The Vampire Diaries

Pretty kids, hot romance, billowing fog, wild parties, theatrical photography and peril. Kevin Williamson stamps his teeny series with a sense of fun.

vampire-diaries-posterKevin Williamson sure knows his stuff.

Having first hit the heights of success with Dawson’s Creek, and the schlocky but fun films Scream and I Know What You Did Last Summer (amongst other hits), he is well attuned with the youth entertainment market.

He also knows vampire lore and the adolescent market go hand in hand.

In adapting L.J. Smith’s novels The Vampire Diaries into episodic television, he’s thrown everything at this teen horror series: pretty kids, hot romance, billowing fog, pretty kids, wild parties, high school bimbos, theatrical photography, cemeteries, peril, waterfalls, a black crow, yearning and pretty kids. Did we mention the pretty kids?

Thankfully most it sticks.

The premise is simple enough. Two vampire brothers, one good (Paul Wesley) and one evil (Ian Somerhalder) will fight over the affections of an attractive female (Nina Dobrev). She bears a striking resemblance to a flame from the 1800s, that has never been forgotten by the two. Talk about history.

In the town of Mystic Falls, a brooding smalltown that looks particularly photogenic after dark, locals will get in the way of these two brothers who don’t see eye to eye. The opening sequence on a dark roadside in which strangers perish stamps the show with a sense of fun. The two look set to be ham it up like Smallville‘s Lex and Clark. Yeah, it’s that kinda love / hate relationship.

Most of the cast in the pilot ep were memorable for their aesthetic appearance rather than their dramatic flair. This is all the more evident when Somerhalder belatedly arrives in full view (after menacing from the wings). He has a rollicking time as the baddie here, teasing, goading, and getting downright theatrical. The sweet, syrupy Dobrev is effective as the heroine, but it remains to be seen if her character is imbued with any… ummm, teeth?

Cleverly, the ‘Diaries’ of the title allow Dobrev’s character, Elena to link the storytelling together with narration.

Despite its southern setting (Georgia), this series is far more saccharine than True Blood. Forget about minorities here, everyone is painfully white.

As with HBO’s drama, it also shares the concept of virtuous vampires, some wandering around in daylight hours as Moonlight had. While one thrives on metaphors the other is just here for the merriment.

The production values are terrific. It looks lush and inviting, turning smalltown USA into a foreboding ground of deeper secrets.

With a little DNA from Gossip Girl, Supernatural and Charmed in check, The Vampire Diaries should hit its mark with a spirited young audience. It remains to be seen if it can rise above its stock characters and handsome window dressing, but with Williamson on board there is every hope.

35_starsThe Vampire Diaries airs 8:30pm Mondays on GO!

23 Responses

  1. Oz shows are rarely good. I think this show is great. It’s a bit intense leaving the next ep for the next week though. It’s realy facinating how vamp stuff has become so popular..but I’m not complaining. I love it. GO! rocks <3

  2. That is very disappointing … it must have been because of Misha and her dramas … she really does looked “spaced out” all the time … typical … something different that i like and it gets cancelled … Moonlight, Eli Stone, it just goes on … and we get boring cop shows and medical shows and half baked “reality”shows instead … oh I hate this generation of TV executives!

  3. Two other new shows, The Beautiful Life and Eastwick have just premiered in the US … “Eastwick” is very addictive with a strong cast and a different and compelling story (based on the movie) … “The Beautiful Life” is the new show for Misha Barton and it is a ripper of a show despite her … have seen two episodes so far and Misha played a spoiled and dazed star (just like herself in real life) and is one of the least appealing of the cast, she is a bit of a joke really, Elle McPherson is excellent as Model Agency boss Claudia (how ironic!) and there is no end of Hot looking guys to make up for Misha’s annoying presence … a real hit despite the main star!!! The CW network definitely have some brilliant shows this year!

  4. I think it’s a large mistake to screen it against FlashForward, but the Vampire Diaries does look like an excellent new series and one worth following. Premiered extremely strong for The CW a few weeks ago.

  5. I’ve watched the first couple of episodes of the vampire diaries and i do like it, Stefan is slightly annoying and a little creepy but damon has some serious va va voom. GO has potential for a hit here but i think the time slot is all wrong competing against fast forward is a mistake (imo)

    And one last thing, I’m glad that GO is playing more American shows they have some great stuff that never gets a chance here. We already have plenty of Aussie shows on Win and Southern cross.

  6. A cross between True Blood and Harper’s Island … particularly with people dying when they go into the woods alone …
    I enjoyed episode 2 more than episode 1 but there is still a lack of substance to some of the cast who are, at this stage, totally disposable. Has great potential and I think it will be a reasonable hit …
    I am also very impressed with Eastwick … love the “witch” theme as a contrast to all the Vampire ones at present …

  7. For Nine to have onsold this to Foxtel as they normally would’ve, would’ve been extremely foolish. GO should also air in a month or two, the new
    Charmed-ish ‘Eastwick’ show, as Nine have the rights to it.

  8. I’d rather watch shows from the yanks and the poms as they know how to tell a good story… apologies to aussie writers but there weren’t any good stories coming out of them lately except Underbelly, but then again, UB was based from real life events.

  9. very excited for this show! GO had been a great channel and one reason it is successful is that there are no aussie shows. its demographic is for a young audience, and that audience ( including myself) want teen dramas, comedys and entertainment. I do not want to watch rpa, domestic blitz or packed to the rafters. please no aussie shows. Vampire diaries will do very well.

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