Is there room in Planet Escapism for yet another vampire love-story? After watching the first two episodes of [[The Vampire Diaries (TV Series)|The Vampire Diaries]], I have to wonder.
Now, to satisfy Vampire Diaries purists, the books that spawned this TV series predate the Twilight ‘saga’ by a good 15 years, before Edward Cullen was a twinkle in Stephanie Meyer’s ochre-coloured eyes. However, claims of copying Meyer’s hugely successful high-school vamp-romance are going to be thrown around anyway. And some of that mud is going to stick.
The cast are particularly furrow-browed and intense, especially Paul Wesley’s dead-ringer for Pattinson vampire, Stefan Salvatore. They’s also very good-looking, as you might expect from a CW series, and like Meyer’s vampires, these guys can walk around in the daytime. However, this breaking with vampire tradition is only possible via rings that the brothers Salvatore wear, as revealed in the pilot episode.
In a nutshell…
Let me bring you up to speed. Elena Gilbert is a teenager whose parents died four months previously. As she returns to school, she meets newcomer Stefan who comes over all mysterious and brooding. She barely blinks when he disappears after seeing her cut her leg later in the graveyard. But hey, it’ll be a couple of weeks before she starts to suspect.
Needless to say, there’s the usual burgeoning tension between the two, but obstacles will get in the way. Hot on Stefan’s tail is his evil brother Damon, whose raison d’etre is to fuck up everything in Stefan’s life. You can tell he’s evil because he has ‘evil TV actor’ eyes. No offense to Ian Somerhalder or anything.
In other news, Elena’s friend Bonnie has been developing witch powers. The most obvious of these is the ability to see the history of an object just by touching it. She’s stunned when she touches
Edward Stefan and gasps “What happened to you?” Watch as she tries to warn her friend away from the dangerous vampire.
Evil Damon is a bit of a cliched character, the vengeful brother out for his younger sibling’s downfall. His current Count Of Redeeming Characteristics is zero, but that may change over time as the character gains more depth. I hope he gains more depth. From what I understand, the eventual plan for the brothers Salvatore is a battle for the affections of
It’s hard not to see the series as a vamp version of CW stablemate, [[Smallville (TV Series)|Smallville]] – replace superpowers with supernatural powers and it’s a remarkably similar prospect.
I should also mention that starting the pilot episode by knocking down a guy on a lonely, misty road was a clever call back to Kevin Williamson’s I Know What You Did Last Summer days. And while Vampire Diaries has high school cliches by the truckload, there were also some real scares. Perhaps we were lulled by the safe teen drama format, but there was plenty of shocks and gore to get the pulse racing.
And there were enough starting points over the first two episodes to set the stage for something greater.