Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight took the world by storm when it was released in 2005. When the film came out in 2008, it not only launched the careers of Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart, but it made the vampire/teen romance genre all the more popular. Other books and shows and films followed, but not have been quite as popular as Twilight — with the exception of The Vampire Diaries.
Though the book series was released before Twilight was even drafted, it didn’t blow up until The CW added the show to its roster. The Vampire Diaries ran for 8 seasons and become a cult phenomenon. Despite its popularity though, Twilight is the original vampire/teen romance for millennials.
Twilight: Different Take On Vampires
By the time Twilight came out, audiences were well aware of the standard vampire lore — the insatiable bloodlust, the love for vintage clothing, being set on fire when any sunlight hits them. Twilight turned a lot of the lore on its head by introducing a set of sleek vampires that aren’t completely photophobic.
They are able to be out in indirect sunlight, they blend into modern society, and perhaps their most memorable trait — they sparkle in the sunlight. This fresh take on the undead helped to renew interest in vampires after years of the same old thing.
The Vampire Diaries: Includes An Origin Story Of Vampires
One of the most fascinating things about fantasy is the origin story. While Twilight gave somewhat of an explanation of the origin of vampires, The Vampire Diaries gave a more complete backstory. Vampires began with the Mikaelson clan — patriarch Mikael, and children Finn, Elijah, Kol, Niklaus, and Rebekah — who were turned into vampires by their mother Esther in order to protect them from werewolves.
Not only does this answer the age-old question of where vampires come from, but it addresses the age-old feud between vampires and werewolves. This interesting origin story is part of why fans of the show kept watching each week.
Twilight: The Romance Between Bella and Edward
The romance between Bella and Edward was one of the defining romances of the early aughts. Part of this is because of how Edward seemed to bring Bella out of her shell and make her more confident. Another part of it is because of how traditional their relationship was.
Unlike The Vampire Diaries, Twilight fans saw their faves court, get married, and then become intimate. This more conservative form of courtship added to the epicness of Bella and Edward’s romance — and the fact that he could protect her from nearly anything did as well.
The Vampire Diaries: Elena Is Strong, Independent Woman
One of the things that make The Vampire Diaries so enjoyable is the fact that Elena is a fully-formed character who could stand on her own merit. She had other things happening in her life aside from the vampires, and she wasn’t afraid to stand up to either Stefan or Damon.
Additionally, she was surrounded by people who let her make her own choices, which is a testament to the writing. Even after Elena is turned, she still has a say in what happens to her life and in the greater plans that are developed.
Twilight: Not As Gory As The Vampire Diaries
For a film about vampires and werewolves, Twilight isn’t gory, making it perfect for people who like vampire content without the excessive amount of blood. Though there is action and though there are fight scenes, the films are appropriate for a younger audience.
Despite being on a major cable network, The Vampire Diaries offers a lot of gore, especially during the blood-drinking scenes. Parents who are cautious about what their children watch may find Twilight less filled with blood and guts.
The Vampire Diaries: The Inclusion Of Witches
The Vampire Diaries blended the lore of vampires and werewolves together fairly seamlessly. But the show also included the lore about another supernatural group — witches. The town of Mystic Falls is a haven for many beings, including witches, and no other witch is more prominent in the series than Bonnie Bennett.
She is able to cast spells and perform magic to help her friends out of trouble. Though Bonnie is a secondary character, The Vampire Diaries added the appropriate amount of backstory for the town, the supernatural creatures, the witches, and for Bonnie.
Twilight: The Volturi
In a lot of vampire lore, there doesn’t seem to be any governing body of vampires. In Twilight, however, there is a group called the Volturi. They are the largest and most powerful coven, and they enforce the laws of the vampire world. This element humanizes vampires a bit, taking them from animalistic predators to law-abiding undead citizens.
The ruling members of the Volturi, which includes Aro, Caius, Athenodora, Marcus, and Sulpicia, enforce the laws with iron fists. Having this governing body adds interesting tension to the series, beyond the typical fights between vampires or with werewolves.
The Vampire Diaries: Better Friendships
The friendship between Bonnie, Caroline, and Elena is one of the best aspects of The Vampire Diaries. These women are strong in different ways, and though they grow, they always have each other’s backs, like when Caroline was turned into a vampire, or when Bonnie was figuring out her powers.
Additionally, having the group together and talking about things other than the men in their lives helps to keep the show fresh and not totally about the Salvatore brothers. Their friendship is organic and relatable, making it easier for fans to watch the show each week.
Twilight: The Cullen Family
Twilight does a good job of presenting vampires that feel less like predators and more like humans. The Cullen family is the prime example of this — their bond, rules, and approach to life add to the character’s relatability. Also, there are things the Cullens do that other vampire families don’t, like playing baseball during a thunderstorm.
Carlisle and Esme, the family’s de facto father and mother, are an example of a healthy relationship that each of the other Cullens can model. The group takes care of each other, and their love for each other shows.
The Vampire Diaries: The Salvatore Brothers
The two main vampires of the show initially are Stefan and Damon Salvatore. The brothers are different — Damon is the rebel and Stefan is the practical one — but their differences complement each other as the series progresses. The brothers are often the catalyst for a lot of the main action on the show, whether that’s finding their sire, Katherine, or fighting Klaus.
Additionally, the love triangle formed between the brothers and Elena makes for interesting viewing, as fans wondered for the longest time which brother was the right choice for Elena.