The Vampire Diaries
TIMESLOTThursdays @ 8pm on CW.
SYNOPSISFour months after the tragic car accident that killed their parents, 17-year-old Elena Gilbert (Nina Dobrev, "DeGrassi: The Next Generation") and her 15-year-old brother, Jeremy (Steven R. McQueen, "Everwood") are still trying to cope with their grief and move on with their lives. Elena has always been the star student; beautiful, popular and involved with school and friends, but now she finds herself struggling to hide her sadness from the world. As the school year begins, Elena and her friends are fascinated by a handsome and mysterious new student, Stefan Salvatore (Paul Wesley, "Army Wives"). Stefan and Elena are immediately drawn to one another, and Elena has no way of knowing that Stefan is a centuries-old vampire, struggling to live peacefully among humans, while his brother Damon (Ian Somerhalder, "Lost") is the embodiment of vampire violence and brutality. Now these two vampire brothers - one good, one evil - are at war for Elena's soul and for the souls of her friends, family and all the residents of the small town of Mystic Falls, Virginia. Based on the series of books by L. J. Smith, THE VAMPIRE DIARIES is from Alloy Entertainment and Bonanza Productions Inc in association with Warner Bros. Television and CBS Television Studios with executive producers Kevin Williamson ("Dawson's Creek," "I Know What You Did Last Summer"), Julie Plec ("Kyle XY," "Wasteland"), Leslie Morgenstein ("Gossip Girl," "Privileged") and Bob Levy ("Gossip Girl," "Privileged"). Marcos Siega ("Dexter") directed the pilot.
IMAGE GALLERY & VIDEO PREIVEWS
REVIEWSPlease note that these reviews may contain spoilers.
|Gordon McDougall's Take|
|I am not much of a vampire genre fan, but I AM a crazy fanatic of the Buffyverse, so I've been looking for something to fill the void left by Buffy and Angel. Moonlight didn't do it for me. Twilight isn't aimed at me. I haven't seen True Blood yet. Let's see how this new show fills the bill...
The show opens with a happy young couple driving down the road when they hit someone in the dark nighttime fog. Creepy. It turns out they both become victims of a vamp. Cut to daytime, high school. Shiny happy people going to school, but there's plenty of symbollism that is dark and forboding. The black crow on the street sign. the insipid valley girls (oh, the horror, the horror!).
We meet the two brothers, one a tortured non-soul; the older brother, not so tortured. Interspersed through the vignettes where we meet good Stefan and bad Damon, there's Elena, who writes in a diary. She is destined to fall for both of these brothers. We're going to see the evolution of this young woman through the prism of the struggle between the Salvatore brothers.
On my impossible-to-meet Buffy scale of excellence, The Vampire Diaries comes close. In fact, I would say it's on its way. it's certainly no ripoff of Buffy. It doesn't try to achieve the brilliant and sublimely witty dialogue of Buffy creator Joss Whedon, but that's a good thing. That would be way too obviously derivative. Halfway into the first episode, I am intrigued by the struggle of Elena between the two brothers. There are elements of all of these characters that are alluded to, but not fully explained. I'm sure the fans of the novels know exactly what's going on, but I'm glad that I don't yet. I am getting sucked (pardon the pun) into the world of these characters already.
One thing I like about the pilot is that it doesn't feel the need to cram in a whole bunch of characters to fit every cliché of the high school experience. Shows such as Greek, The Secret Life of The American Teenager and even Kyle XY have gone that route to the point of boredom, and The Vampire Diaries sets itself apart by avoiding that trap. The "Dear Diary" moments could get a little tired, but I have a feeling they will fade into the background as the series evolves. Once it's established that Elena writes about her life, it doesn't need to be depicted in every episode. I hope.
The show has made some changes from the novels, but I think fans will overlook them in the interest of seeing the series brought to life on TV. The essential soul (again, pun; sorry) is there, which is the main thing.
The show is assembled by Kevin Williamson, best known on TV for Dawson's Creek, and on the big screen for Scream and I Know What You Did Last Summer. (Where has he been?) The first episode of this series tells me he hasn't lost his touch for establishing interesting (if not yet fully developed) characters.
TV Gord's Verdict: As I have fully disclosed, nothing is going to replace Buffy The Vampire Slayer in my heart, but The Vampire Diaries comes close. It's going to be a fun seasoning to sprinkle into my DVD-reruns of Buffy and Angel that I'm watching for the umpteenth time. I also think this is a terrific show to be paired with Supernatural on Thursday nights. A nice one-two punch for a network that seems way too obsessed with fluffier stuff on other nights.
|About Gordon McDougall|
TVGord is a radio host at 580 CFRA in Ottawa. He does a weekly segment about TV every friday which you can hear in MP3 in the '580 CFRA Interviews' section of their website, www.cfra.com
|Randi Dertzo's Take|
|This has the target audience TEEN all over it. A mysterious yet gorgeous new boy arrives at school where he 'becomes' friend with a girl who recently lost both her parents. I quoted the become word because its no accident they met. The gorgeous new guy is actually a vampire and mysterious death suddenly start to happen when he arrives in town.
I personally liked watching this pilot. I found the main characters to be very charismatic and the flow of the episode was a bit slow but it did go pretty well.
If The Vampire Diaries were to air on CTv in simulcast with The CW, I would've told you I would be watching this show. However, since it airs at 7pm on CTV, I might give this one a go. There's nothing interesting for me to watch in that timeslot other than entertainment news shows.Diaries a try.
I think it will definatly be something interesting to watch for younger viewers and I agree with TV Gord that its a great lead-in to Smallville on the CW. I just don't know how it'll perform at 7pm on CTV.
Other shows airing at the same time as the CW's airing at 8pm are: Flash Forward on /A\ and ABc, doc Zone on CBC, Survivor on CBS and Global, CSI on CTV, Bones on FOX and SNL Thursdays followed by Community on NBC and Citytv.
|Rating: There's a great future for this show!|
|About Randi Dertzo|
I'm the founder of this website and I also owns ChannelCanada.com and Viewers.ca, a discussion forum about television in Canada.