6 TV Vampires With Bite

vampires with bite

Long before the Twilight craze hit, vampires were busy steaming up the small screen. We can go all the way back to Dark Shadows to find vampires who were romantic and deadly in equal measure. But somewhere between Barnabas and Edward Cullen, vampires started to become a bit defanged with too much sparkle and not enough bloodlust. These days, vampires are in danger of becoming woobies, no more threatening than the Snuggles bear (wait, scratch that, that bear is terrifying).

They brood, they pine, they fall in love with teenagers–it’s a vicious cycle. But that doesn’t mean all vampires have lost their edge. The characters that made it onto this list are dangerous, fascinating and always fun to watch. They can brood and pine with the best of them, but on the whole they’re operating on a different level than their overly romanticized counterparts. They have twisted, bloody backstories, a penchant for quipping and if they followed you down a dark alley you’d be wise to walk a little faster.

1. John Mitchell – Being Human
 

Mitchell (Being Human)

Don’t let the fact that Mitchell looks like the prototypical vampire boyfriend fool you. Within the first minute of the Being Human pilot Mitchell kills a young women and then turns her into a vampire. Trust me, that was the least of the crimes he would go on to commit, but the daring thing is he was never framed as the villain of the piece. He was the protagonist.

For three seasons, Mitchell struggled with bloodlust, split loyalties and his own suspicion that he killed simply because he liked it. I can’t think of another show that subverted my expectations so deftly. Being Human took its hero and then systematically broke him down, there was no easy out– when Mitchell went darkside he was always still the same Mitchell who looked after his friends and complained about having to do the washing up after dinner. That only made his instances of violence all the more excruciating to watch.

In the middle of season three, another character told him, “I think there’s a poison in you that has nothing to do with being a vampire.” It was a chilling thought and one that I suspect was true, but there was a lot of good in Mitchell too. That is why his story was so compelling, he resisted black and white definitions and lived his life firmly in the gray.

2. Katherine Pierce – The Vampire Diaries
 

Katherine (TVD)

I like the Salvatore brothers as much as the next girl, but they’re basically Angel and Spike with the bonus angst of being related. But Katherine? Katherine is, for lack of a better word, awesome. She is a survivor and that means she’s also ruthless when she has to be. Katherine is always playing the long game and I love her for it. She may love the Salvatore brothers, but she’s not above playing them if it’s in her best interest to do so. She’s also capable of being very, very scary. I can’t even think about the scene where she smothered poor Caroline, ensuring she would turn, without shivering.

But despite her best efforts to deny it, Katherine’s humanity still manages to peek through from time to time. She may be dangerous, but she still has a heart. She just prefers not to use it unless she has to.

3. Eric Northman – True Blood
 

Eric (True Blood)

I have heard rumblings that Eric was somewhat woobiefied in season four, but as I’m still working my way through the first three seasons, I remain blissfully unaware of any defanging that may happen later on. As of right now, I only know Eric as the hypnotically tantalizing/frightening owner of the coolest vampire bar in Shreveport. His age alone is enough to earn him a place on this list. I’m sorry, but any vampire that has survived for over 1,000 years deserves major kudos in my book.

Eric’s real selling point comes in the form of the sheer physicality of Alexander Skarsgård’s performance. There’s something predatory about the way that man moves. It makes it impossible not to be wary of Eric even if he is in the process of getting his highlights done.

4. Spike – Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Angel
 

Spike (BTVS)

There is no bigger romantic than Spike, which just goes to show that having bite and falling in love are not mutually exclusive. Now, I do have issues with how Spike was handled in the final two seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but that doesn’t change the fact that he’s an iconic, daring member of the vampire canon.

Without Spike, I have a hard time believing we would have an Eric or a Damon. The snark, the leather, the transformation from bloody awful poet to just plain bloody–Spike was the original bad boy vampire (sorry guys, but Lestat who?). I firmly believe the season five episode “Fool for Love” should be required viewing for any and all writers planning on creating a new vampire. It’s like a masterclass in how to craft a badass vampire without sacrificing emotional complexity in the process.

5. Vampire Willow – Buffy the Vampire Slayer
 

willow (BTVS)

“Bored now.”

Two seemingly innocent words that will strike fear in the heart of any BTVS fan.

She only appeared in two episodes, but Willow’s sultry and psychotic vampire counterpart was easily the scariest vampire to ever appear on the show. Maybe it was because she was so radically different from the fuzzy sweater wearing Willow we knew and loved, or maybe it was just because she looked so pleased to be torturing Angel in “The Wish.”

Whatever the reason, Vampire Willow was not to be trifled with and she had the disarming catchphrase to prove it.

6. Hal York – Being Human
 

Hal (being human)

Being Human has a way with vampires. I was apprehensive about the idea of embracing a new guy, but Hal has proved to be an excellent addition to the show’s roster of supernatural roommates. He has been mostly blood-free for fifty years, but that’s just a blip when you’re an Old One ancient enough to have lived in a time when men still carried swords and shields.

While Hal presents himself as a mild-mannered, Antique’s Roadshow-loving vampire with a touch of OCD these days, glimpses at his past have revealed a twisted monster lurking just beneath his baby-faced façade. We are talking about the kind of guy who would feed someone their wife’s blood and then laugh about it. Like all the best vampires, Hal walks a delicate line between being sympathetic and dangerous, and it’s that very struggle that makes me so excited to see what the show has in store for him.

 

There you have it; those are my picks for six TV vampires with bite. Do you agree or did I leave your favorite off the list? Sound off in the comments below!

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