Best Vampire TV Series

We are entering a golden age of television where better production and acting are making for some really interesting serial dramas and supernatural shows have a nitch now. Soon there should be even more great vampire shows on the horizon. That being said, here are the best of the genre so far. I have to acknowledge that I am not really a fan of episodic television, preferring serial dramas that have continuing plotlines and story arcs, so some shows rate more highly than others because of this. I assure you that not a single show has made it onto this list without me watching it and reviewing it personally, and while I know this is not a completely exhaustive list, it IS a pretty thorough one.*

*Because the original Dark Shadows was over a 1200 episode long serial soap opera, I admit I have not seen it in its entirety, but have in this case included it based on the few episodes that I have seen. This is perhaps unfair to its ordering on this list, so keep that in mind and take its placement here as conditional because of this.

Updated: 10/22/2014
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1.
Penny Dreadful (2014 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
Explorer Sir Malcolm Murray, American gunslinger Ethan Chandler, scientist Victor Frankenstein and medium Vanessa Ives unite to combat supernatural threats in Victorian London. (60 mins.)
“ Easily one of the darkest shows on the list, Penny Dreadful gets top marks for atmosphere, effects, acting, and writing. It goes to some very dark places, and these places have absolutely no humor or levity to lighten things. This is another mashup series. It gets its name from the 19th century series of pulp fiction stories, often horror in content, that were once sold for a penny and very popular. It is set in Victorian era London and pieces together elements from several classic monster stories, as well as taking a few new directions of its own. My one and only complaint is that I wish the writers would have made the characters slightly more obscure. Too many of them are easily recognizable in their own stories, and that era is ripe with terrific material to draw from. It is fun that despite our familiarity with their stories, however, they are interconnecting in some very unexpected ways. I'd like to see the writers stray from the beaten path more and keep the surprises coming, otherwise the plot is occasionally a little too predictable. Overall, one of the best I've seen. Will certainly be watching more. ” - Margaret_Nieter
 
2.
The Originals (2013 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
A family of power-hungry thousand year old vampires look to take back the city that they built and dominate all those who have done them wrong. (45 mins.)
“ I love an anti-hero (a villain) that you still want to root for somehow, and this has one of the best of them in the character of Klaus. A spin-off series of The Vampire Diaries focusing on the original vampire family and a rivalry in New Orleans. It's off to a fantastic start, with an intriguing back story for the characters, not to mention two rivals in a power struggle for dominance of a city. The original family were a terrific element in the Vampire Diaries and now they are really given a chance to shine here. With the first season coming close to ending, the writers have really created a very dynamic cityscape of characters and stories, and have shown so much of it through the almost Shakespearean unfolding drama of the Original family and their constant power struggles, bickering, and damaged souls. There is a real wealth of material for the characters to work with here and the show just continues to grow in quality. If they can keep this quality up, this show will be (and should be) around for a long time to come. ” - Margaret_Nieter
 
3.
True Blood (2008 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
Telepathic waitress Sookie Stackhouse encounters a strange new supernatural world when she meets the mysterious Bill, a southern Louisiana gentleman and vampire. (55 mins.)
“ For it's production value, acting, and writing alone this is one of the best vampire shows. Add to that several seasons of engrossing plots and even its more outrageous campy moments are still some of the best vampire entertainment around. Eric Northman is a pure delight to watch. Actually, the entire cast is fantastic. Things were beginning to get a little muddled in the third season and became outright crazy in the fourth, but the first two seasons are so good that I raced through them in just a couple days. The quality of later seasons cannot compete with the early seasons, the quality has gone downhill as the show continues, and I am glad they've decided to end it with only one more season. This is one of the best of the genre, which is why it has so many rabid fans. However, be forewarned it has a lot of sex, violence, and nudity. ” - Margaret_Nieter
 
4.
Death Valley (2011 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
A mockumentary following a police force as they deal with various perpetrators who are mostly supernatural in nature. (22 mins.)
“ This is a reality show parody. It's like watching Cops but with vampires, werewolves, and zombies, and while I'm not a big fan of comedy shows. This one really made me laugh. One of the more original shows I've seen and very funny. Hopefully this is one that stays around for a while!

Update: Alas another one cancelled too soon, but definitely recommended. ” - Margaret_Nieter
 
5.
Dark Shadows (1991 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
Victoria Winters comes to Collinwood, an isolated mansion in coastal Maine, to work as a governess, but soon finds herself drawn into a strange... (341 mins.)
“ With Ben Cross in the lead, this revision of the classic show could have been a spectacular re-ignition of the series if it had not been doomed by interruptions during the Gulf War. This one has Gothic atmosphere and a pretty smart script to keep it going. In fact, it is that classic Gothic story that has propelled it to the top of this list. It starts off a little slow, but about halfway through the first season it starts to become really compelling, and by the end I was totally engrossed in the story. The acting and writing is all really good and the story is just fantastic. One of the many shows that was tragically short-lived. Worth watching if for no other reason than to see the great horror film queen Barbara Steele and a very young (but talented even then!) Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

BONUS!! - All 12 episodes are available for download on IMDB. ” - Margaret_Nieter
 
6.
Being Human (2008 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
A werewolf, a vampire, and a ghost try to live together and get along. (60 mins.)
“ There is something really offbeat and interesting about this show, maybe it is the unexpected performances by all of its cast, but it is really great, even when it is at times quirky. I sat and watched the entire first series in one night because I just couldn't get enough. The second series (although it is considerably darker) is even better, and the third series really took the characters into an interesting direction. Next to True Blood, this is the show that delivers every time on what it is to be human, even when viewed by characters that are not. Excellent show.

Update: The Series went a bit off the rails after Season 3. Can't say I approve of Season 4 or 5, and it has now been cancelled. My suggestion? Watch through season 3 and then quit. ” - Margaret_Nieter
 
7.
American Horror Story (2011 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
An anthology series that centers on different characters and locations, including a house with a murderous past, an insane asylum, a witch coven, a freak show, a hotel and a sinister farmhouse. (60 mins.)
“ This is a show that is hit or miss for me. Some seasons are better than others. Only one has vampires (so far). American Horror Story: Hotel is by far one of the best seasons of the series, and is one of the best vampire series. These are classically decadent vampires and it is horror at its best. Outstanding sets, costumes, acting, and story. It is derivative and yet original as so much of the series is. Well worth watching. ” - Margaret_Nieter
 
8.
The Vampire Diaries (2009 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
A teenage girl from Mystic Falls is torn between two vampire brothers, who are quite the opposite. (43 mins.)
“ Yes, it is sort of a teen drama, but that takes a back seat to the continually engrossing and intricate plots. The writing is smart, the characters are developing and growing (and Damon is just pure enjoyment) and it has its own cinematic style. In my book, that makes this one a winner. Occasionally the plots overwhelm the viewer, interfering with character development (and try not to get too attached to characters, because most characters have a very short lifespan in this show) but overall, it is a very addictive drama. Please don't call it a "Twilight" rip-off. Yes, it has a love triangle (as does Twilight) and yes, it has a teen storyline (somewhat) but this show is more clever and pretty much blows Twilight away. It continues to improve as it endures, with season 2 better than season 1 in many ways and season 3 becoming even better. In its fourth season the stories floundered a bit and season five has been mostly a mess, but it is still a very entertaining show for the most part, just beginning to dwindle somewhat in quality. The end of Season 5 took a surprising turn, and now in its sixth season it is already starting off with a bang. ” - Margaret_Nieter
 
9.
Kindred: The Embraced (1996 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
Series based on the White Wolf role-playing game, Vampire: the Masquerade. Julian Luna, the undead Prince of the City, leads the Vampire Clans as he falls in love with Caitlin, a human reporter. (60 mins.)
“ The pilot is wrought with bad writing and overacting (and steals its music from Interview with the Vampire and Bram Stoker's Dracula, interestingly enough) but the actual show was terrific. Every episode added a new element to this fantastic world and the acting and story lines just kept getting better. This was an awesome concept for a show that was ahead of its time. It could have been a long running fantastic series, but due to some mediocre ratings and the death of its star in a motorcycle accident, it was canceled before it was really given a chance. When it first aired, I was totally blown away by it, and watching it again (even though there are only 8 episodes) I find that it is still one of the best of the genre. I would love to see this concept revamped and redone, it could have been amazing, but as it was, it was still really great. ” - Margaret_Nieter
 
10.
Ultraviolet (1998 Mini-Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
Michael Colefield is unwillingly thrust into the nightmarish world of vampires when he discovers a secret... (300 mins.)
“ This show really gets philosophical at times. It really makes you question what is good and what is evil. Are the vampires bad? I am not usually a fan of episodic cop type shows, but the very ambiguous nature of the moral dilemmas in this show really caught my attention, not to mention the unusual sci-fi element that was added to the story. Worthy of its place on this list if for no other reason than for the originality it brings to the genre and the great performances (especially by Stephen Moyer and Idris Elba, who have since proven themselves to be really great actors).

BONUS!! - All 6 episodes are available for download on IMDB. ” - Margaret_Nieter
 
11.
Blood Ties (2007 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
This gritty supernatural drama centers on Vicki Nelson a former homicide cop turned private investigator and Henry Fitzroy a 470 year old vampire. Together they form a unique team solving cases and dealing with the supernatural world. (60 mins.)
“ Another P.I. type of vampire show, this one focused more on the who-done-it mystery of its weekly supernatural villain much like Buffy before it (or perhaps WHAT-done-it is more appropriate). The characters and writing are frequently more on the nose than I typically like, but after a while of watching it, I began to really enjoy their ongoing banter. In addition to this, there is one thing about this show that makes it irresistible - and that is Henry Fitzroy, one of the most smoldering of TV vamps I have seen yet. The relationship between the P.I. Vicky Nelson and the 500 yr. old vampire Henry Fitzroy are what keep this show interesting. The sexual tension between them is frequently palpable and the intense flirting is always fun to watch. Kyle Schmid makes a fantastic vampire, and by the time the show ended I was really saddened to have to let the characters go. ” - Margaret_Nieter
 
12.
Hellsing (2001 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A British taskforce, lead by the daughter of the vampire hunter Prof. Van Helsing, battles the supernatural with the aid of two vampires. (23 mins.)
“ This is a very violent anime series, but I just can't help liking this one for its interesting storyline. I'm not a huge fan of anime, but this has really nice artwork and pacing to go with its story and I found myself caught up in it and wanting to watch more. The dialogue and relationships are all frequently subtle too, which just adds to its appeal. A good series. The story was retold in a video series in 2006 called Hellsing Ultimate, which is also supposed to be really excellent. ” - Margaret_Nieter
 
13.
Blade: The Series (2006 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  
The adventures of the half human/vampire hunter. (60 mins.)
“ As a fan of the Blade movies, I was really skeptical of this show, but I was pleasantly surprised. It seems that fans of the films stayed away because of Wesley Snipes not being in the lead performance, but that is really too bad. The characters, and performances of the actors were so good that I found myself really engaged in the story immediately in the pilot and the show only got better from there. What I found really great about this show is how it does not just include Blade's story, but really has some compelling vampires in the story too. It is sort of a spy show, the "Alias" of vampire shows, if you will, and that is an unusual and fascinating take on things. Another show sadly canceled too early, but definitely one of the best of the genre.

BONUS!! - All 12 episodes are available for download on the WB (linked through IMDB page). ” - Margaret_Nieter
 
14.
Blood+ (2005 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
A young girl named Saya combats vicious, shape-shifting demons in Okinawa, 2005.
“ Occasionally it suffers from some overdramatic dialogue, which is the problem with most anime, but this one has a really fantastic story and interesting characters. Another violent one, it is still one of the most compelling series I have seen. There was a short anime film on the same subject and a live action version of the story a few years back as well, both good, but this is the best of the three as it allows for plenty of opportunity to develop this great story. It loses some of its momentum and mystery in the second part as well as its great pacing, and sometimes the ongoing battle doesn't seem to gain any ground and feels like it is dragging on, but overall, it does a great job of showing the growth and transformation of its characters. A really good series that has a complete story if a slightly bittersweet ending. ” - Margaret_Nieter
 
15.
Moonlight (2007 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
A vampire lands work as a private investigator and falls for a mortal woman. (60 mins.)
“ When I happened upon a random episode of Moonlight while it was on television, I did not really care for it. Going back and starting from the beginning of the series, I've come to discover why so many people fell for this show. This show does a good job of making the investigations of the P.I. vampire secondary to the hero's story line. In this drama, the relationships take the focus and it is very hard not to like Alex O'Laughlin's character (Mick St. John) and care about his growing relationship. Halfway through the season, the focus on the characters' ever growing story lines and less on the weekly cop mysteries was really getting good, (it was almost noir at moments) but in the final few episodes of the season, it really lost a lot of its mystery and its momentum. A show that was at times great and at other times just ok, and like many shows before it, was canceled too early to give us a chance to really appreciate where the relationships and stories could have gone. ” - Margaret_Nieter
 
16.
From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series (2014 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
A Texas Ranger is in hot pursuit of the infamous Gecko brothers and their hostages. They all end up trapped in a desert bar secretly run by vampires and discover a vampire conspiracy. (45 mins.)
“ This was a difficult series for me to fairly judge. It's a great story, excellently written, with a strong cast, and is very different from all the other entries here. The problem, however, in judging this one is that the first part of the show is so similar to the film that it is drawn from (although many aspects of the story and characters are developed in much greater detail here) that it was hard not to occasionally be frustrated with the story progression as the unfolding plot was already pretty well known to me. It is hard to judge a remake fairly, even if it is in a different format (film vs. television), without continually comparing it to the original. Even so, I did enjoy this, and I thought it was very well done, and in many ways superior to the film. The second half amps up the action (as does the film) and also amps up the story taking it into new and unexpected directions. The first season was overall pretty terrific and if you are unfamiliar with the original film, be prepared for a really fun ride. ” - Margaret_Nieter
 
17.
The Munsters (1964 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
A family of friendly monsters have misadventures, never quite understanding why people react to them so strangely. (30 mins.)
“ While Herman Munster was the main character of the Munsters and was not a vampire, Grandpa, Lily, and Eddie all had vampire traits and were meant to be vampires. This show had success largely for recognizing that the outside world considers the Munsters to be freaks, but within their own zany home life, they consider the rest of the world to be rather freakish. They present their life to the audience with a very wholesome ignorance of their own strangeness and this produces some of the best jokes of the show. One of the earliest frontrunners for vampires on television, The Munsters is a very funny show even for today and so it endures. Easily still one of the best. ” - Margaret_Nieter
 
18.
Forever Knight (1992 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
800-year-old vampire Nick Knight quests for redemption as a cop in Toronto, trying to hide his vampiric nature from the rest of the world. (60 mins.)
“ I find this one hard to fairly judge. Often the production value is low, and I am not much of a fan of episodic television, preferring ongoing storylines, not to mention cop shows are not really my thing, so that is several things against it. All the same, the show had pretty good writing, interesting plots wherein the main character Nick Knight deals with both his past and his present as every episode has the character flashing back to memories of his extensive history (800 years) and paralleling that storyline in the current cop mystery. Also, the lessons learned by the character continue to propel him forward on his quest for humanity and that leads to some quality human drama. Gotta give it props for being groundbreaking in a lot of ways and ahead of its time, since this was the first detective vampire series, a formula that has since been repeated with moderate success. The first season is hit or miss, but the quality of the episodes increase greatly as the show continues. Overall a decent show. One I wouldn't mind at all seeing remade. ” - Margaret_Nieter
 
19.
The Strain (2014 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
A mysterious viral outbreak with hallmarks of an ancient and evil strain of vampirism ravages the city of New York. (43 mins.)
“ I wanted to love the Strain, and there are things that are really quite great about it. The way the virus spreads, the transformations, and the progression of the plot are all terrific, but it took quite a long time for them to develop characters that captured my interest. Many of the characters do really stupid things, and as sometimes happens with horror, they fall into predictable behavior patterns, and have levels of skepticism and denial that are annoying to watch. Most of the season I found myself irritated with the majority of the characters or otherwise not particularly caring about them or for them one way or another, which is really too bad because this could easily be the Walking Dead of vampire shows, but it never quite got there. It's still a really good horror show, though, and one of the more original shows on this list. ” - Margaret_Nieter
 
20.
Hemlock Grove (2013 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
A teenage girl is brutally murdered, sparking a hunt for her killer. But in a town where everyone hides a secret, will they find the monster among them? (46 mins.)
“ What's interesting about Hemlock Grove is that the supernatural elements sneak up on you a little bit. I went into this series not really knowing anything about it, just hearing comparisons to Twin Peaks (a not altogether bad comparison), and having low expectations, but was happily surprised. The first season revolves around the murder of a girl. The season takes some unexpected and interesting turns, and unlike most of the shows on this list (except perhaps True Blood and Being Human), I went through this series in one day, it was that compelling. This one definitely carved out a niche for itself in that the first season was one well constructed storyline and by the end the story felt pretty complete. Hopefully this Netflix original series will come back for another season, but if it does not, I'd still recommend it to any fans of the genre. ” - Margaret_Nieter
 
21.
Dark Shadows (1966 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
The rich Collins family of Collinsport, Maine is tormented by strange occurrences. (30 mins.)
“ Dark Shadows was a daytime soap opera that ran every day from 1966 until 1971 with 30 minute long episodes, and has been extremely influential on the genre. This was the first time vampires were presented in a serious Gothic horror manner on television, in an ongoing storyline, and its success was a shock to many. This was a show, that while overly dramatic at times, was a serious frontrunner for vampires in television, and its significance cannot be overestimated. It presented a strong character whose story has endured and set him amidst many strange and supernatural circumstances during the course of the show. It has spawned a couple of revivals, has rabid fans, and is about to have a feature film remake. This is one that any vampire fan should at least watch a few episodes of. All that considered, it is not the best show, it is a bit dated and since it is a soap opera (as already indicated) a bit overly dramatic sometimes, but it is still good fun. Extra points for originality and an enduring legacy, though. ” - Margaret_Nieter
 
22.
Angel (1999 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
The vampire Angel, cursed with a soul, moves to Los Angeles and aids people with supernatural-related problems while questing for his own redemption. (44 mins.)
“ Much darker than Buffy and without so much of the annoying Scooby-Doo type storylines, this show, which lasted 5 seasons, was in some ways a much better show than its predecessor. Angel is a compelling character and is often presented as a sort of Batman superhero type of character (even occasionally overtly referencing these qualities in script), and while again I am not such a fan of the more episodic style of television shows, nor the detective type of shows, this was one that I enjoyed because of the excellent writing and because David Boreanaz does such a great job as Angel. Also, it wins over Buffy because it did not have Sarah Michelle Gellar. A very good show overall. ” - Margaret_Nieter
 
23.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
A young woman is forced to fulfill her destiny of fighting vampires and demons with the help of her friends all the while struggling to live a normal teenage life of heart break and drama. (44 mins.)
“ There is no denying it, Buffy is one of the best and most successful TV shows and certainly one of the best vampire shows. I have two problems with it: #1, Sarah Michelle Gellar is not very likeable (in my opinion) although she does improve as the show gains momentum in later seasons and #2, the whole "Scooby's gang" tag along characters frequently was more annoying to me than enjoyable, which, again, got better as the show continued. Overall, a decent show though, and without question it paved the way for many shows that have followed it. For me personally, however, a little too much on the goofy side for it to be one of my favorites. ” - Margaret_Nieter
 
24.
Being Human (2011 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
Three twenty-somethings share a house and try to live a normal life despite being a ghost, a werewolf, and a vampire. (44 mins.)
“ If you started watching this before seeing the BBC version you are probably going to like it much better than a fan of the original version (like me). It has less humor than the original, but with the same premise it is worthy of the list. The real problem I have with it is that somehow it has taken a plot that moved quickly and kept me on the edge of my seat in the original series and expanded it in a way as to make it somewhat boring and cumbersome. Also, I find a lot of the show to be overwhelmed with dialogue and drama in ways that make it almost soap opera like. I have to admit, though, that by the end of the first season they really started breaking away from the original plot and that is a good thing. ” - Margaret_Nieter
 
25.
The Gates (2010 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
A metropolitan police officer becomes chief of police in a gated suburban neighborhood where vampires, werewolves, witches and other supernatural entities reside. (60 mins.)
“ The Gates started out kind of slow as a strange combination of cop mystery and soap opera supernatural drama, but about halfway through the season, it amped up it's supernatural storyline and started taking on a bit of a darker note which made it much edgier. Not the most brilliantly acted or written of the vampire shows I've seen (although I loved every scene with Luke Mably and/or Rhona Mitra), but it is one with a serious tone and interesting dilemmas, which make it a pretty good show overall, and with so many different supernatural story lines (there are much more than vampires here) it makes for an interesting collage of characters. It was really just beginning to hit its stride when it was canceled too early (again). ” - Margaret_Nieter