Delivering American University's news and views since 1925. | Sunday, May 27, 2018

Strong female lead doesn’t bite in ‘Vampire Diaries’

I am just going to say it — “The Vampire Diaries” is one of the best shows on television right now. Unfortunately, no one is watching it. Most people, including myself, initially wrote it off as some cheap “Twilight” knock-off. As a result, virtually no one gave it a chance.

I was skeptical that something could actually be worse than “Twilight,” but I had faith that The CW could pull off such a feat. I could not have been more wrong. Throughout the course of the first season, the show grew beyond what I, or many television critics, expected. Somehow, the cheesy little vampire show on The CW became one of the most watchable series on television.

One of the primary reasons “The Vampire Diaries” is so good is its incomparable pacing.  Most shows save their twists and revelations for finales, but on “Diaries,” something surprising happens every single episode. The writers constantly solve their mysteries, make outrageous reveals and leave the audience completely shell-shocked by the end of the episode.

“The Vampire Diaries” is also great for its bad-boy vampire Damon Salvatore, who is probably one of television’s best characters of the last decade. Ian Somerhalder plays him with a gleeful, impish gusto that makes him an extremely entertaining villain and, despite his frequent killings, a likeable character.

Unlike other vampire franchises such as “Twilight” and “True Blood,” this show has a strong female lead. Elena Gilbert is a heroine in the vein of Buffy; she is not afraid to tussle with the vampires when she needs to and does not rely on her vampire love interest to save her. Without a doubt, one of my favorite parts of this delightful show is that people actually die. I know, this should seem fairly obvious, but many genre shows do not kill off beloved characters. Usually, the only people who die are extraneous characters that the audience has no emotional attachment to. This is not the case in “The Vampire Diaries,” where regular, seemingly safe characters are killed on an alarmingly routine basis.

Every death is an example of how fearless this show is. When characters are put in danger, there is actually a possibility that they will not survive. It makes the show so much more suspenseful than others because anything can happen and no one — not even the main characters — is safe.

I would advise that everyone give “The Vampire Diaries” a chance. If you are looking for compelling characters, gripping storylines and insane twists that are unrivaled by anything else on television, then this is the show for you. While there may be cheesy romance and occasionally some lame high school drama, the good stuff generally overshadows it. This is a television show that keeps you on the edge of your seat and looking forward to the next episode all week long. “The Vampire Diaries” airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. on The CW.

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