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The life of the vampire genre has been sucked dry by the releases of “Twilight,” “True Blood” and now, “The Vampire Diaries.” Enough is enough. Boy is secretly a vampire, girl meets vampire and they fall in love. Cliché, much?
When the pilot for “The Vampire Diaries” premiered on the CW on Sept. 10, it seemed to be an exact replica of “Twilight” and “True Blood.” The show has appeal with its attractive cast members, romance and mystery, yet, it’s nothing we haven’t seen before. It has the same teen-appeal as “Twilight” and is much less risqué than HBO’s “True Blood.” However, the concepts are so similar that one is left wondering who copied off of whom.
Anne Rice, author of “The Vampire Chronicles,” published the first volume of her fictional series in the 1970s. Her novel then served as the basis for the film “Interview with the Vampire,” starring Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt, Kirsten Dunst and Christian Slater. It may be hard to believe that the ideas of these creatures have been around for so long. However, the fad appears to be starting again. Already, the genre is being exhausted as viewers become even more obsessed with the supernatural and unexplainable. From television series, hit movies, novels and clothing lines, one can only wonder when the madness will stop. At first, the craze seemed to be mildly entertaining. But it is inevitable it will eventually be retired. Even serious fans may become fatigued of the repetitive nature of these stories. After all, little originality seems to exist.
The opening line of the pilot of “The Vampire Diaries” should have been enough for any intelligent, sane person to change the channel immediately. “I’m a vampire and this is my story.” The writing is real prolific here.
“The Vampire Diaries” begins as 17-year-old Elena Gilbert (Nina Dobrev) and her younger brother Jeremy (Steven McQueen) face their first day of school after their parents died in a tragic car accident months prior. The two children live with their laid-back, care-free aunt who fails to notice Jeremy has begun to deal and do drugs to cope with his loss. Both kids are struggling to hide their pain from the world, yet their sadness is eminent. At various times of the day, Elena writes in her diary about the daily happenings of her life and overcoming her grief. She is a talented, profound girl going through a difficult time, yet the constant use of her diary may be overkill. Still, Elena is much more intriguing to watch than Bella but is not as loveable as Sookie.
The first day at Mystic Falls High School is fairly uneventful and somber, until a mysterious, gorgeous transfer student walks in. His name is Stefan Salvatore (Paul Wesley). Immediately, Elena and her friends are drawn to him.
Elena and Stefan end up bumping into each other as she is leaving the bathroom. Elena is mesmerized by Stefan, but he seems to be even more captivated by her. They have class together later in the day, and just like Edward Cullen can burn a hole into Bella with his persistent gaze, Stefan does the exact same thing to Elena.
The show is based on the series “The Vampire Diaries” by L.J. Smith, and was written more than 18 years ago. Recent news surfaced that Smith was accused of ripping off “Twilight” author, Stephanie Meyer. However, the copyright dates on her novels are all the evidence readers need to see that Smith had the idea long before Meyer. So, if anyone is stealing someone’s ideas, it is the other way around.
Meyer could even be accused of copying the ideas of another author. HBO’s “True Blood” series is also based on a set of novels, the “Southern Vampire Mysteries,” or the Sookie Stackhouse Series, by best-selling author Charlaine Harris. Her books were released in 2001, years after Smith’s. So, the obsession with the supernatural has been around for some time. It is just vampire overload now that all of these books are being turned into movies and television shows, and that all of their plots are intertwining with one another.
As the show goes on, even more similarities are visible. Just like Edward and Bill Compton have a sixth sense about when their loved ones are in trouble, magically appearing in an instant, so can Stefan. Elena leaves school to go to the cemetery to visit her parents’ grave. She starts to write in her diary as an eerie fog begins to surround her and an obnoxious crow taunts her. Running in a panic, she trips, and upon standing up, Stefan appears, uncomfortably close to her. Stefan’s fangs come out as he smells Elena’s blood from her scraped up knee. Stefan can’t contain himself, and runs off. He too keeps a diary, which adds to the cheesy romance even more. Later on, he writes, “I’m simply not able to resist her.”
Continually, Stefan sneaks up on Elena, showing up at her doorstep to make sure she is fine. You think Elena would be scared of Stefan’s stalking. However, just like Bella, she cannot help herself.
The next night, there is a party outside in the woods. Stefan shows up, and hours later, a girl wanders off into the woods only to be attacked by a “wild animal.” She is then rushed to the hospital. Stefan runs home, in denial as to what has attacked her, because he only feeds on the blood of animals now. And, on the balcony in his room, his estranged brother Damon is standing, followed by the black crow (which gets even more annoying with each and every frame of the show it appears). It has been 15 years since they have last seen each other. Immediately, Damon, who is also a vampire, denies feeding from the girl. However, Stefan knows better, and eventually has to clean up the mess his evil brother has made. The two get into a physical fight over Elena because she looks just like a woman the two knew from centuries ago, whose heart they both tried to win. Damon aggravates Stefan by telling him how good Elena’s blood must taste and that he cannot live by feeding off of animals. Bill Compton certainly can, but viewers are left wondering how much longer Stefan will be able to last.
The one thing that does differ amongst all three sagas is the issue of vampires in daylight. In “Twilight,” Edward glistens in sun, yet he can still be outdoors, out of sight during the day. In “True Blood,” Bill Compton and his fellow vampires hide in coffins during the day or else the sun will burn them to death. And, in “The Vampire Diaries,” Stefan and his brother are fine to roam around during the day as long as they have their ‘magic rings’ on. At least the authors managed to include some minor diversity into their stories. Yeah, right.
Almost any viewer can predict what is to come-sad, lonely girl rescued by helpless vampire. The plot does not differ from the other two fantasies. So, if you do not have the time to watch, you are not missing out. If the show had come out sooner, closer to when the books were released in the ’90s and before the “Twilight” and “True Blood” crazes began, it could have been entertaining. There is a viable target audience that exists, who will most likely enjoy the romance and imagination it exhibits. But for now, the repetition is exhausting, and the blood sucking has to be toned down.