June 14, 2010


Summer time is usually slow when it comes to TV watching since the networks are on hiatus until the fall season starts up again, so this is when I try to catch up on shows that I missed the first time around.

First on my list was the CW's break out hit, The Vampire Diaries. It's hard not to make comparisons between VD and its predecessors, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel; the similarities are too great. While structurally The Vampire Diaries mimics the former WB hits, the first season was able to establish itself as a pretty entertaining bit of supernatural storytelling in its own right.

The three main characters; Elena, Stefan, and Damon are cast from similar molds like other protagonists from vampire based stories (ex. Buffy, Angel, Spike, Bella, and Edward), but they do have enough of their own personalities to distinguish themselves (with the exception of Stefan who is a smaller version of Angel) which helps make Diaries somewhat original.

Out of the three, Elena is the character that doesn't follow in the foosteps set forth for other heroines of recent vampire fiction. While Buffy and Sookie have extraordinary powers that bring something to the table, Elena only has her ability to be nosy and run away from her so-called boyfriend. Speaking of her boyfriend, apparently Stefan Salvatore graduated from the Angel School for Brooding Vampires because he's almost a carbon copy of the David Boareanaz character. They even have the same hairstylist! Too bad Dark Stefan cannot keep up with Angelus because that would have made him somewhat interesting.

The one character that outshines his competition was Damon Salvatore portrayed by Ian Somerhalder. Whereas Spike came off cartoonish initially (haven't watched enough True Blood to have an opinion on Eric), Damon was a pretty complex character from the get go. Sure, he's the bad guy, but as the season continued we got a better understanding of his motivations and who he was as a person both living and dead. I'm usually not a fan of the bad boys, but I can understand why people are on Team Damon.

I've out grown the CW/WB brand of teen drama, so I wasn't a huge fan of the initial episodes, but once it became clear that The Vampire Diaries was more than just a teen soap, I became intrigued. Kevin Williamson & Co. were able to create a world that successfully combined history, the supernatural, and complex relationships. Sure, the love triangle stuff was still kind of annoying, but the deeper mythology of Mystic Falls and the Founding Families made up for the melodrama created by Elena, Stefan, and Damon.

Overall, I enjoyed the first season of The Vampire Diaries, and I'm tempted to add the series to my regular TV-watching schedule next year. If I decide to add VD to the rotation, that will make for a busy Thursday night considering it's going up against The Big Bang Theory, Community, and Bones. It's almost as bad as Monday night's.

Other shows I'm catching up on: Supernatural & Burn Notice.


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