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!

Tele-Tuesday: TV with Bite – The Bad Boys

The supernatural is especially hot right now, and more often than not, the television vampire and werewolf is sexy.  These physically sculpted and beautiful characters are mesmerizing and seducing – to the other characters on-screen and those tuning in to watch the show.

Every television supernatural can moonlight as both a bad-boy and good, but more often than not, the audience prefers the naughty over the nice.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Bad Boy #1: Spike (James Marsters)

Turned in the late 1800s, the former poet known as “William the Bloody,” transformed into Spike after Drusilla drained him and forced him to feed off of her blood.  Mentored by Angelus, Spike tortured Europe for years and killed two slayers.  The bleach-blonde Billy Idol lookalike then moved to Sunnydale to destroy his third – Buffy Summers. 

Spike successfully defeats his enemies by using a combination of his combat skills, his ability to withstand large amounts of pain, and his great observation and perception skills.  But Spike has one big weakness – he’s impatient.  

Spike overcomes many battles to reach his ultimate goal, such as withstanding the microchip inserted into his body (a chip that inflicts pain every time Spike attempts to hurt any non-demon) and his alcoholism.  After his defeat of the Demon Trials (physical challenges not survived by many), Spike regains his soul. 

Early on, Spike proves to be Buffy’s nemesis, and is a constant thorn in her side.  But over the years, Spike grows to appreciate Buffy and her friends, and eventually falls in love with the slayer.  

Marsters’ character was so popular, that after Spike died on the series finale of Buffy, he was resurrected on the spin-off series, Angel.

The Vampire Diaries

Bad Boy #2: Damon Salvatore (Ian Somerhalder)

In the 1860s, Damon meets Katherine and falls head over heels.  Not long after meeting the woman of his dreams, Damon learns that the she also shares a romantic relationship with his younger brother, Stefen. 

Making matters worse, Katherine is a vampire.  After being trapped by the Salvatore father, Katherine turns both boys and leaves them behind believing she’s dead. 

Deeply scorned by the betrayal of his brother and maker, Damon transforms into an arrogant, selfish, and dangerous vampire.  He lacks any remorse, and he is unpredictable.  Damon lives in a world of isolation, but continues searching for acceptance and love.

After decades, Damon follows his brother back to their hometown of Mystic Falls, where he meets Elena, Stefen’s new girlfriend.  Elena looks exactly like Katherine.  And so, the games begin.  Damon is drawn to Elena and eventually falls in love with her causing even more tension between the Salvatore brothers. 

After learning that Elena is “The Doppelganger” and is wanted by the strongest and oldest of all vampires, the real Damon emerges putting forth the necessary plans to save Elena from damnation.

Where Stefen takes the morally high road (he refuses to drink human blood and feeds off of small animals), Damon isn’t afraid to tear someone’s head off or rip out their heart.  Damon is the stronger of the two brothers, and will do whatever it takes to protect Elena.

True Blood

Bad Boy #3: Eric Northman (Alexander Skarsgard)

A tall, blonde former Viking over 1,000 years old, Eric Northman is one of the most powerful vampires in the Louisiana area.  He acts as sheriff of northern Louisiana, and takes his role in the vampire hierarchy very seriously.

At night, Eric owns and operates “Fangtasia” – a bar with a basement that serves as his dungeon and torture chamber.  He’s proven to be violent, keeping a few souls chained up until he’s satisfied.  Eric’s also very arrogant and manipulative. 

Many fear Eric, but not Sookie Stackhouse.  Eric is fascinated with Sookie when he realizes that she can read minds.  After his maker commits suicide, Eric forms a close bond with her.  He dreams about Sookie, and develops genuine feelings for her.  There’s only one problem: Sookie belongs to another vampire in town, Bill Compton. 

Similar to everything else, Eric doesn’t let Sookie’s relationship with Bill stand in his way.  He manages to force her to drink his blood, and then becomes enamored with her scent.  In addition to her mind reading skills, Sookie possesses fairy blood; and when a vampire consumes such blood, he can walk in the daylight.  Eric decides at this moment to protect Sookie, no matter what it takes. 

Besides Sookie, Eric’s only loyalty is to himself and to Pam, one of his vampire spawns. Everyone else is just a means to an end.   

Teen Wolf

Bad Boy #4: Derek Hale (Tyler Hoechlin)

Born a wolf, Derek spends most of his days running from the police and the Argents, a family whose werewolf hunting lineage dates back to the 1700s.  He’s blamed for most of the crime in his town, including the murder of his very own sister.  When a wolf inflicts a bite on local high school student Scott McCall, all fingers point to Derek.   

The Hale family was destroyed in a house fire set by the hunters.  Derek and his sister weren’t home at the time, and his uncle barely escaped.  With his family gone, and his uncle comatose in the hospital with third-degree burns across half of his body, Derek swears revenge against the hunters.

As a beta wolf, Derek knows that it is up to him to find and kill the alpha responsible for the town’s murders and chaos before the alpha has time to recruit and build his pack.  In return for training on how to control his new wolf urges, Scott reluctantly agrees to help Derek. 

Despite Derek and Scott’s agreement to work and train together, Derek has difficulty being friendly.  His mere presence makes those around him nervous, and even his so-called “friends” know not to let their guard down.

Do you prefer the bad-boy over the good? Who is your favorite television supernatural bad-boy and why?    In a head to head battle, who would win – Spike, Damon, Eric, or Derek? I’d love to hear from you!

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