‘The Vampire Diaries’: Five reasons this week’s marathon will thrill you
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This week, the CW will air the first 10 episodes of “The Vampire Diaries” second season. That’s two episodes each night from Monday to Friday. If you’ve never seen the show or just fell behind, here are five reasons “The Vampire Diaries” Season 2 will thrill you. (Spoiler alert: This post contains some general Season 2 plot points.)
1. It makes other shows look like they just woke up from a nap. Plot twists, cliffhangers, unrelentingly fast-paced storytelling. “The Vampire Diaries” doesn’t give you a chance to get bored. In the first 10 episodes of its second season, the show has turned out enough new characters, mythology and story to fill an entire season and then some of another show. While it may seem difficult to keep up with all that, executive producer Julie Plec told Show Tracker it’s just the way they’ve become accustomed to writing. “It comes incredibly naturally to Kevin [Williamson, executive producer] and it’s the standard that he set with me and with everybody else from the get-go,” she said, adding that they have no intention of slowing down. “Once you start in that pace, the last thing you can do is slow it down too much because then everybody sort of feels like they’ve got a disappointing episode. So yeah, it’s hard, and coming up with that stuff week after week after week definitely has its challenges, but it’s our challenge and we like trying to live up to it.”
2. Doppelgangers! Everything’s more fun with an evil doppelganger. Just ask “Buffy.” Last season, we glimpsed Katherine (Nina Dobrev), the naughty vampire who toyed with Stefan (Paul Wesley) and Damon’s (Ian Somerhalder) hearts and happens to be the spitting image of Elena (Dobrev), in flashbacks. But this season, Katherine came to town in all her 21st century glory and started a trail of mayhem. Plec said one of their goals for Season 2 was to tell the “Katherine story in a way that was fun and delicious and didn’t wear out its welcome because we knew there was a lot we could get there and that we wanted to do there, but we didn’t want the audience to tire of her antics too soon.” Mission accomplished. As far as antagonistic foils go, Katherine is the kind that’s so brilliant and fun, you never want to see her go. Mysterious, manipulative, mischievous –- she’s the complete opposite of the strong-willed but caring Elena. Yet Dobrev jumps between the two, sometimes acting opposite herself for nearly an entire episode, with an ease and skill that makes you forget you’re watching one actor.
3. It’s the season of the ladies. We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the other fantastic female character on the show this season: Elena’s neurotic friend-turned-vampire Caroline (Candice Accola), my new favorite character. Plec explained why Caroline’s transition has been so interesting: “All the things about her personality that made her annoying as a human -- delightful but annoying -- now make her an incredibly successful vampire. I love that. I love that the control freak is now one of the most in-control vampires.” Accola has expertly gone from the girl who was plagued by self-esteem issues to a confidant bloodsucker. But strong female vampires in Mystic Falls have a habit of dying. “I will say that when we turned her, we knew that the expectation was that she wouldn’t make it like Vicki,” said Plec. “We wanted to see just how long we could have her survive and so far she’s still kicking.” Speaking of...
4. The writers are not afraid to kill off characters. You’re thinking, “How is that a good thing? You get attached to these awesome characters and then they die.” My reply to that: Did you see “Heroes”? If you kill off a character and then find some ridiculous way to bring them back, the whole “Someone big is going to die this week!” threat becomes empty. Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me. But that’s not the case on “The Vampire Diaries,” which has already killed off several characters, big and small. In a series about vampires and werewolves, it’s realistic that someone would die every once in a while. “No one is ever safe,” said Plec. “That’s been our rule from Day One. That will be the rule until this series is over.” In fact, guessing Mystic Falls’ next causality has almost turned into a game. “In an interview, I said, ‘Well you should always be prepared,’ and then it turned into a poll about who was going to die,” Plec said, laughing. 5. Vampires, witches and now werewolves, oh my! The introduction of the Lockwood werewolf storyline has made the show’s mythology even more rich and complex, in addition to opening up the world of the show’s secondary characters. “We wanted to make sure our ensemble was getting its due storywise and that it could be more than just a show centered around the love triangle and a bunch of occasional sidekicks,” explained Plec. “We really wanted to make sure that Caroline and Tyler and all the other characters had real stories that we could explore and we could bring them into the genre world so that they could live there with as much importance as our vamps and our Elena.” As a result, Tyler, who was little more than a jerk with rage issues last season, has become a compelling character. And like Caroline, he now plays a pivotal role in the supernatural mythology. Sometimes while shirtless.
-- Vlada Gelman (follow my TV musings on Twitter at @stayingin)