Vampires. It gets funnier every time I hear it.
Okay, I borrowed that line from Supernatural's Dean Winchester, but it does make a point. The world is vampire crazy right now, especially thanks to Twilight and True Blood. Why do we need another vampire show? Because when it comes to the blood-sucking creatures, the stories are endless. The Vampire Diaries, a new series on The CW making its debut Thursday at 8 pm, is based on the series of novels by L.J. Smith that came out starting in 1991, long before Twilight or True Blood.
Elena, a 17-year-old high school student, is starting to readjust to life again in Mystic Falls, Virginia after the death or her parents. She is taken with the new kid in town, Stefan Salvatore, and they are instantly drawn to one another. Oh, but he happens to be a vampire. What’s worse is Stefan’s brother Damon has followed him to town and this dude is evil. That sets up an intriguing little war between a good and an evil brother for not only Elena’s soul, but the souls of everyone in town.
"Any great vampire story is at the center an epic, beautiful sweeping love story," said executive producer Julie Plec at this summer’s Comic-Con during a roundtable press session. "Two people who have no reason to be together and yet fit so perfectly with each other."
“It’s so romantic because it is such an unlikely pairing. It’s the ultimate love story,” added executive producer Kevin Williamson, whose previous work includes Dawson’s Creek and Scream. Kevin is also a huge True Blood fan, while Julie is more into Twilight. So, given all those influences, what can we expect from The Vampire Diaries?
“We have in our show what Dawson’s Creek did back in the day when Kevin did that,” said Plec. “It’s a coming of age culture, it’s young love, it’s friendships, loyalty, and trust and it’s set with an ensemble of these teenagers and the town that they live in. The town itself plays very much into the long term mythology of the series. This town has seen vampires before and when the vampires return the town has something to say about it.”
Bob Levy, another executive producer, also sees past influences coming into play. "I think the fact that Kevin is both Dawson's Creek and Scream, this is the perfect marriage of those two kinds of voices. More than anything else it's going to be romantic. It's about overwhelming epic love, but it's also gonna be scary. For it really to be a fun ride, there has to be danger. You have to feel like really bad things can happen. You see in the first four minutes that bad things can happen. It's gonna be really romantic, and hopefully sexy and funny and scary at the same time."
The show has also managed to get on board Marcos Siega (Dexter, Cold Case) as primary director and on-site supervising producer. Levy is impressed with the fit. "What was sort of interesting about Marcos that we discovered while shooting the pilot in Vancouver is he's really a romantic. A closet romantic. Marcos has the heart of a 15-year-old girl pounding in his chest."
Ian Somerhandler, who plays evil brother Damon, is really impressed with the talent behind the show in general. "We're so lucky to have this show … We have this powerhouse of genius minds working around the clock. These guys are working their asses off. So are we."
History dictates though there are issues when adapting from any previous work. This case is no exception. Avid fans of the books are keeping watchful eyes on Kevin Williamson and company to remain true to the story. What type of pressure is that bringing? "We're gonna do our best," said Williamson. "We know the thing with fans of books is they're big fans. They were tearing us apart for casting brunette instead of blonde. We very much would have loved to have found the blonde who was the essence of who Elena was, but this girl (Nina Dobrev) walked into our lives and we couldn't look another way."