Feb. 3rd, 2010

para1: (Caroline - fear)
I respect the taste of [livejournal.com profile] iridescentglow a lot. Usually when she declares that a show has jumped the shark, she's spot on. So when she said that The Vampire Diaries is actually a decent show if you only start with the sixth episode, I decided it was time to listen even though I saw that iTunes preview thing and it was positively wretched.

So I started with Episode Six and by the time they rolled out the Depeche Mode cover it was pretty clear that it wasn't going to be my last episode. After another two episodes I knew I needed more backstory and watched the earlier five installments. It turned out that the pilot was only nearly as wretched as that preview. But knowing that the Twilight Light crap was false advertising helped a lot.

I think the show had me in the first five minutes of Episode Three.

Funny thing about this show is that they do something really well – all popular and semi-popular current TV and movie vampire franchises fail at – Twilight, Being Human, True Blood – making their vampires human monsters.

Not necessarily because they behave like human monsters but because they make the humans react to them in the way they would react to an abusive boyfriend, stalker or worse, with palpable fear and bursts of bravado. When Caroline tries to escape from the harmless looking guy next to her in bed, carefully treading on the ground, always checking over her shoulder if he's waking up, it's this weird moment where the metaphor of the thing is also the reality of it. Same goes for that "hey, your window was open, so I let myself in" moment in Episode Six.

I wonder how weird is it to like a vampire show for its portrayal of human fear?

Weird or not, I've been won over. I mean I will admit that even I know the point where the sharks are circling the jumping board – how do you keep a character on your show which you quintessentially characterized as a villain?

As someone else pointed out: at some point the writers have to make the choice to either preserve the Damon character in his psychopathic glory and hand every other character the idiot ball (Heroes) or the character has to be softened up (yes, Spike on Buffy) and everyone else gets to keep their integrity.

Obviously, both options have turned out terribly on other shows but let me say it that way: a good show should take care of more than their most popular character.

Maybe they'll surprise us with the plot twist that Ian Somerhalder is really The Man for One Season. (Poor Boone. I miss Lost sometimes but not their "everyone can and will die" attitude. That's why I quit when Shannon died.)


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