Wednesday, September 16, 2009

"The Vampire Diaries" Suffers from Anemia

Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Digg this
If Dark Shadows and Twilight had an anemic baby, it would be The Vampire Diaries. The new TV series, based on the Y/A books by L.J. Smith, debuted on The CW last week and the first episode followed a well-known and, by now, more than tiresome formula.

For nearly 20 years I have been reading books and watching films, and television shows about vampires. Finally, this otherwise useless vault of knowledge will come in handy.

The latest vampire craze has been painful for me for three reasons:

1. All of this has been done before.
2. I prefer vampires who live up to their name, not vampires trying to be human.

The parenthetical information included below will help you Google your way to sighing over the monotony.

Set in the fictional town of Mystic Falls (ohhh...ahhh), Episode One kicks off with a couple being attacked in their car from above (see: The Lost Boys).

Next, we meet our gorgeous, but haunted human heroine (see: Bella from Twilight, Mina from
Dracula, Sookie from True Blood, Beth from Moonlight and Caitlin from Kindred: The Embraced). Elena Gilbert (Nina Dobrev) has recently lost her parents in a car accident. However, a new school year has begun and our brave little toaster straps on her emotional armor and hides her pain with a smile.

Everyone loves Elena because she is just so beautiful! All the boys want her and all the girls want to be her (why does this sound so familiar?). Recently, Elena dumped super-jock Matt (Zach Roerig) because their relationship lacked "passion."

Rather than moving on, Matt humiliates himself in public by pathetically continuing to pursue her (see: Mike and the rest of the Bella harem in Twilight, Sam in True Blood).

To round out the female archetypes and make sure young women realize they can only fall into one
of two camps - good girl or WHORE - there is Vicki Donovan (Kayla Ewell). Vicki is free-spirited and sexually extroverted (see: Lucy in Dracula, all those chicks that were offed in the first season of True Blood, and any young woman who has had sex in a horror movie ever).

Vic dislikes it when boys want to talk to her or establish anything resembling emotional intimacy (we women SO hate that crap). Elena's substance-abusing brother Jeremy (Steven R. McQueen) is just such a lad. He refuses to give up on Lucy - er, I mean Vicki - because, like all teenage boys, he wiles away his hours scrap-booking future wedding plans, longing for true love and an oh-so-serious relationship.

I am not sure what is causing the severe lack of testosterone in these young men. Perhaps the water in Mystic Falls is contaminated with enormous amounts of estrogen.

Because of her sextra-curricular activities, we know that Vic, like Lucy, is sure to be chomped early on. When she is discovered after the attack, we are treated to the obligatory "Oh-my-God-she-has-teeth-marks-in-her-neck-and-her-blood-has-been-drained-and-she-must-have-been-attacked-by-a-wild-animal" scene (see: every movie, book, short story, or TV show about vampires or werewolves ever).

Now on to the vamps. Stefan Salvatore (Paul Wesley) sees Elena and is instantly smitten (see: Edward Cullen, Barnabas Collins, Dracula, Mick St. John, Julian Luna, Bill Compton). He enrolls in high school (see: Edward Cullen) even though he is like 400-years-old because he must get to know her! We find out later that Elena looks exactly like Stefan's former true love/soul mate (see: Coppola's Bram Stoker's Dracula, Dark Shadows).

Stefan is "on the wagon" when it comes to killing humans (see: all of the Cullens, Louis de Pointe du Lac of The Vampire Chronicles, Angel from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, most of the vamps in Kindred: The Embraced, the "assimilating" vamps in True Blood). He is also desperately in need of tweezers because Peter Gallagher's eyebrows have reincarnated on his face.

Stefan begins following Elena around, showing up at her house late at night without calling first and disappearing as if he has (GASP!) supernatural speed (see: Edward Cullen, Batman). He also gets all shaky, pale and generally wack at the sight of her blood (see: Dracula, Twilight, Kindred: The Embraced, Dark Shadows, a bunch of other stuff I'm forgetting). However, our heroine is not creeped out in the slightest by this strange, Ted Bundy-like behavior. On the contrary, she is delighted (see: Bella Swan, women who write love letters to inmates).

At this point, I was not entirely sure that I wasn't watching a new episode of 90210 written by Stephenie Meyer. I also wondered exactly when a hot vampire with normal supercilia was going to show up.

Enter Damon Salvatore (Ian Somerhalder), the best The CW could find. Damon is Stefan's
high-spirited brother. He is pro-vamp, definitely not a "vegetarian" and enjoys hunting humans - a major no-no in his bro's opinion (see: Lestat de Lioncourt from The Vampire Chronicles, all of The Lost Boys, Spike and Drusilla from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Victoria's gang in Twilight, the anti-assimilation vamps from True Blood).

It is immediately obvious that, despite having spent several centuries together, these boys do not get on so well (see: Louis and Lestat from The Vampire Chronicles, Angel and Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Eric and Bill from True Blood). It is also revealed that Damon is responsible for the attacks on Mystic Falls' residents.

At the end of the episode, Elena invites stalkin' Stef into her home, and we all know what that means (see: Dracula, The Lost Boys, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, True Blood).

The Vampire Diaries is, quite simply, Twilight for TV and all of the characters, the plot and the mythology have been recycled from better films, books and TV shows. Granted, Smith's books were published pre-Twilight, so it is really Stephenie Meyer (big surprise) who has done most of the stealing. However, the real question is: why waste the air time?

This is what happens when a sub-culture phenomenon catches the attention of the public at large and becomes a trend. Any originality and depth is left by the wayside to appeal to the larger, less discriminating mainstream audience.

Remember the hair bands of the 80s? This show is the equivalent of Winger.

I cannot blame The CW for jumping on the fang-bang bandwagon. After all, a lot of money stands to be made. What is frustrating is that they chose a Twilight-esque series of books to base the series on, when they could have chosen something with a premise we haven't seen before, or invented an entirely new mythology.

If someone could create (or at least remake with passionate fervor) a vampire protagonist that actually kills people, it would be most refreshing. If his primary motivation is to fall in love with Mary Sue, then he is really just a human with bad teeth.


Episode Two airs Sept. 17 at 8 p.m. EST on The CW.

What did you think of the show? Please share your thoughts in the comments.


Paula said...

Yeah Dracula never went to high school as he had to sleep during the DAY like most respectable vampires. And never loved anyone else how could he kill them. If he loved you he turned you into a vampire forever like him. lol

Amanda Mitchell said...

Yeah, this being able to go out in the sunlight stuff bothers me, too. Just another way of "humanizing" vamps and making them even more dull. =P

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Alexandria said...

I agree that the vampire genre is overused,but as a fan of the VD series I'm irritated by your blog. The Vampire Diaries came out LONG before SOME of those shows/books (*cough*) TWILIGHT. I wish you would have considered that before fuming-I hate it when people accuse the VD of being the copycat.

Anonymous said...

hey all

I figured it would be a good idea to introduce myself to everyone!

Can't wait to get to know you all better!


Thanks again!

Anonymous said...

Comfortabl y, the article is really the freshest on this worthy topic. I harmonise with your conclusions and will eagerly look forward to your upcoming updates. Just saying thanks will not just be adequate, for the exceptional lucidity in your writing. I will directly grab your rss feed to stay abreast of any updates. Fabulous [url=]beeting[/url] work and much success in your next topics!

Persnickety Press said...

Hi Alexandria,

Actually, if you'll notice, at the end of the article, I do acknowledge that VD was written before Twilight. Unfortunately, it doesn't improve my opinion of the show much. Please don't take it personally. If we all shared the same opinions, the world would be a very boring place, no? :)

Post a Comment

Persnickety Press. Design by Pocket