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Wednesday, 6 June 2012

WON'T SOMEBODY PLEASE DIE?!? Oh, right, thanks.

Playing catch up at the minute, since the blogs haven't been updating lately, so this post may not be quite as topical as I might have liked. Never mind though eh?

 Around this time last year; can it really have been so long?; I posted a two part look at The Vampire Diaries, to coincide with the end of Season 2 on ITV2 and my having read the first series of novels. I wrote on here of how the books and show differed in terms of content, while on the book blog I discussed the; bloody massive; difference in quality. I'd intended to do the same this year, comparing S3 with the second series of novels except, well...

Unlike the first couple of seasons of the TV show, which were surprisingly faithful to the first series of novels, the 3rd season did not, as might have been expected, stick anywhere near the plot of the new books. The TV writers continued down their own path, essentially ignoring the new books existence in all but the most trivial and cosmetic aspects. In fact, the only element of the new books to have entered the show, that I can think of off the top of my head, is the name Sage.

Even here though, the connection is tenuous at best and one has to question why it was even included. In the books, Sage is an ancient vampire of the same ilk as Klaus and described by the ever vacuous Elena as 'a tall blonde hunk of a vampire.' He pays a pivotal role in the story and hints are seeded that he could well prove even more important in future novels. In the show, Sage is just another previously unmentioned vampire with a past connection to one of the Salvatores, destined to appear in a couple of flashbacks then get killed off in a vain attempt to convince us that there is some genuine peril in this town where no-one (important) dies. Oh, and female. That this 'Sage in name only' character is played by the delectable Cassidy Freeman only adds to the tragedy of her quick demise. In my opinion.

Freed from the constraints of trying to be faithful to the books then, does the show soar this year? In a word, no. If anything, it flounders. It wallows in the same turgid soap opera that dragged down so much of S2, whilst introducing yet more unkillable characters to clog up an already overcrowded cast; characters who are supposedly heartless killing machines but who miraculously start exhibiting redeeming features and showing their feelings, 5 minutes after they show up. Whether it be Rebekah falling for Matt, or Klaus pining over Caroline (though who could blame him) it seemed that no character was free of the romance curse.

Now, I know that this has ever been a staple of the show and much of the shows fanbase is comprised of those God-awful 'shippers' who thrive on these ridiculous pairings but a large part of what made the show so good in it's early days was that that stuff was complimented by some good old fashioned bloodthirsty horror. And when no-one is allowed to die, bloodthirsty horror is hard to pull off.

As S3 drew to a close we got some welcome signs that things might finally be moving on. The endless 'can we kill the originals, should we kill the originals, will we kill the originals, can we kill the originals' cycle came to an end with the constant 'they're dead, oh no, hang on, they're not' so called 'twists' finally giving way to what appeared to be some genuine (finally, thank you!) cast culling. I know these guys have their fans, but I for one cheered; if certain characters are back next year I shall be very upset.

                                               Why Won't You Die!!! Oh. Never mind

I hold out a fair degree of hope that S4 might bring something a bit special to the table and properly revitalise the show. Certainly the final scene marks a pretty significant departure for them, assuming we don't get some convoluted cop-out, but it's the little things...

New girl Meredith is an interesting character and if she can avoid falling in love with someone two weeks into the new season she should be good for some 'pragmatic outsider' storylines...

They saw fit to actually make use of Jeremy's power in the run up to the finale so we can maybe hope that they have interesting plans for that...

Rebekah, apart from her 'thing' for Blando Matt, could be interesting although there is a definite risk of her becoming a Caroline clone. For my part, I predict she has ties with Meredith in some wider scheme. Not sure why I think that, but I'll be sure to remind you all of it if I'm proved right...

Tyler is being played as a shifty bugger. I like this. When you think about it, as a hybrid he is probably one of the most powerful supernatural characters on the show, and yet is consistently played as a victim. Now that he is his own man we can hopefully see him begin to own that power a little more...

And of course, my favourite thing they've done; they've made the use of those horrible rings dangerous. Hopefully this means that we won't have to put up with any more of those meaningless 'cliffhangers' were someone dies and we're all supposed to be gobsmacked except everyone knows they'll just wake up again after the ads. It got old reaallly quickly and I'm pleased they've finally addressed it and given themselves an in-story 'out', so they can move away from their use with a bit of dignity.

Stop Being Alive Again!!!! 

So there you have it. Shorn of my page-screen comparison I just went with a random bunch of observations and half formed opinions. Wanna make something of it? I'll be over on the book blog on Friday, moaning about how shit the books were, but until then, that's your whack of me and The Vampire Diaries. Check back here next week, if you like, and I might have posted something about something. Or maybe something about something else. Or maybe nothing at all. Who knows? Not me.

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