infinitejest: (Default)
Now that I've doubled the number of The Vampire Diaries episodes I've seen (yes, since yesterday!), let's expand on my thoughts:

I just finished watching "Unpleasantville" (or S01E12) a few minutes ago, and I have to say that I haven't felt this compelled to fall headlong into a television show since Buffy the Vampire Slayer (the entirety of which I watched in just a couple of months back in 2005).

There are definitely shows I've fallen head over heels for in the past few years - my love for True Blood is one such, and GoD knows I mainlined that series 3-4 episodes at a pop when I started watching it in S2 - but I was able to restrict myself to viewing it once a week, teasing out the enjoyment.

I'm also heavily into The Big Bang Theory, and zoomed through its first 3 seasons pretty quickly as well. But, again, I was able to save that for once- or twice-a-week viewings and it lasted me a few months. (Also, my relationship with that show is fraught: my love is tempered by my heavy criticism of the writers.)

But I haven't felt this overwhelming need to immediately consume the text as quickly as possible, to revisit it as soon as possible, to start analyzing and drawing parallels and writing notes as I watch in quite some time. (I'm not counting Doctor Who in this statement - that's a very old romance.)

I have criticisms. The text is nowhere near perfect, nor would I want it to be. That would make it much less interesting. Sometimes I think things move too quickly to reach their full thematic resonance, but I also thrill with how quickly everything can completely change. Fully embracing the ephemeral nature of life - and of a human life compared to savage, immortal monsters and a hidden supernatural world - well, that's thematically resonant in itself.

I want to write about Vicki and Lexi and Bree. I want to write about how stoked I am that they're pulling no punches with Damon's characterization. I want to write about how they're not depicting Stefan with an Angel syndrome, nor hiding from Elena that he's not a good person in the everyday moral understanding of the word. I appreciate that Elena is changing, clearly yet subtly (much like Sookie Stackhouse evolves in the Harris books, which is something that Paquin and Ball haven't managed to convey well in True Blood). I'm delighted with how they work in all those pesky questions about vampire mechanics, and I guiltily (yet gleefully) admit that I'm really down with Elena/Damon. (Yeah, I was much more Buffy/Spike than I was ever Buffy/Angel too.)

I love the dialogue quips. I respect that they don't flinch from convoluted back story, and expect their readers to keep up with bombshells conveyed in dialogue. I'm incredibly pleased with the direction of the episodes, and the directors' abilities to invoke a menacing atmosphere in such comparatively little space (since they're generally juggling teenage drama intercut with life-and-death games on the supernatural front).

I even really dig the music, though I must add to my earlier definition of "CW Land": not only is it the land of the incredibly good-looking and trendily-dressed, it is also the land of the constantly-swelling pop or indie music.

Anyway, I'd really like to go into further detail about a number of the things I mention above, but it's already half past ten and I need to be getting some work done before bed.

I can't believe that I already want to rewatch this series.
infinitejest: (Default)
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.


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 a few more spoilers )

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