Best Show You’re Not Watching: The Vampire Diaries

Movies and Television

The Vampire Diaries is back with a new episode this week and for those not acquainted, let me introduce you to what you’re missing.

  • What you may think it is: Cliché-ridden teen soap, cashing in on the current vampire craze.
  • What it really is: “Teen” drama with vampires, angst and pretty, sexy people. Done to the schizz, plots, acting and pacing hitting on all cylinders.
  • What it definitely isn’t: fucking Twilight. Thank God.

The Vampire Diaries would be a flop on other networks, but on the CW it’s a star and really, it hits several top demographic G-spots.

Cast of The Vampire Diaries. © The CW Network

Tween and teenage girls, mostly white and well monied. Women, 18-34 also of the credit-card wielding variety. The consumers that advertisers puddle over, as some like Ford have already gotten their product placing mitts all over it. Anyways..

What a Tangled Web of Kick Ass

Plots are all over the damn place in a good way, veering like “a trained drunk driver” in Season 1. Season 2 is even more involved.

There are vampires, witches, werewolves, elder vamps and humans, all living and dying and screwing when not trying to kill each other. There is a high school element, but it’s merely a backdrop. The town Mystic Falls lives up to its name, making all these elements work together as the Mecca for east coast supernatural and fantasy that’s oddly realistic.

All of THAT is the stage for the characters, which is what the show is really about: the people and their relationships. Brothers, sisters, friends and various secondary love stories that encircle The Triangle. It all works; I can ship almost any couple on this show, which is surprising.

The exposition is sharp but not obtrusive, the obvious left to off screen and yet, you’re not bitching about what you missed. Action is fast (see below), keeping interests at a high. If there was a Dun. Dun. Dun for the soundtrack, it would break.

Pretty, talented people. Who knew?

Candice Accola as Caroline © 2010 The CW, The Vampire Diaries

Major props to the casting department. Ian Somerhalder, whom I’ve known as poor man’s Wes Bentley (Smallville) and Boone (LOST) was the hotness that first caught my eye. Everyone else was a nobody to me, but egads can they bring it.

  • The Triangle. Nina Dobrev. Elena, Katherine the vampire, Katherine the human, vampire Katherine pretending to be human Elena, Dobrev delivers a nuanced performance. Paul Wesley is solid as the emotive Stefan. Somerhalder is good as the bad brother Damon, one sexy beast.
  • Supporting cast just shines. The hotties who play Matt, Tyler, Jeremy are more than their looks. Matt Davis as vampire hunter Alaric has been great, though underused thus far in S2. Katerina Graham can go into a bit of robot mode, but when Bonnie gets an actual story, the acting improves. Even bit players like Caroline’s Sheriff mom or hottie werewolf Mason are fun to watch.
  • Other than Dobrev, the breakout star and character has to be Candice Accola as newbie vamp Caroline. Fucking awesome, and good decision to turn her. She has brought this season to a whole other level all on her own.

Pedal to the Metal

Like S1 Heroes but faster, one build and reveal on top of the next, The Vampire Diaries knows where the gas pedal is and ain’t afraid to use it. Pacing makes this show rock. Shit happens. Really, not like in a season but in Every. Damn. Episode.

No plodding laboriously, no lumbering aimlessly, no wasting time going no fucking where then forcing a contrived bullshit without continuity of prior seasons (insert name [shitty show] here).

Example: “I know something you don’t know,” said Mason to the Sheriff. Other shows, the reveal would take 2 seasons. On TVD it took.. 1. 2. 3 beats and Whamo! he told her about the vampires right under her nose. Next act out, she was on it. Fucking awesomesauce.

It doesn’t have quite the witty dialogue and humor or depth as Buffy the Vampire Slayer and other Whedonesque fare, but TVD more than makes up for that with intricately developed plots, impressive acting and breathless pace.

The Vampire Diaries is one of those shows that you should be watching. And the Season 1 DVDs would make an excellent gift for the holidays.

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