Just as it was appropriate that my first substantial entry was about a family movie like Aliens in the Attic, it’s ironic that my second entry is about The Vampire Diaries. There are a brother and sister in the series, but I definitely don’t ship them. In fact, although I hardly ever ship slash, the relationship between the two brothers on the show is far more “compelling” (yes, pun intended for those in on the joke). But I am far more interested in promoting the show in general, so my entry on it doesn’t even really belong here.
I would argue that The Vampire Diaries – VD to me, or TVD to people who would snicker at calling it VD – is one of the best shows on TV right now. And it’s on the CW – who’d have thought? (That’s the WB to those of you who aren’t very observant or suffer from shortish-term memory loss).
For those of you who don’t know what it’s about and can’t guess from the title, I’ll summarize here:
The lovely Elena (sweet girl, a little whiny) and her brother, Jeremy (get me an ice pick, I want to drive it into his eye!)
– both in highschool – have recently lost both of their parents and live with their (very) young aunt Jenna (not so lucky in love)
in the old town of Mystic Falls, a well-named place tied to the supernatural and its history. Elena has two friends: Bonnie (a witch in the making)
and Caroline (a bitch, already well-cooked),
and an ex-boyfriend Matt (too perfect to be real).
Stefan Salvatore arrives on scene, a new student at the school, though he looks a decade too old to be there (unlike Auntie Jenna, who could be a sophomore on a good day). I don’t want to spoil it for you, but he’s avampire, and he and Elena “like like” each other. Stefan is followed by his brother Damon, who, of course, is also a vampire. Stephan is a nice vampire, and Damon is a smokin’-hot not so nice vampire. This is essentially your cast, though there are many others of interest (and some of no interest) who come and go, among them the mayor’s son, also Matt’s friend Tyler, who is in the middle of a delightful plot twist straddling the summer;
Matt’s sister, the unfortunate Vicki; their mother – pretty, and pretty slutty; Caroline’s mother, the sheriff, who belongs to a council of knowledgeable founding families; and Katherine, another vampire, devious, and a dead-ringer for Elena (pun again fully and proudly intended).
If you want to know more, such as whether or not there be a classic vampire love triangle (see Buffy the Vampire Slayer and True Blood),
who turned Stefan and Damon, how old they are, why in Hell’s name Stefan would go to high school, why most vampires like to hang out with teenagers (RE: Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Twilight) and what Damon looks like shirtless, you’ll just have to watch the show (or do some simple internet research. This shouldn’t be hard for you, as you already seem to be able to use the internet). Note: the high-school/teenager question has not currently been answered.
Now, why do I recommend it? Well, for one thing, the team behind the show put out 22 solid episodes. Most shows that have a 22 episode season have a lot of filler episodes, but VD doesn’t (you laughed, didn’t you?). The plot moves very quickly, almost every episode leaves you with burning questions, but these questions are answered rather quickly (it’s not like Lost!). Most episodes have at least one twist and many have cliffhanger endings that leave you dying for the next one (a la True Blood). The mythology is original, full of surprises, and constantly being developed and elaborated upon. In short, Status Quo is not God. The season finale was killer, and I think almost everyone who watched it agrees. It was a cliffhanger in the best way…well, it was more like 10 cliffhangers. Lots of OMGs.
Also, don’t be thrown off by the name. If you’re like me, and hate narration such as we find/have found with Grey’s Anatomy, Scrubs, Felicity, and Roswell, do not fear! Elena stupidly maintains a diary, but we are not forced to listen to it (much).
Next, we have an extremely complex, (also foxy) character in Damon. Not only is he interesting, he’s also our resident snarker (his takes on Jeremy are particularly amusing). Caroline, out of the loop on vampires and witches and whatnot, is probably the second most complex character. You can’t like her, you can’t hate her. Between them (and even with each other) they form a lot of diverse relationships. Of particular interest is the one between Stefan and Damon. Who wronged who is a question that is still being unraveled. Why won’t Damon leave Stefan in peace? Why does Stefan do everything to save Damon when Damon is dangerous (and often irksome?) Can they share the woman they love?…wait for it….wait for it…again?!
Like I said, I don’t “ship” them, exactly, but there is something pretty sexy about the way they share the ladies, and love/hate each other. And I know I’m not the first to say that Stefan is only appealing/interesting when he’s interacting with Damon. Like Sam and Dean of Supernatural (that’s a post for another day) , I like to thing of the two brothers as strongly united, destined to spend their lives together, and loving each before and above all others. It’s pretty rare to see a vampire carrying their family along for the ride.
And, finally, the show does have its dark side. Despite our main vampire Stefan’s protestations that he is not a killer, there is plenty of blood and snapping necks (stuff I enjoy). Characters do die and stay dead, others die and come back. Damon flirts with being truly evil but is not yet irredeemable in my opinion; his moral event horizon seems to be light years past everyone else’s. It doesn’t push the envelope the way True Blood does (I’m thinking of a certain neck-snapping that did NOT turn me on), but for a network TV vampire show, it’s good stuff.