The Vampire Diaries: The Complete Series. Dir. Marcos Siega. Perf. Nina Dobrev, Paul Wesley, and Ian Somerhalder. CW, 2009. Netflix
Elena Gilbert is having a hard time staying focused on the things that are supposed to matter: cheerleading, her best friends and her boyfriend. When the new kid Stephan Salvatore and his brother Damon show up her life takes a sharp turn out of ordinary and into fantastic as she uncovers the hidden past of the town, and the new boys.
Vampire brothers Stefan and Damon Salvatore have been trapped in their teenage bodies for 145 year, since they were “made” by their vampire lover Katherine. Elena Gilbert has been trapped in her body for 17 years, and more recently things have taken a turn for the incredibly weary. Her parents died four month previous to the show’s beginning and since then the townspeople of Mystic Falls, Virginia have been treating Elena and her younger brother with kid gloves. Elena vows at the start of the season to get her old life back, but soon finds that the things she loved before: cheerleading and gossiping with her best friends Caroline and Bonnie, don’t hold quite the same importance as they did before her parents died. To make matters worse Elena’s little brother Jeremy is getting deeper and deeper into trouble: doing drugs, abandoning all pretense of school and hanging out with some seriously bad eggs.
Elena finds solace in the mysterious new kid, Stefan Salvatore. What she doesn’t know is that Stefan came back to Mystic Falls, the place of his rebirth, to get to know Elena better, he was immediately drawn to her striking resemblance of Katherine, his maker. Despite his best efforts Stefan’s very wild and dangerous vampire brother, Damon, follows him back to town leaving a trail of dead bodies in his wake. Damon blames Stefan for Katherine’s demise and has vowed to get revenge upon him by destroying everything he loves. Elena finds herself more frequently drawn to Stefan and his brash honesty, though her relationship with Damon continues. Which brother will win the fight for Elena’s heart?
The female leads in The Vampire Diaries are pretty devoid of personality, existing only so far as they compare to the male counterpart that they’ve attached themselves too. The strongest female character in the show is Bonnie, who is of color, and I fear may be playing the role of the stereotypical “strong and/or sassy black woman”. Elena’s guardian, her aunt Jenna, has the potential to be a positive role model, but she too is quickly packed into several less than ideal relationships, giving her an air of desperation. All of that said there is something strangely compelling about the characters in this television series. It may be that the two make vampires serve purely as eye candy and the viewer keeps watching to catch another glance of Damon’s brooding stare or laugh at Stefan’s pathetic moodiness, but whatever it is it has kept the show on the air for four seasons and is a fun watch for anyone with a penchant for the supernatural.
Julie Plec is one of the show’s main writers and producers. She is well known for her work across the horror genre, acting as an executive producer for The Vampire Diaries, a co-producer for Scream 3, Cursed, and an associate producer for Scream and Teaching Mrs. Tingle. She’s also written a number of episodes for KyleXY.
Horror, Television, Vampires, High School
Reading Level/Interest Age
This is a horror show with two vampires as main characters, it’s gory, sometimes violent and sexual, and has depictions of murder, witchcraft, underage drinking and all kinds of taboo topics. It is bound to offend someone.
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Reason for inclusion
This is a high circulating item at my library. I include it in this selection because it is a campy horror show that teens (and I) like. Definitely not highbrow, but enjoyable nonetheless.