Monday, March 23, 2015

The Vampire Diaries

I usually like to write opinionated articles revolving around some important issue or belief that I hold. Today, we're going to stray from that trend and talk about something a little less important and yet still prominent in my life, currently: The CW's The Vampire Diaries. Whether we think entertainment is important in our lives or not, the fact is, everyone enjoys some form of entertainment. My favorites include books, movies, and television shows. Prior to getting Netflix, my television diet consisted of reality programs like HoardersInterventionHell's KitchenTeen Mom, and The Biggest Loser. I didn't hold any emotional attachment to those non-story-line programs--they were just something to watch when I was bored. Before TVD, my favorite show was ABC's Once Upon a Time. Admittedly, I am unhappy with the current story-line of OUAT and therefore have missed the past three episodes (which, in previous years, would have been completely unheard of). TVD is unfortunately on a random three-week break that it likes to take, and so I have reflected upon the show up until this point in season six. 

TVD first aired in 2009, and although I was familiar with the books (published about 21 years ago), I was uninterested in the show simply because I deemed it a Twilight knockoff. Seeing as, in 2009, I still sat comfortably in my Twi-hard stage, all other vampire stories did not appeal to me. I had tried to read the first volume of TVD and was unimpressed, primarily because I did not like the diary-entry writing style. It wasn't until last year, the summer of 2014, that I actually sat down to watch the pilot episode of the series. I had just gotten Netflix (more-so, began "borrowing" my boyfriends'. Is that illegal? Maybe?) and since it was summer and he was on a family vacation I decided to find something on Netflix that would keep me entertained. Enter TVD. Insistent that it was going to be cheesy and uneventful, I let the pilot episode play on my television while I was putting laundry away one afternoon. Deep into the early morning hours of the following day, the show hadn't ceased playing since I started it the previous day. I was immediately enraptured with the story line, the characters, and the flawless acting.

And so the summer of 2014 consisted of me devouring the first four seasons that Netflix offered. Once I was finished with those, I promptly found the fifth season (which had recently concluded) on the Internet and watched it from my laptop. Season six is probably over halfway completed by now, which brings us to present day. So, what was so different about this show that made me so interested that it left my previous favorite, OUAT, in the dust? Here is a list of reasons I've compiled in an attempt to justify my sudden, passionate connection with the series:

1. I love vampires. There, I said it. Long before Twilight was even dreamed up, I was fascinated with the Disney Channel original movie, The Little Vampire. I'm not sure what drew me to these supernatural beings, among the rest. I've always enjoyed the Halloween season, but something about humanoid creatures relying on human blood to sustain themselves was grossly interesting and held an aura of darkness and danger that thrilled me. (These stories would later inspire several novels and stories I wrote that basically got me into writing when I was eleven). So, for a very long time, I have had this connection. TVD filled the void that Twilight left, only tenfold. It gave me the bloodthirsty, fang-baring, less-than-human vampires that the compassionate, pale, and sparkly Cullens can never compare to. 

2. The characters. Character development is something the writers have mastered. They take characters I despise in season one and make me love and root for them as the series progresses. They take simple characters and complicate them, and vice versa. They create truly terrifying antagonists, and constantly leave the questions dangling in the air: "Is this person good or bad? What do they want? What lengths are they willing to take? Are they capable of love?"

3. The cast. I was not familiar with any previous work of TVD actors and actresses, but as the episodes went on, I found that unimportant. I didn't care how popular they were or what else they were known for. They portray their character perfectly and I truly do not think this show could have been cast any better. As many of you have seen, I had the privilege of meeting Ian Somerhalder who characterizes Damon Salvatore, one of the three main characters. He is a total sweetheart and does not embody his character on the show whatsoever.

4. The freakin' love triangle. I hate love triangles. They usually deter me from enjoying a story. However, Elena is not constantly like, "Dear me, who do I love more? Stefan or Damon? However will I choose?" Her romance with each of them is unique, passionate, and real. Plus, she doesn't love them both at the same time, it's a gradual change that intensifies during a rather dark subplot of the story. At first, I was team Stefan, but seeing the chemistry and the affect Elena has on Damon makes me love them together more and more. Personally, I do not care who she ends up with and I refuse to make this a battle like Edward and Jacob. Both brothers are worthy of her and I can see her having a future with both. The love triangle itself has long died out and only predominated one season in particular. There are too many other important, dark, stressful situations happening in the story for the show to focus too much on a love triangle.

5. The overall story. It has changed drastically since season one, and just when you think everyone is about to live happily ever after, or that there are no more evil characters left to be introduced, the writers prove you wrong yet again. Fortunately, you aren't throwing your arms in the air, sighing and saying, "Great, here we go again." They make each subplot of the series believable and so intense that you are bound to like one of them. I have yet to find an episode or subplot that I dislike. Some are darker than others, but still interesting nonetheless. If the writers play their cards right, they could have plenty more seasons left in this amazing franchise. They weave together complex characters and their past and they intermingle various supernatural creatures, but not so much that the show is overflowing with them: vampires, werewolves, witches, doppelgangers, and more. 

6. The music. I don't usually pay attention or give any consideration to the music or soundtrack of a television show, but the songs they choose are always very appropriate and add that extra feeling to the scene. I personally remember a song from a particularly moving scene and now cannot hear that song without feeling those emotions again. Sound and image are very vital to speaking to one's emotions and they entwine both to create the best possible scene.

7. The directing/producing. The way the entire series is filmed is done perfectly, it truly captures the moment. The way the actors move and interact with each other is believable and really exemplifies their vulnerability, or lack thereof. The directors change sporadically--some of the actors actually direct some of the episodes--but it has yet to disappoint me. 

If you've gotten to the end of this article, I hope you feel compelled to give the show a try, even if it usually isn't your cup of tea. Whether you are predisposed to liking supernatural story lines, or whether you're interested in romance, I insist you give the first five/six episodes a chance, and if that hooks you, then prepare for a roller coaster of emotions, my friend. 


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