vampire TV Shows

In 1897, Irish author Bram Stoker took considerable creative liberties with some obscure Eastern European folklore and in the process created a character type that would become one of the most popular in film and television for the next century and more. Today's TV vampires are almost unrecognizable as descendants of Stoker's Dracula, but one aspect of the creatures - their thirst for human blood - has changed hardly at all.

Although Dracula came to the big screen in the 1930s, vampires didn't make it to the small screen until the 1960s. In 1966, ABC introduced "Dark Shadows," a soap opera featuring Barnabas Collins, a brooding Dracula-like vampire. "Dark Shadows" never rivaled mainstream soaps in terms of ratings, but it enjoyed impressive popularity until the end of its run in 1971.

In the 1990s, vampires became younger and hipper. In "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," vampires are still mostly villainous, but the series' plot lines involving Buffy's vampiric love interest Angel introduced the possibility of vampire romance.

The success of the "Twilight" books and films solidified the image of the vampire as young, sexy and romantic, and that image soon made its way to TV. Series such as "True Blood," "The Vampire Diaries" and "The Originals" merged the genre of the primetime TV soap opera with the supernatural thriller.