You might think I’m crazy. A show with a title like The Vampire Diaries can’t possibly be good, right? Especially a show on The CW. And it features vampires impersonating teenagers to go to high school so they can meet teenage women? No thank you.
But remember that Angel tried to get together with a high school student with whom he fell in love at first sight. Everyone loves Buffy! And Veronica Mars was on The CW for a year after The WB and UPN merged. Say what you will about that season of Veronica Mars, it’s still a great show.
Sadly, even taking those thoughts into consideration, it can still be hard to take the show seriously having never seen it. I certainly didn’t. It took months of recommendations from a friend as well as constant praise from more than half the critics from The A.V. Club to make me realize the show was something worth at least checking out. I think the tipping point came when io9. published this article. So I started watching it.
Let me be perfectly clear: the first 3 or 4 episodes are near-total crap. The pilot engages in nearly every teen show cliche imaginable. But I was warned of this, so I kept going. Furthermore, if nothing else, those episodes were saved from complete worthlessness by the presence of Ian Somerhalder. Yes, the guy that played Boone on LOST was not only the best thing about a show, he was absolutely magnetic. He played his villainous character so gleefully that it was impossible not to have fun right along with him during those first few episodes.
And then things kicked into high gear. Suddenly, all of the terrible cliches melted away, and we were left with a streamlined, utterly enjoyable thriller of a show. As the lead article points out, bad guys are bad and do bad things, the plot barrels ahead like few shows on TV, and the characters are just fun as hell to watch. The show certainly has flaws (what show doesn’t) but it works so well in spite of those flaws. Definitely something worth looking into.
Yes, I realize that, at first glance, vampires’ ability to walk in sunlight is dumb. But the reason for it is handled well, and, (STOP READING IF YOU WANT TO REMAIN COMPLETELY UNSPOILED) the ability is not inherent to vampires in this mythology. They are still vulnerable to the sun, but some have found ways to protect themselves.