Around the Water Cooler: “The Vampire Diaries,” The Season 5 Premiere (SPOILERS)

THE SPECS:

Who: “The Vampire Diaries” currently airs on network TV, specifically on the CW, Thursdays at 8:00 PM.

What: “The Vampire Diaries,” a supernatural teen drama focused on a young woman, Elena Gilbert (Nina Dobrev), who becomes entangled with two brothers who are vampires–one a soulful, conflicted type who wants to repress his vampire urges to be more human; the other a sarcastic, ne’er-do-well who embraces the nature of his nocturnal condition, except for when his love for Elena interferes.  In addition, these two vampire brothers were sired by Elena’s doppelganger, a vampire for the centuries named Katherine Pierce (for a more detailed Synopsis, read here: http://www.aceshowbiz.com/tv/vampire_diaries_the/summary.html).

When: The Season 5 premiere aired on Thursday, October 3, 2013, on the CW at 8:00 PM.

Where: The show is primarily set in the fictional town of Mystic Falls, Virginia.

Why: Two reasons: vampires and Ian Somerhalder, formerly of Lost and Smallville fame.  I love non-sparkly vampire television, and Ian Somerhalder is too beautiful a man not to find an excuse to watch.

How – as in How’s It Going? (THOUGHTS…at present)

The Vampire Diaries is now entering its fifth season, which is a little hard to believe (it goes so fast!), and the landscape of the show, thanks to the adaptable and creative writing/producing team spearheaded by Executive Producer Julie Plec, has changed dramatically from its inception.  Elena, of course, is now a vampire, having been sired by Damon Salvatore (Somerhalder), but now, she is entering her freshman year at college with roommate and fellow vampire Caroline Forbes (Candice Accola), best friends and bloodsuckers as they are.  Elena is enjoying a very healthy relationship with Damon, who has vowed to watch after Elena’s brother Jeremy (Steven R. McQueen), a newly minted vampire hunter as of season 4, who has been moved around so much for his protection, he is actually behind in school.

In the meantime, witch Bonnie (Kat Graham), who died in the season 4 finale thanks to her spell against Silas, a sort of beta vampire or a being predating vampires with some of the same traits, is hovering around Jeremy as a ghost, as he continues to hold the power to see the departed, ordering him to text her father and friends with updates from her imaginary whirlwind vacation with her mother, who is currently a vampire (or did she die?).   Matt gallivants, having threesomes and champagne, with Original Vampire Rebekah for the summer until she abandons him to go be on The Originals, the show’s new spinoff.  Tyler has apparently left to oversee some freshly made werewolves and has no time for college, much to Caroline’s disappointment.

And yet, no one seems bothered by a lack of communication with Stefan Salvatore (Paul Wesley), who, in the season 4 finale, was dropped to the bottom of the ocean Angel-style by Silas, who we find out in this premiere is a doppelganger for Stefan, meaning his true form is also forever played by Wesley.  Not only does Silas reemerge and play his cat-and-mouse games with Caroline’s mother and Damon, we learn he has the ability to control minds en masse; by the end of the episode, he’s got the whole town, at one of their famous town parties, under his spell as he slits the throat of Bonnie’s dad with her ghostly visage there to watch.  In addition, Elena and Caroline’s random triple roommate brings water laced with vervain to the room’s mini-fridge and seems hip to the existence of vampires, until she is eaten by one and tossed out of a frat house window.

Let’s not forget Katherine, who took Silas’ cure in the season 4 finale.  She’s human, no longer a vampire, and she’s a basket case as well as the target of Silas’ particular fixation.  The trick of this season will be centered on navigating the new landscape.  With the dynamic Joseph Morgan as Klaus now spearheading his own vampire spinoff (again Angel is called to mind, though he would be closer to Spike), it will be curious to see how convincingly Paul Wesley plays his double role.  Also, will Elena and Caroline’s freshman year turn out to be as interesting as their high school years (how did they graduate when they never went to class??).  How long is Bonnie going to hang on, and what’s the purpose of keeping her around as a ghost?  Jeremy has already been expelled after beating two bullies to a pulp with his hunter abilities.  And what if Stefan is saved only to walk in on the rosy haze of Damon and Elena’s romance, tested by distance and college though it is.  Most importantly, will angsty college bound supernatural beings be as fun to watch as angsty high school supernatural beings?  Somehow, The Vampire Diaries always finds a way.

Questions, Impressions, and Future Considerations

1) What does Silas want with Katherine?  And why hasn’t she learned hygiene in 500 years?

2) I already miss the Originals, particularly Klaus and Elijah.  I guess I’ll have to check out that show…

3) Is Silas, like, indestructible?  What’s his endgame?

4) I hope Damon doesn’t get boring now that he’s so happy.

5) I hope Jeremy gets to show off that hunting stuff more.

6) I’m already over Elena and Caroline, the roomie years.  It feels a little shallow to me.

7) Seriously…why is Bonnie still around and Tyler isn’t?

8) I hope this show stays as consistently twisty as it has been.

PARTING SHOTS

The Vampire Diaries might have its best years behind it, but the program still has story left to tell. These writer/producers are in tune enough with their characters, product, and platform to keep it as full of guesses and “oh shit” moments as previous seasons – so long as Silas doesn’t become boring because he is Stefan’s lookalike or become too insurmountable a villain, such that the heroes spend the season banging their heads (and fangs) against the wall.  The show is at its best when everyone unites as a team, whether the characters are getting along or not, to overcome a formidable foe or to uncover an unlikely mystery.  Hopefully, there is still mystery left in this show to keep the big surprises coming.

LOOKING AHEAD:

The Vampire Diaries  was automatically ordered for a full season, as it is the network’s highest rated show and will very probably get renewed because the CW doesn’t get many hits, and when a hit appears, renews it for season upon season.  Still…stranger things have happened.

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One comment

  1. kyliekeelee · October 25, 2013

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