Friday, September 11, 2009

The Vampire Diaries-- Timing is Everything

Whether it's Buffy or Bella, young girls seem to like the combination of teenage angst and vampires-- though I've known many a soccer mom with a copy of "Twilight" in her purse. So it's not shocking that the CW has it's own high school vampire story in The Vampire Diaries, which premiered Thursday night. These days paranormal entertainment seems to be all-vampires-all-the-time. Some of it is gritty and adult, like True Blood, some is full of youthful snark like Buffy the Vampire Slayer; though the newest breed, best exemplified by Twilight, plays heavily on the romantic angle. Initially I was under the impression that "The Vampire Diaries" was a blatant riff on "Twilight" trying to cash in on the newest vampire craze, but it turns out, "Diaries" started out at a a series of books that predates "Twilight" by several years, but ends up suffering by coming second to "Twilight" in hitting the public consciousness. "The Vampire Diaries" is the story of Elena Gilbert (Nina Dobrev), a beautiful high school student who catches the attention of brothers Stefan and Damon Salvatore (Paul Wesley and Ian Somerhalder) who happen to be vampires. Stephan comes back to the small town of Mystic Falls to be closer to Elena, who is a ringer for a woman he used to love, and Damon follows Stefan with the sole purpose of tormenting his brother. Like a lot of good-vampire vs. bad-vampire stories Stephan is the suffering blood sucker who refuses human blood while Damon has no qualms about feeding and terrorizing his victims. Elena is the sweet, pretty and almost perfect heroine who keeps a stiff upper-lip after the death of her parents and tries to prevent her brother from succumbing to a nasty drug habit. The school has its normal assortment of jocks, prom queens and outcasts and the drama associated with high school. So far, pretty cookie-cutter. As of right now, the show hasn't had a chance to establish itself though, fair or not, it falls directly in the shadow of "Twilight," since that's the style it seems to emulate. Stefan even seems to be a day-walking vampire, like Edward Cullen, though there exists a credible explanation and thankfully, no shimmering vampires seem likely to make an appearance. Because the show is so Twilight-esque, at this point, I'm not sure that much personality is coming through. I also consider myself spoiled for TV vampires due to the cleverness of "Buffy" and "Angel" so "The Vampire Diaries" hasn't wowed me with anything original. Which is a shame for a franchise that could very well have been the inspiration for "Twilight." I have no doubt that this show will appeal to teen audiences waiting for their next "Twilight" fix, but I'm not sure adult audiences will latch on to "Diaries."

12 comments:

Charles Gramlich said...

I'm just pretty tired of vampires right now I'm afraid.

Reader said...

I agree. I love vampires normally but right now I have vampire fatigue.

SQT said...

Vampires are very overdone right now for sure.

Stewart Sternberg said...

I think that if someone came along and wrote an old fashioned horrifying vampire story or made an old fashioned vampire film, people would cheer. I can still recall seeing "Night Stalker" for the first time, being in awe of the vamp being a brutal, feral creature. Outstanding.

Stewart Sternberg said...

I think that if someone came along and wrote an old fashioned horrifying vampire story or made an old fashioned vampire film, people would cheer. I can still recall seeing "Night Stalker" for the first time, being in awe of the vamp being a brutal, feral creature. Outstanding.

SQT said...

Stu-- You are so right. If we could just get rid of all these ansty teenage vampires who just want to be human, we could have fun with the genre again.

Karen said...

I like the friendly vampire love stories. But then I'm one of the few who prefer Buffy the movie over Buffy the TV series (gasp, yes it is possible). I watched Vampire Diaries pilot and I'll be tuning into the rest of the season. And when New Moon comes out I'll be watching that opening weekend (if tickets don't sell out).

@SQT
I'm currently reading Some Girls Bite by Chloe Neill. Good book!

Di Francis said...

yeah, I'm tired of the "don't drink human blood" trope. Dont' know why. But I watched the first episode and just didn't have any interest in seeing more. Plus I can't imagine going back to highschool on purpose. That just shatters my belief in any of this story.

Harry Markov: daydream said...

I share Charles' sentiment... I don't care how it's done, unless I sit down and start reading Rice, because I have been planing this.

Sullivan McPig said...

Did anyone besides me think there was too much background noise/music? I almost couldn't follow the dialogue at times.
And what on earth is a vampire who's probably over a 100 years old doing with teenagers?!
Too twilighty for my taste anyway

Daelith said...

Because there was nothing else on at the time, I watched this Friday night while waiting for Eureka to start. I have to say it wasn't as bad as I feared it would be. I really disliked Twilight, both the movie and book, and feared this show would be following in its footsteps. I'm extremely grateful there were no glittery vampires in VD. I don't know that I will be an avid watcher, but it was so-so. Definitely geared more for teenagers.
I wish we could get an adult vampire series that would last more than one season.

Karen said...

@Di Francis
LOL at this: "I can't imagine going back to highschool on purpose. That just shatters my belief in any of this story."

If I were a vampire that would be the last place I'd want to go!

I wish they would have kept Blood Ties and Moonlight though.