Friday, September 11, 2009
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."