TV Series Review: VAMPIRE DIARIES – Season 1 (2009)
Recently, the li’l lady and I each started sharing our individual excitement for some of the shows we both enjoy. I obviously bragged about TRUE BLOOD being probably the only TV series that truly captures the gore and awesome-ness of classic vampire myth. She rebutted by stating that THE VAMPIRE DIARIES was better. So to be able to judge each shows objectively, we both decided to watch the other’s favourite. She ended up hating TRUE BLOOD stating it was boring…(Yea! I know right?!) while the following is my thoughts on THE VAMPIRE DIARIES.
I wanted to save a lot of my social commentary about this type of vampire show for my TWILIGHT rant, so I’ll stick to VAMPIRE DIARIES merits based on this show alone.
THE VAMPIRE DIARIES focuses on the return of two warring vampire brothers to their hometown. One brother is a good vampire, played by Paul Wesley, who refrains from drinking human blood and strikes up a relationship with a local high school chick, who resembles the vampire who turned him 145 years ago. His brother on the other hand is the typical instinctual and hedonistic, not to mention charmingly hot guy vampire, (has there been any other kind in the last few years?) played by Ian Somerhalder. Some may remember this dude as Boone from LOST. For me, he shall always be Boone and nothing else. So Wesley’s character gets a girlfriend in the form of Nina Dobrev, who resembles both the brothers’ maker, with extreme closeness. Throw in a witch in the form of a best friend of the girl, plus a small town council who is aware of the existence of vampires and you have a well put together action / adventure / suspense drama. Here’s the kicker… it’s from the CW.
The network notoriously known for it’s crappy teenage soap opera shows (with the only exception of SUPERNATURAL) is the home of THE VAMPIRE DIARIES, and it shows. What kills this show really is the same reason I stopped watching SMALLVILLE 3 seasons in, the unnecessarily ridiculous emphasis on typical teenage drama and emo-bull crap. I mean I can make my peace with that kind of content when it comes to shows like GOSSIP GIRL, 90212, ONE TREE HILL, etc… however when a show centred around Vampires and constant life threatening dangers, supernatural elements and death, chooses to make a big deal about relationship problems… it just ruins the mood. One of the Executive Producers is actually named Barbie. No lie. Look it up.
Moving on: The show does have some great writing, if you choose to tune out the whiny bullshit. Both the brothers have a rivalry stemming from the origins of how they became vampires. Dobrev’s character’s uncanny resemblance to the woman both the brothers loved 145 years ago is a constant mystery that provides great suspense throughout the season. The whole, small town council consisting of descendants who founded the town, with whom the secret of vampires have been passed down from generations is really cool. What’s annoying is how much that whole Founder’s plot point is used throughout Season 1. I mean every other episode features some sort of lame and extravagant event that celebrates the anniversary of the founding of the town in one way or another, and despite everything happening in the story… all the major characters show up to party, ‘cuz… not like the town’s overrun with vampires and everyones in danger or anything… oh wait.
The performances are what is expected from actors in a teenage series from The CW. Flat, dry, overacted and basically consistently whiny. All of them. Somerhalder is the only redeeming factor as his is the only character that doesn’t give a shit about anything else going on and mocks the apparent serious-ness of someone not getting over their ex at a time when… THERE’S VAMPIRES ALL AROUND!!
Even the effect of how they transform into vampires–red eyes + veins protruding out from their eyes all over their face + fangs– is supremely lame as hell. Especially when they hiss as they do it. Why? Just… why?!
Season 1 focuses on Somerhalder’s character wanting to reunite with his lover from 145 years ago, but in doing so, he will also have to free a bunch of other pissed off vamps who the town’s founders attempted to kill. I’m completely skipping over the other sub plots that involve relationship issues, parental issues, BFF issues and so on. Somerhalder’s Damon is an awesome character. But I can totally see the writers turning him into a regular member of the Scooby Gang by having him become nicer and eventually the smart ass tough guy who actually has a heart of gold and all that crap.
THE VAMPIRE DIARIES would’ve been a great show for a younger audience for whom TRUE BLOOD might be too gory and graphic and adult. However, because of that same reason that it is geared for a younger crowd (plus women…apparently) it’s chockfull of elements that are immature, unrealistic (I’m aware I’m talking about vampires) and continuously annoying, that just really prevent me from enjoying the more, awesome story lines of the show.