The Vampire Diaries: the Complete First Season

January 01, 1970

(Warner Home Video; 925 minutes)

 

www.vampirediariesondvd.com

 

BY CHRIS ZIMMERMAN

 

The Vampire genre has seen quite the resurgence over the
past few years thanks in no small part to the Twilight phenomenon. Ever since
Stephanie Meyer’s half vampire, half romantic teen drama proved a financial
success; it seems every studio in the world has crawled out of the wood work to
try their hand at the blood suckers. The Vampire Diaries is yet another attempt
to cash in on the renewed interest on the vamps, mixing romance and horror to
appeal to adolescent girls in the same vein as Twilight. Interestingly enough,
the original novels that inspired the series preceded Twilight by more than ten
years, and had a strong fan base to call its own. After watching the series,
it’s easy to see the appeal.  

 

The series follows the life of Elena Gilbert, played by Nina
Dobrev of Degrassi fame. Elena is a girl steeped in tragedy, having lost her
parents six months prior to the start of the series; she lives with her aunt
and her brother while attending high school. Considered to be a top catch among
the males of the school, Elena constantly has to contend with the usual drama
one would expect, including jealous boyfriends and twofaced cliques.
Compounding matters further, Elena takes it upon herself to look out for her
kid brother Jeremy, who deals with retreats to drugs as a way to cope with his
loss.

 

Everything changes when a pair of brothers arrives in town,
heralding strange attacks that most of the citizens attribute to wild animals.
Stefan and Damon Salvatore, Played by Paul Wesley and Ian Somerhalder respectivey,
are mysterious, good looking, and appear to have connections to the town’s past
including someone whose appearance is strikingly similar to Elena’s. Over the
course of the first four episodes, the brothers begin taking an interest in
Elena, each one going about getting to know her using different methods.
Whereas Stefan chooses to do so by enrolling in school, Damon takes it upon
himself to seduce one of her friends to get to her. As the attacks become more
common place and even stranger events begin plaguing the town, Elena comes to
the realization that the Salvatore brothers are more than the ordinary human;
they’re of the bloodsucking variety.

 

What at first begins as a cleverly played game of cat and
mouse between the brothers and Elena turns into a full blown warzone when
witches and werewolves begin showing up to complicate matters. While the series
appears strait forward in its early stages, several hints are dropped as to a
larger conspiracy involving all parties with Elena and the Salvatore brothers
at its center. Of course, as one would expect, there’s all the usual
supernatural battles and magic that comes with the territory. Diehard fans of
the vampire genre will find much to like, as the show does an excellent job of
incorporating pieces of mythology often associated with the creatures as well
as throwing its own spin on others.

 

While the show is far from perfect, vampire fans lamenting
the fact that their favorite monster has been turned into a lovesick puppy ala
Twilight, will find redemption in the Vampire Diaries. Though some may find it
easy to dismiss the series as another soulless attempt to capitalize on the
vampire’s resurgence in popularity, if given the chance one might find more to
the show than a simple regurgitation of what has come before.  

 

Special Features:

 

  • Into Mystic Falls: Bringing Vampire Lore
    and the High School Experience from Page to Screen
  • When Vampires Don’t Suck!: The
    Popularity of Vampires and the Fans Who Love Them
  • The Vampire Diaries: A New Breed of Vampires
    Casting the Series
  • The Vampire Diaries: Vampires 101 – The
    Rules of the Vampire
  • Creators/Director
    Pilot Commentary
  • Unaired Scenes
  • The Vampire Diaries: A Darker Truth Webisodes
  • Second Bite: Gag
    Reel
  • Downloadable
    Audiobook of the Bestselling Novel The
    Vampire Diaries: The Awakening
    by L.J. Smith

 

 

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