Honestly, I’m still torn between admitting this one. I’ve recently fallen in love with The Vampire Diaries – it’s almost like a justifiable guilty treat (like Tim-Tams). Although, I’d watch (and recommend) this any day over many other shows out there – like House or Grey’s Anatomy. Why is Hugh Laurie still being nominated for the Globes?
In my desperation for something new to watch (Big Love and Californication only start in January) – I decided to try out The Vampire Diaries. I had tried out Haven, based on Stephen King curiously alone – and seriously sucked balls. Cheap production, bad acting and generally over-amplifying the mystery with very little follow through – I barely made it through half an episode.
I’ll admit it – I’m a vampire person. Remember when this used to be cool – maybe a little goth and scary and not all sparkly-tween? Buffy the Vampire Slayer is still my top pick for tv shows (Joss Whedon is just a genius) and I love True Blood. Remember the short-lived tv show, Kindred? Blade, Ann Rice, Bram Stoker, The Lost Boys, Vampire in Brooklyn (half-kidding), Fright Night (not kidding) – all these wonderful stories completely demolised by one Stephanie Meyer. So, when I read about the premise for The Vampire Diaries – high school, small town, vampires and wolves centred around one female character – I was extremely apprehensive. I did a little research (read: Wikipedia) on the backstory of this tv show and found out that they’re based on novels written in the 90’s. So, ok – a little street cred there. Let’s try it.
Here’s my list of pros and cons for The Vampire Diaries:
- The first few episodes need commitment. The budget was obviously lower but more importantly, the writing, directing and acting were trapped a box of stereotypes. It used effects like fog and a crow to be eerie, when really it’s just unnecessary. Somewhere along the 3rd episode, they dropped this nonsense and realised that the actor and good writing were enough to effectively portray the evilness.
- Ian Somerhalder, who plays the antagonistic brother, Damon Salvatore, over-did it on the “bad guy” acting, completely typical pauses. Now, he just opens his eyes up a lot and that’s getting kinda tiring. He’s still quite hot though. I wish they’d do a better job with hair – what’s with the centre parting and straight fringe?
- The main character, Elena Gilbert is played by Nina Dobrev and to me, she gets the job done but is nothing spectacular in this role. She’s got a pretty good opportunity (given that she’s playing multiple roles for this show) but lacks the chops to completely pull it off with a “wow”. Instead, the writing and scenes carry her through. She’s no Liz Parker (read: Roswell) – and I find her really skinny – her face is shadowed by her hair most of the time. I still don’t understand why the Salvatore brothers are obsessed with Katherine/Elena – the role is mostly responsive so it’s very hard to see the draw.
- There’s too much vampire whizzing about to create suspense.
- I love seamless blending of scenes and cliffhangers to new episodes and this one ends up being a little choppy. True Blood does this amazingly where (for most episodes), every episodes starts perfectly where the last one ended. I hate when there’s a cliffhanger scene and the next scene, the characters are talking about it. I’m like, “WTF happened during the ad break? Did they make up?”
- Lots of lingering, emo, teen stares and smiles.
- Once you get past the first few episodes, the goodness starts to come out and I literally finished 33 episodes in 3 days. By the way, each episode is about 40 mins long. I was also hungover at the time, so everything came together for me to breeze through this show.
- It’s slightly unexpected in the sense that people I don’t expect to die, do and the ones I think are dead, aren’t.
- Candice Accola, who plays Caroline completely grows into, and owns her role. She starts out as a seemingly superfluous character but blimey, she starts to kick ass and becomes fun to watch on screen. I’ve started to love her in scenes.
- There’s enough storyline to go around and keep you occupied. Although, this show does add convenient plots as additional sub layers and backgrounds – this isn’t CNN, so just roll with it.
- It gets more gory, and less teeny when it hits the second season.
- It’s so ridiculously predictable but I want Damon Salvatore to be good! And he’s consistently bad, which is great for the story line and continuity.
- The vampires are pretty basic – no special skills except for biting, strength and speed. They do have day-walker rings though, which is cheating but better than sparkling. Basic vampires are a pro. True Blood has cornered the basic vampire (biting, no sun, sleep in dirt) market though.
Basically, if you like vampire shows, give it a try. If not, don’t even bother – go watch Gossip Girl or something (what a waste of Blake Lively, she was fantastic in The Town).