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4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 1 March 2010
It would be tempting to dismiss 'The Vampire Diaries' as another mediocre show riding on the wave of the public's fascination for all things vampire, by conveniently cashing in on the multi-million franchise that started it all. Taken at the pilot episode's most basic premise, 'The Vampire Diaries' doesn't sound exactly original: a teenage girl is drawn to a mysterious new boy hiding a dark secret; 'so far, so Twilight' you might think. But once the show gets going, it becomes obvious that 'The Vampire Diaries' is far more epic in scope than 'Twilight'.
The story is set in the small town of Mystic Falls, Virginia, where our heroine, Elena Gilbert (Nina Dobrev) is trying to hold her family together after losing her parents in a car accident four months before. At the start of a new school year, she finds herself immediately attracted to new student Stefan Salvatore (Paul Wesley), a vampire who has lived in solitude for a century but who is unwillingly lured from his shadowy existence by his infatuation with Elena. Elena bears an uncanny resemblance to a picture of a woman called Katherine, whom Stefan and his older brother who is also a vampire, Damon (Ian Somerhalder) loved more than a century ago, a story which ended in tragedy and a bitter feud. Stefan hasn't spoken to Damon for 15 years, but when he shows up in Mystic Falls in the wake of several brutal murders, Stefan is deeply troubled.
Stefan is the sensitive, 'good' brother who refuses to drink human blood because he believes killing people is wrong. Damon however, does not share his conviction and does not hesitate when it comes to feeding on, or taking human life to sate his thirst. He continually ridicules Stefan's moral principles and sees it as a betrayal of their identity as vampires. Damon is significantly stronger than Stefan and possesses the ability to manipulate people's minds through a power called compulsion.
It would be easy to describe Damon as evil, but even as early as episode 3 his 'evil' intentions regarding his brother and Elena are questionable. Stefan challenges Damon, stating "You're not going to hurt her (Elena) Damon, because deep down inside of you there's a part of you that feels for her." He argues that Damon isn't the monster he pretends to be. When Damon shockingly kills Stefan's football coach, Stefan sadly concludes that he was wrong to hope. "There's nothing human left in Damon...only a monster who must be stopped." But even as he's speaking, we know this isn't true as we see Damon at the sleeping Elena's bedside, gently caressing her cheek with his fingertip. At the heart of the show is a love triangle, but a far more engrossing one than seen in 'Twilight': two vampire brothers, one good, one evil, battling for the soul of a mortal girl who is caught between them. But is Damon really evil? Glimpses of his humanity is one of the most intriguing thing about him. Although the writers focus on Elena's romance with Stefan, there is something captivating about her scenes with Damon. I can appreciate that Stefan and Elena have chemistry though, I just find Elena and Damon a more exciting, compelling match. I suppose I find Stefan a little dull in comparison to Damon, but then Damon would make any vampire - Edward Cullen included -look dull. Apart from being gorgeous and charming, Damon is pretty much the antithesis of Edward: arrogant, sarcastic, funny, devastatingly sexy and deadly; often all at once. He gets all the best lines in the show and steals every scene he's in. Ian Somerhalder (who clearly relishes his role as a bad boy) is brilliant as Damon.
A word of caution - I have never read any of LJ Smith's books, but there are many people who have, who feel strongly about how the show should work out, and who should get together based on what happens in the books. Do not expect the show to be a duplicate of them, because the TV show will inevitably go a completely different way. Two of the producers, Bob Levy and Leslie Morgenstein also produce 'Gossip Girl', which took Cecily Von Zeigesar's characters and then did their own thing. If you are a die-hard fan of the books, do not spoil your enjoyment of this amazing show by trying to anticipate how closely the writers will follow the books. Otherwise, 'The Vampire Diaries' has it all: a cast so beautiful it shouldn't be allowed, the potential for an epic love triangle, humour, darkness, witty dialogue, charismatic multi-layered characters and fantastic story-telling. It also has an incredible soundtrack, with songs that always capture and accentuate the intensity of the scene. Anberlin's 'Enjoy The Silence', 'Cut' by Plumb (Stefan and Elena's love scene) and Within Temptation's 'All I Need' (Elena and Damon's dance) are some stand-outs. Even the most cynical fans of the vampire genre may not be able to resist this.
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on 26 March 2010
Vampire Diaries is based around Elena Gilbert and her relationship with Stefan and Damon Salvatore. Two brothers. Both vampires. It's set in Mystic Falls, a mysterious place steeped in history. Vampire Diaries was originally a book series written by L.J. Smith -- although it's not necessary to have read them to enjoy the show. For the record this show isn't like Twilight. In fact, Vampire Diaries actively rags on it and attempts to distance itself from it very early on. Vampire Diaries is more adult in tone and would probably appeal more to people who read/watch True Blood or Supernatural than Twilight fans. The first few episodes have a Dawson's Creek feel to them (the showrunner is the guy who created Dawson's Creek!) but Vampire Diaries soon picks up its pace and gradually finds its footing as a successful horror/fantasy melding. The romance is present, but it takes a backseat to the overall arcs of the show.

Going into this show I wasn't expecting very much at all. I thought 'silly name', 'silly tweeny books' and 'ooh Ian Somerhalder! I'm there!' So that was the main draw for me. Upon watching the first three episodes I was surprised that it actually wasn't that bad. It had the odd moment of campiness in the beginning, but as the season progressed the show has proved to me that the writers know exactly what they're doing. Vampire Diaries is rather violent and on the darker side of things; it isn't afraid to kill people off (in the bloodiest way possible); and like Supernatural, the washed-out picture reflects the darker world that exists in Mystic Falls -- the place these characters call home.

The season long arc is played out subtly. With each episode adding another piece to the puzzle that will form the picture of the season -- as the episodes play out you get this slow burn of tension, getting higher and higher. The flashback episodes are fascinating and the only thing I could criticise is that I wish the flashbacks themselves were longer; rather than just mere snapshots of a bygone time. The turbulent relationship between Damon and Stefan is a highlight of the show, with the fascinating layers of their relationship being peeled back over time. The more ordinary secondary characters like Caroline and Matt are lovely to watch and provide a nice contrast to the supernatural characters. Elena is a likeable and grounded protagonist who doubts and questions like any fully rounded person would do. She could have easily ended up as insipid and annoying, but they've instead made her sympathetic and intelligent. I'm also very fond of Elena's little brother Jeremy, their aunt Jenna and the enigmatic new teacher, Alaric.

Stefan is not just the nice brooding good guy vampire who abstains from blood, he has a sense of humour, charisma and a personality all his own. A far cry from the stereotypical types that so pervade the genre. Ian Somerhalder is perfect as the psychotic Damon Salvatore. Damon is the unstable brother; the one who switches on the flip of a coin. He's quite the little hedonist but isn't smug about it. Instead he's manipulative and smart and gets the job done. Somerhalder is intense when the need calls for it and unnervingly light at just the right moments. I was very impressed with the way he played Damon's deep grief in the latter episodes. In the hands of a lesser actor the character would have been a train wreck -- instead he's more Lestat than caricature. Actually, no caricature at all. Just crazy good!
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on 30 June 2010
But where is the information on the DVD extras? The amazon.com Vampire Diaries page has promised features which include

Into Mystic Falls: Bringing Vampire Lore and the High School Experience from Page to Screen
When Vampires Don't Suck!: The Popularity of Vampires and the Fans Who Love Them
The Vampire Diaries: A New Breed of Vampires -- Casting the Series
The Vampire Diaries: Vampires 101 - The Rules of the Vampire
Creators/Director pilot commentary
Unaired scenes
The Vampire Diaries: A Darker Truth Webisodes
Second Bite: gag reel
Downloadable Audiobook of the Bestselling Novel The Vampire Diaries: The Awakening by L.J. Smith

It would be nice if amazon.co.uk could at least include info on whether or not we get any of the extra content, rather than leaving us wondering. Should we assume that no mention of them means that UK buyers get ripped off again?
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on 17 December 2010
I remember reading about Vampire Diaries in American magazines and websites, so learning about the storyline, i thought it was going to be like any other Vampire drama... But it's not, (even though the pilot episode was a bit of a drag, you still get introduced to main characters and get a feel of it), it's exciting, dark, humourus and romantic! The story lines will suck you in and you will start to feel for the main characters, Elena, the human beauty who vampire brothers, Stefan (Kind hearted, 'vegetarian vampire' and madly in love with Elena) and Damon, the arrogant, sexy, 'evil' vampire, who is a complete opposite to Damon, who seems evil on the outside, but as you progress through the series you really get to see him for who he really is, and dare I say it, the heart of the show... Aside from the three main characters, the supporting cast is also very good, with Elena's best friend Bonnie, who is a witch, Caroline Elena's frenemy, Matt Elena's ex boyfriend and Alaric Saltzman, the new teacher with a secret and a dark past.
Overall, this is a definite 5 star, just for great storylines, great acting, great mood, great music and just all round amazing.
You will not regret buying this if you love vampires, romance, and drama and a little bit of comedy and romance...
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on 4 September 2013
I heard people saying it's not like the book, they changed everything and yes they have it's very little on the book, I only see faint lines or snippets of bits from the books. The only thing they kept are the characters names, which I was surprised about Elena I would pronounce her name 'Ellena' not 'Elaina' Whether this is genuinely how her name is or not I am not 100% certain.

Wrong characters:
Elena is described as a beautiful girl with pale skin, long blonde hair, Lapis Lazuli (dark blue eyes) and we get Nina Dobrev?? Hmm not true to form AT ALL.
Damon's eyes are the incorrect colour but I'm not going to fuss over that.
Bonnie is COMPLETELY different to book Bonnie in looks and personality.
Caroline looks the way she should (almost) but her personality is nothing like the books, she is like some stupid little giggly girl that loves everything and everyone especially Bonnie and Elena.... in the books she was nothing like that.

The series follows very, VERY loosely on the books but it is a good series and if you are picky about books and films matching then this might not be for you but if you don't care then go for it. It's an entertaining series I won't lie and it's much cheaper here than anywhere else too.
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on 3 August 2011
I bought The Vampire Diaries after reading the book series, although the back story of some of the characters are different the base line remains the same, if you have read the books and are eager for more I would recommend this. I often find watching a series or movie after reading the book it was based on to be a disappointment as it never reaches my expectations, with this I was happily surprised as it is a new story but sticks to the best bits about the books. If you're the type of person who wants the series to be exactly like the books this is not for you, if you've never read the books this is great for you as you won't feel like you're missing out on part of the story or that you need to read the books after watching it.
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on 20 April 2015
This is like watching a train smash in slow motion. You know exactly what is going to happen, because it's running on big strong tracks, with scheduled stops, and no unexpected deviations. So ... what should take a microsecond, instead takes 22 episodes, at 45 minutes a piece.

The characters are teenagers ... that talk with impeccable middle aged rebellion. Perfectly premeditated arguments, illogical, witty, sarcastic, yet politically correct, emancipated, well adjusted, mature, innocent, naive, but profoundly wise, teenagers.

Teenagers that party so hard & drink excessively .. without getting drunk, and just in time to have a well coordinated fist fight, before exchanging love letters and bedtime cuddles. Oh and they all have an unlimited capacity for gullibility in addition to unlimited funds for new cars.

It's cliche. In every sense. Contrived, coincidental and uninspired. Like elevator music.

I have NEVER watched a TV series with so many personal apologies, and absolutions of fault. This is the most common dialog pattern. "I ... I, I, I can't ... I am so sorry, I am a bad person", "It wasn't your fault, you mustn't blame your self. Oh and how are you doing?", "Hey I'm such a loner, and nobody understands me", "But ... I do!", "Whatever, like, maybe ... sorry I'm a duche", "It wasn't your fault ..." (step and repeat x 22)

If you want to watch original ideas for this genre here are some of my favourites:
LET THE RIGHT ONE IN (2008 Swedish) THIRST (2009), 30 DAYS of NIGHT (2007), NOSFERATU (1922)
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on 26 May 2013
I bought this because I thought it looked like an interesting series and, although I'm no Goth, I think the vampire-related craze sweeping the teenage nation actually produces some good stuff.
This is loosely based on the books of the same name, which I also bought. In my opinion, the books were terrible. I found them over dramatic, Elena to be a spoilt, unreasonably popular brat, and found I lacked any feeling for any of the characters.
The TV series is infinitely better. The characters actually have personalities, Elena I thought was likable and actually reasonable in most situations, and the two vamp-boys were good, too. Damon's often hilarious, but Stefan I thought was way too serious for his age and too good. Literally, he never does anything bad. He's even a recovered blood addict who refuses to go anywhere near the stuff.
But he's really pretty, and I thought the relationship between him and Elena was relatively normal and believable - they don't fall ridiculously in love within half an hour, which is essentially what happens in the Twilight film, and they actually go on dates and attend parties together. Like a normal couple, only he wants to suck her blood.
The characters were fab, really entertaining dynamics between them. The series made me sad, happy, etc. I actually was really happy I'd bought the DVD, and have since bought the next two seasons and am halfway through Season 3 and believe me, it just keeps getting better.
Thumbs up to Nina Dobrev, Ian Somerhalder and Paul Wesley, they did amazing jobs at portraying the main three characters. Oh, and lastly, there's not really a big love triangle between them. More a case of Stefan and Elena are a couple, and Damon's moping after his bitchy ex who resembles Elena just a little bit. (Sarcasm there.)
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on 5 April 2011
As an original Twilight fan, I had never been interested in 'The Vampire Diaries'. Which was surprising as it ticked all my boxes "Fantasy" "Great twists" and the OCCASIONAL "Jumpy moment". A friend borrowed me the books saying that Twilight was a copy and I began to read and watch the show. Immediately I loved it and I am shocked at how Twilight has done so well when something like this is on the market.

The show is full of excitement, not exactly like the book but it does know how to draw in an audience. The cast are just amazing and Ian Somerfield deserves an applause for his portrayal of Damon because he really brings that character to life. I am a big fan of the show which will without a doubt make you jump about 5 times an episode, and in similar situations.

Although the cast is different to how described in the books, don't let that get you down, they are an amazing set of actors who really show the best of the characters, you couldn't imagine a blonde Elena after watching this because Nina Dobrev is a perfect candidate for her.

I could go on about this show until worlds end but you need to see it for yourself. Any Fantasy fans will adore this. I thought that Twilight was great for a fantasy but it focuses more on the love and romance, The Vampire Diaries however, really takes me back as to why I fell inlove with myths and legends, yes it has the romance but it also has such a fascinating take on Vampire and other myths.

It has an hilarious script which will leave you in stitches for days on end, the hilarious quotes just helps set the genre perfectly so it's not too dark. It's the perfect balance between humour and dark fantasy.

Would definately recommend to anyone, the box set is amazing and you will find yourself watching for days on end like I was, it wasn't until the day after I recieved it in the post that I realised I'd watched all 22, 40 minute episodes in 2 days. But it was time well spent and money well spent. It is a definate re-watch aswell, I'm watching it for the 3rd time already and it still makes me jump.

Don't take my word for it, go and explore it yourself.

C MeeMee
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Mystic Falls - a small American township about to celebrate its 150th anniversary - unaware a horrendous episode in its history will come back to haunt....

Do not be misled by the start. At school Elena is fascinated by handsome new arrival Stefan - unaware he is a vampire. We have NOT strayed into the "Twilight" zone. Everything is soon to branch off into quite different directions. There are no werewolves here, just a witch or two - not to mention crows which make their presence felt.

Pivotal are vampire brothers Stefan and Damon, feuding since 1864 - Damon pursuing Stefan wherever he goes (sometimes it takes a decade or so to catch up), promising to inflict "an eternity of misery". Why the aggro? It began with shared passion for Katherine. Now there is Elena, a Katherine lookalike.

The series works because it is well written and acted, characters not one dimensional but developing in intriguing ways - the brothers especially. At first it seems simple enough: Stefan = good; Damon = bad. The truth is more complicated, both for them and for quite a few Mystic Falls inhabitants.

Handsomely packaged. Would that other boxed sets came with such a profusely illustrated booklet and helpful cast list! 22 episodes. Bonuses include a commentary on the pilot, bloopers and interesting background features: how and why the television version differs from the books; cast auditions; changes in the lore concerning vampires (garlic liked, holy water no problem, rings worn as protection against sunlight).

At times a little slow paced (but none the worse for it). A satisfyingly high body count for those who crave excitement and gore. A dramatic climax with cliffhangers further to whet the appetite. A major plus is charismatic Ian Somerhalder as entertainingly evil Damon (he gradually developing some nicer aspects). Addictive and enjoyable. Recommended!
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