Recap - Two vampire brothers, one good, one evil are at war for 17-year-olld Elena Gilbert’s soul and the souls of her friends, family and all the residents of Mystic Falls, Virginia. Starring: Nina Dobrev as Elena Gilbert (DeGrassi: The Next Generation), Paul Wesley as Stefan Salvatore (Fallen), Ian Somerdale as Damon Salvatore (Lost), Steven R. McQueen as Jeremy Gilbert, Katerina Graham as Bonnie Bennett, Sara Canning as Jenna Sommers, Candice Accola as Caroline Forbes, Zach Roerig as Matt Donovan, Kayla Ewell as Vicki Donovan, Michael Trevino as Tyler Lockwood and Matt Davis as Alaric Saltzman. Starting as a series of must-read novels by L.J. Smith.
The Vampire Diaries set records for the CW network including an all-time high 5.7 million viewers for the series premiere (including Live+7 days of TIVO and DVR, etc viewings). It is the most-watched scripted show for CW with 4.4 million viewers an episode.
Executive Producer Kevin Williamson (Scream, Dawson’s Creek) is back with a pulse-pounding drama/thriller based an on outstanding series of books. Given all the popularity of teen vampire in cinema thanks to the Twilight series, this series breathes life to the romantic novels created by L.J. Smith. Personally, I read these books back around my high-school days and I loved each of them so I was excited when I heard this was going to be a series, but worried that it could possibly be ruined like a lot of novel-turned-TV-or Movie- Series. Williamson has been hit-or-miss in his work over the years. Creating the outstanding Scream Trilogy that is heading into it’s 4th movie (in 2011) as the start of a new trilogy. Williamson has shown he knows horror very well, further work such as Halloween H20: 20 Years Later shows his love of the genre, so any fans of The Vampire Diaries need not worry. The books are in the hands of someone who genuinely loves and cares for the material.
21 Episodes -
- 1 - Pilot (Commentary by Producers Kevin Williamson, Julie Plec & Director Marcus Siega)
- 2 - The Night of the Comet (Unaired Scene)
- 3 - Friday Night Bites
- 4 - Family Ties
- 5 - You’re Undead to Me (Unaired Scene)
- 6 - Lost Girls (Unaired Scenes)
- 7 - Haunted (Unaired Scene)
- 8 - 162 Candles
- 9 - History Repeating
- 10 - The Turning Point (Unaired Scenes)
- 11 - Bloodlines
- 12 - Unpleasantville
- 13 - Children of the Damned
- 14 - Fool Me Once (Unaired Scenes)
- 15 - A Few Good Men (Unaired Scene)
- 16 - There Goes The Neighborhood (Unaired Scenes)
- 17 - Let the Right One In (Unaired Scene)
- 18 - Under Control
- 19 - Miss Mystic Falls
- 20 - Blood Brothers
- 21 - Isobel
- 22 - Founder’s Day
The show starts off slowly as Elena and Stefan meet in school, but the romance seems rushed at first. Things slow down as drama is thrown into the relationship. The love triangle between Stefan/Elena/Damon is interesting. Damon seems to be the catalyst here. Though he smoothes the edges at times with a humor that you can’t help but laugh at. Being that Elena strongly resembles Katherine, a woman both Stefan and Damon loved in the 1800‘s, adds depth to the relationships. Is she a reincarnation of Katherine? A descendent? Meanwhile Elena’s best friend, Bonnie, is dealing with supernatural issues of her own. Jasmine Guy plays her eccentric-witch grandmother and proves to be more compelling here in small doses. The cast is pretty enjoyable, though there tends to be too much of the same at times. How many dark-haired guys can be on the show at the same time? Same for long-legged brunettes (not that I‘m complaining). Elena’s brother is more traumatized by the loss of their parents in a car accident the year before. There is a lot going on with characters which is good because that can make for some future storylines.
The show might feel shallow at first but if you hang in there you see the depths start to show. I keep finding myself comparing this to Smallville and given the length that show survived it’s a positive thing if The Vampire Diaries can also last 10 seasons. The love triangle aspect reminds me of Lex-Lana-Clark. As it does with the supernatural element. Super-speed doesn’t have the same sound effect, but it does look visually similar. As each episode progresses the past comes more into play with the story of Katherine and the brothers comes to light. The past provides a welcome contrast to the present scenes in the show.
Beyond the characters is the supernatural (and fictional) town of Mystic Falls, Virginia which has it’s own story. Elaborated on far more than the books, the town has a much bigger part of the story than initially meets the eyes. It has a rich history of vampires, witches and werewolves. The atmosphere is perfect from a dark castle to the wooded areas surrounding the town you really get that supernatural feel here.
Ultimately, the quality of The Vampire Diaries Season One on Blu-ray is outstanding but a lot of the focus is on characters leaving backgrounds blurred a lot of the time, especially indoors, but most of the time that‘s due to focusing on conversations. The show also has a very cinematic feel to it like Smallville does. Visuals are striking and show the beauty of the ladies and the dark-haired, brooding men. Details are fine and shown when needed, but there are some scenes where the focus is on the actors and you get the background blur, but that is as it was intended for any particular scene. The show comes off to a slow start action-wise and maybe a bit too quick in the romance department. I know the “will they or won’t they” moments can be very tiring when used too often which is why the romance needed to be slowed way down. Mission accomplished, by the end of the first disc drama is thrown into the Elena/Stefan relationship slowing it down to more realistic levels. The show is dark, brooding at times and dramatic at others. Fans of Twilight and it’s sequels should love this series. While the show does reach out to those fans, it is not changing the book’s core story of Stefan and Elena. The series is based on a series of books that have a compelling story of a love between a vampire and human.The Vampire Diaries might take advantage of the Twilight popularity, but the books have been around quite a long time, about a decade or so ahead of Twilight, in that way it is original. I was a fan of the books and this series looks really promising. If you haven’t seen the show, rent the DVDS or Blu-rays. Like myself I am sure you would love to own this season one set after viewing it. You have to stick with the show awhile (be patient) because it does get better over time as it gets deeper into the story and characters. If you’re a fan already this is a great buy on Blu-ray! You really get your money’s worth in quality, quantity and extras. The Vampire Diaries gets a very high recommendation from me!
Special Features -
- Into Mystic Falls - Bringing Vampire Lore and the High School Experience from Page to Screen
- When Vampires Don’t Suck! - The Popularity of Vampires and the Fans Who Love Them
- The Vampire Diaries - A New Breed of Vampires - Casting The Series
- The Vampire Diaries - Vampires 101 - The Rules of the Vampire
- Creators/Director Pilot Commentary
- Unaired Scenes
- The Vampire Diaries - A Darker Truth Webisodes
- Second Bite - Gag Reel
- Downloadable Audiobook of he Bestselling Novel The Vampire Diaries: The Awakening by L.J. Smith
- Also comes with a booklet detailing episodes and special features!