1 Because of course this has never been addressed in TV show about vampires before. Does this guy even own a television?
And yet. I watched episodes 1-22 in less than three days. I couldn’t even stop to leave the couch, and hence ate the only food in arms’ reach which happened to be a friend’s pile of Easter chocolate (thankfully this was large enough to sustain me for a couple of days). I attribute The Vampire Diaries’ addictive nature to two things, in my case – its predictability, and its male actors.
In addressing predictability, the show is so plot-driven it may as well not even have characters, and the cliff-hangers are so shameless that Jayde (fellow vamp-fan and owner of aforementioned chocolate) and I paused after each episode to list what we thought would happen next, i.e. who would hook up, who would die, and who would kill them. We were right in every case! This not only gave us a warm bubbly sense of satisfaction, but confirmed our status as vampire-experts. ‘Ohh,’ we could sniff to one another, ‘please. As if that conversation wasn’t taken directly from Buffy Season 2 Episode 19 where Buffy and Angel have that conversation while they’re under the spell of the dead flute player.’ (Okay, so maybe it confirmed our nerd-status too). Not mention the dark-haired-brooding-journaling thing that the boy vamps have going on, a common theme from Buffy to True Blood to Twilight. The True Blood rip-off goes deeper, as the hot white girl has a hot black best friend, and just like Sookie Stackhouse, Elena’s BFF Bonnie can read minds. Twilight’s not far off either as Stefan, in true Edward Cullen style, repeatedly keeps his distance from, and returns to, Elena (who, of course, is begging to be made a vamp herself so they can spend eternity together ‘cause she like, loves him sooo much). Of course it’s here we state that Buffy Summers is the most intelligent girlfriend of a vampire ever as she never valued her relationship with Angel so much she wanted to be a vampire. But I digress. The first reason I loved The Vampire Diaries was because it’s great that such mindless and easy viewing can make me feel so high-brow and informed and literature-savvy. (YES, Buffy the Vampire Slayer is high-brow and counts as literature, that is not a discussion for right now.)
While VD adds nothing new to the vampire genre and in fact just does a bad job of reworking the old, there are a couple of notable elements. There’s some minor character development in Damon who goes from annoying-evil-guy to conflicted-evil-guy-that-everyone-has-a-soft-spot-for (again, following the trend of Spike from Buffy). Also, it was cool in the final episode of Season 1, when who we thought was Elena was actually the villainess Katherine, and she turned around and chopped Uncle John’s fingers off. Season Two comes out this fall, northern-hemisphere-wise. I’ll be freezing my butt off in Edinburgh by then and watching the next instalment of good-looking predictability on the advance DVDs Jayde sends me from Jakarta and ignoring the Indonesian subtitles. Can’t wait to see if all my predictions come true.
1 Hughes, Sarah (February 5, 2010). "The Vampire Diaries - Fresh blood for teenage vampire lovers". The Independent. http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/tv/features/the-vampire-diaries--fresh-blood-for-teenage-vampire-lovers-1889840.html. Retrieved February 5, 2010.