Television Vampires DVD Roundup

Television Vampires DVD Roundup
None of them bite
Updated: 08-31-2010

This is really a great time to be a vampire fan — there've always been some bloodsuckers on TV (Dark Shadows seduced housewives in the 60s, Kolchak fought a few in the 70s, Forever Knight roamed late night TV in the 80s and so on) but now it seems we're all undead all the time. We've got shows like Supernatural, The Gates, The Vampire Diaries, Being Human and True Blood running right now. The latter three have previous seasons on DVD, plus a ton of extras and special goodies for the fans.

True Blood is my favorite of the lot, so I'm going to focus on that fang-gang first. Season Two is available now and as with Season One and now Season Three, it's a fine standalone. The same characters are all there and their arcs wax and wane, but the dilemma and story are so strong there's no need for any (or least, not much) prior knowledge.
Season Two had three big, main plots involving feisty heroine Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Pacquin) a telepath who's in love with a Southern-gentleman vampire named Bill (Stephen Moyer) whose mortal existence was Civil War era. His courtly ways haven't changed, but in Season Two we get to see a little more of Bill's aggressive, killing side. We also learn a lot more about Eric Northman (Alexander Skarsgård) and the back-story of his making by the christlike Godric (Allan Hyde). This storyline converged with Sookie's none-too-bright but well-meaning brother Jason's (Ryan Kwanten) induction into the Fellowship of the Sun anti-vampire cult. The third, and perhaps most major and mysterious exploration, centers around Maryann (Michelle Forbes), a wicked witch (of sorts) who turns water into wine and normal, everyday people into wanton demons. Through this storyline, we also get to know Sam (Sam Trammel) and Tara (Rutina Wesley) better. The lovely Evan Rachel Wood makes an appearance as the Vampire Queen of Louisiana, giving us just a tease as to how she might factor into future storylines.
When it comes to the extras, there are audio commentaries on seven of the 12 episodes, plus featurettes on Fellowship of the Sun and the faux news show The Vampire Report.
The Vampire Diaries follows two contentious (and of course undead) brothers, Stefan (Paul Wesley, the goodie) and Damon (Ian Sommerhalder, the baddie), as they vie for the affections of Elena (Nina Dobrev). The Vampire Diaries is a bit soapy and sometimes soppy, but the actors are incredibly good-looking and all the neo-Gothic accoutrement are well in place. It's slick, it's pretty, it's not a bad way to lazy away a rainy afternoon.
Being Human is a British series about a vampire (Aidan Turner) , a werewolf (Russell Tovey), and a ghost (Lenora Crichlow) all sharing a modest flat in suburbia — you could call them all the roommates from hell. The show focuses on character; as the title suggests, it's more about the human element of each creature. This Twilight'esque premise presents some very interesting situations. Or at least, potentially interesting — personally, I find Being Human just a bit too tepid.
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Reviewed by Staci Layne Wilson
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