Vamp-ing It UpBy Michael Karol Posted: Nov 6, 2009
Soap Opera Weekly put The CW's hit series THE VAMPIRE DIARIES on the cover of our 20th Anniversary issue (dated Nov. 24, 2009 and hitting the stands on Nov. 13), and for those of you who think that's stretching the definition of soap opera, read on. Weekly has a grand tradition of covering prime-time soaps. Some of those shows that have graced our covers include THE O.C., 24, NYPD BLUE, HEROES, SURVIVOR, THE SOPRANOS, DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES and BUFFY, THE VAMPIRE SLAYER. Yes, we even have a precedent for putting a prime-time series about vampires on the cover. Not to mention a reality show.
They reason they all work within our definition of "soap opera" is because they all conform to certain soap traditions:
— They're serialized dramas.
— The casts tend to be larger and more cohesive (as in, everyone interacts with everyone else) than many traditional dramas.
— The plots feature continuing storylines that often center on relationships between families, and the interaction of a handful of major couples (if they become popular enough, we call them supercouples and give them funny combination names).
— The action takes place in a small, suburban town (or an urban setting, but not a big city, although one is usually nearby in case it's needed…like Pine Valley's Center City, which any ALL MY CHILDREN fan knows is really Philadelphia).
— There's a steady diet of angst and emotional overload, much of it centering on the problems of teens or young adults (especially in recent years, as younger audiences became the most sought-after demographic for ratings success).
— Adultery, sex, marriage, friendship, sex, rape, loneliness, lust, murder, sex, death, illness…(Have I mentioned sex?) and now, even the angst of the undead, are staples, since these topics best grab the viewers by the throat and glue them to the screen.
So it should come as no surprise that we have a stake (oh, yes, there will be lots of undead-related puns) in covering THE VAMPIRE DIARIES. It fits all the above criteria, and it's bloody good, as well (I warned ya). When the series began, I loved the dark vampire brother, Damon (Ian Somerhalder), but wasn't so sure about how the rest of the cast, and the show itself, would hold up. Now that it has been on for a few months, I am totally entranced by Damon, er, by how dark the series in general is willing to go. Yeah, that's it.
The most recent episodes, for example, featured the death of a major character (Vicki, played by Kayla Ewell; ex-Caitlin, BOLD AND BEAUTIFUL); the slaughter of a group of druggie teens; and the killing of Stefan's (Paul Wesley) best friend Lexi (Arielle Kebbel), who showed up to celebrate Stef's 162nd birthday and was staked by Damon. It's all part of Damon's master plan to…well, to make everyone else on Earth as miserable as he is, I think. That last act got Damon staked (though not fatally) by bro Stefan.
The ending of last night's episode — witch Bonnie (Katerina Graham) has a clairvoyant nightmare and is warned (by a long-dead relative) that "It's coming!", then wakes up in the cemetery where the kids were murdered — was goosebump-spooky. My fangs are out, and I'm ready to feed on another "lethal" dose of this addictive show, stat!