Thursday, July 23, 2009

Pilot Screener Review - The Vampire Diaries

THE VAMPIRE DIARIES (script review: The Vampire Diaries)
Status: Premiering Thursday, September 10 at 8pm on CW

If things go according to plan, I'll be at the screening Saturday night so may alter this as my memory is refreshed. I don't have the screener with me right now, so I couldn't flip through a re-review things as I could with the other pilots.


You're certain to be hearing / seeing a lot of that pun as reviews for VD (yep, get used to that, as well) come out.

I know, I know, the Vampire Diaries books far predate the Twilight saga. But the odd thing about this pilot is that, well, they really do seem to be drawing water from the same pool. Nina Dobrev's Elena has a similar (if more TV friendly/hot?) appeal as Kristen Stewart's Bella. Dark, internal, slightly mysterious. She's the best part of this show, for me... which is a good thing, as it's centered around her, and her burgeoning relationship with the new vamp in town, Stefan (Paul Wesley). Paul plays his role well. He has a prominent brow, deep eyes, angular face, and makes with the brooding. Not a ton of fun exudes from his character. Honestly, there are times his face even looks like Robert Pattinson's (similar angles).

With True Blood showing us that it IS possible to do the vampire series differently, and with different casting choices, it's odd to me that the VD pilot and Twilight films, characters, and casting choices hew so closely to one another. It appears little more than a carbon copy (again, I know, VD came first, and those people who read the VD books would throw a fit if casting was done off type for the leads...) So perhaps this just shines a light on how bland and unimaginative and far-from-fresh the Twilight phenomenon is/was?

Outside the key love story, as well as Elena's and Stefan's brothers, VD is populated by a series of largely forgettable supporting friend/frenemy/ex-lover high school characters. Yes, indeed, it remains the standard boilerplate the script promised. Elena's brother is kind of a dud for me though I liked him (and his drug-dealing darkness) in script, while Ian Somerhalder gets very little pilot time as Damon and doesn't yet own the (seemingly?) evil role.

If Twilight-esque is your thing, you will be tuning in. If it's not, there's nothing new being offered here. Still, there's plenty of Twilight love out there. Maybe the phenomenon can transfer over to a similar TV show. Maybe not. We'll find out this September.

BTW, good call (how often do we ever get to say that) from the CW with scheduling this. They needed to move Smallville elsewhere to die (or not) and try something new on Thursdays at 8pm, maybe give Supernatural a little fresh blood (hah, I made myself chuckle... sort of). Heavy promotion (CW is splitting focus between this and the sucktacular Melrose Place) and premiering a week before Fox's shows and two weeks before Survivor / Flash Forward / NBC comedies should bold well for initial sampling, but also means we won't really know how the series stacks up in the ratings against competition until it's 5th episode in October when all of the other shows' ratings have gotten out of their premiere-boost halo.

Thanks to AT&T's U-verse, I can now record four shows at once (up to two of them in HD), so I will be recording Vampire Diaries to see where it goes... but I'm definitely recording Flash Forward in HD, so it's a question of whether to record Bones or VD in HD once they're all airing... hmmm...


Anonymous said...

I managed to see the pilots for CW's 3 new fall series and thought that Vampire Diaries was the worst and most disappointing of the lot. I was most impressed with The Beautiful Life: TBL. Melrose Place wasn't as awesome, but it sure was a hell lot better than the overly-cliched Vampire Diaries. What are your thoughts on TBL and Melrose Place?

Margie said...

NBC comedies and Survivor premiere a week early on the 17th

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