Welcome back to The MonsterGrrls' 31 Days Of Halloween, and today we're talking about our favorite new TV show, The Vampire Diaries, and also a bit about the writer whose works inspired it, L.J. Smith. Smith has been writing the Diaries since 1991, when TVD's first book, The Awakening, was published. It has since been reissued along with her Night World series (which we in the Monster Shop find to be miles better than Twilight) and she is also writing a new Vampire Diaries series called The Return.
The Vampire Diaries is the story of Elena Gilbert (Nina Dobrev) who is recovering from the death of her parents, along with her willful brother Jeremy (Steven R. McQueen) and her stretched-thin Aunt Jenna (Sara Canning). Trying to find solace in school and friends, Elena meets Stefan Salvatore (Paul Wesley) a newcomer to the town of Mystic Falls, where Elena lives. The two are drawn to each other almost instantly, but Stefan has a number of secrets he's desperately trying to hide from Elena--for starters, he's a vampire, though he has eschewed the traditional violent lifestyle of vampires. Another secret is that Elena is a dead ringer for a woman that Stefan loved many years ago. And then there is the worst secret of all: a killer who drains his victims of blood is loose in Mystic Falls, and Stefan knows who it is--his evil brother Damon (Ian Somerhalder), who continually tempts Stefan to turn to darkness and accept his heritage of vampiric brutality.
The series, though soap-operatic in spots (subplots involve Jeremy falling for stoner-chick Vicki (Kayla Ewell) while Elena's best friend Bonnie (Katerina Graham) deals with latent witchcraft-powers manifesting and trampish "frenemy" Caroline (Candice Accola) takes a walk on the dark side by becoming Damon's stooge) is filmed well, and effectively displays Smith's flair for the darkly dramatic. It's easy, due to all the young actors and its small town/high school setting, to dismiss it as a poorer cousin of the much-revered Buffy The Vampire Slayer, or even to call it Dark Shadows 90210, but Smith's dedication to thickly layered plotting (evident in all her writing and this series as well) indicate that there's more at work here. If you are put off by the soppiness present in Twilight or just want a vampire story that's more traditional yet still a little different, I suggest you give this series (both book and TV show) a try.
We hope to see you tomorrow for more of The MonsterGrrls' 31 Days Of Halloween!
POST-MORTEM: The Vampire Diaries appears on The CW channel's Thursday-night lineup at 8 PM (7 Central time). The books are available from Amazon.com here, and you can visit the show's official website here.
Click here to go to L. J. Smith's website and learn more about The Vampire Diaries and her other series The Night World, Forbidden Game and The Secret Circle.