Coming from Glee’s premiere Wednesday night to the premiere of The Vampire Diaries is like jumping into a pool right after stepping out of the hot tub. Gone is most of the comedy, the general feelings of happiness, and worst of all, gone is the singing. But as much as I wish Diaries were a comical musical about longing and vampires, I will have to make do with what was dealt. And what we have right now feels like a serialized version of Twilight, just with more characters that seem like they are seriously contemplating slitting their wrists.
The show is based on a book series by L. J. Smith, but all I know about the story is what has been shown so far in the pilot, which is: At the beginning of the summer, Elena and Jeremy Gilbert’s parents were killed in a car crash, which Elena survived. However, she bas been able to deal with it a lot better than her brother has, where she has turned to soul searching with her diary, he has turned to drugs, alcohol, and black nail polish. Now it’s the beginning of the school year, and here come Stefan Salvatore, the hot new guy/vampire who seems to be making it around just fine in the daylight hours (semi sidenote – did you check out that ridiculous ring? I know it has the power to prevent sun damage, but it sure is a little gaudy…). They “meet cute” and the pining begins.
Now I know I am giving this show a hard time, but it is just another addition to the long list of films/shows of the vampire genre, and with shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and True Blood, it has the hard task of finding its own place (though as I did before, it will most likely be compared to Twilight more so than anything else). Here are my thoughts (that’s right, I have to digress to bullet points):
- My main problem with the pilot is that it goes straight for the melodrama, lathering enough intensity and teen angst to give anyone clogged arteries. However, it is not the two leads at fault for this, but Elena’s friend Matt and brother Jeremy, who spend the entire episode looking like wounded puppies. As much as I want Matt to stop hoping for a relationship with Elena, Jeremy is far more annoying in his pining for Matt’s slutty sister Kayla. Let’s just say that I was slightly hoping she was going to die after being attacked in the woods just so I wouldn’t have to deal with this anymore.
- I almost expected Elena and Stefan to delve into a full-blown relationship by the end of the episode. And I don’t understand why she is not freaking out more about how he is always just showing up out of nowhere. If I were her I wouldn’t care if he says he just wants to see if I am okay; if I caught him watching me through my window I would freak out, not invite him in out of the cold. But I guess his furrowed brow, constipated look doesn’t appeal to me as much as it does to her.
- And another little thing about one of their interactions. How on earth did neither of them realize just how much she was bleeding after falling in the cemetery? I know this may seem stupid, but that is a huge detail not to notice, especially because it looked like she was going to bleed out when she pulled her pant leg up.
- Though I do like the two leads, I am on the fence about the majority of the supporting cast. My biggest issues are with Bonnie (Katerina Graham). Usually the best friends are the most loveable characters, however, I am really indifferent to her. Not only is her comedy falling flat (take the Heath Ledger comment), but I am really hoping that this whole psychic thing disappears as the series progresses. Plus, the acting in this role seems a little weak to me, and is easily overshadowed by Candice Accola’s performance as Caroline Forbes.
- Speaking of the comedy: I really hope this show takes some notes from The OC, which was able to balance extreme drama with pop culture references and comedy. There seems to be a lot of promise, but the only jokes I really remember laughing at were when Elena laughs off the crow and fog in the cemetery, saying “it was all very Hitchcock,” as well as later, when someone makes a reference to What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?
- Speaking of the crow and fog; what the heck is that all about? Damon Salvatore, Stefan’s douche of a brother makes light of it during the episode when Stefan asks if the crow is a little much, to which Stefan responds, “you should see what I can do with the fog.” This is funny, but its not really effective because as much as they make a joke out of it, he clearly thinks it works because it happens repeatedly in the episode, something I hope gets used less and less, if it doesn’t stop altogether. Though this brings him down a notch, he is the most promising source of comedy and entertainment on the show with his weird blend of hatred, narcissism and wit. And as long as he doesn’t try to enroll in school with his brother (since he looks about 30), as well as does something with his hair, he will continue to be my favorite.
- On a similar note, I really hope that sometime soon we learn why Stefan and Damon hate each other as much as they do. Damon says something about promising to ruin Stefan’s life for all of eternity, and that’s not something someone decides on a whim. I am assuming it has something to do with Katherine, the girl from the past who looks identical to Elena, which I also hope to learn more about soon.
- One last thing: another note they should take from The OC is how to choose music. The playlist for the episode consisted of a lot of songs that I love, but they seem a little more forceful than they need to be. It’s all a little too Now That’s What I Call Music.
As much as I complain about the pilot, I still believe that this show has a lot of promise, especially with how the episode ends, as well as the footage in the trailer for upcoming episodes. However, something needs to happen fast if The Vampire Diaries wants to be more than just something to compare to Twilight.
Final Grade: B-