On March 10, fans of Buffy the Vampire Slayer were celebrating the show’s 20th anniversary, while at the same time fans of The Vampire Diaries were saying goodbye after eight seasons. For two shows that were heavy into the supernatural and particularly the mythology of vampires, there was also a lot of differences and yet together these two series helped to change the way television looks at vampires as a whole.
While vampires have a long history in the entertainment world, there is something to be said for changing things up and being unique in terms of storytelling. In fact, there has been enough interesting storytelling going around that it seems like after the introduction of Twilight in theaters in 2008, an entire era of vampiric stories emerged. While The Vampire Diaries may have come along well after Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the two shows have truly shaped the way TV viewers see supernatural storytelling.
As Screener points out in their own analysis of how these two shows have influenced the genre, the real key to success for a show like The Vampire Diaries was simply to be different. It is about taking the origins and making them your own. Whether that means taking some elements and using them, while also developing new ones to boost the series or even taking a character that was once a villain and making them the hero, in order to make a series truly work it has to be unique.
While traditional conventions like staking a vampire through the heart was prevalent in both Buffy the Vampire Slayer and The Vampire Diaries, both shows chose their own paths when it came to telling the stories they wanted. Whether it is telling the story of a feminist vampire slayer who will not only kick butt, but also be a cheerleader by day or two brothers who are seeking love and redemption after decades of death and despair, both series offered a different perspective of what it meant to be a vampire.
It is unlikely that the vampire genre is dead, even if it might seem that way with the loss of the long running The Vampire Diaries. With its spin-off series, The Originals still going and plenty of other shows either on air now or perhaps in the works, there is a future for stories about vampires. However, if those series’ want to experience the kind of success that has led to a 20th anniversary celebration or even eight seasons of brotherhood, then it is likely they will want to look at just what it was that made both shows so special to begin with, the stories they told and the uniqueness in which they told them.
What do you think is the greatest lesson that Buffy the Vampire Slayer and The Vampire Diaries offer to the supernatural genre? Where do you see TV going with the vampire mythology in the future? Tell us what you think in the comments below.
By Dorothea James
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