Also, the music is mostly terrible, with a soap-opera score and unappealing pop-rock tracks from minor acts that overshadow and ruin any forward momentum the plot may have managed. After hearing two weak modern covers of classic '80s new-wave songs within the span of the first three episodes, my wife had already mostly checked out.
I will readily admit that Nina Dobrev is an inspired choice for the lead actress, although apparently that choice caused great dismay among fans of the novels based on the literary character’s frequently mentioned blonde hair and Dobrev’s brunette mane. It’s a delight to watch her develop her skills throughout the season, especially given her relatively young age that almost lets her legitimately pass as a high-school student. As for the vampire brothers, I’m sure they’re not hard on the eyes but they didn’t do much for me. Ian Somerhalder gets to show much more range than his stint on Lost, but I never really buy him as a slimy antagonist no matter how many smirks he employs. Paul Wesley just seems like a boring cardboard cutout as the stoic brother fighting to keep his blood lust in check while also pining for Dobrev’s character, although he finally gets to emote a bit in the final episodes of the season.
The series is crammed onto four Blu-ray discs, so those who like to blaze through a disc at a time are in for a 4 ½ hour marathon per disc. Each of the first three discs contains a few deleted scenes relevant to the episodes on those discs, while disc four (with only four episodes) also houses other bonus featurettes where the cast and producers mostly talk about how awesome it is to work with everyone else. My favorite bonus was the inclusion of the original casting footage, showing the actors in their pre-fame state struggling for their eventual roles. The bonus features also include a few webisodes and a seemingly out of place gag reel. Thankfully, the show doesn’t scrimp on its production quality so the Blu image absolutely sparkles, with any given still pristine enough to be suitable for framing. The sound mix is right in line with what one would expect…if you can get past the “music”.
The Vampire Diaries: The Complete First Season is now available on Blu-ray, DVD and digital download.