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Blu-ray Review: The Vampire Diaries – The Complete First Season

For over a century, I have lived in secret. Until now. I know the risk, but I have to know her.” Dark, brooding, pulsing with bloodlust and transcendent with romance, The Vampire Diaries – which started as a series of must-read novels by L.J. Smith – has become a must-watch television hit.  Season One offers unforgettable characters, living and undead. They are vampire brothers Stefan and Damon, one good and one evil; Elena, a double for the beauty both brothers loved some 150 years earlier; plus Jeremy, Bonnie, Matt and more denizens of Mystic Falls, Virginia.  All are caught up in a spellbinding web of secrets, passion and terror

Click over the jump to read my review for the 4-disc first season Blu-ray set.

The Vampire Diaries

Available To Own On (click to purchase via Amazon.com): Blu-ray and DVD

Official Site Link: www.vampirediariesondvd.com

Release Date: August 31, 2010

REVIEW

I’ll admit this up-front: The Vampire Diaries is not a type of show I would normally be interested in. I’m not much into the whole Vampire-craze. I don’t watch “True Blood” and it wasn’t until very recently that even knew about “Twilight”, let alone was forced to watch the movies.

Having said all that, I jumped into The Vampire Diaries and was immediately hooked! The show is incredibly entertaining with a beautiful cast to boot.

As noted, The Vampire Diaries revolves around three characters: High-schooler Elena Gilbert (Nina Dolbrev) and 150+ year-old Vampire brothers Stefan (Paul Wesley) and Damon (Ian Somerhalder) Salvatore. Without spoiling too much, the plot involves Stefan returning to Mystic Falls after a lengthy absence — after all he’s a Vampire, he has to let some time pass or else he’d be noticed — and he has his eye on the beautiful Elena Gilbert, who has an eerie resemblance to a former flame.

With school starting back up for the fall, Elena is still coping with the personal tragedy of the loss of her parents in a car accident (an accident she miraculously survived). Elena and her brother Jeremy (Steven R. McQueen), who similarly is still distraught over the loss of his parents (although Jeremy is acting out/doing drugs/getting in trouble) are being taken care of by their Aunt/legal guardian Jenna Sommers (Sara Canning).

Other key characters include Elena’s best friends Bonnie Bennett (Katerina Graham) and Caroline Forbes (Candice Accola), Elena’s former boyfriend Matt Donovan (Zach Roerig).

The first scene of the pilot involves a Vampire attack, the first of several reported “animal” attacks in the town. Not surprisingly, the attacks coincide with the return of the Salvatore brothers to Mystic Falls, but these “attacks” are a result of Stefan’s brother Devon, who unlike Stefan, is about as evil a Vampire as they come.

Devon’s reason for being back isn’t immediately known — except to be a pain in the ass to his brother, Stefan — but his motives slowly unravel over the course of the season. We also get a bit of witchcraft thrown in for good measure courtesy Bonnie and her grandmother Sheila Bennett. I also like the facts that secrets aren’t what hold the show together. Some people know everything, others don’t. But it’s not a crutch to the storytelling like it is on other shows. I like that. It ensures that the story remains the focus.

The show also has a pretty good set of Vampire “rules”:

  • Can’t be out in the sunlight, with a few exceptions
  • Garlic and holy water doesn’t affect them
  • They have to be invited into a home
  • You don’t get turned into a vampire simply by getting bitten by one–you have to die with Vampire blood in your system

The Vampire Diaries is well-paced and well-acted, but above all else, incredibly entertaining. The show offers strong characters, tight storytelling and a deep mystery that holds you in episode-ending cliffhanger after cliffhanger.

SPECIAL FEATURES

Into Mystic Falls: Bringing Vampire Lore and the High School Experience from Page to Screen

When Vampires Don’t Suck!: The Popularity of Vampires and the Fans Who Love Them

The Vampire Diaries: A New Breed of Vampires – Casting the Series

The Vampire Diaries: Vampires 101 – The Rules of the Vampire

• Creators/Director Pilot Commentary

• Unaired Scenes

The Vampire Diaries: A Darker Truth Webisodes

• Second Bite: Gag Reel

• Downloadable Audiobook of the Bestselling Novel The Vampire Diaries: The Awakening by L.J. Smith

FINAL OPINION

I highly recommend The Vampire Diaries. The Blu-ray is fully featured, with solid video and audio and a nice assortment of special features, and the show itself is a blast. I’ll have to note that with regards to video, it’s VERY solid in outdoor environments and to a lesser degree lit interiors. Unfortunately, video noise is a major concern in dark lighting.

You can catch new episodes of The Vampire Diaries, now in its second season, Thursday’s at 8:00 p.m. on The CW. Catch up with repeats, for free, at CWTV.com.

My final review: 5/5.

Amazon.com Purchase Links

Blu-ray
The Vampire Diaries: The Complete First Season [Blu-ray]

DVD

The Vampire Diaries: The Complete First Season [DVD]

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