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The Vampire Diaries - First two episodes reviewed

The Vampire Diaries

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 2 out of 5

IT’S hard not to view ITV2’s latest US import The Vampire Diaries with anything other than disappointment and derision.

Based on the popular book series of the same name by LJ Smith, it’s yet another vampire-themed tale that mixes teen drama with the supernatural a la Twilight.

And while it may have come first in novel form, it’s hard to view the resulting series as anything other than a cash-in, which lazily trots out every genre cliche in the vampire handbook.

The first hour, in particular, threw every vampire stereotype at you and more… from the opening sequence involving a vampire attack on two lone motorists, to the High School beauty who falls for the mysterious but good-looking newcomer, to the vampire family with a history that dates back to the Civil War.

That the series has been adapted for the small screen by Kevin Williamson, of Scream movie fame, makes this failure to shake up the genre all the more disappointing.

Yes, there’s the occasional pithy exchange… but the dialogue is mostly mundane – “I met a boy, we talked, it was epic!” – and shows none of the genre subverting saviness of Scream. Rather, it’s Dawson’s Creek [which he also penned] re-done for the Twilight generation with nods to True Blood.

On the plus side, Ian (Lost) Somerhalder’s bad boy vampire brother is a charismatic presence who breathes life where not much exists, while there is the occasional shock tactic that proved quite effective over the course of the first two hours.

But Nina Dobrev’s central heroine Elena is pretty vacuous as leading ladies go and Paul Wesley’s tortured soul Stefan is a bland central presence who seems to think that brooding manfully is a way to capture a girl’s heart.

And what is the current fascination with stripping vampires of their masculinity? Not content with depriving them of their fangs in Twilight, The Vampire Diaries now has them keeping diaries and slushily revealing their inner-most angst.

At least Somerhalder has some spunk about him… but we’re not really supposed to root for the bad boy, are we?

In the US, the success of the first 13 episodes of The Vampire Dairies was enough to pave the way for a full series of 22 episodes to be commissioned. The vampire lust, it seems, has yet to be quenched among the Twi-hards or True Blood lovers.

But where Twilight entertains with big screen spectacle and True Blood playfully combines intelligence with erotica, The Vampire Diaries – thus far – seems like a pretty anaemic substitute.

What do you think?