Title: The Vampire Diaries
Starring: Ian Somerhalder, Paul Wesley, Elena Gilbert, Candice Accola
Directors: Marcos Siega, J. Miller Tobin, Kevin Bray plus others
Duration: 41 minutes x 22 episodes
Released: 23rd August 2010
Stefan Salvatore (Paul Wesley) is a vampire. Stefan is your basic Angel-style vampire, tortured soul, brooding and moping about the place the whole time. He’s high-school-jock-handsome and good with the ladies, but in vampire terms he’s a bit boring. He’s a wussy vampire that doesn’t kill people… the kinda guy that gives vampires a bad name in my opinion.
Damon Salvatore (Ian Somerhalder – Boon from LOST) is Stefan’s brother. Fortunately for the audience Damon is a blood-sucking vampire. He kills and drinks the blood of humans… thank goodness… it’d all be terribly boring otherwise. He’s kick-ass tough and has the upper hand physically over his brother, because he likes to spill the red stuff from young girl’s necks, which means he’s not all pasty and weak like Stefan.
They haven’t seen each other for about ten years but when Stefan decides to return to their hometown Damon isn’t far behind. Elena Gilbert (Nina Dobrev) is just another high-school beauty queen until the day Stefan arrives and she becomes caught up in a love triangle (wouldn’t you have guessed it?) with Stefan and Damon.
Of course Stefan and Damon have special vampire powers such as super-strength and the ability to morph into a crow. They also appear to carry around their own personal dry ice machines. Well either that or vampires can conjure up spooky fog whenever they want. That’s new for vampires I think, but pretty effective. So do they burn up in the daylight like all good vampires should? Well Stefan couldn’t go to school if they did could he? So does he black out his car windows and wear a big coat, a hat and 50 factor sunblock? No, apparently these vampires can go out in the daylight so long as they wear a magic ring! A magic ring…. that sounds a bit suspect to me, but I suppose as vampires don’t need jobs they all spend their spare time looking for magic amulets and rings so that they can be day-walkers, so it was only a matter of time before one of them found a way to go outside in the daylight.
To be honest this show starts out weakly for the first four or five episodes. It’s bland and uninspired. Elena is not a very rounded character and Caroline (Candice Accola), the dizzy, insecure, blonde that’s on the prowl for men is the only one that feels exciting.
So Vampire Diaries begins by following a basic template. It’s certainly not up to the level of Buffy The Vampire Slayer which started out really strongly and got into its stride from the very first episodes and rarely went off track right up until its conclusion. Sure Vampire Dairies is not really anything like Buffy but anything with Vampires in it is always going to have to concede to allowing its viewers to compare it to Buffy. That said if you stick with The Vampire Diaries – and I suggest that you do – the later episodes really start to find a decent groove. There are certainly some unexpected storylines and some exciting moments.
It has to be said that Ian Somerhalder does hold this series together without his presence the series would be a lot more forgettable. Paul Wesley’s performance is creditable but it is not anywhere near the level of David Boreanaz or James Marsters in Buffy. Somerhalder is the Spike character of this show. There is a reason why James Marsters appeared in 97 of the 145 episodes of Buffy. Unlike Boreanaz who appeared in the pilot episode (and just 56 other episodes), Marsters’ character of Spike wasn’t introduced until the second season, when he was supposed to be killed off after only one or two episodes, but after fans reacted well to him he became a regular in season four and remained a cast and fan favourite until the series’ finale.
As for other vampire shows that are about at the moment I think this is maybe just a little weaker than True Blood but better than Twilight.
But perhaps that’s to be expected, after all The Vampire Diaries comes from the mind of writer/producer Kevin Williamson who was behind the like of Dawson's Creek – a bit sappy for someone who is now writing about vampires, don’t you think? But Williamson shows his worth in the later episodes of the season as I mentioned.
So what is going to happen? What will come of the love triangle between the two brothers and Elena? What will Caroline get up to? Will she win over either of the brothers? Or will she be turned into a vampire as well? I could see her as a Darla or a Drusilla.
Whatever happens I can see this series doing well, especially with mid-to-older-teens. I think as I’m in my thirties now that this might be a little young for me, but it does have moments when it really impresses. It’ll easily make it into a second and no doubt third and fourth series. Whether it’ll have true lasting appeal we will have to wait to see. There are many, many shows that fall after the first or second season nowadays. The Vampire Diaries seems like it’ll have just enough to keep it going though.