Thursday, September 10, 2009

This Sucks

The Vampire Diaries (2009)

Talk about an empty soulless show. The Vampire Diaries (TVD), a new series on The CW, is the epitome of a corporate cookie cutter product. Everything about it reeks of unoriginality.

First, it’s obviously a Twilight rip-off, with the brooding hunky vampire boy and the damaged human girl (it's ironic that the book it is based on was published in 1991 before Twilight saw the light of day, but this dreck is only on TV because of Twilight). Even the setting is the same at Twentysomething High School Adjacent to the Deep Old Woods (the state of Virginia here versus Twilight's Pacific Northwest) with actors who are obviously in their mid-20s playing teens. Kevin Williamson of Scream and Dawson’s Creek fame is slumming as one of the executive producers and the co-writer of this pilot episode. It appears he’s forgotten everything he learned while doing Dawson because these kids' personalities are extremely flat when they aren't annoying.

Why don't they just bump the setting up from high school to college? Yes, you'd lose the typical high school crap of cliques and parties and rules, but if you can't do anything new with them, what's to lose? Everything else can remain the same, plus we all know college has its own set of cliques and parties and rules, and it might make the cast a bit more believable. Plus the kids NEVER act like true high school kids anyway despite the lockers and school spirit signs in the cafeteria.

Our vampire hero Stefan (Paul Wesley) is such a copy of a copy of a copy he's hardly discernable on screen. He's dressed in the ridiculously overused black jacket and dark clothes that he appears to have raided Angel's Goodwill donation pile from the late 90s. He's well read and well versed in history (all vampire's are students of history merely from living so long). And he does that blink and he's there, blink again and he's gone thing that has been done to death. Seriously, The Flash called and he wants his gimmick back.

All the supporting characters are from Stereotypes R Us: the overly enthusiastic bff, the kinda slutty girl who is with an obvious creep but can’t see the guy who truly loves her (and is the brother of the vamp’s girlfriend), the hyper-chatty cute blonde who knows everyone but can’t get a date (only in TV’s Stupidville can a cute blonde NOT get a date). Let’s not forget the vampire’s nemesis (at least for the first story arc) who is basically his mirror image, but while our hero vamp Stefan has given up his evil ways as far as using humans for keggers, the dark vamp, who happens to be the hero’s bro, is all ‘bout drinking the human vintage.

I mentioned cookie cutter earlier and here’s another big reason why: the overuse of pop songs in series TV has officially become old and passé. You get the exact same kinds of songs used in the exact same ways as in every other show aimed at 18 to 35 year olds. Every show has about six pop songs sprinked throughout the acts and then ends with a song by a male singer accompanied by a piano or an acoustic guitar, usually over a montage of scenes. THEY’RE USING A GODDAMN TEMPLATE TO MAKE TV!

The story is old hat. Buffy the Vampire Slayer had similar elements to TVD, including a cast that was out of their teens and the high school setting but it was so much smarter, funnier and better acted than this show. The performances in TVD are uninspired across the board - Paul Wesley is no David Boreanaz or Robert Pattinson; Nina Dobrev's Elena is cute, but can't hold a stake to Sarah Michelle Gellar's toughness or Kristen Stewart's vulnerability.

I gotta get a copy of the Buffy pilot, or even Twilight, to get the taste of this undead shit out of my mouth.

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