“Twilight” may get all the headlines (“New Moon” Crosses $200 Mil Mark!” “Kristen Stewart: ‘I’m So Not Bella!’”).
But “The Vampire Diaries,” also a tale of the deadly undead, has quietly built a loyal following, first as a series of young-adult novels and now as a CW TV series.
The two may seem the same — both are high-school-set dramas about a young mortal girl in love with a brooding vampire guy — but “The Vampire Diaries” is no “Twilight” wannabe.
With the first 10 episodes of “Diaries” as evidence (all week, the CW is marathoning the season so far on Ch. 11, vamping until the show returns next month), here are five reasons it’s better than “Twilight”:
LOVE BITE: Nina Dobrev (left) and Kayla Ewell, from the breakout “Vampire Diaries,” are more fun than those mopey kids from “Twilight.”
1.) Believe it or not, “The Vampire Diaries” came first.
The “Vampire Diaries” book series, by L. J. Smith, started in 1991 — that’s 14 years ahead of Stephenie Meyer’s first “Twilight” book, in 2005.
The series went out of print until 2007, when creator Alloy Entertainment — the company that gave us the “Gossip Girl” book and TV series — worked on a reissue and shopped around a TV version.
“We certainly saw the success of the ‘Twilight’ books and felt that there was an opportunity,” Alloy Entertainment president Les Morgenstein told The Post.
2.) The Vampire Diaries is bloody, gory and full of killing.
In other words, it’s a more traditional vampire horror tale than “Twilight,” which is heavy on romance, light on murder.
And while they all look like models in both series, the ones on “Diaries” sometimes get dirty.
“The vampires, while pretty, are still sort of vicious,” explained Lindsay Soll, editor of MTV’s Hollywood Crush blog. “When they’re hungry and about to feed, their fangs come out — they don’t even have fangs in ‘Twilight’ — and their veins stick out. They’re not afraid to make pretty people ugly.”
They’re also not afraid to make pretty people die.
There’s already a sizable body count and, now that the people of Mystic Falls, Va., are gathering their stakes and fighting back, Morgenstein promised, “There will be more killings.”
3.) These sexy vampires actually have sex!
In “Twilight,” Bella and Edward lust after each other and yet miraculously manage to avoid having sex. Written by a Mormon, “Twilight” has long been considered an abstinence fantasy.
Not so “Vampire Diaries,” which has no falsely neutered innocence.
“We’re not pulling any punches,” said Morgenstein.
4.) Elena is an independent young woman.
Perhaps “Twilight” is so popular because Bella is a blank slate, an everywoman on which young girls can project fantasies of themselves.
But Elena, of “Diaries,” sets an example for young girls as a strong-minded woman.
“She doesn’t let her attraction to Stefan completely control her, whereas Bella is totally blinded by her passion,” Soll said.
“When Bella finds out that Edward’s a vampire, she acts like she’s just learned he went to the dentist — as if it’s no big deal.” “She gives herself over to Edward, while Elena questions it all, like most people would.”
5.) Had it with the Twi-hype? “The Vampire Diaries” is the underdog.
And who doesn’t love rooting for an underdog?
Evidently it’s a vampire’s world right now — but we get to choose which of many vampire tales to watch. (HBO’s “True Blood” will return next June, by the way.).
And since “Twilight” didn’t invent vampires, how about giving Bella and Edward’s vacant, lovestruck gaze a rest, and resting your eyes on “The Vampire Diaries.”