DVD REVIEW The Vampire Diaries season one
Bloody good fun
2009-2010 * 15 * 880 mins * £39.99 * 30 August 2010
Distributor: Warner Home Video
Creator: Kevin Williamson
Cast: Nina Dobrev, Paul Wesley, Ian Somerhalder
The Vampire Diaries is proof that sometimes it’s not what you’ve got, it’s who you’ve got. Based on a series of novels by LJ Smith which came out long before Twilight was the dish of the day, this syrupy, achingly teen-friendly show doesn’t have an ounce of originality in its very pretty body.
There’s a human girl who falls for a horribly conflicted, James Dean-esque vampire guy; her best friend’s a witch; her small town is overrun with supernatural threats and there are secrets around every corner. Add an unceasing blare of trendy emo rock to the background of every scene and you’ve ticked every box required in the paranormal romance genre.
It should suck – vampire pun not intended – but, amazingly, it doesn’t. That’s because of the weird alchemy you only get when you cast the right actor for the right role. While Nina Dobrev and Paul Wesley hit their marks and look suitably angsty (if a little dull) as heroine/hero Elena and Stefan, it’s Ian Somerhalder who steals the show as Stefan’s homicidal undead bro, Damon. Swaggering, wisecracking and murdering with abandon, Damon’s the reason to watch The Vampire Diaries even if you’re turned off by all the relationship handwringing – just watch how the writers realise this over the course of the season and start having even more fun with him…
The other thing in VD’s favour (obviously its unfortunate abbreviation isn’t…) is the fact it’s so fast-paced, with plots hurtling along towards a season finale that’s a big, dumb heap of fun. Season two looks as though it’s going to kick ass: make sure you watch this so you can enjoy it.
Commentary on the pilot episode by Kevin Williamson, writer Julie Plec and director Marcos Siege; four-part webisode prequel The Darker Truth; an hour’s worth of featurettes; 12 minutes of deleted scenes; a gag reel, and a code for a downloadable audiobook of the first Vampire Diaries novel.