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[personal profile] infinitejest
Last year, I was only peripherally aware of The Vampire Diaries. I think I caught a few minutes of one episode either before or after a Supernatural episode at some point. I may even have been mildly interested, but once I heard it was about vampires and highschoolers (and on the CW), my mind went to Twilight rather than Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Most shows on the CW (and Supernatural is not exempt from this) suffer from taking place in "CW Land" where essentially everyone is ridiculously attractive and dresses all trendy. I suppose it's part of the CW's desperate plan to appeal to and keep the 18-24 female demographic. The CW also seems to pressure its shows to meet the perceived demands of that demographic, leading to such travesties as Jo Harvelle being removed from Supernatural.

I resisted watching The Vampire Diaries for a very long time, but I kept hearing that it was a good show. These reports were persistent. And, well, I've been going through my annual True Blood withdrawal and I am a sucker (heh) for vampires...

I got the first disc of S1 in from Netflix last week.

This week?

I'm trying to keep myself from buying the boxset BECAUSE NETFLIX IS JUST TOO SLOW.

This show may take place in CW-Land, but any shallowness is checked at the shiny surface. And it's only the surface that is shiny: this is a show where the act of vampirism isn't sexy (so far). I'm pretty sure it has a higher body count than True Blood, and I'm only six episodes in. The only human-feeding vampire we have experience with thus far does nothing to make the bite easy for his victims, and their use of hypnosis is fully characterized as the violation it is.

Case in point: Vicki. The jerk mayor's son sexually assaulted her at the party at the Falls, and in the same episode, she's assaulted by a vampire. Bitten, drained of blood, and left to die in the woods. Our "good" vampire finds out she remembers what happened to her, and visits her in the hospital to "help her forget." This leads into an entire subplot that robs Vicki of all agency, culminating in her death. And resurrection as a vampire; I'm most interested to see where her character goes from there.

This show has a strong lead trio and a bevy of intriguing secondary characters. Some good dialogue, and it manages both to portray teenage experience and necessary lessons without becoming trite. It has magical artifacts, but those haven't seemed over-complicated so far (which I really dig).

That reminds me of another aspect of the show that initially turned me off: the vampires are walking around in broad daylight with nary a negative effect. I am not a fan of the daywalking-for-no-reason trope. However! They reveal within the first episode or two that the vampires have MAGIC RINGS that protect them from sunlight. This seriously actually makes everything all better for me. There's a reason! They're not traipsing about with impunity! NO SPARKLY VAMPIRES HERE.

Which brings me to something else that I love: the references. Now, I know no one has a monopoly on magic rings, but I still like thinking of the rings as an homage to the Gem of Amara from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Also, Elena's aunt's name is Jenna Sommers, which is surely a reference to my favorite golden girl. I also dig how all the episode titles are references to other films and whatnot.

Color me delighted. Time to go off and get an hour's worth of work done so that I can watch some more The Vampire Diaries before I start my night shift!
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