5. When sex is needed and/or implied, they actually go there and show it.

This is so far down the list because 1) technically True Blood doesn’t really it either and The Vampire Diaries can’t help the fact that they’re on network television with an 8 pm time slow. The latter especially makes any kind of sex scene impossible. Those excuses made, when Vampire Diaries does go there, it either leaves you wanting more (Damon/Rebekah inDangerous Liasons anyone?) or just plain awkwardness (Elena waking up in Stefan’s bed, Rebekah doing a walk of shame in her dress despite the fact that you heard the fabric rip before they slept together) as they try to comply with the sensors. I’m of the mind that if your writing leads to needing a sex scene. Take the scene out and it’s awkward because the scene is screaming for it. At least on True Blood if the writing goes there, it goes there. Perhaps if The Vampire Diaries handled these moments more gracefully it’d be  less of a gripe. But it’s not, and so it’s on the list.

4. There is actual violence! On a vampire show! Imagine that!

Again, just like sex, the inability to truly be violent is a limitation of where it’s shown and when. But still: by the time Eric ripped his out a heart in Season 4, Damon and Elijah had ripped out at least 4 and yet the one heart on True Blood had so much more impact. Why? Because you saw the broken rib cage. You saw the full sized heart. You saw the viscera attached to said heart and Eric making a show of drinking from the heart. On Vampire Dairies both Damon and Elijah tended to rip hearts out from the back – no broken bones, the heart appears to be smaller than their hands and it’s always tossed aside before you can really see anything – the only thing you ultimately see is a bloody hand.

Let me be clear – I’m not a horror movie buff, heck I’m actually pretty squeamish and have been known to turn away during some of True Blood’s goriest moments. That being said, vampiresare violent. There should be violence, there should be gore. It’s a reminder that vampires are supposed to be hunters and predators and that normal humans are pray. The lack of violence may make the vampires sexier, but it also ultimately makes them less, well, vampire-like.

3.  The scenes with the vampires are (mostly) set at night.

It’s sad that even this has to come up. Between Twlight and The Vampire Diaries one could forget that vampires are supposed to be creatures of the nights. The Vampire Diaries vampires actually are nocturnal, but have the deus ex machina of magic jewelery that lets them daywalk. The books the series was founded on are to blame, as they are canon and clearly you can’t tell a high school tale if some of your characters can’t go to school without getting burnt to a crisp. Then again, the rareness of the rings means that you can immediately sort the plot important vampires (have ’em) and the ones that will be lucky to last the episode (don’t) which makes them feel lazy and ultimately vampires are supposed to be creatures of the night. Take them out of the night and you take out one of the main allures and one of the things that makes them so mysterious, that they can only be seen at night.

On True Blood, by comparison, the vampires must go to ground during the day. They can fight the rise of the dawn but if they stay up too long they get the bleeds: consequences for fighting their nature. Ultimately, they just feel more like vampires because they are genuinely hindered by the sun.

2.  The vampire adults are actually adults.

Bill Compton and Damon Salvatore are the same age. Let that sink in. Aside from the few months that separate them, Bill Compton and Damon Salvatore are supposed to be the exact. same. age. You’d never know it from the way they act though, do you? Yes, the vampires on Vampire Diaries have said to been essentially exaggerations of their former human selves at time of death, without really much room to grow, but that has been tossed out the window by Plec as we’ve seen both Stefan and Damon mature in the 3rd season in various ways. Because the “adult” vampires can feel awfully childish – (Klaus could often feel less a threat and more like an incredibly old vampire throwing a temper tantrum)- it ultimately cheapens the characters and the show, while True Blood feels like adults dealing with adult problems and even the adults on The Vampire Diaries still seem like they’re stuck in school.

Again there are issues with writing and the different audiences (True Blood definitely does skew older) but as an older viewer of The Vampire diaries, it does make a difference to the ultimate tone of the show.

1. True Blood understands the value of the love trianglebut doesn’t overplay it.

At their core, both True Blood and Vampire Diaries are nighttime soap operas, and there’s nothing wrong with it – far from it, it’s probably why I enjoy them some much. But that being said, under Ball’s leadership he has managed to find a pretty good balance of romance to plot. He finds ways of working the triangle into the plot and when there are Big Moments in the relationship they really do feel that way. One of the main gripes I had about Vampire Diaries, especially in the third season, was that too much time was spent on the “Stefan? Damon?” aspect of the plot, especially in the last few episodes. Just at the time when the show should have been building tension as it approached the climax, it wasted time on fanservice that ultimately went no where – the “decision” made the in the finale fell a bit flat because the way the Damon/Elena had occurred it hadn’t felt like there was truly something there (never mind the fact that Elena was absolutely awful towards Damon for much of the season!). When she let down the one brother, it wasn’t a bad moment, but it also lacked the emotional impact that Sookie dumping both vampires had in the finale of season four.  Of course the handling isn’t perfect and I’m sure I’ll see plenty to scream about in Season 5, but True Blood is definitely stronger for not letting the love triangle overwhelm the series and I hope that as Vampire Dairies heads into its fourth season next year that it takes a cue from it’s older sibling and tones it back.