Not just another vampire movie/TV series, that’s what I get from watching the full season of The Vampire Diaries first season with a love triangle at the heart of this horror/teen show.
Film making 18/25
Bonus Features 18/25
The Vampire Diaries: The Complete First Season plays out the return of a couple of brothers who also happen to be vampires. The town of Mystic Falls has a past with vampires and with the return of the Salvatore brothers things again get complicated.
Elena played by Nina Dobrev who also plays Katherine stars with Paul Wesley as Stefan Salvator and Ian Somerhalder as Damon Salvatore in the Vampire Diaries. The Vampire Diaries series is based on the book series by L.J. Smith and shows a different look at vampires as hidden members of our society.
Elena and later her brother Jeremy find out that their town has more than just a couple of vampires and a council that tries to protect the town. Stefan and Damon were first turned into vampires by Katherine years ago and have recently returned to their home town to find things have not changed all that much for them.
Elena meets Stefan and falls for him but his little secret of being an immortal vampire gets in the way of their relationship. When Elena finds out she freaks, as you would expect, but things settle down and the series starts to really get going after a few episodes.
Damon acts sometimes acts like a jerk and jumps between being a total jerk and being an almost nice guy on the side of his brother. His brother Stefan is the center of attention for the series but also switches back to drinking human blood which turns him more animalistic and kind of a jerk.
Elena is the shows spotlight and at first loves Stefan as a teenage crush until she finds out who, or what, he really is but even then he is likable. Damon also turns toward a more likable character and the whole series revolves around the three, how they became vampires and their past catching up with them.
Damon and Stefan Salvatore were turned into vampires by the same woman, Katherine back in the late 1800’s and fell in love with her in the own ways. When she betrayed both of them and left, or as they think she is imprisoned in a tomb, they are both still having feelings for her.
The first part of the series has Damon trying to free Katherine from this tomb were 25 other vampires are also captive. They were imprisoned by the towns people of Mystic Falls to get rid of them but they are alive, just starved to emaciation.
Once the vampires are released they take up residence in the towns country side under the watchful eye of an old vampire Pearl played by Kelly Hu. Bonnie, a friend of Elena and a witch through family lines released the vampires because she thought she was releasing Katherine and helping the brothers.
Things really take a turn when the town council discovers not only a few of the vampires but the additional twenty odd that have suddenly been unleashed on Mystic Falls. They plan a little raid right during the towns founders day celebration using a device Bonnie’s ancestors created.
When some of the town’s vampires are captured and killed others are revealed and the shows stars are of course saved but things get even more twisted right at the end. Be sure that I will not ruin the ending as the show really is worth watching once you get past probably the first three episodes.
By the first disc you get to understand even Damon’s odd behavior when his kind have been persecuted and hunted year after year and the emotional toll this could have. The Vampire Diaries really does take a different look at the currently overused genre and gives something fresh and new that certainly rises to its own level beside others like Twilight.
The Vampire Diaries is well worth a look and the Blu-ray release is by far the best way to check it out with its better video and audio. Video is pretty good and clear but darks are a bit all over the place, but not because much of the film is shot at night.
During the bonus content you get an idea of why the series is filmed in both day and night, they spot lighted actors and left set and backdrop dark. This intentional lighting causes some badly lit objects blending with the black backgrounds for an odd effect.
Colors and skin tone are also not as good as you could hope for so video does suffer some from problematic technical difficulties but the series is decent enough to enjoy. The audio is just as good with well done but also problematic Dolby Digital 5.1 sound track instead of a master Dolby track which would have been lossless in quality.
The sound works well with clear voice and good surround with well done pans and such but during intense action you do hear the lack of good overall sound both from the effects and the music. Audio is good but could have been much better even if they had to add another disc to fit everything in.
Bonus content includes audio commentary of the first episode, making of features and plenty of talk from cast and crew about the filming. There is also an audio book, The Awakening, the first Vampire Diaries book by L.J. Smith on the fourth disc.
The bonus content is fairly good but overall not as good as it could be but good enough for the effort, it’s really a shame they do not work harder during shows to add more bonus content. You can see why movies add a lot but with the cast and crew always shooting for months at a time you would think they could add hours of extra stuff like gag reels and more.
The Vampire Diaries is a pretty decent enough series for their first season and well worth at least a look, with the show being on television you can check out a few episodes and decide for yourself if a purchase is worthwhile. The Vampire Diaries: The Complete First Season was well worth the effort and the show does have promise to be an entertaining one in the future if they keep up the good story.