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Category:    Home > Reviews > Horror > Thriller > Supernatural > Vampires > The Vampire Diaries – The Complete First Season (2009 – 2010/Warner Bros. Blu-ray)

The Vampire Diaries – The Complete First Season (2009 – 2010/Warner Bros. Blu-ray)


Picture: B     Sound: B     Extras: C     Episodes: B-



So it seems the world has become fascinated by vampires.  Whether you are team Edward or team Jacob or your DVR is smoking from recording so much True Blood, it seems that the vampire phenomenon is inescapable.  Part of me would like to say it is the classic vampire monster that is so intriguing about these films and series, but in all reality the recent rise in interest of vampirism is fueled by nothing more than teenage lust.


As we explore the cast, promotional posters or even Blu-ray covers we can clearly see that each clan of actors is, needless to say, easy on the eyes (in daylight or otherwise).  I could easily replace the title Vampire Diaries on the Blu-ray cover with Dawson’s Creek and any inclination that this was a supernatural series would go out the window.  Yes, that may be an over simplification as once you get into the series vampiric elements are infused throughout, but once again it is lust, sexuality and teenage hormones that aid in the series success.  Hollywood has known for a long time now that ‘sex sells,’ so all they have done here with Vampire Diaries is place a light veil of vampirism over heavy doses of sex to create an instant sensation.


The story matters little as it uses classic teenage angst and vampires merely as structural support of its larger intention of sex.  The series structure creates a shallow atmosphere that plays more like a defanged vampire than a bloodbath.  Essentially each episode drags the viewer along kicking and screaming as a teenage girl falls in love with a creepy, stalking vampire who seemingly ‘does not drink people blood,’ how nice.  There are hinted at love triangles and many all too artificially tense moments.  I have little love for Twilight and Vampire Diaries seems like a watered down version of that.  Vampire Diaries is merely a means to sell ‘safe sexuality,’ parents can rest easy knowing that their little girl or boy is not running about town gallivanting, but instead is safely locked in their room watching some fancy vampire show.  Well this show isn’t Forever Knight (bad reference I know) as it covertly entangles teens into its web of sex, anguish and mesmerizingly perfect hair.


The series does have its clever and witty moments (mostly involving the villains), but overall it remains uninspiring.  Vampire Diaries Season One attempts to recreate what the original 1991 book series created, but in all reality it feels more like a desperate attempt to cash in on the Twilight and True Blood phenomenon.  Season One sets up the mythology and answers many questions the viewer may have, but in turn creates even more questions as each asinine situation arises.


The series stars Paul Wesley as Stefan and Ian Somerhalder as Damon, brothers who have been sucking blood and creating havoc together for over 150 years.  Sadly they had their vampiric differences (Stefan no longer drinks human blood) and went their own ways.  As the series starts we have Elena Gilbert (Nina Dobrev) falling madly in love with Stefan…the creepy, stalking, reformed vampire.  Of course having Stefan in her life means trouble is on the horizon and the teen who’s only worries were pimples and finals now has a supernatural future cast upon her.  Damon shows up and the viewers get the eerie feeling that a love triangle may occur.  The series is not only full of supernatural creatures, but also enchanted items such as rings that allow the undead duo to go out in sunlight.  The cup of teenage angst overfloweth as Elena CONSTANTLY pushes Stefan away only to quickly pull him back.


All in all the series is tiring.  I have had enough of this formulaic vampire tale and if I wanted teenage drama I would just watch more Dawson’s Creek.


The technical features on this new WB set are murky at best.  The picture is presented in a 1080p VC-1, 1.78 X 1 transfer that boasts deep, inky blacks that consume all that they touch.  The black level destroys detail and makes the already dark series have many indistinguishable moments.  The colors are perfect, warm and bright at times, but at other moments are washed and dreadful; leaving the presentation inconsistent at best.  The unpredictable nature of the video begs the question of ‘what is going on,’ as I can categorize the presentation as flighty and drab.  The sound is a Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround track that is much better than expected.  The directionality from the beginning is smooth with full use of the speakers and panning effects that are well balanced throughout.  The dialogue is crisp, clean and clear and overall provides an effective soundscape.


The extras are drab like the series offering fans Deleted Scenes; ‘Into Mystic Falls’ a 25minute behind the scenes look at the development of Vampire Diaries that is not all to great; a boring commentary of the series Pilot Episode; a featurette entitled ‘A New Breed of Vampires’ about the casting process; a featurette entitled ‘When Vampires Don’t Suck’ about the vampire phenomenon that has swept the world; ‘Vampire Diaries 101’ that gives a synopsis of the series mythology; Vampire Diaries: A Darker Truth Webisodes; Gag Reel; Downloadable audiobook of the best selling novel The Vampire Diaries: The Awakening.  Overall, I was not in love with the extras, but based on the sheer amount and content, fans will have a field day.


I would like to say give the series a chance and a little bit more time, but I feel it getting severely more dramatic and tedious in the near future, only pushing my interest further away.  Vampire Diaries appears to be more of the same (and not to put a stake threw the hearts of fans), but it is.



-   Michael P. Dougherty II


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