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The Vampire Diaries - Season 1 (2009)

After coming off a buzz of the six volume beginnings collection of the classic supernatural 1960's soap opera Dark Shadows, I learned of the premiere of a new series on the CW, The Vampire Diaries.  Offering a similar dark supernatural drama with an obviously bigger budget and style than the 1960's cult classic series, and being a fan of a couple similar CW shows (Supernatural & Smallville) I decided to give this series and look.  At first I must admit I was a little underwhelmed, the first few episodes weren't bad simply nothing remarkably special, but about fives episodes in the series began to hit a stride and The Vampire Diaries has ended up being the show, out of the many I follow, that I look forward to watching each week.

Based on a series of books first released back in 1991, the television series seemed to have quite a bit of fan support from the get go, although from what I've heard aside from the character names and an overall essence of the show it's quite different from the books.  With vampires seemingly being a bigger female craze at the moment (thanks to Twilight) I didn't know what I was getting myself into, but thankfully the show isn't Twilight awful.  Yes, there is a brooding vampire, and at times the sappiness gets a little old but the stories, the acting and the overall look of the series is leaps and bounds above what little I've seen of Twilight.  To put the series into a comparative perspective The Vampire Diaries is content wise in between True Blood and Twilight, and in terms of quality entertainment easily tops both of those opposite extremes.

The series is about a girl named Elena Gilbert (Nina Dobrey) whose parents were killed in a car accident a year prior.  She and her brother Jeremy (Steven R. McQueen) are still attempting to re-adjust their lives and find something in them that's worth living for.  Enter Stefan Salvatore (Paul Wesley), a 145 year old teenage vampire whose returned home to Mystic Falls for his semi regular visit and sparks a fire in both of their mundane lives.  Elena isn't aware of Stefan's secret at this point but it's clear that she instantly finds a connection with him.  For Stefan it's even more surreal because Elena is the spitting image of the woman he loved back in the 1800's, Katherine Pierce, the girl who turned him into a vampire.

But as Stefan and Elena begin to build a relationship trouble soon arises when Stefan's older brother Damon (Ian Somerhalder) arrives and begins to stir up trouble in the town.  Damon has been a thorn in Stefan's side since they were both turned by Katherine, vowing to follow him wherever he goes and make life miserable for him.  It's a hatred that stems from Damon's love of Katherine as well, and the way Stefan chooses to live his life by living on animal blood instead of human.

As the season progresses we begin to learn more the Salvatore brother's dark past as well as the history behind the town and the mysteries hidden within other prominent characters during this resurgence of vampires to Mystic Falls.  To summarize the plot of the first season would be incredibly time consuming as the series moves at incredible speeds bringing in new characters, killing some off, and seemingly setting up and completing story-lines at amazing rates.  It's this aspect of the series that mirrors Dark Shadows so incredibly well, except for the fact that Dark Shadows usually drug out a storyline over ten half hour episodes where The Vampire Diaries never stops to take a breath, something I have found quite appealing.  In addition, the writers are able to flawlessly connect all the episodes in a way that this is much more of a story than an episodic series, meaning it's not a show your going to want to try picking up in mid stream; if you haven't seen it from the beginning you'll be quite lost.

My favorite character in the series is easily Damon Salvatore, while he's really a combination of hero and villain it's really hard to not like the guy, he's arrogant, rude, smug, borderline evil maybe, but at the same time he's extremely entertaining, cool, witty, and as the season progresses it's clear that under his tough exterior there's heart.  Although I hope the writers don't try and completely change Damon because it's his volatile, on the fence, unpredictable persona that makes him so interesting, and Ian does a perfect job.  My least favorite character is easily Bonnie, Elena's best friend and the town's resident witch (literally), and another word that rhymes with it.  It's ironic I can seemingly love the character of Damon who causes so much death and destruction, yet utterly despise Bonnie, but her character is continually very two faced as she keeps agreeing to help Elena and the Salvatore brothers yet constantly back-stabs them, then feels bad about it later.

Overall, The Vampire Diaries is a very entertaining and well written series that I highly recommend.  As a mixture of Supernatural, Smallville and Dark Shadows if any of those series appeal to you I'd be shocked if you didn't like it.  My only concern about the series is how long they can keep the fast moving stories going.  In one season they cover more ground and uncover more secrets than most series do in two to three seasons, again there's no singular episodic story-lines every episode is thoroughly used to it's fullest extent.  It will be interesting to see if they can keep the speed up or if they'll have to revert the usual "filler" episodes which never have anything to do with major story-lines.

My Top 5 Episodes
Aired: 4/8/2010
When Stephan is captured and tortured by some of the tomb vampires an unlikely trio of Elena, Damon and Alaric set aside their differences and come to his rescue.  This is a great vampire butt kicking episode, it opens up new wounds for some characters when the whereabouts of Vickey are discovered, and Stephan is forced to drink human blood to survive which leads to a short story arch that explains why he stopped drinking it in the first place.

Aired: 11/12/2009
Bonnie's haunted by a witchy ancestor who uses her as a vessel to make sure the tomb enclosing the vampires stays sealed.  Damon reveals what brought him back to Mystic Falls, and Jeremy gets a new hip history teacher who lets him do extra credit to pass, although it seems there's more to this new teacher, Alaric, than meets the eye.

Aired: 5/6/2010
Alaric's long lost wife, Isobel, comes back into his life but she's not the same person he thought he once knew, and she's got her sights set on Elena, and one of her family secrets.  This is a great episode that answers a lot of lingering questions thrown out during the season.

Aired: 1/21/2010
Damon saves Elena from a car crash and takes her with him to Atlanta were he meets an old friend he hopes can help him open a magically sealed tomb.  Jeremy meets a girl named Anna who begins to fill his mind with the vampire lore of Mystic Falls.  This is a great Damon episode where we see multiple extremes of his personalty, the softer and the cut throat, also sets up the character of Anna who plays a key role in the second half of the season.

Aired: 5/13/2010
A plan is set in motion to capture all the vampires of Mystic Falls during the founders day parade.  Damon, Stephan, and Elena believe they've disarmed the weapon that the founding families plan to use but Bonnie tricked them and purposely did not remove the mystical spell which makes the weapon work.  Couldn't ask for a better close to a well done first season, not only are we given an incredible cliffhanger but some interesting hints of things to come in Season 2.



  1. I was offered to translate THE VAMPIRE DIARIES book saga for Serbian readers earlier this year, but the deal didn't went through later on :(
    I'm dying to get some fantasy or epic saga for translation at least once :)

  2. @Dezmond - Really? That's cool, I assume you work in publishing then right? I think you mentioned you did in the past. Do they air this show in Serbia? You might enjoy it.

  3. yes, I translate bestselling books ;)
    No, VAMPIRE DIARIES aren't currently broadcast in Serbia, but we generally have to download shows from the Internet if we want the latest episodes.


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