Two Guys, a Girl and a TV Set

Three college friends out in the world, filling the void with television…and loving it.

Premiere Review: The Vampire Diaries

Posted by Mr. Feeny on September 13, 2009

Thank goodness for fangs, because I’m not sure I’d be able to tell this CW show from any of their other programming. Mid-season, they should just start airing The Next Beautiful Melrose Diaries of Supernatural Gossip in Smallville. It’d be a big hit.

In truth, there is a slightly different feel to The Vampire Diaries. It’s filmed a bit darker and there are voiceovers. But when it boils right down to it, this is just another show about attractive 16-25 year-olds finding love. So what could set it apart from shows of that genre is the twist.

Obviously, the twist is several of the would-be lovers are blood-suckers. One seems to be a reformed vampire while his brother seems like a downright baddie. They both are pursuing a high school girl, who’s about as typical as you can get for these shows.

So it seems like this show would be a flop. Same old, same old. But in fact, I kind of liked it. The characters and acting were somewhat interesting, while the plot offers enough twists to keep my engaged. Such as a ring that allows Stefan (the good vamp) to go into the sunlight [Buffy/Angel viewers might remember a similar ring, which Spike wanted and Angel destroyed). Or what the connection is between Stefan (Paul Wesley) and Elena (Nina Dobrev), that could go back generations.

The best part of the show figures to be evil brother Damon, played by Ian Somerhalder (Boone from LOST). He has just enough charisma to be a very likable bad guy. The type of vampire who plays with his food. We only got to see him for a limited time in the premiere, but he’s one of the three main characters, as he fights his brother for Elena.

Another series on vampires initially seemed tired to me. But then again, how many shows on doctors, cops and lawyers have there been? Why not vamps? If it’s well-written enough, I might buy into it. I definitely prefer the light-heartedness of Buffy. Every shot seems as dark as Twilight. But the writing isn’t  as overdone or macabre. It’s still very much a soap opera, which turns me off. And the “good vampire” Stefan is in the Angel/David Boreanaz brooding mold. But what will keep me coming back is the mystery and drama. Why is one brother good, one evil? Why does Stephan want Elena so much? What other mysterious things will happen in this town, since Elena’s friend is showing psychic powers. It’s worth watching again, but it’s certainly not a huge hit…not yet at least.

Grade: C+ (edited down upon further review)


8 Responses to “Premiere Review: The Vampire Diaries”

  1. CJ Cregg said

    Interesting. I may actually give this one a shot.

  2. Blu said

    I wonder how long it will be before there is a vampire backlash and America gets all vampired out.

  3. Malcolm said

    I think giving this show a B is really generous. Everything about this show feels like it’s a year behind (especially the soundtrack). The aesthetic is taken directly from Twilight. I know these books (the source material) pre-date both Twilight and True Blood, but with Vampire shows like Buffy doing a huge job of paving the way, it’s hard to give any credit to a show in which characters are so superficially profound. I think as this show goes on, it will slip even further into teenage romance cliches…

    Plus the performances sucked (with the exception of Ian Somerhalder who seems like the one legit actor in the entire cast).

    • Mr. Feeny said

      Good point. The more I think about it, the more I want to amend my grade. It’s probably more of a C+. I think I’m easily suckered in by intrigue initially. But I’m pretty sure, like you, that this will get less watchable every week. And one actor can’t save it.

  4. CJ Cregg said

    I finally got around to watching this. It was pretty bad. The voiceovers were insufferable. Like the teaser “I am a vampire and this is my story.” GIVE ME A BREAK.

    The acting is bad, the writing is pretty terrible. The music feels dated. In the scene with the teacher, it seems like the show is trying to be clever and self aware (like Joss Whedon is so often with Buffy), but it fails epically.

    The show itself is pretty boring. Mr. Feeny warned me that it doesn’t get exciting until halfway through. (SPOILER ALERT.) He’s right. The show is absolutely boring until Ian Somerhalder comes in.

    Elena does have a pretty smile, and Stefan is a good looking guy.

    But the show does not have enough going for it to keep me watching. If I had unlimited hours in my day, maybe I would keep watching. But I don’t. So I won’t. I suspect both Malcolm and Mr. Feeny are right too that it is going to get more cliche and less watchable as the season progresses.

    I’ll give it a C+.

  5. […] filled with reruns of Melrose Place, another show with pretty dismal ratings.  So far only the Vampire Diaries is building a CW audience.  Which show will be the next to go?  My money’s on Accidentally […]

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