Mon
Aug 2 2010 3:41pm
TV Vampires: The Broody and the Badass

Perhaps what’s most surprising when looking at vampire TV shows over the past few decades is how much they have in common. Yes, the tone of the show, the powers of the vamps, and most certainly the quality of the acting varies widely, but at the core, the narrative is often the same.

A broody vampire who wishes he could be human again falls for a girl, often because she reminds him of his long lost love from his human days. His competition is a vampire who fully embraces the benefits of his immortal state. Forget moping! What’s the point when you’re a badass? Perhaps the girls are sick of their vampire boyfriend’s whining about not being able to see the sun, or maybe it’s just that the badass vampires are so hot, but their lack of morals and leather-jacket-wearing good looks are usually what both attracts and repulses the heroines.

Let’s take a look at some of these vampire match-ups:

Buffy the Vampire SlayerAngel and Spike (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel)

Angel may have mastered a martial art or two and have a propensity for leather trenchcoats, but for the most part, the man broods and broods and then broods some more. Unless of course he turns into Angelus, his soulless “evil vampire” identity, but that doesn’t really count. He mopes about his past, he complains about being unable to see Buffy in the daylight, and he rarely smiles when they’re together. It’s no wonder she looks elsewhere for love.

And if there’s anyone who has embraced the benefits of being a bloodsucker, it’s platinum-blond, swaggering Spike. No moaning about how crappy life is for him; he loves the world. In his own words: “You’ve got people. Billions of people walking around like Happy Meals with legs.” That is, of course, until he falls in love with Buffy. In the seventh season, he gives Angel a run for his money on that Broodiest Vampire title. But when did we love him best? During his most ruthless stage. And it seems Buffy thought so too, even though she knew it was against her best interests.

Dark ShadowsBarnabas Collins…and Barnabas Collins (Dark Shadows)

I’ve only seen episodes of the 1991 revival series of the daytime soap that ran from 1966 to 1971, but in my opinion, he is both the broody vampire and the badass vampire in the series. Yes, he thinks it sucks to be a vampire—“Do you really believe that anyone could actually enjoy an existence such as mine?"—but that doesn’t stop him from beating the crap out of his sidekick Willie or changing half the town into vamps. Sure, it’s upsetting, but he can’t help himself. Right…

That’s why he doesn’t need another vampire around to contend for Victoria Winters’ heart. He is his own worst enemy. The “cure” that Dr. Hoffman gives him is spotty at best, and whenever someone discovers his secret…well, off they go! Plus, I’m pretty sure mousy Victoria would not be at all intrigued by any badassery. Apparently, she’s more easily wooed if you point out that your ancestor (who is practically your twin!) had a girlfriend who looked like her. Clearly, that’s the stuff of great romance, looking like someone else.

Even without competition, Barnabas struggles with hiding his true identity, overcoming his guilt for causing his former girlfriend to jump of a cliff to get away from him, and, well, not eating his love interest.

True BloodBill Compton & Eric Northman (True Blood)

“Sookie.” Such a silly-sounding name…until you hear it coming out of Bill Compton’s mouth. You don’t get much broodier than good ol’ Bill, and he doesn’t even have a pesky soul to blame for it. Thanks to synthetic True Blood, he’s given up feasting on humans, and he has an unhealthy obsession with our favorite human, Ms. Stackhouse. He may be the broodiest of the vampires. At least Angel and Barnabas eventually develop a circle of friends; Bill’s really too much of a downer to attract any pals.  

It’s easy to understand why Sookie has dreams about his romantic rival, Eric. She blames it on the connection they have since she drank his blood, but it may also have to do with his Nordic good looks and killer (pun intended) smile. As another leather-jacket-sporting platinum blonde who enjoys the baser side of vampirism, one would imagine he and Spike would be fast friends. I like the idea of them wreaking havoc together at Sunnydale and flirting with Buffy, though I think they would have some authority issues—neither would want to be secondary to the other. They’re both just too badass.

Vampire DiariesStefan Salvatore & Damon Salvatore (Vampire Diaries)

Cue another girl-in-the-present-who-looks-like-girlfriend-of-the-past story. Like Dark Shadows, the show even uses the same actress for both parts, and Stefan and Damon aren’t just competing for the girl in the present, Elena. They also have an underlying rivalry over the girlfriend of the past, Katherine.

Though he may not have found the key to Elena’s heart yet, Damon’s badass ways do charm her and cause her to re-think her relationship with Stefan again and again. Damon has no qualms about feeding from whoever he likes, and he takes a perverse pleasure in wreaking havoc any way he can—physically, emotionally, mentally, he’s not picky. Meanwhile, broody Stefan mopes and frets about what his brother is doing and how it affects Elena and the town.

Of course, these romantic rivals are not the only sets of vampire broods and badasses. On Moonlight, Mick St. John (who falls firmly in the broody camp) has a badass friend who showcases the more hedonistic way of life, Josef. New series The Gates has a married set of badass and broody. Claire Radcliff says she feels bad about killing those pesky humans, but it’s clear she doesn’t. Meanwhile, her hubby Dylan doesn’t have much sympathy for her overwhelming desire for blood; he just whines about it and threatens to take their child and leave.

One wonders why good-hearted vamps can’t be pumped about the fact that they have powers ranging from mind control to super speed that can help them fight the bad guys, and why the bad guys never really seem to mind that they can’t enjoy a sunny day at the beach. And more importantly, you can’t help but wonder: what kind of vampire would you be?


Juliana Weiss-Roessler is not a vampire... yet. She has been writing professionally for 10 years. Currently, she’s an editor for PinkRaygun, a geek girl e-zine, and a food and organic living contributor to Savings.com. She has ghostwritten one sci-fi novel and is now ghostwriting a second one. You can learn more about her writing at WeissRoessler.com or follow her geekery and adventures onTwitter@julweiss.

This article is part of Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy Month: ‹ previous | index | next ›
6 comments
LAJG
1. LAJG
There was also Forever Knight, the 90's Canadian vampire cop show, with moody Nick Knight and badass LaCroix.

What kind of vampire would I be? Considering what a wuss Spike was before he became a vampire, I probably would be just as badass as he became. :)

Captcha: control lemmings, which is probably how badass vampires consider humans.
Lisa Harry
2. xbannerstands
I'm so used to facebook "like" button. So here's my "like" comment.
LAJG
3. Ramenth
It's worth noting that, as far as Buffy goes, he breaks up with her, she doesn't stray from him, and that by the time Spike is a love interest, he's been defanged so hard that TVTropes used to call "Badass Decay" "Spikeification."
LAJG
4. JCHicks
Going into books, there's also Anne Rice's vampires: broody Louis and badass Lestat.
YouDont NeedToKnow
5. necrosage2005
This entire style of "vampires" I've dubbed emopires because they are emotional vampires. I'm getting really sick and tired of having the evil monster that can only survive if it drinks (preferably human) blood, be turned into a hero. I don't want to feel sorry for them just like I don't want to feel sorry for zombies, Freddy, Jason, Mike, or Leatherface. Yes, I like my Dracula as the bad guy (like the real book by Bram Stoker) that is not given a reason to have a love interest (like the BAD Keanu movie) and therefore turn into an evil blood drinking feind.




Long live the [color=red][i]NECROSCOPE!
Garett Harnish
6. garett
@LAJG:
Forever Knight I think qualifies because there are definitely some episodes (largely near the beginning of the first season) where Nicolas is really whiny and mopey. However, overall, he does seem to enjoy life from time to time and smiles and kicks ass as a vampire. Mind, he wants to be pay back society for his sins and be mortal again. So that is the definition of mopey-esque.

As for the bad-ass ... Lucien LaCroix is the personification of that in the series, mind, he is a little more subtle than say the likes of Spike (mentioned above). However, if we select LaCroix, we have a radically different relationship between the moper and the bas-ass than those above. The relationship between LaCroix and Nicolas is more of a father disappointed in his son than one vampire providing the "normal" vampire baseline for the moper (to show how much better the moper is than his kith).

Besides LaCroix, we also have Janette DuCharme, who is also bad-ass. If there was ever any doubt in my mind, the second she uttered the line "La meilleure revanche, c'est la revanche" (The best revenge is revenge) it was gone. Mind, it might also have to do with what came after that line too, but why split hairs. She also owned Raven; a bar where stupid humans wandered into and were fed upon by other patrons (though, usually in private rooms).

I kind of wish that they had renewed the show faster so there would have been a fourth season; but man did the series end. That happens so rarely in the shows I watch, it was kind of refreshing.

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