DW just finished their third season with something different: Zombies vs. Vampires.
CAUTION: The embedded video features strong bloody violence.
The show was a lot of fun and I LOVED seeing the scientific tests. I think they got the zombies (the slow kind, like you see in George Romero movies) exactly right. On the vampire side, they used the superhuman killing machines seen in 30 Days of Night. This worked well because it brought a modern version of the vampire to the fight.
In the show, Steve Niles, the creator of 30 Days, says:
The romantic vampire started in Bram Stoker's version of th ebook, and then Bela Lugosi came along turning the vampire into this sort of suave seducer and that's where vampires got stuck. When it came time for me to do 30 Days of Night, I just wanted to strip all that away. I looked at all the examples of vampires that I'[ve really enjoyed, like some of the Blade movies, where they were just treated as bad guys. What if they don't want to seduce you? What if we are just their food? And just that little twist makes then incredibly frightening.
I agree to a degree. He is right that Stoker, and then the movies, transformed the vampire into a romantic figure. Subsequent versions, like Barnabbus Collins in the soap opera Dark Shadows made the vampire into a romantic lead, and modern versions, like Twilight brought this to it's most absurd and sparkly extreme. I think Mr. Niles' insight that vampires are pure predators who only want us for our blood is a good one.
Where I part company with him is that his vampires are purely physical predators with razor sharp claws and rows of teeth like a shark. They use their strength, speed and ferocity to attack and kill humans the way an apex predator like a tiger would.
That sounds scary, but it also sounds a lot like a werewolf to me. I prefer a version of the vampire that acts less like this and more as an intelligent predator. It doesn't like to get into a physical conflict, and generally doesn't have to. Vampires have the perfect camofluage because they look like us until they open their mouthes. I think vampires should be seducors, not because they are interested in love or sex, but because we are. They use their intelligence, their appearance, and they may even have some sort of ability to fascinate a potential victim and draw them to an isolated spot where the kill can be made with a minimum of fuss.
But that doesn't detract from the show at all. Vampires won out, BTW, which is good with me. Whatever form they take (except sparkly) they are one of my favorite monsters.