Blood boils for Vampire Diaries

New season of CW’s hit series, “Vampire Diaries” starts tonight and in addition to these fabulous top ten reasons to watch it, are my own top three:

1. There’s no Bella. That’s right. Elena and Katherine, the characters played by the lead actress of this vampire series, Nina Dobrev, are strong women.  Elena has friends, family, a life that she fights for. She doesn’t whine about wanting to become a vampire but has all the normal reservations a normal person would have.  She is strong unto herself.  She doesn’t live for her eternal man and even broke up with him at one point.  She is sexy and dynamic in both roles she inhabits, neither of which is the cliche “virgin” or “tramp” stereotype.

Elena's difficult love choices

2. There’s no Edward. Damon is generally bad.  Stefan is generally good. Both have shades of gray. Shocking but true for a TV series, the bad boy has his good moments; he’s dark more than bad.  Stefan has his blood thirsty past that can sneak up on him at any point. The boys are nuanced. And hot.

Plus, there’s Steve if you like jocks.  And Tyler for those into hot blooded werewolves, who keeps his shirt on though he doesn’t have to.  And Jeremy for those into the sweet young things. And Alaric for the perfect boyfriend.  All nuanced.  All hot. Which is saying a lot since usually shows and movies concentrate on hot women, which in real life are not so hard to find — at the least, you can find cute or put together women.  But in this age of Seth Rogen and Jack Black, hot hetero men, are rare as much in real life as in characters.

3. This is no Twilight. Vampires are sexy.  They’re teen-agers: the real kind, the ones that get moody and are hormonal and think life has no consequences.  And these happen to drink blood.  And have a rampant hunger. And really do live forever.

So somewhere between the vamp porn of “True Blood” and the abstinence agenda of the poorly written but well-timed “Twilight” is this perfectly balanced series.

In addition, unlike the movie, this series must weekly keep audiences entertained — and they do. There are cliff hangers, there are twists on age-old mythologies usually associated with the undead, never cheezy though easily it can easily be, and maintains a fast pace that doesn’t try to cram in too much.  It doesn’t try and do more than entertain.  As a writer who has watched hundreds of aired and unaired pilots and series, this is one writing room to be in because that team is on their feet and talented.

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