205 of 213 people found the following review helpful
on March 4, 2010
I've never seen/read Twilight nor did I know that the Vampire Diaries was based on a series of tween books. I, generally, try to stay away from those kind of "kid" versions (I'm more the Tru Blood type). Anyway, I decided to give V Diaries a shot and I'm so glad I did.
Vampire Diaries is a guilty pleasure. Despite the fact that the series is set-up with the high school crowd, it definitely has a more adult feel to it with the complex issues that come up and the dark, edgy violence. The first couple of eps played a bit too 90210(ish) but then the series really took off.
The main characters are well rounded and believable even in unbelievable situations. The series has managed to weave a set of relationships that breath life into each of the characters. Elena is the high school girl who must not only face personal tragedy but a new boyfriend (Stephan) that may or may not be what he seems. And Stephan has his own family issues with his bad boy brother, Damon. And while Damon is definitely bad (body count anyone?)he has reasons he believes are valid for the pain he inflicts.(mostly)
Elena as played by Nina Dobrev is a smart girl with a compassionate heart who definitely doesn't put up with any BS. In this vampire tale she doesn't just automatically tell Stephan it's all right when she finds out his secret. It's not cool that he's a vampire. People die around him and that's not ok. They fall in love despite his being a vampire rather than because of it.
Stephan Salvatore, Mystic Falls resident brooding vampire, started out (to me) a little too much like an Angel wannabe but Paul Wesley has done a competent job in opening the character up. What he does to Damon in the basement was truly chilling. I was like, HEY!, aren't you supposed to be the good guy!
And last but not least of the lead characters, Damon. What can I say. Damon is just delightfully bad. Ian Somerhalder plays him with relish. In the wrong hands, his character could have easily become a cliche but the actor has turned him into someone you just can't help but feel for (equal parts sympathy and revulsion)as he struts his way around, doling out cruelty with a smile, all the while hiding a secret of his own.
The supporting cast is also just wonderful in their roles. Kudos especially to Candice Accola for her portrayal of Caroline Forbes. The whole cast was well chosen and that they're all beautiful and sexy doesn't hurt either.
Anyway, before this review becomes a novel... just watch a few eps. I dare you not to get hooked on it.
77 of 79 people found the following review helpful
on June 9, 2010
I should never even have watched the first episode of the Vampire Diaries...
I am not the target audience for either the show or the CW network (I'm 35, well past my tween, teen and college years). Unlike many who fell in love with Dracula, Interview with a Vampire and Anne Rice, I was never into vampires or any other supernatural/science fiction melodramas. In fact, until recently, I had never even heard of True Blood or Twilight (and I have yet to see either of those franchises). So you may wonder -- how is it possible that I am now a Vampire Diaries addict?
It's really very simple -- vampires or no vampires, it is the best show on television right now.
The writing, direction, production, pacing and acting is all superb (especially given how many of the young actors on the show had little or no experience on television series before they landed this show). The casting was spot-on (especially the three stars) and right from the beginning I was able to relate to all of the characters. Even the guest stars have been cast perfectly (although given the death toll on this show, I have learned not to become too attached to any of the cast members, be it a guest star or one of the contract players).
This show could easily have degenerated into an annoying teenage melodrama (especially since the first season has focused on setting up a love triangle between a seventeen year old human girl and two centuries-old vampire brothers and I have always hated triangles). Somehow, despite its premise, the actions and reactions of the characters have managed to stay believable (for the most part) and relatable (and I don't even mind the triangle -- yet). Even the non-supernatural storylines manage to surprise you (the teenagers don't react the way you expect TV shows to write them and the relationships are surprisingly mature, open and real).
Thanks to the writers, the pacing of the storylines is so fast that most story arcs begin and end within two episodes, usually by hitting you with shocking cliffhangers which are then answered immediately within the same episode or the next episode. And, despite the dark and supernatural storylines, the show manages to not take itself too seriously and infuse just enough snarky humor to keep it entertaining.
The show runners like to say that what drew them to the show was that it wasn't just about vampires; it was about a town with a rich history of relationships and a history of the supernatural. That is true, but what drew me to the show were the terrific characters, writing and storylines. Most of the time, I forget the show is even about vampires (and that is high praise, given that I'm not really a vampire lover).
So in sum, despite my normal aversion to teenage shows, vampires and the supernatural, I am now utterly addicted to a teenage vampire drama on the CW called The Vampire Diaries -- in fact, don't bother to call or e-mail me at 8:00PM EST on Thursdays -- I won't answer because I am completely engrossed in the goings-on in a town called Mystics Falls. Come join me -- I guarantee it won't take long for you to get addicted -- maybe then, we can start a support group for TVD addicts.
52 of 56 people found the following review helpful
on April 21, 2010
I cannot believe how obsessed I am with this show. I've recorded every episode on my dvr but i will still buy the season when it comes out on dvd. Nina Dobrev, Ian Somerhalder and Paul Wesley are absolutely incredible actors. I don't know how I survived before this show on Thursday nights at 8pm!
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on August 17, 2010
I thought the show would be worse than Twilight. Its setup is identical: a vampire falls in love with a high school girl. To my surprise, The Vampire Diaries kept me tuning in every week.
Our heroine Elena (Nina Dobrev) lives in the historic Virginia town Mystic Falls. Her parents recently died in a car crash, leaving her and her dope-head brother Jeremy (Steve McQueen) in the care of their young aunt Jenna (Sara Canning), a lovable pal but sucky guardian. Elena's grief causes her to bond with the - unbeknownst to her - nice vampire stalker Stefan (Paul Wesley). Unfortunately, he has a vampire brother who is not so nice. Damon (Ian Somerhalder) enjoys making his brother's life miserable and has no qualms about eating humans. He also notices that Elena looks exactly like their (yes, their) ex who lived more than a century ago.
Other cast members include Elena's cute ex Matt (Zach Roerig), his a-hole best friend Tyler (Michael Trevino), and Tyler's druggie girlfriend Vicki (Kayla Ewell). She is also Matt's sister and Jeremy's love. The town is incestuous. Then there are Elena's best friends Bonnie (Katerina Graham) and Caroline (Candice Accola). Bonnie is sweet and supportive; Caroline is blond and bitchy.
For a cheesy show about gorgeous townsfolk and creatures of the night, it's surprisingly realistic. (Note: I am used to television-hot actors not CW-hot. These people look like no one I've met.) The most initially stereotypical characters turn out to be some of the most complex.
The Vampire Diaries doesn't take itself too seriously. The heroine's best friend matter-of-factly explains why she is psychic. They laugh at such a preposterous notion. (So does the audience, for other reasons, of course.) One vampire advises another: "You're dead, dude. Get over it."
Even though the series borrows heavily from previous vampire/teen stories, it follows its own path. It uses and plays with formulas. The pilot features Elena running through a foggy graveyard, complete with an ominous crow. It also quickly dissolves a budding love triangle cliché because a character actually acts sensibly.
They've done a darn good job with the vampire mythology. The explanations, including questions of vampire morality, have a basic logic. Not only that, but the tone, pacing, and character development are dependable. Unlike many shows, actions (usually) have consequences. Characters have motivations and don't forget about what they did the previous week.
The vampire "look" is perhaps the best I've seen. When vamps get blood hungry they sprout fangs. Eyes become bloodshot and veiny. These immortal serial killers are scary twists on their human selves, beastlike and vicious.
The writing and acting are respectable. Nina Dobrev can be grating in a teenager-y way, but her Elena is an appealing character. Paul Wesley is somewhat one note, but he brings a wisdom and tenderness to the role of Stefan. That he manages to be less than creepy is a remarkable feat which alone elevates the show far above Twilight. Ian Somerhalder clearly relishes playing Damon, who is funny, flirtatious, and wicked, but perhaps not irredeemable.
Certain scenes are ridiculous and unintentionally hilarious, but the camp is part of the fun. Due to historical echoes, intertwining relationships, and flashbacks to the brothers' vampire births, the show borders on epic. How can you not enjoy a show where vampires play high school football, embarrass history teachers, and attend Halloween parties dressed as - you guessed it - vampires?
27 of 30 people found the following review helpful
on April 14, 2010
I was skeptical when i first saw that this show was going to be on the CW. i had never read the books before and didnt know what to really expect. i decided to watch the first episode as i figured if it was aweful, atleast i could say i gave it a shot since I am a Twilight/True Blood fan. I am happy to say i havent missed an episode yet. The characters draw you in from start to finish, its a totally different show from everything else. I even read the books during the show's winter hiatus so that i would be ready for the rest of the season. I would definitely recommend this show to everyone!
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on September 5, 2010
Besides Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Angel, I haven't really been into the vampire thing, especially the explosion it has seen in recent years. When this show was first announced on the CW Network, I was a little leery, but hopeful. When series producer/writer Kevin Williamson(Scream, Dawson's Creek) said it would be "more Buffy than Twilight", I was intrigued and hopeful. Could it be?. This was the CW and all, but I was optimistic. I am so glad I tuned in. Let's get started....
"The Vampire Diaries" takes place in a nice little town called Mystic Falls. Elena Gilbert and her brother Jeremy(Nina Dobrev, Steven R. McQueen) are high school students. They live with their aunt after the death of their parents. Elena meets mysterious broody guy Stefan(Paul Wesley), vampire, and sparks fly. Unfortunatley for them and the town, Stefan's brother Damon(Ian Somerhalder), wild vampire extraordinaire, comes to town and begins to shake things up amongst the locals and Elena's group of friends.
Okay, obviously that is the short, condensed version of things. Truth is, A LOT goes on in this show. It has a decent sized cast with recurring members coming and going. That's not even the tip of the iceberg. Better to let you watch and discover everything unfold in the show yourself. Amongst the 22 episodes of season 1, here are some of the stuff you can expect. Again, the condensed version of a few eps as to not give much away. The "Pilot" episode was good, sets things up, but isn't indicative of the maturing and twists and turns the show would make over the season. "The Night Of The Comet", episode 2, is the episode where Elena and Damon first meet. It's a Founder's party in episode 4, "Family Ties", where we learn some of the town elders know of the town's dark secrets. This is when the show starts to grow and take interesting turns. Stefan finally explains his past to Elena, via flashbacks to 1864, in episode 6, "Lost Girls". Halloween rears it's festive head in episode 7, "Haunted", which also deals with the death of a character. New history teacher Alaric Saltzman(Matt Davis)shows up in episode 9, "History Repeating", and he may be more than just a history teacher. Damon also reveals his true motives for showing up in town in this episode. Episode 13, "Children Of The Dammned", features more 1864 flashbacks. "Let The Right One In", episode 17, has Damon and Elena rescuing Stefan. Elena and Jeremy's shady uncle John shows up in town in episode 18, "Under Control". "Miss Mystic Falls", episode 19, has Elena learning of Stefan's recent urges while competing in a Founder's Day gala. Episode 22, the season finale, "Founder's Day", is a whirlwind of a finale. There were at least 4 cliffhangers in this episode that made every fan want to jump to season 2 immediatley.
Like many, I feared TVD would be lighter and watered down ala "Twilight", but I am here to wipe away those fears. While TVD is not in the league of that slayer in Sunnydale, it is far from the land of Edward and Bella. TVD is darker, edgier, sexier, more violent, more dangerous, and filled with more history and shocking surprises and twists and turns. Kevin Williamson and crew have created a show that continually surprised me with story twists during the entire season. It seemed they weren't happy unless they ended almost every episode with a shocker. Credit goes to Williamson and the rest of the show's writers. They have really created an atmopsheric town filled with rich characters. Some may seem like CW-lite teen people from the beginning, but that changes. The whole show changes. You can really see the show gaining ground and it's bearings as the debut season rolls along. It really is different to watch the finale and then the pilot. It also doesn't hurt that TVD boasts the best looking cast on TV. Would you expect anything less on the CW?. Despite the attractiveness of the cast, they can act. They are not just faces. Nina Dobrev, as Elena, is an amazing, soulful beauty, as is Katerina Graham as best friend Bonnie. However, it is Ian Somerhalder as Damon who seems to be having the most fun. He eats every scene he is in with bravado, humor, and a sense of danger. He is amazing to watch all season long.
In the end, "The Vampire Diaries" proved to be a success. It was better than I was hoping. Much, much better. It surpassed most of my expectations to become a fresh vampire show filled with many plots and surprises. You can't ask for more than that.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on June 6, 2010
When I first heard they were adapting L.J. Smith's "The Vampire Diaries" I worried we'd be watching "Twilight" 2.0. Elena was no longer blonde, she was the Bella-like brunette Nina Dobrev, Paul Wesley looked suspiciously like RPattz, and where the heck did Meredith go? Nevertheless, I set myself down on Thursday night to see if I'd accept or reject this new addition to the vampire craze.
The first episode almost blew me away. The writing was smart and interesting. The lighting was almost otherworldly. Okay, the fog machines were a bit much, but when Stefan's face changed I felt chills run down my spine. I wanted keep watching. By the fourth episode, though, some of the splendor wore off. All that kept happening was biting and teenagers in love.
As if in answer to my waning interest, BAM! The show changed from teenagers to a show about a town. A town steeped in mystery with supernatural lore and background so intoxicating, I found myself wondering why each episode wasn't longer. And the story... I have never seen a story move so fast in one season. They had materials for about two and a half seasons of a show, which I would have watched but probably not loved. Events move quickly in "The Vampire Diaries" and they all make sense. In every episode at least one question is resolved, only to have about three other questions asked. There is never a dull moment.
Surprising me further was my interest in the characters. I don't think I've ever in my life watched a show where I liked every single person in it, even the "bad guys/girls." I started out annoyed with Elena's little brother Jeremy (Steven McQueen), but he evolved so well by the end of the season I couldn't even remember why I'd disliked him in the first place.
Nina Dobrev was worth the hair color change: she is in one scene the confident, good-natured, mature Elena Gilbert, and in the next the vindictive, heartless, terrifying Katherine Pierce. She alone is worth watching the show for, but there's also the amazing Ian Somerhalder as Damon Salvatore. Throughout the first season Damon changes from the guy who kills everybody to the guy who saves everybody, and he's so convincing I'd nominate him for an Emmy if a CW show was ever actually considered. I could go on and on about each actor's performance, every single one standing out brilliantly, but then this review would last about ten pages.
It's definitely not Twilight, it's not True Blood, it's a vampire show that stands on its own.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on July 22, 2010
I only started watching this show because I have a thing for vampires. And the pilot episode to me seemed like a replica of Twilight, kind of cheesy and campy. However I decided to stick with the show for a few more episodes. Man, am I glad that I did.
By episode four, the show had completely drawn me in. The characters were so well thought out and portrayed so beautifully that I couldn't help but become obsessed. Elena is a strong, confident girl who is actually able to stand up for herself. Stefan, who originally seemed very one-sided, breaks out of his broody shell in the later episodes and really shakes things up. Paul Wesley did a magnificent job with the character. And finally, Damon. Need I say anymore? Ian Somerhalder deserves thousands of awards for that role. The character development for Damon literally blew my mind. He starts off as deliciously cruel, sarcastic, and badass; the perfect villian. But by the end of the season, you are completely rooting for him. You are able to understand his motives and truly feel for him.
The plot of the show blew my mind. It was hard to believe that the writers could cram so much action into one 45 minute show. The plot twists, especially in the finale, kept you guessing until the very end. The writers did such a fabulous job with the lines, keeping the characters sounding real, and giving Damon some of the best one-liners on television. The acting was incredible, and the special effects kept the show unique (although I am glad they ditched the crow and fog after a few episodes). I would and have recommended this show to just about everyone I know. It is by far my favorite show on television. Even if you are not into vampires, this show has so much more to offer. Just give it a try, and I promise it will draw you in.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on June 2, 2010
After picking up the Twilight series from my local library back in 2007, I became instantly hooked on the idea of vampires. I began reading everything I could find on the subject, from adult and teen fiction to historical accounts of vampire myths in the real world. However, I found myself feeling a little bit disatisfied. All of the books that I was reading were pretty much the same. A beautiful girl falls in love with a beautiful vampire...blah blah blah. I was looking for something with a darker side . When HBO's True Blood came on the air in the fall of 2008, I was very excited "Yay! A vampire show about REAL, bloodsucking vampires!" Though I still watch the show to this day, I have to admit that I am slightly off put by its graphic sexual nature. The plot of the show is simply genius, but so many scenes of violence and sex are really not necessary to the development of the story. I discovered that I needed a healthy, balanced vampire story--something dark and delicious but not gratuitously graphic and violent.
When I first heard that the CW was going to air a show about vampires, I was instantly skeptical. "Great. One Tree Hill, but with vampires," I thought to myself. Fortunately, I gave the Vampire Diaries a chance, and now I find it impossible to stay away. Though the first few episodes played out like your general tacky teen soap opera, by the Halloween episode at the end of October, I couldn't wait to see what happened next. I was very delighted to find that the characters of the show are so well developed--not your typical teen drama bores. Each and every character, no matter how small their role, has some sort of a backstory and contributes to the development of the plot. The main character Elena Gilbert is a true heroine, not your generic Mary Sue of vampire fiction (sorry Bella). Instead of waiting around to be saved by some gorgeous man, Elena is often the one to do the saving. She has some guilt in her past, but instead of moping around about it, she makes the decision to move forward. Stefan Salvatore is Elena's boyfriend, a vampire with a heart of gold who sometimes finds himself incapable of resisting his nature. Damon Salvatore is Stefan's delectably devious older brother, a vampire who has no problem raising the body count of the town if it means getting what he wants. His non-beating heart begins to soften at the end of the season, and after Elena bonds with him over his troubled existance, he slowly begins to stake his claim on her. This leaves young Elena miserably torn between two vampire brothers whom she loves very much. In addition to the main cast, the supporting characters are equally interesting. Elena's best friend Bonnie just happens to be a witch. Her brother Jeremy struggles with drug abuse, the loss of a very dear friend, and considers immortality as the only way out of his misery. Caroline Forbes is the wonderfully shallow queen bee, Matt is Elena's ever-loyal sidekick of sorts, and Alaric Saltzman is the history teacher with a major beef against vampires. Every character is well-rounded and wholly believable, and the superb acting makes this series a joy to watch.
As most people know, the Vampire Diaries was first a series of novels by LJ Smith in the early 90s, with new stories having been released since the beginning of the CW show. While I definitely recommend the Vampire Diaries TV show to fans of the book series, just keep in mind that they are VASTLY different from one another. It is almost as if someone wrote a piece of fanfiction for LJ Smith's novels and turned it into a full-length TV show. In the novels Elena does not have a brother, Fells Church is the name of the city (not Mystic Falls), Bonnie is a ditzy redhead who still possesses powers but is not the descendent of Salem Witches, Elena has a second best friend named Meredith with whom she is actually closer than Bonnie, and Stefan and Damon were turned into vampires during the Italian Renaissance in the 1500s--not during the Civil War in 1864 (this is an extremely important factor to the story). In fact, with the exception of the characters' names and a few major plot points, the book and screen versions are nothing alike. But if you can overlook these details, you will find yourself widely entertained by a phenomenal show.
The first season of the Vampire Diaries is for anyone who likes their vamps to be bad, but not outright offensive and sexually perverse. You will laugh at some moments and feel compelled to cry at others, while also being on your guard for the next big scare. But most of all, you will be captivated and utterly addicted to the story of a girl and her love for two vampires.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on April 20, 2010
I was skeptical about watching this show. I really liked the books, and feared that the CW was going to pull in another Gossip Girl, 90210 show, only this time with fangs. I was pleasantly surprised to find an intelligent, dark show that brings in the love that makes Twilight so great, and the darkness of living the vampire life that works for Interview with the Vampire.
First, Ian Sommerholder is amazing as Damon, and the evolution of the character is apparent through his great acting.
Paul Wesley, oh, lovely and gorgeous Paul Wesley...well yeah, he's great. I know that's not the most intelligent thing to say, but I really do think that he brings intelligence, passion, and a fierceness to his role that is hard to put into words.
Nina Dobrev, I think is the weakest actor in the cast, but she does a decent job playing Elena. Let's just say I love her much more as Katherine, than Elena.
All in all, I love this show, it's fun, dark, and very entertaining.
EDIT: NOVEMBER 8TH, 2011
I must retract my last statement about Nina Dobrev. In the last season and a half she has become a breakout star in the series, playing multiple characters in just one episode. She is by far just as strong an actor as Ian in the show and I must give credit where it's due. Bravo Nina, you're a brilliant actress.