After eight seasons and a whopping 171 episodes, The Vampire Diaries has witnessed many a new character come and go. The L.J. Smith supernatural teen book series was loosely adapted into the beloved CW show nearly two decades after it was written, bringing Smith's work to a modern setting and staunch fan following in a way that The Secret Circle just couldn't. Much of that is due to the characters that were included in the show. While many of the show's best characters weren't even in the books, fans enjoy both mediums,and have their beloved and despised lists of characters.
As often occurs with villains, some of the most hated characters did help save the show, enabling it to continue through so many episodes when it might otherwise sink into stagnation. While we can all cite favorites from the first season, from Elena to Bonnie to Damon, there's something to be said about those who entered later and still managed to fuel fan fever. There are also plenty of characters added later we were happy to see go. Characters who hurt the show often did so from underuse or sheer a boredom factor rather than their acting or the ethics of their characters.
While The Vampire Diaries has come to an end and we all dream of a day when the Night World series gets its day on the CW, we can still look back on one of the network's most popular shows and consider these 10 New Character Additions That Hurt The Vampire Diaries (And 10 That Saved It).
20 Hurt: Julian
Todd Lasance's Julian is the absolute worst. His evil isn't the kind we can overlook because it's so charming evil. It's not even the "dark-hearted but now redeemed" sort of evil that the most beloved baddies on the show exhibit. No, this is a guy who offs babies and masses of people (on Christmas, no less) and never seems to learn from his mistakes.
Some vampires just aren't that likable.
Maybe getting turned in the 1500s does that to a person, but plenty of other vamps seem to adapt okay. Then again, they weren't trapped in a stone. We get that he's upset over Lily but we're also quite grateful once Stefan stakes the guy.
19 Saved: Hayley Marshall
Though the young werewolf Hayley got off on the wrong foot with The Vampire Diaries fans when she first tried to wiggle her way between Caroline and Tyler in season 4, she had a huge impact on the franchise as a whole. Phoebe Tonkin played the role with a perfect mix of mischief and menace, standing out from TVD's cast to the point that she got a leading role of her own.
Her encounter with Klaus led them both to their five-season run on The Originals spinoff, as well as TVD's second spinoff, Legacies, which focuses on their daughter, Hope. By adding some fire to season 4 and broadening the scope of TVD's universe, she undoubtedly helped the show.
18 Hurt: Qetsiyah
Qetsiyah is such a cool and powerful witch, which makes it so painful to say that she hurt the show. At the end of the day, Qetsiyah, played by Janina Gavankar, is just another jealous woman with a heart bent on revenge.
She's a pretty selfish character who does some pretty stupid things, liking making that immortality spell.
The witch also sent her ex to a homemade purgatory to rot. Sure, he betrayed her, but she should be able to move on and find someone better. She's the kind of witch we wish could have been explored in different ways and given a better character arc, but instead she hurt the show as another scorned woman trope.
17 Saved: Nora Hildegard And Mary-Louise
They were the only lesbian couple on a show that desperately needed some LGBTQ representation. Nora and Mary-Louise are so open about their love despite the persecution that they face and we admire them for it every step of the way. The two had a rough time even up until the end, when they had to take themselves out together to stop Rayna destroying vampires, using their exit to siphon the magic out of the Phoenix Sword.
We'll never forget their candy ring or how much they loved one another. They even had some of the best lines from season seven ("You wore that dress to Queen Victoria's funeral! It's stunning!"). If anyone in TVD deserved true happiness together, it was Nora and Mary-Louise.
16 Hurt: April Young
April Young, played by Grace Phipps, was one of those characters who was just too annoying to like. This largely stemmed from her repeated freak-outs.
Her repetitive "OMG vampires are real" reactions were just unnecessary and cumbersome.
Of course we also don't like the fact that April helped Rebekah set that trap, but we can at least empathize with her there, since she wasn't exactly treated warmly by anyone else. Every time April was made to forget the supernatural discoveries she made, she'd learn about them all again anyway and we'd have to watch her flip out again over the news. That's just not good storytelling.
15 Saved: Mikael
Mikael is a very complicated man. The Viking is the father of the original vampires and also a vampire hunter. He's played by Sebastian Roche, who has had roles in so many other supernatural worlds, from Once Upon a Time to Supernatural. Losing his daughter Freya made Mikael a stricter, less likable character. He even beat his own kids before opting to hunt them down and off them.
In his jealousy over Esther's affair with Ansel and his rage over Klaus being Ansel's son as well as a werewolf, Mikael started the inter-species war that gave us so many juicy episodes. Mikael is the reason we have The Originals as well as all of that werewolf-vampire conflict.
14 Hurt: Aaron Whitmore
While not every character can be compelling, there's really not enough room in TV for boring characters. With commercials, there's less than an hour to present the story and captivate the audience, so every line of dialogue and character counts. That's why Aaron Whitmore, played by Shaun Sipos, ultimately hurt The Vampire Diaries. While Aaron obviously had a good heart and chose doing what was right over the only person he had left in his family, he also never really landed a story line that had much impact.
He's not memorable.
That's a sad reality for many good guys without a lot of dimension. The show would have been just fine without Aaron's screen time.
13 Saved: Kai Parker
Malachai Parker completely owns the fact that he is not a good person and the fandom loves him for it. He's pure evil, but the fact that he's a sociopath born from a family who hated him and treated him poorly gives us a little bit of empathy for the dark-hearted guy. Once he broke out of his prison, he went after his family, opting to take out his siblings and absorbing all of Luke's magic for himself, which sort of backfired given that it made him a more compassionate person.
That business with Elena's coffin and his revenge on the Gemini coven made him irredeemable, though. Every story needs a good villain we love to hate, and Kai Parker gave The Vampire Diaries just that.
12 Hurt: Rose
On The Vampire Diaries, Rose-Marie had a fling with Damon, only to later get by bitten werewolf and then mercy-staked by Damon.
Her only role in the show was to make Damon more sympathetic to the viewers and Elena.
Her final moments were used to prop Damon up. Rose even got to play the tragic ex as a ghost when she helped Damon and Elena. She came back just to support their relationship, which is adding an insult to her injury. Her character deserved better, especially because later characters survived the same fate through the narrative convenience of Klaus Mikaelson's blood.
11 Saved: Esther
Without Esther, who created the original vampires, we'd have no stories at all. One of the most powerful witches who has ever lived, Esther was an incredible matriarch who cared much more about love and her family than she did about magic and the supernatural, but that wasn't what life held for her.
Sure, she tried to off everybody and make them mortal, but her complicated story and multiple resurrections made her one of the most interesting characters on the show. She gave up her final life to be with her sister Dahlia, even after their long, rocky history.
10 Hurt: Lily Salvatore
Lily Salvatore is so clueless about what's happening around her that she makes us cringe. While she abandoned her family to protect them from her vampirism, she became a Ripper in the process, which pretty much defeats the whole purpose. She does the exact same thing again when she decides to resurrect Julian, only to betray him later when she finds out that he's not the person she thought he was. Then she offs herself and the entire thing is just pointless.
Lily can't truly ever pick a side.
She is responsible for countless lost lies. In the end, Lily was an antagonist who made very little sense.
9 Saved: Pearl Zhu
Pearl Zhu was one of the best red herrings of late season one. Like Dr. Fell and several other characters, she appeared to be a major antagonist, but all she truly wanted was to be reunited with her daughter, Anna. Their relationship was what Nadia and her mother's could have been. Pearl unfortunately was still staked by John Gilbert, the human who had betrayed her to begin with and caused her original entombment, giving her one of the most tragic stories in Mystic Falls.
Though Anna and Pear were emotionally reunited in the "Ghost World" episode, they brought some diversity to the show and it would have been great to see more of them.
8 Hurt: Rayna Cruz
Doesn't Leslie-Anne Huff just look more like a vampire than a vampire hunter in the first place? She could have had better possibilities on the show as anyone other than Rayna Cruz, crazed vampire hunter who will do anything to take out her prey, including destroying anyone who gets in her way.
What is it with vampire hunters who are just as bad as vampires themselves?
That's the problem with characters like Rayna: if they were more empathetic, they'd help add nuance to the show. Why not use a more ethical vampire hunter instead? Then there's the fact that she secretly gave our beloved Bonnie the Huntress title, which is just unforgivable.
7 Saved: Enzo
Enzo came out of nowhere to become one of the best Vampire Diaries villains of all time, taking the ever-popular role of the anti-hero and making us guess at his next move constantly. We discovered that every time he came after one of our heroes, it was all for love; in retaliation for a friend wronged or in alliance with a lover. Despite all of his flirting with Caroline and jealousy toward Stefan, eventually Enzo fell for Bonnie, which was one of the most beautiful relationships in the show's run.
Even though Stefan took him out, we do get to see him remain with Bonnie in her own dimension, giving us hope for the couple.
6 Hurt: Dr. Maxfield
Another villain who just didn't have the juice to be as memorable or formidable as our favorites, Dr. Maxfield just didn't make sense. It's one thing to envision yourself as a heroic doctor bent on saving the world from vampires, eradicating them personally, but it's quite another to just be a giant jerk.
It was very difficult to empathize with his character.
His humiliation of Elena and Caroline in his class was also pretty awful, even if they were sneaking in as freshmen. From his nefarious experimentation on vampires to forcibly transforming Jesse to his standard arrogance, he's a character who hurt the show.
5 Saved: Rebekah Mikaelson
Claire Holt's Rebekah Mikaelson is one of the many characters who made The Vampire Diaries pop. Not a vampire by choice, the second daughter of Mikael and Esther is terribly flawed and funny. Rebekah was so popular that her three-episode arc turned into not only a recurring presence on TVD but a main role in The Originals spinoff.
She might only want to be a normal human girl but she sure isn't above using her vampire abilities to chase after that dream. Her brother Klaus tormented her horribly for her efforts but Rebekah always gave as good as she got, dragging fans back in for more with every episode.
4 Hurt: Nadia Petrova
Using Elena's body as a vehicle for her mother is just one of the things that makes Nadia Petrova such an unlikable character.
Who spends 500 years searching for their mother?
Yes, it shows dedication and love for a person you've never met, but it's also a little insane. 500 years is different for vampires, but after so long, one might say that enough is enough. Nadia's story with her mother could have been a sweet one if it hadn't had nefarious ulterior motives and been filled with so much violence and deception. It could be argued that had Katherine been allowed to keep Nadia, things would have been very different, too.
3 Saved: Klaus Mikaelson
How scary is Joseph Morgan as Klaus Mikaelson? He is one of the best villains to ever grace Mystic Falls, more destructive and capable of anything than any other villain we'd seen in the The Vampire Diaries up to his arrival. Like every good bad guy, Klaus has a reason to be hostile: he's been damaged by years of abuse inflicted by Mikael. Every fantasy needs a villain like Klaus, whom we can fear yet are unable to look away from.
Klaus was such a stand-out character that he was given his own show-- The Originals, which ran for 5 seasons-- and his daughter is the star of the newest TVD spinoff, Legacies.
2 Hurt: Dr. Fell
Dr. Meredith Fell is one of many characters who just didn't live up to their promise. Played by Torrey DeVito, the doctor proved herself a pretty tough woman but found herself as the scapegoat for all of the terrible happenings in Mystic Falls. Her connection to Alaric could have gotten very interesting had it not ended when he became the Darkness.
She should have been one of the good guys instead of a suspect over and over again.
While we're happy that she found happiness with some pediatrician in Alaska after moving away, the doctor's potential was never fully explored in the show.
1 Saved: Elijah Mikaelson
Elijah is another member of the Mikaelson family who made the series such a pleasure to watch. He's the epitome of the sophisticated, cold vampire. He appears refined no matter what he's doing, no matter how violent the act. Elijah manages to be one of the most powerful vampires alive without being a glory hound about it. He doesn't need to: his presence is powerful enough. We also love how he ventured into the anti-hero gray area. Isn't that where the best vampires should be?
Daniel Gillies is every bit the modern vampire in The Vampire Diaries, which is why his character, Elijah, helped to save the show.
Who's your favorite newer character in The Vampire Diaries? Let us know in the comments!