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!