Oh, TV, what are you doing to me? I love/hate it when I find another TV show to add to my must-watch list. As Miss Thropist often rants, why can’t there be more hours in the day?!
Anyway, I started watching The Vampire Diaries because I finally finished watching all my Whedon box-sets – Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel and Firefly – (will watch the final episode of Dollhouse tomo!!) – which has dominated my show-watching life since forever. Well, since August.
I felt good at having conquered those shows, not least because now I totally get so many more geek comments than I did before (it’s like learning a language) – for one, in this recap I’m looking at a VD ep I haven’t watched yet there’s a ref to Firefly‘s Zoe and Wash and a leaf floating on the wind or summat and two weeks ago, that would have been totally lost on me, but now I KNOW ALL – and haven’t really jumped on a new TV obsession yet, kinda enjoying being able to make mouse-dents in the mountains of unwatched DVDs I amassed since I got into the Whedonverse, and taking eps of ongoing shows I like (Dollhouse, How I Met Your Mother) as they come.
But there’s only 12 episodes of VD so far, and I expected not to like it that much because it seemed like vamp overkill and very much in the vein of Twilight, with the whole new guy in school turns out to be a vampire, heroine’s small-town life suddenly gets all mystical (yea yea, I know the VD books came first)… I mean what could be better than Buffy, Angel and True Blood?
Plus, although I certainly think Ian Somerhalder is veeerrry purdy (and have since Young Americans, sigh), he didn’t look too photogenic in the stills (see above) and the other guy, Paul Wesley, didn’t dazzle me either. And the girl (Nina Dobrev) seemed annoying.
It seemed a safe foray, I was bound to be bored by it, then I could commit myself to a new obsesh (thinking Supernatural). So I started watching the episodes, mainly using them as background buzz for the Important Things I Need to Do. But it slyly grew on me. It’s not the best, but it’s not bad either.
The trio are all far prettier than the stills would suggest, Dobrev is less annoying because she has a kinda deep voice and isn’t all miserable like Kirsten Stewart’s Bella Swan… and there’s an intriguing mystery that build and builds with each episode.
(And seriously, where DOES the CW find all these super-pretty boys and girls?!! If they were willing to donate some to Eastenders I might be willing to watch it. But no one deserves that, not even Vanessa Abrams from Gossip Girl. Or maybe she does.)
I know I must be hooked because its 4.15am, I’m sleepy and already a little hungover from Saturday night drinking, and I am Wikipedia-ing and Googling everything VD like a loon.
Yea its an amalgamation of other CW shows (but aren’t they all of each other in a way these days?) and popular trends (vampires, YA fiction-to-screen adaptation), and yea the dialogue is a bit uneven, and downright clunky at times (odd, as super-verbosity-spinning Kevin Williamson of Dawson’s Creek is writing the scripts), and there is plenty of overwrought drama… but overall it just works for me.
Somerhalder is standout (and deliciously camp) as Damon, the evil vampire brother, whom you can never be quite sure about, and Paul Wesley is endearing and sexy as the good vampire brother (he makes Edward Cullen seem like SUCH a creepy emo)… and they have decent brotherly chemistry.
I haven’t got a strong sense of the vampire mythology yet, doesn’t seem as rich as True Blood nor as sacrilegious as Twilight. Which the show totally refs (and riffs). Damon even reads one of the Twilight books and wonders what’s so special about “this Bella chick” and that Edward seems pussy-whipped (although he probably didn’t say pussy, but that what my memory’s telling me).
There’s also been a succession of interesting guest stars (Legally Blonde’s Matthew Davis, Gilmore Girls‘ Arielle Kebbel, Life as We Know It‘s Sean Faris, Firefly‘s Gina Torres,The L Word‘s Mia Kirshner, Buffy‘s Bianca Lawson, Felicity/Dollhouse‘s Chris William Martin) … and there are more to come (The OC‘s Melinda Clarke).
Now I feel a bit guilty about not paying better attention right from the start! These vamps are sneaky creatures… you never know when they’re going to bite you next.
(And oh yes, Miss Thropist, I think you ought to try a few eps out too… but you should give it until at least episode six, when Damon dances with his shirt off. If you aren’t hooked by then, you never will be. Oh, hell, you can just watch that bit here if you want a spoiler-free taster.)