Farewell to the vampires

Liz Kacher, Staff Writer

In 2005, author Stephenie Meyer published a novel that ushered in the trend of vampire love stories. “Twilight” started a phenomenon that captivated mainstream media for a number of years that followed.  I didn’t know at the time, but the book encouraged me to read because I wanted to, not because I had to.

Four books and five movies later, “The Twilight Saga” showed how a story about vampires could be realistic and romantic simultaneously. I was eager to read each book as soon as it was published and to see each movie on the night it premiered. Twilight captured my attention and made me much more receptive to the vampire genre. I never thought I’d be interested in vampires, but little did I know it was just the beginning of the vampire hype.

“Twilight” paved the way for other authors to venture into the vampire world. Julie Plec and Kevin Williamson saw the opportunity to ride off the success of “Twilight” and adapted a vampire love story for television. The pilot episode attracted the largest audience for the CW of any series premiere since it began in 2006, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Plec and Williamson were eager to develop the book The Vampire Diaries (TVD) written by L.J. Smith for television. Contrary to “Twilight,” “The Vampire Diaries” is much edgier and less innocent. After eight years,   Friday, March 10, The Vampire Diaries series finale aired, marking the end of another successful vampire franchise.

The entire series is now available on Netflix, and I want to make the case for you to watch it.

I spent eight years watching this show, surprised by every twist. I liked how the writing of “The Vampire Diaries” was much more complex than “Twilight,” lacking the awkward writing of the film adaptation.

The series is centered around Elena Gilbert, a teenager who recently lost her parents. She meets a vampire, Stefan Salvatore, and his brother Damon Salvatore, which developed into an intense love triangle that constantly kept me guessing. I actively cheered on Elena and Stefan in the early seasons, while other viewers shipped Elena and Damon.

While “Twilight” made it relatively obvious that Bella would end up with Edward over Jacob, TVD’s love triangle left its viewers constantly questioning who Elena would choose. Whether you were team ‘Delena’ or ‘Stelena,’ you couldn’t be certain that the writers wouldn’t change their minds about who Elena should be with.

Despite the central focus of the show being on a love triangle, the series is packed with violence which “Twilight” lacked. The special effects were realistic, and it didn’t have the awkwardness of the fight scenes in “Twilight.” The violence seemed about as real as you could get for a show about vampires.

During its second season, TVD saw the introduction of the ‘original vampires’ who would become the fan-favorite villains of the series. Klaus, the protagonist of the second season, was the villain we all loved to hate.

Klaus was the villain who seemed unstoppable due to his supernatural nature. His selfish ways often granted him what he wanted, although his character had its flaws. The paranoid and vindictive paths Klaus chose when it came to protecting his family made his character seem human, although he is a product of the supernatural world.

Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of TVD and “The Originals,” would be how the writers have depicted these supernatural, powerful creatures in a very human way. Yes, vampires and werewolves are central parts of the series, but the writers were able to show us they’re just as human as we are.

The beginning of TVD saw a vulnerable teenager find the people and the passion needed to surpass the tragic death of her parents. I think we’ve all been in Elena’s shoes at some point in our lives, where we have to convince ourselves, “Today will be different.”

I hope the vampires and the werewolves’ presence in TVD and The Originals doesn’t deter you from watching the series. I promise, if you give it time, you’ll be just as intrigued by these characters as I have been in the last eight years.

Liz Kacher is a staff writer for   The Dakota Student. She can be reached at  [email protected]