Part Two of what is turning out to be a vampire-themed procrastination trilogy (quadrilogy if I decide to pull a Christopher Paolini) relates to a TV series based on books I’ve not yet read. I can’t ultimately recommend the books—yet—but I can wholly, embarrassingly gushingly recommend the show.
I started watching Vampire Diaries on a whim on FOXTEL one night, intrigued both because it was about, um, vampires and because I wondered if it had anything to do with the LJ Smith books by the same name that I used to sell by the bucket load when I worked as a bookseller. I may, if pressed, also admit that I might have been avoiding the mounting myriad deadlines that were stalking me.
Suffice to say, even though I came in halfway through Season One and even though I hadn’t read the books to know the context, I was immediately, where-is-the-next-episode hooked. Goddamn Vampire Diaries is good.
The series outlines the unfolding tale of a stunningly beautiful 17-year-old named Elena. That and the love triangle between her and two vampire brothers whose love rivalry for an identical beauty named Katherine dates back to 1864.
Long story short, Elena is the doppelganger of Katherine and is caught up in the centuries-old tug of war between vampires and werewolves and love and a curse. The plots twists and thickens as characters uncover new elements of the tale, new characters appear, and then everyone crosses and double crosses everyone else.
Sounds complicated and it kind of sort of is, but the script’s so well written that it’s not confusing at all. Nor is it repetitive in the in-case-you-missed-the-last-instalment catch-up that can get annoying (case in point: Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse series).
Admittedly, the ‘Previously on Vampire Diaries …’ voiceover prelude to the back story recap is imprinted on my mind and, having spent so many hours squished while I watched episode after episode after episode back to back, my ears still feel as though they’re wearing my laptop headphones. But the result is still one of Pavlov’s Dog-like excitement and certainly not tedium.
Better, the series has a sense of humour about the highbrow-ness of the tale and takes the piss at regular intervals. The characters have some fantastic quips and one-liners, and none more so than Damon, the tortured, bad-boy older vampire brother who’s in love with Elena, who happens to be both his brother Stefan’s girlfriend and the identical, modern-day embodiment of the exact same girl they simultaneously loved and dated in 1864.
Some of these lines include (and I only jotted down a couple late in Season Two, but am tempted to go back and re-watch from the beginning of Season One in order to catalogue more):
Stefan: I’m not going to fight you.
Damon: Why? I’d fight me.
Stefan: Don’t flirt with me, Katherine. I’m not Damon. I haven’t spent 145 years obsessed with you.
Katherine: Yeah? Based on your choice of women, I’d say otherwise.
Damon to Katherine, who’s some 500 years old: Don’t pout. It’s not attractive on a woman your age.
Elena: OMG, you scared me.
Possibly Damon: Just doing my bit for neighbourhood watch.
Damon to Stefan, who drinks animals’ blood rather than hunt humans: Aren’t you worried that one day all the forest animals are going to band together and fight back?
Damon to Jeremy, regarding a homemade stake: My dad hated vampires like your dad did.
Jeremy: He did?
Stefan: Only it was 1864, and people knew how to whittle.
Damon: Why? He’s a werewolf. He needs to die. I’m willing to kill. It’s win–win.
And one of my favourites, which Damon sarcastically shrugs off after he thinks he kissed Elena but later, upsettingly, discovered it to be Katherine impersonating Elena.
Damon: I kissed you. I thought you kissed me back. Doppelganger hijinks ensued.
Ok, so out of context and without a visual of the characters saying the lines, they probably don’t sound so amazing. I should probably also fess up that part of the appeal is the ridiculous attractiveness of the actors playing Stefan and Damon. Particularly Damon. There’s been a bit too much googling of actor Ian Somerhalder than I’d like to admit and it’s disappointing and intriguing (in that order) to know that he’s actually dating his co-star in real life.
Nina Dobrev plays both Elena and Katherine and is absolutely gorgeous. Once you know they’re together and get over the devastation that the perfect Somerhalder might not know you’re alive (Did I mention that he’s an animal lover? That he does a bunch of volunteer work and has even started his own charity? Sigh.), you definitely watch the show a little more closely for hints of their coupledom.
It’s even weirder because you can follow (ergo, interact with) Somerhalder via Twitter (@iansomerhalder). I’ll preface that with the fact that, while he doesn’t spell things incorrectly so much, he does tend to punctuate them randomly. For example, ‘wonderful’ is written as ‘wonder-ful’. And yes, it did slightly (but not entirely) diminish his we’ll-live-happily-ever-after-ness in my eyes.
But I digress.
This blog too contains a lot of words to say that I disappeared down the please-don’t-make-me-face-the-deadlines rabbit hole and I’m having trouble making my way back. I highly, highly recommend Vampire Diaries the show. And yes, I’ve already jumped online here to order, devour, and compare the books upon which it’s based. Doesn’t look like I’ll be emerging from the vampire-inspired procrastination bubble any time soon.