‘The Vampire Diaries’ is ghoulish fun for viewers
TV Review | 3.5 out of 5 stars
Published: Friday, October 19, 2012
Updated: Friday, October 19, 2012 08:10
Get your garlic out and be ready to ward off vampires as “The Vampire Diaries” returns for its fourth season.
The supernatural series was developed by Kevin Williamson from L.J. Smith’s series of books and began airing in fall 2009. After the “Twilight” books (2005−2008) and the subsequent movies (2008−2012), and shows like “True Blood,” you’d think that people would be operating on vampire−werewolf overload by now. Yet, “The Vampire Diaries” keeps turning out quality material, and its viewers can’t seem to get enough.
The Vampire Diaries revolves around Elena Gilbert’s (Nina Dobrev) life and romances. Forced into the supernatural realm, she encounters two vampire brothers — Stefan (Paul Wesley) and Damon Salvatore (Ian Somerhalder) — who later both fall in love with her.
And since vampires weren’t enough, the show threw in a few werewolves, witches and vampire/werewolf hybrids for extra paranormal drama.
All these supernatural beings have some sort of human identity to hide behind, allowing them to blend into the small town of Mystic Falls undetected.
The third season finale left viewers in a panic as they saw Elena drown. Matt Donovan (Zach Roerig), Elena’s longtime friend, had been trying to get Elena out of town when their car spun out of control and plunged off a bridge into the water. Stefan fruitlessly tried to save them but was too late. But wait! There’s more! Elena died with vampire blood in her system. The last five seconds of the episode show her eyes flashing open and her gasping for air.
Season four returned with Elena being technically dead and having begun her transformation into a vampire, a transformation that has Elena horrified by the thought of being “alive.” Her worst nightmare comes true — she must drink blood in order to complete the transition phase or else she’ll die. The audience gets a firsthand look at this transformation, experiencing the same vivid details that Elena does, from the loud buzzing of fluorescent light bulbs around her to her extreme sensitivity to sunshine.
During her transformation, Elena seems to regain memories that had once been wiped from her brain by Damon. When she realizes that she met Damon before Stefan, and that Damon professed his love to her first, a love triangle is reestablished. This proves to be a stumbling block for the show, as this love triangle is slightly too reminiscent of the romances in “Twilight.”
An air of mystery pervades the season premiere, with Klaus (Joseph Morgan) having taken over Tyler’s (Michael Trevino) body.
Trevino does an excellent job portraying Klaus’ character, and the body−swapping episodes are some of the show’s most intense. Trevino’s talent as an actor is evident in his gestures and syntax, making the body−swap all the more believable for viewers.
Our favorite witch, Bonnie (Kat Graham), is also back for the season premiere. Practicing dark magic to try to save Elena from transitioning into a vampire has minimized her powers and cast her mother into purgatory. This should develop into an exciting plotline, as both Klaus and the Salvatore brothers rely on Bonnie’s magic to survive.
This year has Mystic Falls thrumming with action, but despite the multitude of promising sub−plots, the gusto that’s present in most “Vampire Diaries” premieres is missing. It’s as if the show’s writers simply continued on from a mid−season hiatus rather than starting a whole new season. All in all, the season premiere is a typical “Vampire Diaries” episode but promises its viewers a season rife with drama — as long as they’re willing to wait.