Shows you should be watching: "The Vampire Diaries"

I blame the Twilight franchise for giving vampires a bad rap. Initially, “The Vampire Diaries” on The CW appeared fairly reminiscent of Twilight: A human girl falls for a brooding vampire and drama ensues. Now, however, the only similarities between the two are the bloodsucking creatures and a ridiculously good-looking cast.

As “The Vampire Diaries” continues, the plot puts romance on the back burner for the other elements of the show: friendship, loyalty, courage and family.

Main girl Elena (Nina Dobrev) is more of a Buffy than a Bella. The show never shies away from depicting vampires as the predatory creatures they really are; recently it featured hearts ripped out, heads bitten off and some serious torture.

What’s great about “The Vampire Diaries” is its evolution from a sappy teen drama into a riveting show with suspenseful story arcs and distinct characters that continually develop. The first two seasons are available on Netflix.