Tuesday, September 14, 2010

What I'm Watching: The Vampire Diaries

I shouldn’t be the one to have to write this.

I can be honest about this. I can. The fact is, there just aren’t a lot of 30-something dudes who view Thursday night with great anticipation, because all those adults playing teenagers are going to be on the screen, being all vampire-y and such.

But I get tired of people kicking TV shows around. “Well, my girlfriend watches it…” “Well, it’s my guilty pleasure.”

Feh. Feh and nonsense, I say.

You enjoy something, or you don’t. You watch something, or you don’t. Unless you have some sort of a deal worked out with your girlfriend where she washes your car if you watch The Vampire Diaries with her, why waste your precious hours on earth if you don’t want to look at it?

(Also, please stop saying things like, “I watch this show for the eye candy!” Dude. If you just want to look at pictures of cute girls, the world contains something called The Internet, and it doesn’t suck up an hour of your time each week.)

Digression begins… now.

Most critics are bitter, angry people, and there’s a good reason for it – it’s because to explain why something is good is just about impossible.

Consider: In your workplace, do you spend more time talking about how awesome your coworkers are? Or complaining about how some people can’t, or won’t, do their job?

The latter. Right. Because it’s easy.

So here’s my quick list of reasons why The Vampire Diaries is great, and why you should be watching it RIGHT NOW, instead of wasting time watching things your girlfriend (or boyfriend, I suppose) likes.

First: The show is lightning fast. I mean this sincerely. After you get through the first few episodes of season one, the show is on rails, and people are dying or being horribly injured right, left, and center.

A perfect example: Early in the show, the idea of a chamber with a bunch of bad vampires is introduced. A normal show would have parceled that out. The characters would have spent the season trying to prevent the opening of the chamber. Then the last episode of the season would have arrived, and BAM, all the vampires are free.

These vamps got out less than halfway through the season. Then they did some damage. Then they did some more damage. Then they were killed of, in various ways enjoyable and heartwarming and sad.
Yes, sad. Vampires die, and dangit, you get a little weepy.

Which leads me to:

Point the Second: After a while, you start to get involved with these people.

Teen shows always have a certain amount of churn. Love triangles, past loves, all that kind of thing. It’s easy to be cynical about it, but they exist in real life, and The Vampire Diaries does a pretty decent job with it. People seem hurt. People seem confused.

And at the end of the day, the emotions they’re experiencing have a certain amount of truth.

Which leads me to:

Point the Third: There are some really good performances going on here.

Seriously now. Ian Somerhalder. The dude who mostly made me want to slap his character when he was on lost? The guy deserves a medal for being evil. But funny. And heartbroken. But mostly evil. Every week, the writers shove something like 16 emotions at the guy, and most of the time, he gets where he needs to be.

And the rest of the cast? Much better than people give them credit for. Much.

So yeah. That’s all good stuff. But here’s the big one:

Point the Fourth: The show is like a shark – it NEVER stops moving.

I know this sounds just like point number one, but I’ve got to close with this idea. While a lot of shows drag their feet (I’m looking at YOU, Lost) and set up mysteries they’re never going to work out (Lost again) and… just leave you hanging, week in and week out, SOMETHING HAPPENS on The Vampire Diaries.

You’ve gotta love that.

Of course, you’ve also got to go back to the beginning and get through five or six episodes.

Do it. You must.

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