A few years ago, I would never have considered the possibility of multitudes of supernatural-based television shows. From Being Human to True Blood to The Vampire Diaries and more, it’s difficult to wade through the multitude of content to determine what may or may not be worthy of you, the viewer’s, time. Precisely because there is so much supernatural content out there, some of us may have never managed to check out The CW’s The Vampire Diaries. Is The Vampire Diaries worth getting into now that it is in Season 4?
While there are shows that are easier to invest in if they are watched from Day 1, luckily there are plenty of shows with the ease of plot or the writing finesse to help people to jump into any episode and get involved with a new series. To determine whether a show falls in to the former or latter camp, TV Blend writer Jessica Rawden has vowed to watch episodes of shows she’s never seen before and analyze those show in different areas to let you, the reader, know how quickly you could become a fan. This week Jessica is tackling The Vampire Diaries’’s Season 4 Episode 11 drama “Catch Me if You Can.”
1. Quality Of Story
If you like action and complicated plotlines, The Vampire Diaries may be a program for you. Let’s talk action, first. Right after the introductory “scenes from last week” sequence, the show jumps right into a spooky evening of action, involving some weird sort-of vampires, another rogue vampire, a good vampire, and some humans. There’s a gross-out bar scene that looks straight out of True Blood, but this leads straight into an exhilarating chase through the words. It’s surprisingly fast-paced and exciting.
I’m not sure exactly how The Vampire Diaries started out, but by now it’s a true ensemble series with multiple storylines running at once. The overarching theme for this season, or at least this episode, revolved around something the vamps are working to create or destroy depending on motivation, called “The Cure.” Several of the storylines interweave, which works, although a few of this week’s scenes and smaller plotlines seem like excess.
2. Quality Of Characters
The characters range from watchable to weak in The Vampire Diaries. Elena, the lead female, is a hybrid who spends most of her time mediating among the vampires. She’s the most boring character onscreen, but unfortunately, she gets a lot of time because she’s the lead. However, the diversity of characters is interesting, with vampire types ranging from impulsive to cool and aloof, and the show has even thrown in a few witches for good measure.
The bigger problem in this series is the dialogue. I was actually impressed with the actors for making dialogue as bad as “If you want to kill me, do it like a man” and “Please, whatever our differences, we want the same thing” halfway believable. I shouldn’t knock on the writers too hard, though. At the end of the episode, Elena is talking to her ex-vampire lover, Stefan, about how he looks like he’s hurting and not himself and Stefan delivers one of the best lines I’ve heard all week, “You don’t know what I look like when I’m not in love with you.” It's melodrama at its finest--take that, Revenge.
3. Likelihood Of Staying On Air
The Vampire Diaries is in its fourth season on the CW, and normally that would not be a great thing for a CW show. A fourth season is enough episodes to put a show into syndication, and if it is only doing middlingly well, the thought is that it may be time to give a newer series a shot.
Luckily, The Vampire Diaries is a series that does rather well for the network, pulling in anywhere between 2.5 and 3.5 million viewers each week. The network has too many other shows that barely do over a million viewers each week to be worrying about pulling Diaries from the schedule, assumedly, unless the fates don’t align properly. I would guess the show will get a fifth season next year, and even if network heads decide they are over the whole supernatural television bent, the CW is also usually very good about letting its more popular series get a legitimate ending and would probably give this one a half season, ala Gossip Girl.
4. Necessary Investment Level
I never expected to say this about The Vampire Diaries, but it’s the sort of show you really need to invest in, especially while watching. With its ensemble cast and quickly paced story, audiences really have to focus while watching or they will miss major plot points. There are so many different plotlines and histories between the characters that you don’t want to miss anything while watching.
While the CW’s vampire and human love story isn’t without complications or intrigue, audiences could still skip an episode or two a season. While watching, I really felt like the show would have been much easier to grasp had I had a little background knowledge. Until some of the characters exhibited ripped out hearts or created a spell for fire, I wasn’t sure if they were human or supernatural and the characters had to “spell” it out for me.
The Good, The Bad, And Whether You Should Watch
The Vampire Diaries is a better supernatural show than I expected. Sometimes I felt like I was watching a PG version of HBO’s hit drama, True Blood, due to the crew using some of the same camera shots to show vampire movement as well as using some of the same tropes. However, I was surprised by the pace of the show and how much the writers were able to cram into one episode, for better or for worse.
I would guess The Vampire Diaries would take two episodes to fully grasp, but by the end of the first episode, I felt like I really understood most of the character’s relationships to one another. Besides, the CW has a spinoff series called The Originals in the works. If you like supernatural programming, I’d highly suggest catching The Vampire Diaries for a couple of episodes. There is character crossover in the spinoff series and you wouldn’t even have to “jump in” midway through that show’s run.
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