Step right up, and plop yourselves right down on your favorite couch for guilty-pleasure TV at its most recent, if not its finest. The Vampire Diaries is one of those shows that's bound to suck me in by my carotid, and if I wasn't getting paid to tell you about it, I might never admit that unless under oath. But watch it, I did. Yessirreebob. And are you ready? Because this is so bad it's gooooooooooooooood.
Recently orphaned 17-year-old Elena (Nina Dobrev) and 15-year-old Jeremy Gilbert (Steve R. McQueen; oh yeah, babies, grandson of the Steve McQueen), live in Mystic Falls, Virginia, with their cool grad-student Aunt Jenna (Sarah Canning), who has to remind herself she's the grownup of the family. Elena is trying to get back to normal by hanging with her probably-psychic friend, Bonnie (Katerina Graham) and frenemy Caroline (Candice Accola), so she saves all her orphaned-teenaged-angst for her journal -- which she updates IN THE LOCAL CEMETERY! Brother Jeremy is getting back to normal by getting high and drunk, selling drugs and chasing after Vicki Donovan (Kayla Ellwell) who only sees him as a three-night-stand, or three one-night-stands (or her favorite dealer who takes trade). Vicki prefers to hook up with Jeremy's arch-rival, Taylor (Michael Trevino), at least until he morphs into a date-rapist. Taylor looks like the love child of Zach Braff and Eric Balfour, but I digress. He is BFFs with Matt (Zach Roerig), who is not only Vicki's brother, but also Elena's ex (and pines for her, still).
Stefan Salvatore (Paul Wesley) is the new hottie in town, but this is a CW show, so everyone is young and beautiful, thus the term hottie is reduced to redundancy. He lives with his uncle Zach (but Stefan's actually Zach's uncle of sorts, and possibly his own grandpa; we'll get there, I'm sure), who is way less cool than Elena's aunt, because he's all over Stefan about getting control of himself and not killing people and blah blah blah bloodpudding-cakes. The thing is, Stefan hasn't killed anyone. At least, not recently. Parents (and guardians, and pseudo-uncle-nephews) just don't understand! Stefan is a vampire, you see, but he's trying to "live at peace with humans" (the CW's words, not mine). I'd just say: "It's different, he has a soul now. Or a chip. Or principles...or something," but I'm trying to keep my Buffy the Vampire Slayer Tourette's in check as much as I can (and I'm not doing a great job). Anyhow, Stefan also has a big-ass crush on Elena, not least of all because she looks just like his long lost love circa 1864, Katherine. Stefan keeps a journal too, just like Elena. Isn't that incredible? Surely, this is fate!
But... Fear not, fang hags, this is not all schmoop. At 42 minutes in, Stefan's big-bad big brother Damon (Ian Somerhalder) appears, and he is as bad as he is pretty, and is about as pleased that his brother is off human blood as Spike was when the Gypsies re-ensouled Angel. Damon attacks Vicki, but doesn't kill her, which leaves her to whisper to her brother that a vampire got her. What's more, Damon fights with Stefan, because obviously Katherine (and her newest doppelganger, Elena) was the thorn between these two painfully beautiful roses.
Before, meanwhile, and after, Stefan and Elena make goo-goo eyes at each other, and are utterly twipperpated, much to the chagrin of Matt and Caroline. The episode closes with Damon making pedophile-eyes at Caroline at the local hang-out where she's gone to sober up, as Stefan goes to Elena's and finally receives a proper invite (which he needs, because? Vampire).
All and all, I'd say this is a must-add to your fall schedule, but I have a few nitpicks. Look, I'm an unapologetic narrator junkie. Veronica Mars voice-overs and Pushing Daisies narration rocked my world, but even though the premise here is that we're getting a look-see into the diaries of Stefan and Elena, I hope the diarist-style narration is dialed down at some point -- soon. It was okay tonight, but it should be applied with the lightest of hands, once the premise is established (which I think happened tonight). Also, the crow and the fog were... corny. Now, I'm not against corn, but please don't give me high-fructose corn syrup, m'kay? I know Thursday nights are a heavy one, but God didn't make dual-tuner TiVos for nothing, my loves, and the pretty in this show flows right into the pretty on Supernatural. Come on, get sucked in. I reckon this is the most embarrassing show you'll ever love -- at least this season. I'll catch you on the flip side with the full weecap.
It was a dark and stormy night... What's that -- you say you don't like cheese? I don't believe you, because you've been sleeping outside the cheese factory just salivating for your first free sample, so let's dispense with the pretense. Originally an artisan product handcrafted by Y.A. author L.J. Smith, The Vampire Diaries is now in the hands of corporate cheese: Outer Banks Entertainment, Alloy Entertainment, and Warner Bros, who have brought on accomplished cheesemakers Kevin Williamson (Scream, and some other little show that will always be the big cheese [head cheese; five-head cheese] 'round these parts) and Julie Plec (Kyle XY) to oversee mass production. Williamson and Plec must be doing something right, because they have won over an initially skeptical L.J. Smith, and the series premiere of The Vampire Diaries drew an audience of 4.91 million viewers (cancellation levels for the real networks, but those are the biggest ratings for any CW premiere. Ever). With that said, I do believe it's now "Time for Timer", so please follow me to the tasting room, if you hanker for a hunk of cheese. If you're at least 21, you may want to grab a bottle of something, to wash it down. If you're under 21, you'll learn within the hour that drinking is bad, bad, very bad for you young'uns, so I'll preach no more.
Now where were we? Lessee -- it's a dark and stormy night, well okay, it's foggy, or soon will be. Take a moment and get used to it, as over a shot of a fog filled forest, Stefan Salvatore (Paul Wesley) narrates that for over a century he's lived in secret, hiding in the shadows, "Until now. I am a vampire and this is my story." Did anyone else go here? I am a vampire. I am a vampire. Just me, then. M'kay.