It was my full intention to review episodes of The Vampire Diaries every week but I found that nitpicking and analyzing a new show from the very start isn't practical. Finding character development inconsistencies and plot holes doesn't exactly work when those elements are in the beginning stage -- a show really ought to be given a little time to develop before going through some intense scrutiny. After watching the first few episodes I found myself reduced to one word descriptions like "great," "good," or "okay." Now that the show is six episodes in and gaining momentum, it's easier to string together coherent thoughts.
It's strange how much I'm taken by this show, especially since I’m not one for vampire stories. I’ve never seen Twilight or True Blood or read any vampire books. Heck, I've only seen season one of Buffy: The Vampire Slayer. But I decided to give The Vampire Diaries a try. Was it because of the pairing with Supernatural? Yes, that had a lot to do with it. So did interviewing the cast and producers at ComicCon. There was a lot of commitment shown to delivering an entertaining show so that was worth a few weeks of viewing. Now, I'm thrilled I've stuck with it and I'm eager for more.
I actually admire how the writers have taken a slower pace in getting things like character and premise established. Instead of coming on like gangbusters and overwhelming us with too much detail, we've gotten a chance to know and become familiar with everyone’s drama. That's not an easy approach to sell, especially in today's world of short attention span theatre, but not only has the slow build done the characters justice, it's allowed the darker tone to take control and constantly leave viewers in a state of suspense.
That darkness is easily what separates The Vampire Diaries from its CW teen show counterparts. These are teenagers with tortured souls and fractured psyches that are hardly living the glamorous life. Each has an ominous side as does the town in which they reside, Mystic Falls, Virginia. The strength of the show comes from the three lead characters: Stefan (Paul Wesley), Elena (Nina Dobrev), and Damon (Ian Somerhandler). These are deeply layered characters with great on screen chemistry from the word go. Sure, the main crux is the instant attraction between Stefan and Elena and their suffering romance, but the real scene stealer is evil brother Damon.