What is it with American kids today? They’ve always had problems dealing with teen traumas like popularity and relationships, but these days they just want to mope in their rooms moaning about how hard it is to date a vampire.
Thanks to this annoying trend we have to face a plethora of soppy paranormal romances from across the pond, both on our cinema screens with the Twilight saga and now The Vampire Diaries on our tellies – although, to be fair, the book series this show was based on predates Buffy, so we can’t accuse them of bandwagon-jumping.
US network The CW can certainly jump a wagon or two, however, and its gamble in making The Vampire Diaries its big new show for the 2009-10 season has paid off in spades, bringing in great viewing figures and successfully hooking Twihards who prefer a weekly, rather than yearly, fix of undead angst to keep their pulses racing.
Nina Dobrev is the lead, Elena, pining over the deaths of her parents and keeping a diary in the process, hence the show’s title (and she’s not the only emo scribbler, either).
The series begins when she falls for loner Stefan Salvatore (Paul Wesley), who falls just as hard in return as she’s the spitting image of the woman who made him a vampire a hundred-odd years beforehand.
However, his brother Damon (Ian Somerhalder) was also sired by Elena’s lookey-likey and falls for her too. So, before you can say ‘Team Damon’ or ‘Team Stefan’ you’ve got a love triangle between Elena, Stefan and the wisecracking, if homicidal, Damon.
This first season crams in so much action it’s sometimes hard to keep track of what’s going on, but it’s this breathless pace that makes it work.
It may be lacking originality and the goings-on in the town of Mystic Falls border on twee at times (could there be more pageants?), but there’s a nice dollop of sex and violence, not to mention some brilliant twists and turns.
The extras – which weren’t available for review – seem like a generous dollop, particularly with the audiobook of the first tome in the series included.
Better than Twilight? Well, there’s significantly less brooding, and that alone is worthy of a date in your diary.
Fun, fast-paced and actionpacked, but there’s nothing here you haven’t seen before.