Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Vampire Diaries – season 2 – review

Director: Various

First aired: 2010-2011

Contains spoilers

When I reviewed season 1 of the show I suggested that I was in danger of drowning in teen angst. Not so much in this season, instead we get overwhelmed by an insistence (from primary characters) of carrying out the noble act and sacrificing themselves. Luckily we have some secondary characters who are much more selfish than selfless.

Also gone – ish – is the school. One complaint might have been the focus on a high school but the characters seem to have decided school to be unimportant (this is actually mentioned in script) and so the school becomes a very occasional set.

more fun than Elena
At the end of the first season queen-bitch vampire Katherine (Nina Dobrev) is free and up to no end of mischief – especially as she can pretend to be mortal double Elena (also Nina Dobrev). As her machinations unfold it becomes apparent that this physical similarity is no coincidence. Elena is the doppelganger, a supernatural event in human form that will allow a curse to be lifted. Katherine was herself the doppelganger, some 500 years before, but escaped her fate by becoming a vampire. Klaus (Joseph Morgan) has hunted for her since then and is one of a family of original vampires.

Klaus, one of the originals
The originals are interesting; they are stronger and faster than other vampires. Things like vervain only burn for a short while and then they are fine and they can walk (unaided) in sunlight. They can compel other vampires as well as humans (compelling being the show’s version of eye mojo) and do not need an invitation into a mortal’s home. Indeed they cannot really be killed (a certain dagger, with certain ash on it, can lock them in a death like equivalent).

a werewolf
The curse mentioned is the curse of the sun and the moon – an Aztec curse that has forced vampires into the night and werewolves to the pattern of the moon for transformation. If you wonder about the viability of vampires (who seemed to have originated from Europe) being under an Aztec curse then keep watching – not many of the more selfish characters tell the truth. Having written that it is also obvious that werewolves now come into the show. They change one night per month, their form is actually wolf (rather than wolfman) and a bite from a werewolf will kill a vampire (apart from an original) and it is a long and painful death.

Paul Wesley as Stefan
Our two main vampires are much as they were. Damon (Ian Somerhalder) is still the most interesting of the two, constantly fighting the scriptwriters’ desire to domesticate him. I was glad to see that during the main season arc they never fell back on good vampire Stefan’s (Paul Wesley) penchant for falling off the animal blood wagon and becoming a ripper (a vampire who can’t control his blood lust). That said both of them, as well as Elena and a host of main good-guy characters seem awfully willing to sacrifice themselves for others (as I mentioned) and one would have hoped for just a tad of selfishness (even Damon is only accidentally selfish when it comes to Elena).

The series as a whole was a little over long. A few of the episodes seemed stretched out and perhaps a couple could have been shaved off the length but overall the reduction in angst saw this nose ahead of season 1. 6 out of 10.

The imdb page is here.


Anonymous said...

In the second season TVD definitely moved away from its earlier Twilight/Angel-Buffyesque high school vibe into a more soap-like groove. A certain blonde newbie vamp is my favorite character on the show.

Aside on high school age human-vamp romances set in the present: am I right that The Silver Kiss (1990) was the first (barely beating out the first Vampire Diaries novel)? Or were there others before Silver Kiss and TVD?


Taliesin_ttlg said...

the blonde vamp was very good :)

You might be right re the silver kiss - though it does warrant some investigation