Tele-Tuesday: TV with Bite – The Vampire Diaries

 

What makes The Vampire Diaries so successful?  For one, the allure of the vampire will always seduce a television audience.  Secondly, production cast perhaps the most beautiful ensemble on TV.  And, most importantly, the writing is absolutely stellar.

Based on the YA series of the same name by L.J. Smith, The Vampire Diaries attracts teenage and adult viewers alike every Thursday night for the CW network.  So, why is it so popular?

#1 – The Vampire

Vampires have mesmerized readers, movie-goers, and television viewers for decades.  In addition to a vampire’s ability to compel a human, they also possess seductive traits including super strength, lightening fast speed, immortality, and eternal youth.  How is it that biting into the neck of a human is sexy?  It just is.

#2 – Beautiful People

Elena Gilbert played by Nina Dobrev (Degrassi: The Next Generation), is a human teenager surrounded by the supernatural.  Dobrev also plays Elena’s doppelganger, Katherine Pierce – vampire maker of the Salvatore brothers.

Elena loses both parents in a car accident, and later learns that she is adopted.  She dates vampire Stefen, while shamelessly shelving her attraction to his vampire brother, Damon.

Stefen Salvatore played by Paul Wesley (Wolf Lake, Everwood), is a 150 year old vampire.  Stefen is the good again/bad again vampire.

In the 1920s, “bad” Stefen, also known as the “Ripper,” leaves a long trail of bodies during his tenure in the greater Chicago area.  A friendly vampire later saves Stefen, and she teaches him to feed on animals, not humans.  “Good” Stefen then saves Elena from the car crash that claims her parents’ lives, and he instantly falls in love with the Katherine look-alike and resumes residency in Mystic Falls to be near her.

Damon Salvatore played by Ian Somerhalder (Lost), is Stefen’s older brother, and he is also a 150 year old vampire.  Damon is the “bad” boy with bite that we all love to love.  Like Stefen, Damon adored Katherine and he similarly shares the same feelings for Elena; and, just like in the 1800s, Damon suffers as Elena chooses his brother over him.  Why can’t Damon catch a break?

Unlike his brother, Damon never claims to be the “good” vampire.  Damon returns to Mystic Falls to make his little brother’s life a living hell.  He laughs at Stefen for preferring animal blood over human, and Damon has no problem compelling females to get what he needs – sex, blood, and/or information. Regardless of his intentions to make Stefen’s life miserable, Damon will do anything to protect his brother – just don’t tell anybody or he will deny it.

Jeremy Gilbert played by Steven R. McQueen (Everwood and Piranha 3D; and yes, he is Steve McQueen’s grandson) is Elena’s little brother.  Like his sister, Jeremy is human; however since being brought back from the dead by his witch girlfriend, he sees the ghosts of his former vampire girlfriends.

As with  generations of Gilberts before him, Jeremy wears a magically protected ring preventing him from dying any supernatural death.

Caroline Forbes played by Candice Accola, or “Vampire Barbie” as she’s called in our house, began the series as a human.  Caroline’s the bossy teenage best friend of Elena, but that friendship doesn’t stop her from being extremely jealous of Elena.

Seizing an opportunity, vampire Katherine turns Caroline after a car accident hoping to use her against Elena and the Salvatores.  Katherine failed.  Caroline might just be my favorite character on the show, behind Damon of course.

Bonnie Bennett played by Kat Graham (Honey 2), is best friends with Elena and Caroline.  She recently discovered that she is an extremely powerful witch, and she continues to increase her powers by learning witchcraft via spells from her ancestors.

Bonnie is dating Jeremy, but so far in season three she has been MIA.

Matt Donovan played by Zach Roerig (As the World Turns), is one of the rare humans roaming the streets of Mystic Falls.  Matt previously dated Elena and Caroline, and is now a bit spooked since learning about all of his supernatural friends.

Even though they are his closest friends, Matt finds it difficult to trust the vampires because they killed his sister.

Tyler Lockwood played by Michael Trevino (Cane), is the resident high school jock and cursed werewolf.  After his father’s death, his uncle Mason arrives hoping to reclaim the family moonstone – a stone necessary to break the werewolf curse; and, unbeknownst to anyone at the time, a stone also required for an original to transform into a hybrid.

Both thrust into the world of the supernatural, Tyler and Caroline continue to grow closer.

Alaric  “Ric” Saltzman played by Matt Davis (Legally Blonde), teaches at Mystic Falls High.  Rick came to town a vampire hunter, however now he assumes the role of “protector” for the Salvatores and Gilberts, as well as their vampire and werewolf friends.

Ric is cursed on the relationship front : his ex-wife/deceased vampire Isobel, is Elena’s mother (therefore, similar to Jeremy, he also possesses a Gilbert protection ring); and his girlfriend, Jenna (Elena and Jeremy’s aunt) was recently turned and killed as a part of Klaus’ plan to take over the supernatural world.

Klaus/Nick played by Joseph Morgan (Hex, Mansfield Park), is one of the “original” vampires, and is also a new breed called a hybrid (vampire/werewolf) courtesy of a witch’s spell – the simultaneous death of a werewolf, vampire, and doppelganger.

Klaus is one bad vamp.  The current episodes are airing just enough back story so the viewers can learn a tad bit more about this original and his sister, Rebecca, who is in love with Stefen.  Uh-oh, Elena!

#3 – The Writing

Without giving too much away, the writing on The Vampire Diaries is enough to attract all ages.  Really. It is.

The first season focuses on the history of the vampire and witch in Mystic Falls.  Season two continues with the Katherine/doppelganger storyline and also introduces the werewolf curse.  The suspense, sexual tension, and the twists and turns involving every character is perhaps some of the best on television.  Season three just started a few weeks ago, and we can’t wait to see what the writers have in store for us!

 

Do you watch The Vampire Diaries?  Did you read the books?  What do you like/dislike about the YA series versus the TV series?  Who’s your favorite character and why?  Better yet – Stefen or Damon? 

Do you think when it’s all said and done, that The Vampire Diaries will rival Buffy the Vampire Slayer as one of the best supernatural series of all time?  I’d love to hear from you!

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29 Responses to Tele-Tuesday: TV with Bite – The Vampire Diaries

  1. I read the series before i knew they were making a television show out of them. I liked the first couple books but after that, i lost interest. I wasn’t sure if i even wanted to watch the show because of it. I’m so happy i did though, in my opinion the show is so much better than the books, which hardly ever happens. I’m rooting for an Elena and Damon hookup!

  2. Ah, Tiffany, thanks for making my day! Love the Vampire Diaries, although I’ve only watched the show and haven’t read the books. Elena is who I picture in my head in writing my heroine in my own dystopian fairytale. Season 3 has been bit more violent than I like, but as always, the writers have something in store for us. Did not know about Rebecca loving Stefan! Hmmm. My favorite is Damen. The guy is hot and his warrior archeotype keeps him just this side of honorable. Great blog, but I may be bias!

    • I love making your day, Joelene! TVD is definitely violent, that is another reason why I like it – it doesn’t sugar-coat the killing tendencies of vampires and werewolves. I’ll never forget my reaction to Damon ripping out the heart of you-know-who (I don’t want to give too much away for those who haven’t watched the show) – WOW! Thanks for stopping by, and feel free to come talk Damon with me anytime.

  3. Hartford says:

    I actually haven’t read the books or seen the show but my interest is peaked. I’ve been thinking of picking them up for a read but I think I might start with the show – sounds intriguing!

  4. Roni Loren says:

    Ahh, beautiful people indeed. That show is chock full of mancandy. 🙂 And I’m with Stephanie, I like the direction the shows went in more than the books. Though I admittedly have only read the first 2-3 books, can’t remember exactly.

    • Mancandy – yes indeed, Roni! But you already know about my love for Damon….I’ve actually heard that the first four books are the best; the remainder are supposedly written by a ghost writer and not quite the same. I haven’t read any of the series yet, but I’m adding them to my list. Thanks for stopping by!

  5. I feel like we need to get together and compare favorite TV shows. So far you have mentioned many of mine.

    I have not read the Vampire Diaries books, but part of me is afraid to now. I am so deeply in love with the show. And this season? Oh. My. God. I freaked out on the last episode with the introduction with Rebecca being in love with Stefan. And the necklace! And Katherine being there in the 20s. Geez. Matt and Jeremy’s bromance revolved around ghosts. And seriously? What is with the ghosts? And where is Bonny 😦 Oh, and Caroline and Tyler. Love them. Both of them. And love them together.

    And come on, Elena and Damon. Sigh. From the beginning, I did not want Elena to be with Damon, even though he is gorgeous and a good bad guy…at times. But, Damon is, well, Damon.

    I can’t wait for the new episode.

    • It’s okay that you don’t want Elena and Damon together – that leaves more Damon for me. LOL. I also LOVE Caroline and Tyler together. I have a strange feeling that they’re going to make a baby hybrid of their own….

      Ashley, I love talking TV so hit me up anytime!

  6. Oh, and I must admit, I feel so bad for Klaus. He’s just lonely…

  7. sterlingsop says:

    Great post! I read the books before I knew they were making a TV series out of it and if I remember rightly, it was around the same time I started reading the True Blood books too. Whereas True Blood went off the rails in terms of divorcing itself totally from the books after the first series (despite the so-called “hunks”) I’m really pleased that Vampire Diaries has taken longer to diversify itself. The main difference between the two is that VP has complemented rather than annihilated the books from which it was taken.

    I’m a Damon fan too….swoon!!

    • Pam – what do you think of the True Blood TV series? Do you prefer the books since the HBO series divorced itself after season one? I always love hearing opinions about novel adaptations. Thanks for stopping by!

  8. Great post, Tiffany. I’m in season 2 on DVD right now and actually have a post coming up at the end of this week on my blog wondering WHY this show is so popular? I’m really not into it, but really appreciate you for giving me perspective from someone who is.

    P.S. Nothing can ever rival Buffy! Evar!

    • Ah, I’m sorry that you’re not enjoying the TV series. I do hope you won’t give up; the writing gets better and better. I’m looking forward to your blog post. We may disagree, but I think that’s healthly. Right? 🙂

      So, you’re a big Buffy fan, eh? Me too. I ❤ Spike. I cried when the series ended. Yep, I did. I admit it. I love watching Logo when they air the all-day marathons too. So what if I'm in my thirties?

      Thanks for stopping by, Susan!

  9. Julie Glover says:

    I have neither read the series nor seen the show. Your breakdown of the characters and their connections makes me think of War and Peace; I might need a flow chart to keep everything and everybody straight. While I enjoy vampire novels, I’ve seen almost no vampire movies or shows that I love (Lost Boys is an exception here). Then again, I never saw Buffy. I’m wondering if I should start with Buffy or give Vampire Diaries a shot. It does sound interesting.

    • Julie, next time the TV is on for the simple purpose of white noise alone, click over to LOGO and see if you can catch an episode of Buffy. I highly recommend it. It’s a bit dated now, but it will always be great. Joss Whedon is magic.

      Now that I’ve said that, I also highly recommend Vampire Diaries. Just ask Jess Witkins – she didn’t watch it until all the Twitter chatter, then rented the DVDs by season. She’s now hooked.

      If you like the supernatural, I think you’ll like both Buffy and TVD (Charmed too, BTW. Have you watched that?). Thanks for stopping by!

  10. I haven’t read the books, and I only just started watching the episodes of this season, though I’ve seen a few from the end of season two. Definitely Damon over Stefan, though I am confused about something, and granted, I haven’t seen every episode–Damon is Stefan’s older brother? Yet everything I’ve seen from their interaction and flashbacks to Catherine seem more like Stefan is the caring older brother. That’s just the feeling I’ve gotten from watching the show. Anyone else sense that?

    • Hey, Angela! Yes, Damon is the older brother. He’ll sometimes call Stefen his “little brother” – but just so you know, you’re not crazy. Stefen, I do believe, has always been more mature and more emotional than Damon. If someone isn’t as familiar with the series, I can totally see them thinking Stefen is the older brother. Thanks for stopping by!

  11. I was a huge reader of these books (and all LJS books) in high school. The show is so completely different from the books that I can’t stand to watch it. I’ve tried….but the absence of my fav character (Meredith) and the addition of Elena’s brother (she had a 5yo sister in the books…) along with lots of other changes (that deviate too far from the books)…I just can’t enjoy the show.

    That said, in the BOOKS, I’m a total Damon fan girl. The original 4 books are the best, IMO. I read the 5th in the series, and I really believe it was written by a ghost writer because it was SO different from the original books.

    I know the CW is also doing “The Secret Circle” which is also based on LJS books. I’ve heard they did the same type of changes, so I likely will not be watching that either. I know TV shows/movies will always differ from the books, but I think the changes the CW made are just too much for someone like me (someone who was such a huge fan of these books growing up) to look past.

    I mean, come on, my favorite character isn’t even there!

    • Hey, Alice!

      Meredith sounds like my kind of girl, but I have to admit that I’m glad the TV series added Jeremy instead of a 5 year old sister. It’s a bit more believable that two teenagers would be able to take care of themselves following their parents death.

      I am watching The Secret Circle too, and I’m ashamed to say that I haven’t read those books either. Kait Nolan did a great post about the TV series adaptation today on her blog, but as someone who doesn’t know any better, I do like the series. I love witches, and I was excited to see a new show coming to TV (I was a big Charmed fan).

      I am adding TVD books 1-4 to my list. Thanks so much for stopping by!

  12. Jillian Dodd - Glitter, Bliss and Perfect Chaos says:

    Whoo there are some good looking men on this show!! I’d say that makes it worth a watch on its own!!

  13. Oooh! Another show to add to the list.

  14. Catie Rhodes says:

    You know I love The Vampire Diaries. I went into the first season thinking it would be cheesy and stupid. I was surprised by the depth of the plot. So much so that I went out and bought the first four books of the series immediately following season one.

    I think if I had discovered the books back in the 90s when they were written, I’d have loved them. As it was, they seemed dated. The feel of the books was so different than that of the show, I couldn’t enjoy them. I did keep them, though, and hope to try again some day. 😀

    My favorite character in TVD is Damon (of course). My least favorite character is Matt. We heckle him. Now, however, with the intro of the Vicki/Ghost plot, I’m starting to dislike Matt less. I think the cool thing about TVD writing is that there’s just layers and layers and layers of story.

    Thanks for doing this. Job well done. 😀

  15. Pooh says:

    Interesting to know that the McQueen name is in the acting business. Thanks.
    Love you, Pooh

  16. Jess Witkins says:

    Why can’t I like this more than once?! I’m such an obsessed fan. I already know the characters and plot and I was leaning in so much reading, my eyes are watering from the computer screen! LOL.

    I’ll be tuning in tonight! Damon is my fave character, but Caroline is getting more points. I’d really like to see more Bonnie, where HAS she been this season? A phone face chat is not enough!

  17. andrewmocete says:

    Better than Buffy? Ha! Ha, I say!

    Thank you, goodnight.

  18. I love the Vampire Diaries but have not read the books. I guess I’ll have to at least give them a try now. Favorite character? That’s really hard. Hmmn.

    I didn’t care for the Caroline or Tyler characters at first but they’ve started to grow on me. I like Stefan/Elena to a point but after that they kind of get on my nerves. The whole Katherine/Elena story line I’m ready to see disappear. Jeremy has changed quite a bit and I like his relationship with Bonnie, it really works for me.

    I have to say it’s a toss up between Damon and Alaric. Both characters have so many more layers than the rest of the cast. They’ve tried with Stefan this season but sorry, I’m not buying. Damon is so complicated I could go through each layer happily still finding new stuff to ponder. Same with Alaric, there’s a lot more going on with that man than meets the eye. They keep me coming back to watch more.

    As good as Vamp Di is I have to say Buffy and Angel still reign supreme. Just the writing between these shows is like comparing apples to oranges. I expect Vampire Diaries to improve but it’s never going to have the same quality writing Joss Whedon gave to his shows.

    P.S. I also think they should give up the pretense of these people being in high school. Not one of them reminds me of any teenager I know. Or at least they never should have started the pretense to begin with. If they had them in college it would be better.

  19. Pingback: Death and Evolution with The Vampire Diaries and The Originals | Tiffany A White's Ooo Factor

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