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20 April 2010 @ 09:02 pm
'The Vampire Diaries' Thoughts (through 1.18)  
So I checked out The Vampire Diaries when it premiered but I turned it off after 30 minutes. However, the praise from my flist got me to give it another go. I still had moments of 'oh please -- darkened hallways in hospitals? Really!?' but by the fourth episode, it had pretty much sucked me in. And here I am now.

So I'm not doing a long, drawn-out post, just a quick rundown. You'd think I'd learn by now. *sigh*

Stories

I know that the show is based on books, but I have no idea how close to the books this series is. I do know that I've been very, very impressed with the stories. The way they introduce arcs, mini-arcs, characters, etc. while we're still going with the rise and fall of other stories so that we keep getting cascading climaxes is excellently done. The show also has fabulous climaxes. There have been several episodes so far that could actually have been season-enders, they were that strong.

Characters

Fantastic characters. FANTASTIC! I may prefer Damon with Elena, but I don't dislike Stefan and Elena, and I actually like Stefan. I also like Caroline, love Bonnie (where the heck has she been the last four episodes? I know she's mourning grandma, but come on!!), like Jenna, like Jeremy, like Matt, love Alaric, love Damon, love Elena. There is literally not one character I do not like. And I love how these characters interact. It's not just the love stories, we see the girls and guys hanging out as friends, we see family together as family. Those relationships are highlighted as important as the teenaged, tortured angsty epic love stories. And I love that. These characters are round. Not a single one of the leads is a flat one, and in fact, most of the supporting characters are multi-layered as well. Other than a few moments here and there, the characters are so well-done that even the non-exciting vampire stuff is compelling to watch.

I also love that the females kick-ass. They don't just sit around waiting to be rescued. Sure, they do have to be sometimes, but nine out of ten times, they're thinking and fighting to get out of the situation themselves even if they don't always succeed.

My favorite characters in order are: Damon, Elena, Bonnie, Alaric, Caroline, Stefan, and Matt -- who so looks like a cross between Zach Gilford (Matt on Friday Night Lights) and Bradley James (Arthur from the BBC's Merlin) it's uncanny.

Couples

Yeah, I like Damon and Elena. I find they have the most chemistry. But I'm not anti-Stefan/Elena. I found them incredibly boring in the beginning, but now I find them on par with Buffy and Angel, in that I personally may have found the actors lacking in chemistry, I could appreciate the story (even if I preferred Buffy with Xander, I know, I know). The same is the case here. I may not think the actors/characters have chemistry, but I can appreciate the story the show is telling me. Still, I do much prefer Damon and Elena. The scene where he put the necklace back on her was WHOAH! and I watched the preview for the upcoming episode!! SQUEE!!!

Ooh, speaking of the triangle, I read on TWoP that the way the writers have written about a certain pair of the three that it's obvious which they prefer -- unfortunately the poster didn't say which pairing. Does anyone know? Is it Stefan/Elena or Damon/Elena? I'm not sure my heart could take another vampire show where the producers ridiculously ship the way more boring pairing of the two (Bill/Sookie over Eric/Sookie -- and I say this even though Stefan/Elena so kick Bill/Sookie's ass, B/S are that bad, in my opinion).

I also have a soft spot for Caroline and Matt, but that's just because I like Caroline so much. I'd like to see her get someone who actually does put her first, because deny it all he wants, Caroline is just a place-holder for Elena to Matt. Oh, and I kinda like the idea of Bonnie and Stefan, but I don't really expect anything there, but Paul Wesley and Katerina Graham have much better chemistry than do Wesley and Nina Dobrev. Of course, she's got loads of chemistry with Ian Somerhalder. And who also has great chemistry (although, imo, of a different kind) is Somerhalder and Matt Davis (Alaric Salzman). I LOVE how these two are working together now. I get such a kick out of their scenes. Damon was right. Those two are bad-ass! And I also can't help but get a kick out of Damon and the Sheriff. Oh, Damon.

Acting

Paul Wesley (Stefan) tends to be a bit stiff, but it fits the part. Somerhalder (Damon) is definitely the break-out star; all of those complaints about his boring, pretty-boy nothingness as Boone on Lost have been dispelled. Nina Dobrev (Elena) is good, she's not outstanding, but she grounds the show very well and interacts beautifully with all of the necessary characters with a believable warmth. She could have done a better job differentiating between Elena and Katherine -- the script did most of that -- but she wasn't terrible. Katarina Graham (Bonnie) is fantastic. All of the guest-stars thus far (Gina Torres, Jasmine Guy, Kelly Hu, Malese Jow, Melinda Clarke, the list just goes on) have been amazing.

Bottom-line

Damn, damn good show and I'm so glad I gave it another go. It's awesome!
 
 
 
leosgreens: sooricleosgreens on April 21st, 2010 01:15 am (UTC)
Cool, I was wondering if this show was worth checking out
Arabian: Eric & Sookie 01arabian on April 21st, 2010 01:18 am (UTC)
DEFINITELY!! The first 3-4 episodes will have moments that have you rolling your eyes, but absolutely check it out. YES!

As a vampire show, it COMPLETELY blows True Blood out of the water.
WeHo M.: VD - Normalafrocurl on April 21st, 2010 01:23 am (UTC)
Damon is awesome. I'm also a fan of Alaric. I think Ian has a better grasp of what it takes for nuance in his role.

You're right about Caroline--she needs someone who puts her first, which she's not getting from Matt or anyone else in town.
Arabian: Ian Somerhalder01arabian on April 21st, 2010 02:16 am (UTC)
I agree that Ian is really bringing that subtext and nuance very well, while Matt Davis is still a bit, uhm, blocked? But I like him.

Yes, about Caroline, yes.
too much going on omg: aidan/lenora - VAMPIRE ACTION!diamondrocker on April 21st, 2010 01:28 am (UTC)
This show is fabulous and has totally sucked me in. It used to be that I couldn't catch it b/c community and flashforward were also on at THE EXACT SAmE TIme! but I caught up when the VD repeats were playing during the FF reset, and have since happily kicked FF to the curb so that I can have vampire diaries waiting on my tivo for some guilty saturday morning viewing pleasure!

but yes, love EVERYONE. And we are in agreement on the Damon > Stefan front, even though I don't dislike Stefan or Stefan/Elena - Damon's just BETTER. And it's fun seeing degrassoi and as the world turns alums get their big breaks - yay for them!
Arabian: Damon & Elena01arabian on April 21st, 2010 02:17 am (UTC)
I'm still watching FF and Community I love, but I'm more than happy to add this to my DVR list and it will be watched ASAP.

love EVERYONE. And we are in agreement on the Damon > Stefan front, even though I don't dislike Stefan or Stefan/Elena - Damon's just BETTER.

YUP!!!
Alisha: UB Daniel/Betty Hugkalishaka on April 21st, 2010 02:13 am (UTC)
I watched the first ep and a half, and I was intrigued. But I have so many shows to watch and so little time I was going to just go for the books. I knew they would be different, but I couldn't manage to get past the first chapter before I ran screaming. So I've been plotting to get back to the show, because I was already insanely in love with Damon/Elena (A shocker, I know.) Your review on it, totally giving me the excuse I needed to get back to it. =)
Arabian: Betty & Daniel05arabian on April 21st, 2010 02:18 am (UTC)
Watch it, seriously, find the time and watch it. I am actually shocked at how very good it is. It's fantastic!!!
ThroughAnAmberFocus: Yellow Moonamberfocus on April 21st, 2010 02:33 am (UTC)
I think loosely based would be a good way to describe it. The books are pretty different from the series. For one, Elena was a blonde and did not have a very warm personality and was very self-centered to start off with. She was queen bee and knew it. She and Caroline did not get along at all and were rivals for Stefan in the first half of the first book. Bonnie was an Irish redhead and not an African American girl, but she was a witch. They've completely left out the character of Meredith who was Elena's best friend with Bonnie. Elena had a little sister named Margaret and there was no brother named Jeremy. Vicky wasn't Matt's sister, but she was a party girl into drugs and dating Tyler and if I remember right, she turned into a vampire for some time before getting killed. The adults barely had any role in the books other than Elena's aunt Judith and Alaric. Damon was a lot darker in the series, Stefan more tortured and not nearly as appealing as Damon. There was definitely no storyline with Annabelle and her mother and all these huge numbers of other vampires though there was some stuff with the tomb and if I remember right a few vampires in it. I don't believe Elena was adopted either.

The books are pretty good. I read them when they came out in the 90's and am going through them again now to see if my daughter is old enough to read them yet. The series is in many ways better and in a few small ways not because it does leave out (so far anyway) some very important elements, like Elena's house having half burned down in the past, so that though Damon was invited into the rebuilt part, when he tried to enter the older part of the house where her bedroom was he couldn't because the barrier stopping him considered it to be a different domicile, so Elena had a safe place to be away from him in. They've also left out a few things that distinguish it more from the basic vampire mythos (and not in a negative Twilight way). Damon is still more appealing than Stefan. Elena is much sweeter in personality. The cemetery plays a much larger role in things than it does in the show. And Stefan does occassionally feed on humans and Elena though he tries not to. Stefan also lived in a boarding house with a little old lady who ran the place. There was no family member in the beginning.

So yeah, a lot of differences, but both pretty good on their own merits.

Edited at 2010-04-21 02:35 am (UTC)
Arabian: Damon & Elena01arabian on April 21st, 2010 03:23 am (UTC)
I'm actually really glad to hear that their are so many differences because it shows that the good is standing strong on its own merits. Yay. Thanks for the info. :)
salixlikescakesalixlikescake on April 21st, 2010 02:52 am (UTC)
Definitely agree with your bottom line. I watched The Pilot and listed all the ways it was bad to the guy, and then was embarrassed to admit to him how much I love it now. Everything that annoyed me (Vicki, mopey "rebel" Jeremy, silly fog, etc.) has gone away and been replaced with things I like. (Anna! She's so cute, I want to squish her cheeks!) I also love pretty much the entire list of characters.

And while I do totally adore Damon, he is my favorite, and I've liked Ian Somerhalder since my love of Jake/Hamilton on Young Americans, but he does remind me of Shatner at times. The way he accentuates every sentence makes me giggle (sometimes, depends on the mood of the scene). I know most of it is the character, Damon is that ridiculous when teasing people, but yeah. Silly.

The pacing and the surprises are incredible, and they even manage to hold up upon rewatch. (Maybe I am slightly worried that once they get past S1 it'll start to unravel, but that's a worry for later.)

Arabian: Ian Somerhalder01arabian on April 21st, 2010 03:25 am (UTC)
Ooh! I've been thinking of rewatching so it's nice to know they hold up.

I guess I can see that re: Ian/pausing, but it's so specifically Damon, part of his mocking that I don't mind at all.

Agree with the pacing, the surprises, the adorable-ness of Anna, the fixing of the things that didn't work that well. The show is just fabulous, and fixed those issues early on.

I'm hopeful that s2 will hold up because of one of the things I pointed out, how they set up the next bombshells, arcs, etc. within the current ones so that when those go WHOAH!, they have a steady stream of story waiting to pick up. It's being handled beautifully.
Tasha: Iantash81 on April 21st, 2010 04:29 am (UTC)
Looks like we have another show and ship in common : )

I never read the books, and was apprehensive about the show at first, but I too got sucked in and now I am absolutely addicted. I am absolutely in love with Damon and Elena as characters, so it's not a surprise that Damon/Elena have become one of my new favourite ships. I think that all of the supporting cast is awesome, and think the story is developing wonderfully.

I like Stefan, but don't care for Elena/Stefan. I just find them boring, although they are way more tolerable for me than say Leonard/Penny or Bill/Sookie.

Arabian: Ian Somerhalder01arabian on April 21st, 2010 12:48 pm (UTC)
Score!!

I do think Stefan and Elena's love story is a little boring, but I like the characters so much that it works for me to the point where I can watch them and not groan (unlike B/S and L/P).
Jude: ian/ninadanceonstardust on April 22nd, 2010 08:04 am (UTC)
My favorite characters in order are: Damon, Elena, Bonnie, Alaric, Caroline, Stefan, and Matt -- who so looks like a cross between Zach Gilford (Matt on Friday Night Lights) and Bradley James (Arthur from the BBC's Merlin) it's uncanny.

I have to say mine is: Damon, Elena, Matt, Alaric, Caroline, Bonnie and Stefan. I don't hate Stefan, I agree with you so hard about the Bill/Sookie thing. I just can't really get into his acting. I've already seen him in other stuff and he HAS done better IMO. If you watched his L&O episode, he was pretty much awesome. Also the mini-series of this movie with him being half-angel and half-human. Pretty much awesomesauce. I love Matt because he's hot. LOL. I've seen the actor come out in interviews in glasses. He's like total opposite of Matt and is a major dork that's why Matt is in third in line for me. It's because of the actor hehe. I was thinking the resemblance the other day of Bradley James. MMMM. I love my blond guys. Alaric is that awesome and his doucheyness in Legally Blonde is totally gone in this show. I love his character SFM.


Yeah, I like Damon and Elena. I find they have the most chemistry. But I'm not anti-Stefan/Elena.
I'm actually not either. I just find them boring. LOL. But yeah D/E have the best chemistry on the show. It's been uttered out so many times. XD

Paul Wesley (Stefan) tends to be a bit stiff, but it fits the part. Somerhalder (Damon) is definitely the break-out star; all of those complaints about his boring, pretty-boy nothingness as Boone on Lost have been dispelled.

For Paul, I actually find him as the Boone-like character this time. I have seen Paul do so much better stuff in the past. I've seen him come out recently in episodes as not boring thank god.

I'm glad you like the show hon! It's basically the best and only show on the CW. It's more mature and well, less soap operay. Even House looks like a soap to this show (at least IMO).
Arabian: Eric & Sookie 01arabian on April 23rd, 2010 03:41 pm (UTC)
I don't hate Stefan, I agree with you so hard about the Bill/Sookie thing. I just can't really get into his acting. I've already seen him in other stuff and he HAS done better IMO.

I've only seen him in TB, and just no. But I've heard others say he's better in other stuff, too.

Re: Stefan, yeah, I gave him kudos in my write-up of ep19. Paul Wesley is doing a great job.

I'm glad you like the show hon!

I LOVE IT! And I wouldn't have given it another shot if not for you, so thank you! :D
(Deleted comment)
Arabian: Damon&Stefan02arabian on June 16th, 2010 09:19 pm (UTC)
I saw your first sentence and went YAY! and clapped.

Funny, I reread this after I linked it to you and when I got to that line, it reminded me anew one of the things I so love about this show. :D