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Series premiere: The Vampire Diaries

In television on 09/10/2009 at 12:48 am

And here’s an extended (9 minutes, 29 seconds) clip that you can watch now on ctv.ca

Series name
The Vampire Diaries

Debuts
Thursday at 8  p.m. ET on CTV and on CW (WGN)

Regularly airs
Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET but moves to 7 p.m. ET on CTV starting Sept. 24.

Premise
Based on the novels of LJ Smith, this is the story of vampire brothers who return to their former home of Mystic Falls, Va., for the start of the school year. They are quite keen on the lovely brunette with a familiar face who is just so irresistible.

Primary cast and crew
Nina Dobrev (Degrassi: The Next Generation) is Elena, the It girl at Mystic Falls High School who’s been rocked by the deaths of her parents. She’s just broken up with Matt.
Steven R. McQueen (Everwood) is Jeremy, Elena’s brother. He’s cracking under the pressure of the family’s loss.
Paul Wesley (24, Army Wives) is Stefan, the new kid in school, though he’s a lot older than he looks. Except when he looks dead.
Ian Somerhalder (Lost) is Damon. Let’s just leave it at that for now.
Kevin Williamson (Dawson’s Creek, Scream) and Julie Plec (Kyle XY, Cursed, Scream) are writers/executive producers.

Buzz buzz
dkdk

But what do I know anyway? After having seen the pilot I predict…
I like this better than Twilight, the big screen vampire movie that, with HBO’s True Blood has kicked popular culture into the vampire obsession that made this series inevitable. While Twilight has a lovelier vampire in Robert Pattinson’s Edward, Wesley is a better actor. Likewise Dobrev is a better actress than Twilight’s Bella (Kristen Stewart). The Twilight pair had chemistry, I’ll give them that. But wooden! Somerhalder, so weasely in Lost, is gloriously evil. Any more and it’d be over the top, but nice balance so far. Enough about the acting. The story is pretty basic — good vs. evil — but the pilot reveals a heavy hand in the telling. Viewers will see easily through the flimsy attempt to post the question of whether Stefan is evil. The delay in revealing all the players seems a waste of an episode. Good vs. evil. Innocence vs. experience. Yeah, we get it. But what next? Classic romantic triangle, but with blood lust. Could work. Now let’s get down to it. People are only beginning to feed their jones for vampire tales. Any guesses on which (other) elements of classic vampire mythology are to be shaken up? Holy water? Garlic? Sharpened stake?

Other reviews
Tough words from … the author of the novels! LJ Smith writes on her official website: “May I make a plea for everybody to try to be patient (especially with the pilot episode)? The Twilight Zone feeling rapidly diminishes after that.” Oy.

Ken Tucket at Entertainment Weekly gives it B+, saying it’s a return to form for Kevin Williamson.

Official website
The CW site has cast bios, Twitter links, some preview and behind-scenes video, an option to upload your photo and “become a vampire” and a link to read what looks like the entire first book online. Not bad. The CTV site has videos, some bios and a quartet of Webisodes in which a lad supposedly films himself breaking into the vampire mansion to kill Stefan. It’s all pretty predictable and over-the-top and nothing crucial is gleaned.

Twitter
Here’s the Twitter links for all the CW shows, including a handful for Vampire Diaries. Couple actors tweeting as themselves, not their characters, so ho-hum. I kinda like the character tweets. They can be a bit much, but it’s another avenue of discovery for the show’s fans.

Can’t wait for the next new-series preview?
I need a breather. I’ll be back next week with some mutterings about the Jay Leno Show, which kicks off on Monday at 10 p.m. ET on NBC.

Wondering when the other new series and returning series are kicking off?
Click here for my select list of fall 2009 premieres and other important dates. Who am I to tell you what to do, but you could consider bookmarking it…

— Denise Duguay

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