During its initial run, I didn’t watch The Vampire Diaries while it aired on television. It was up against Flash Forward, which was inevitably doomed but was something Fernando and I could both watch, and the latest version of Survivor, which hits all my contact embarrassment buttons but Fernando likes. So basically our little Tivo was a busy bee at the time period and that show with Boone as a vampire didn’t make it onto our schedule. I attempted to watch the summer reruns in preparation for season two, only for the CW to jump from episode five to episode 13 with no rhyme or reason.
So I waited for the DVDs.
My initial impression during those first five on-the-air-but-reruns episodes wasn’t much more than “I like Boone; he’s attractively weird looking, but those other two are plastic.” The evil-ish Damon made the episodes bearable, but the show itself wasn’t going to rocket up to the top of my pantheon of “can’t miss” shows (which include Supernatural, Chuck, Doctor Who and maybe Fringe). Then again Ian Somerhalder was one of the better parts of the first season of Lost, so a bias already existed. Nina Dobrev’s Elena and Paul Wesley’s Stefan just stared pensively at each other and said their lines as though they were reading them off the page. Not impressed.
But now I’m through 14 episodes of this talked about show and I’m maybe a little bit hooked. There’s more evil-ish Damon and the other two have become less props that got in the way of it being “The Damon Show” and more like actual characters. The larger role of Jeremy also benefits the show tremendously as long as he’s not being an overly petulant teenager.
From here on out, spoilers through “Fool Me Once”.
I’m not sure how or why no one has killed Damon yet. I’m thankful they haven’t because he’s the best part of the show and, as I said, I find him attractively weird looking, but in context of character, he should be dead. He killed Stefan’s best friend! He almost killed Elena’s best friend! He keeps kidnapping people! HE RIPPED OUT ANNA ESPINOSA’S HEART! That one moment actually made me gasp and cover my mouth in surprise because that’s Anna fucking Espinosa!
Continuing on that Alias related casting tangent, I keep seeing that David Anders is supposed to show up. I hope he’s deliciously evil with a British accent (type casting, yes, I will), but I’ll take Sark anyway I can get him.
Often while watching movies or television, I don’t understand the choices of characters, but I’ve found that to happen more often than not in the case of The Vampire Diaries. I saw the frame job of Lexi from the beginning. Same with the bartender and little girl vampire. Alaric being a hunter? Yup, they were pushing the “but he has all the trappings of a vampire” bit a little too hard. That his dead wife might be the allusive Isabelle? Yeah, figured with the way people are connected in this show that it was coming too. This is not a very hard show to comprehend and very few of the “twists” are really twists to me. Perhaps it’s osmosis considering this show aired months ago, but I’m not finding it surprising – entertaining, yes, but not very shocking.
But the choice that I just can’t comprehend happens in that fourteenth episode when Damon drags Elena into the tomb to find Katherine only to ditch her and disappear into the dark. Then, instead of doing the smart thing and leaving the tomb of the ancient dead vampires, Elena goes after Damon. Because she’s incredibly dumb.
And I think, in the end, that’s the thing that will prevent The Vampire Diaries from becoming one of those shows I have to watch the same night it’s on – Elena is a very weak, stupid character. When she gets upset with Stefan, she leaves the verbane necklace behind… because that’s smart when you’re running away from a vampire in a town full of other vampires. Let’s make it easier for them to control you! When the vampire bartender has her trapped in the hotel room, she follows his orders to step away from the door instead of swinging it open to let the sunshine in. It seems like she’s walking into traps every other episode, and it’s going to get a little tiring. She’s a prime example of why the urban fantasy genre irks me to no end – these tough, independent heroines end up being stupid, lovesick girls who need to be taken care of in the end.
And yet, I continue to watch and wish Netflix would ship the next disc faster. Perhaps when Katherine shows up, we’ll finally get a female character that can be an equal to Damon.