Television Review: The Vampire Diaries - "Pilot"
by R.J. Carter
Published: September 9, 2009
Welcome to Mystic Falls, Virginia, a sleepy little town that's about to become the backdrop for what some will inevitably refer to as Twilight: The Series. Indeed, The Vampire Diaries, based off the series of novels by L.J. Smith, has a very "Twilight"-y feel to it that ought to play well to the fans of the genre which, much like it's pale-faced protagonists, seems to never die.
The central characters of The Vampire Diaries are Elena (Nina Dobrev, Degrassi: The Next Generation) and Stefan (Army Wives' Paul Wesley). She's starting school after a summer break during which her parents were killed. He's the brooding new kid in town with smoldering eyes and James Dean good looks.
What the viewers know right away is that Elena's parents were killed in a vampire attack. We also learn that Stefan is a vampire, who has a special way of surviving in sunlight thanks to a writer's licensed plot device. But is Stefan the same vampire that attacked Elena's parents? His so-called uncle Zach (Chris William Martin, The L Word) isn't certain, but he cautions Stefan nonetheless.
But Stefan's arrival isn't the only change that begins Mystic Falls' conversion to an east coast Sunnydale. Elena's flighty friend, Bonnie (Katerina Graham) jokingly claims to have developed psychic abilities, inherited from her family line. It's not until later in the episode when Bonnie learns her comments were uncomfortably close to the truth.
Filling out the supporting cast is Elena's drug-dealing brother, Jeremy (Everwood's Steven R. McQueen), and her boy-crazy friend Caroline (Candice Accola, previously a background singer seen on "Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert Tour").
Almost immediately Elena experiences an irresistable attraction to Stefan, but only Stefan knows the real reason for this. The one thing we know for sure that both characters share is the propensity for keeping diaries (albeit Stefan's is a bit more voluminous than Elena's). All Stefan wants is to be close to Elena, but when a back-to-school rave Stefan attends becomes the scene of another vampire attack, Stefan is forced to rush back to Zach's home, where he confronts the evil that will form the basis of most of the conflict for the series: his brother, Damon (Lost's Ian Somerhalder), who has no compunction against killing humans or doing anything else in his power to torment his moral-saddled sibling.
Featuring some keen special effects and the usual angst of teen dramas, The Vampire Diaries follows Supernatural on Thursdays, where it ought to feel right at home as well as hook an already-tuned-in audience.
The Vampire Diaries premieres Thursday, September 10, 8|7pm Central on the CW Network.