Instead of blazing forward, this episode of TVD looked back; with the morbidly only-in-Mystic Falls Remembrance Day celebration as the backdrop, For Whom the Bells Tolls was all about remembering — the past, your lost loved ones, and what the point of being good is in the face of all this crazy-awful.
This time last year I was reviewing The Vampire Diaries: The Complete First Season on DVD, and now I’m reviewing the second season on DVD. Time certainly seems to fly in this series, right? Unless we’re stuck in the middle of a hiatus, of course.
The following review is based on the UK DVD set. As far as we’re aware, both the DVD and Blu-ray editions in the UK and the US will have the exact same features, so what I’m reviewing is most likely what you’ll be getting regardless of what version you purchase.
In case you haven’t heard (but you have, right?), The Vampire Diaries will have a new 9 p.m. partner this fall on the CW: The Secret Circle, based on L.J. Smith’s trilogy of the same name, adapted for the screen by Kevin Williamson (executive producer, The Vampire Diaries) and Andrew Miller (creator, Imaginary Bitches web series). Yep, an Alloy Entertainment/L.J. Smith/Kevin Williamson block on Thursday nights, which has us long-time fans of both series pinching ourselves and wondering what year it is. (The Secret Circle was originally published in 1992.)
The series stars Britt Robertson as Cassie (center) and (left to right) Thomas Dekker as Adam, Jessica Parker Kennedy as new (i.e.: non-book) character Melissa, Louis Hunter as Nick, Shelley Hennig as Diana, and Phoebe Tonkin as Faye.
The short version: We really, really liked The Secret Circle pilot.
NOTE: Yes, there are major changes from the books, but we think most fans are braced for that and we won’t dwell on the details here. (Tierney Bricker has an excellent breakdown if you’re curious about books vs. pilot. Please be aware that there have been changes to the pilot since the posting of the article.)
I’ve spent a lot of time the past few days struggling over how I was going to write about this past weekend’s 2011 EyeCon Vampire Diaries Convention, North America’s very first convention devoted exclusively to The Vampire Diaries. I wanted to be reasonable and fair and forgiving. But the truth of the matter is that other than meeting and hanging out with the amazing fans in attendance (thanks so much to those who swung by our table or stopped us in the halls to say hi!), the fun cast Q&As (I didn’t go for photo ops or autograph sessions, so can’t personally speak to those), and the overwhelming generosity and support of charity (both of the Ian Somerhalder Foundation and the various fandom charity groups present), I have nothing positive to say about the convention. As a “sponsor,” vendor, and fan, I found the entire EyeCon experience to be disappointing, infuriating, and downright embarrassing.
SPOILER ALERT: If you have not yet read Stefan’s Diaries: Bloodlust (or Origins) but plan to, bookmark this page and come back when you’re done to read and comment. If you, like me, have already finished or don’t plan on reading it at all, continue on!
It feels like just two days ago that I put down the first installment of Stefan’s Diaries and yet here I am. Already finished with Vol. 2 and, if at all possible, I think I read it even faster than I did Vol. 1. As teased in the first two chapters printed at the back of Vol. 1, Stefan’s Diaries, Vol. 2: Bloodlust, leaves off just days after Stefan and Damon Salvatore are murdered by their father and awaken newly undead.
SPOILER ALERT: If you have not yet read Stefan’s Diaries: Origins but plan to, bookmark this page and come back when you’re done to read and comment. If you, like me, have already finished or don’t plan on reading it at all, continue on!
Completely devoured the new Vampire Diaries book. This latest, called Stefan’s Diaries, Vol. 1: Origins, is not a continuation of the original series but based entirely on the CW show (which was based on the original series). Don’t get dizzy. It makes complete sense. What’s funny about it (to me) is that no actual author is listed. It simply states “Based on the novels by L.J. Smith and the TV series developed by Kevin Williamson and Julie Plec.” Huh. Who knows? Either way, I thoroughly enjoyed it and didn’t put it down once except to tweet how much I was loving it. That said, let me address a few things I believe could have been done better…
Now, you guys don’t need me to review the TV series. All you have to do is look around this website to find out all you need to know about the show, and just how fantastic we think it is. If you haven’t seen it, then watch it. Now. That’s an order. Trust me, you’ll thank us for it. So assuming you’re all fans, you’re here to find out about the DVD; what the set looks like, what special features there are, how good they are, and just what Vee wore for her DVD interview (a fetching rust-brown jacket and an amber pendant that puts Bonnie’s to shame, just so you know).
When I initially saw the proposed cover for the DVD, I was a little disappointed at the use of an image that had been used in so much advertising already. I’ve had time to get over that, and while it may be overused, it is at least symbolic of the show. The rest of the artwork on this DVD set is pretty fantastic, though, with illustrations of scroll work, vines and crows on the the spine, top and back of the cardboard sleeve. There’s also a movie poster-type image of the main trio on the back of the plastic DVD case.
I have to say that I’m impressed with how economical this packaging is. It’s got five discs packed into a standard DVD case (six in the case of the Target DVDs with the bonus Paley disc). It has everything you need without wasting materials like a lot of DVD box sets have a tendency to do. The Vampire Diaries set is going green, and it’s fantastic to see that the WB have produced a DVD set that fits with that ethos.
Entertainment Weekly’s Ken Tucker has seen The Return – the premiere episode of Vampire Diaries Season 2 – and his score is a solid B+, with a special comment on Taylor Kinney’s Mason Lockwood. WARNING: Vague spoilers, but spoilers just the same! You have been warned.
But the throbbing red heart of The Vampire Diaries remains the tension between Damon and Paul Wesley’s Stefan, and their mutual attraction to whomever Dobrev is embodying at the time. ”She’s Katherine! She loves to play games!” splutters Damon in the season opener. It’s not long after this that she plays a romantic game with him that will doubtless have reverberations throughout the season. As Katherine says: ”Game on.”
Also, as a side comment: SpikeTV’s Scream Awards 2010 nominees have been announced and not a single nomination for The Vampire Diaries? LAME.
Thanks to the eagle-eyed folks at Media Blvd: Ian Somerhalder for this piece of awesome: Rolling Stone‘s pop culture critic Rob Sheffield examines The Vampire Diaries in the magazine’s newest issue (Black-Eyed Peas on the cover). Click the image for an easily readable version and make sure you pick up a copy! And while you’re at it, please pick up Sheffield’s book Love Is a Mix Tape, which made me sob my guts out (on public transportation! without shame!).
As for the piece itself – agree? Disagree?
PaleyFest last weekend was fun times, and considering I made it to L.A. despite being sick as all get out, you’ll forgive me for taking the past week to recuperate and throw together some thoughts.
First off, it was nothing short of a pleasure (finally!) meeting Niyah (@CW_VampDiaries), Craig (@KryptonSite), and Carina (@cadlymack), and great seeing Jen (@NinaDobrevFan) again. And of course my travel partners-in-crime, Connie (@conallen) and Lucia (@Heroine_TV), who weathered my sick, pathetic butt and made me laugh so much. This fandom has a core made of awesome, wonderfully witty, hard-working folks, and the above are all class acts. You guys made my trip, so thank you. (The rest of you – follow all of the above on Twitter!)
If you’re looking for a thorough PaleyFest panel recap, I point you no further than Lucia/Heroine TV’s excellent breakdown. She touches on everything worth noting during the actual panel, and I can’t disagree with (most of) her personal observations either. (By the way, I’m the arm she grabbed in the last moments of the episode screening, heh, but more on that in a minute.)