The Vampire Diaries, A RantComplications Ensue
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Thursday, September 24, 2009

Lisa and I made it through episode 2 of THE VAMPIRE DIARIES, the CW's attempt to duplicate the TWILIGHT magic without paying for the rights. (We missed the pilot.)

Personally, I was shocked at how badly done it was, considering Kevin Williamson (DAWSON'S CREEK) is at the helm. Of five outs, three of them were SCARY VAMPIRE BARES FANGS!!!!! The third act out was a pure cheat -- just a dream sequence. The fourth act out was a qualified cheat -- real vampire, but in the next act it turns out he didn't bite anyone. The tag out was just irrelevant -- a day player about to get bit.

Not to mention the act outs all related to what I have to assume is a B story, since they had nothing to do with the girl-who-isn't-Bella and the large-foreheaded-vamp-who-isn't-Edward-and-certainly-isn't-David-Boreanaz.

C'mon, guys. This is just sloppy writing. The episode was like watching a bad spec.

Of course, there's the issue of vampires who can go out in the sun with no ill effects whatsoever. Who decided that was clever? You're messing with canon. If you give them sunlight, are they really still vampires? If they don't have to kill, is there anything left of the metaphysics and the metaphor?

And can we please, please bury the cliche that a centuries-old vampire would haunt a high school girl because she looks like a girl he was hot for back in the Old Days? Are vampires really that shallow?

Not that anyone cared. I don't doubt that the CW called up Williamson and asked for "Twilight, the series, you know, with a vampire with with a large forehead, who looks just like a young David Boreanaz" and Williamson looked at the number on the check and said, "No problem babe, my daughter needs a better pony."

The one thing I would really, really like to see come back is the notion of a vampire as a predator. Not just violent and aggressive. But a being that regards human beings as food and/or playthings. The way that your cat would regard you if you suddenly shrunk to mouse size. I'd like to see what vampire culture is really like. I bet they don't play together nicely. They probably guard their hunting grounds. They probably have trouble getting within a few yards of each other without fighting. That's probably why they haven't wiped us out: they can't cooperate.

(To be fair, Ian Somerhalder has a bit of that going on, and is the only worthwhile thing in the show. And I am having trouble believing he is not Rob Lowe's love child.)

Oh, there's lots of unmined territory in the vamp story yet. These "vampire as sparkly pony" shows haven't even opened a vein.

But that's all food for another show... heh.



a) You're not wrong, b) not that it matters because, c) it's the only thing working on that network. Which is the worst kind of encouragement.

The one thing I would really, really like to see come back is the notion of a vampire as a predator. Not just violent and aggressive. But a being that regards human beings as food and/or playthings.

This is the source of the thrill of vampires, of course. Because if you're using vampires as a metaphor for sex and death (as is traditional), it makes no sense that they're vegan sparkly ponies who only want to admire you from afar.

Alexander Skarsgard is doing the predator thing on True Blood in probably the only storyline that doesn't make me want to throw things at the TV. Actually recommending that show requires many reservations, but if it's the vampire-as-predator dynamic you want, he and his righthand woman certainly bring the bloodthirstiness. And the humor, actually, which is probably why they often steal the show.

By Blogger kimshum, at 3:28 AM  

Did you ever see the BBC's late 90's Ultraviolet? From wikipedia: "Ultraviolet revolves around a government-funded paramilitary police unit, which may have connections to the Roman Catholic Church fighting a secret war against a worldwide vampire conspiracy." The Vampires have decided they can't let humans be free-range any longer because of CJD, HIV, Hepatitis etc. The humans fight them with carbon bullets and ultraviolet lights. 6 episodes.


By Blogger me, at 4:34 AM  

Rant all you want, but you should at least read the books known as "The Vampire Diaries" by L.J.Smith that came out many years before Twilight. That being said, you're absolutely right that the CW is ripping off Twilight.

The irony is that actual fans of the books really hate the show on the CW of the same name. (Those with concentration levels above ADD.) The CW changed as much as they could about the storyline and characters of the books to make it sell like Twilight instead of sticking to the original (or being original).

And as for the sunlight, they wear medallion rings that protect them or they'd burn to death just as any other "canon" vampire would.

By Blogger Unknown, at 6:14 AM  

This show is the worst piece of vile garbage I have seen in a long time.

By Blogger Emily Blake, at 11:56 AM  

We don't need vampires...we need Nosferatu.

Seriously - what if they walk around beautiful during the day, but morph into these terrifying pasty skinned creatures at night? That this...evil was always underneath the skin of these CK + AF models turned actors?

By Blogger Cunningham, at 12:33 PM  

"And as for the sunlight, they wear medallion rings that protect them or they'd burn to death just as any other "canon" vampire would."

Seriously?! That is right out of Angel!

I agree with Cunningham. The next vampires I want to see should be ugly, demonic sewer dwellers. Just something SCARY.

By Blogger Unknown, at 12:43 PM  

What got me about the show is the casting, three quarters of the featured males look exactly the same. The boy vamp, the girl's troubled brother, the bully who picks on the troubled brother, even the history teacher are all stamped from the same mold. Put them in a line-up and I wouldn't be able to tell them apart.

By Blogger Daniel, at 5:57 PM  

So... when will you be creating this show where vampires are still predators? Speaking as someone currently studying Animal Behaviour, I would LOVE a vampire show like that.

Also, the above comment about Alexander Skarsgard is accurate. One of the only good things about True Blood!

By Blogger Unknown, at 6:55 PM  

Amen. The only reason to watch Vampire Diaries is if you're going through Ian Somerhalder withdrawal. Which all women are, perpetually.

By Blogger Little Miss Nomad, at 2:15 AM  

Sounds like a terrible, sloppy show (although, as an aspiring TV writer, I always find it reassuring to see crap on the air -- it MUST open the door for bright-eyed buskers like me, right? RIGHT?!).

The only quibble I have with your post is that the idea of a man/vampire haunted by his lost love is actually pretty romantic. In the world of teenage girls, boys are perpetually fickle, always distracted by latest shiny new thing. The concept that this sexy vampire has been imprinted with the memory of one girl -- haunted by her, pining for her -- is very compelling. It's like the way women find divorced dads so appealing -- if he's this endearing with his (preexisting) kids, think how adorable he'd be with OUR kids! I.e., maybe this vampire will spend the next 200 years being haunted by every girl that reminds him of me...

By Blogger Rebecca, at 10:42 AM  

@Rebecca: I don't mind a vamp being haunted by his lost love. But the idea that he's haunted by some chick who LOOKS LIKE his lost loves seems ridiculous. If I lived 200 more years and Lisa didn't, I'd be drawn to someone who had her mind, not her nose and eyes.

I realize that's not as easy to show on screen as "you look like this sepia photograph," but if you're going to trot out this tired vamp cliche, update it a bit.

By Blogger Alex Epstein, at 10:58 AM  

The real problem is that Alex and I recently watched the entire DVD of Ultraviolet, and it ROCKED. It's hard for another show to match up.

But we're watching An American Werewolf in London tonight, to clear our palate, so to speak.

By Blogger Unknown, at 11:16 AM  

Ok, yes. I WOULD like my husband to be obsessed with my sparkling intellect for centuries, not my teenage bod.

Perhaps in your vamps-as-predators update you can have a vampire fall in love with a girl who looks just like his lost love -- but have the twist be that the chick was pretty by Ye Olde Beauty Standards, not today's baby whorexia. A voluptuous beauty? A voluptous African Queen (like Amber Riley on Glee)?

Or is having the vamp fall in love with the unloved outsider girl another cliche?

By Blogger Rebecca, at 4:14 PM  

+The book was written 20 years ago, n ppl oni notice it bcoz of the show juz 2 critic it? when twilight is about as same, n I'm being a fan the books and series and movie of both.

By Blogger Sicreci, at 6:53 AM  

i dont care how bad the graphics are, i just wanted to get the story line and characters right! and guess what........................................................THEY DIDNT!
they got the 3 main charaters names right but their face wrong!

Matt Donavon is suppost to me Matt Honeycutt. Jememy dosent exsist! Vicki is not Matts sister and she is Dicks ex-girlfiend who dies after a series of attacks by Klaus and Kathrine. It never says Katherines Last name.Bonnie Bennett is suppost to be Bonnie McCullough. Caroline isn't the sheriffs daughter. Jenna doesn't exsist. AND MERIDETH ISN'T EVEN IN THE SHOW! bringing me to Alaric isn't married but is actually engaged to Merideth. she knows all about supernatural stuff. Isobel is a teenager and gets posessed by the malaic or something, causing her to pierce herself over and over.

By Blogger vampirenovels24, at 1:56 PM  

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