The Vampire Diaries

The Vampire Diaries
The Vampire Diaries
Genre Teen drama
Supernatural drama
Developed by Kevin Williamson &
Julie Plec
Written by L.J. Smith (Books)
Starring Nina Dobrev
Paul Wesley
Ian Somerhalder
Steven R. McQueen
Sara Canning
Katerina Graham
Candice Accola
Zach Roerig
Kayla Ewell
Michael Trevino
Matt Davis
Joseph Morgan
Narrated by Nina Dobrev
Paul Wesley
Steven R. McQueen
Matt Davis
Composer(s) Michael Suby
Country of origin United States
Language(s) English
No. of seasons 3
No. of episodes 53 (List of episodes)
Executive producer(s) Leslie Morgenstein
Bob Levy
Kevin Williamson
Julie Plec
Location(s) Atlanta, Georgia
Covington, Georgia
Vancouver, British Columbia
Running time 41 minutes
Production company(s) Outerbanks Entertainment
Alloy Entertainment
CBS Television Studios
Warner Bros. Television
Original channel The CW
Original run September 10, 2009 – present
External links

The Vampire Diaries is an American teen supernatural drama television series developed by Kevin Williamson and Julie Plec, based on the book series of the same name written by L. J. Smith. The series premiered on The CW Television Network on September 10, 2009, and is currently in its third season that premiered on September 15, 2011.[1] The series takes place in Mystic Falls, Virginia, a fictional small town haunted by supernatural beings. The main focus of the series is the love triangle between the female protagonist Elena Gilbert (Nina Dobrev) and Stefan (Paul Wesley) and Damon (Ian Somerhalder), all of whom have dark pasts. Later light is thrown on the mysterious past of the town involving Elena's malevolent doppelgänger Katherine who seeks revenge against the town, Stefan, Damon, and Elena.

The pilot episode attracted the largest audience of any series premiere since the network began in 2006.[2] The first season averaged 3.60 million viewers.[3] The show initially received average reviews, but critics agreed that the series improved over the course of the season; the second season premiered to generally favorable reviews. The show has received numerous award nominations, winning a People's Choice Award and many Teen Choice Awards. On April 26, 2011, The CW renewed the series for a third season, and began on September 15, 2011.[4]


Series overview

The series follows the life of Elena Gilbert (Nina Dobrev) a 17-year-old girl, who falls for a 162-year-old vampire named Stefan Salvatore (Paul Wesley). Their relationship becomes increasingly complicated as Stefan's vicious and malevolent elder brother Damon (Ian Somerhalder) returns with a plan to wreak havoc on the town and also to plan a revenge against his younger brother. Both brothers begin to show affection towards Elena, mainly because of her resemblance to their past love Katherine Pierce. It is revealed that Elena is a descendant of Katherine, who eventually returns with plans against the trio.

The series is set in the fictional town of Mystic Falls, Virginia, a town charged with supernatural history since its settlement of migrants from New England in the late 17th century. Other story lines revolve around the other inhabitants of the town, most notably Elena's younger brother Jeremy Gilbert (Steven R. McQueen), Elena's best friend Bonnie Bennett (Katerina Graham), Elena's close friend, Caroline Forbes (Candice Accola), Elena's childhood friend, Tyler Lockwood (Michael Trevino) and Elena's childhood friend and ex-boyfriend, Matt Donovan (Zach Roerig). The town's politics are orchestrated by descendants of the original founding families, all comprising a "Founders' Council". Some of the founding families of Mystic Falls include the Salvatores, the Gilberts, the Fells, the Forbes and the Lockwoods. They guard the town mainly from vampires, although they seem to be oblivious to other supernatural threats such as werewolves, witches, and ghosts.


Although the show is based on the books of the same name, many of the characters are changed, although the main story lines from the original books are maintained. Beginning in season one, ten characters received star billing, with one being written out and another being promoted.

Nina Dobrev portrays Elena Gilbert, the main protagonist, as well as Katherine Pierce, also known as Katerina Petrova, one of the main antagonists.[5] Elena is quickly involved in many supernatural events. Paul Wesley portrays Stefan Salvatore,[6] one of the vampire brothers who is good-hearted and affectionate, the complete opposite of his older brother Damon Salvatore portrayed by Ian Somerhalder,[7] the malevolent vampire brother who, in the beginning, serves as the show's anti-hero; however he is showing a kinder, more caring side as the series progresses.

Other cast members include Steven R. McQueen, who portrays Jeremy Gilbert,[8] Elena's younger brother, later revealed to be her biological cousin, with Sara Canning acting as Jeremy and Elena's aunt and legal guardian, Jenna Sommers who is killed at the end of the second season after being turned into a vampire.[9] Katerina Graham portrays Bonnie Bennett, Elena's best friend, who is also a witch.[10] Candice Accola portrays Caroline Forbes,[11] Elena's insecure friend and occasional rival, who becomes a vampire in the second season. Zach Roerig portrays Matt Donovan,[12] Elena's childhood friend and ex-boyfriend, who later becomes romantically involved with Caroline. Michael Trevino portrays Tyler Lockwood,[13] a werewolf, Jeremy's rival, Matt's best friend and son of the mayor of Mystic Falls; male members of his family have been shown to carry a lycanthropic trait. Kayla Ewell portrayed Vicki Donovan,[14] Matt's troubled older sister and girlfriend of Tyler and then Jeremy. She was written out of the show in the seventh episode of the first season, after being turned into a vampire by Damon and killed by Stefan. Soon afterwards Matthew Davis joined the cast as Alaric Saltzman,[15] a history teacher, vampire hunter, and love interest for Jenna. During season 1 Malese Jow joined the cast as Anna, a love interest for Jeremy and an old acquaintance of Stefan and Damon.


Initially, Kevin Williamson had little interest in developing the series, finding the premise too similar to other vampire tales. However, at Julie Plec's urging, he began to read the novels and started to become intrigued by the story: "I began to realize that it was a story about a small town, about that town's underbelly and about what lurks under the surface."[16] Williamson has stated the town's story will be the main focus of the series, rather than high school.[17]

On February 6, 2009, Variety announced that The CW had green-lit the pilot for The Vampire Diaries with Williamson and Julie Plec set as the head writers and executive producers.[18] On May 19, 2009, the series was officially ordered for the 2009–2010 season.[19]

The pilot episode was filmed in Vancouver, British Columbia, but the rest of the episodes have been filmed in Covington, Georgia (which doubles as the fictional small town of Mystic Falls, Virginia) and various other communities around Greater Atlanta,[20] to take advantage of local tax incentives.

The series was given a full, 22-episode order on October 21, 2009 after strong ratings for the first half of the season.[21]

On February 16, 2010, The CW announced that it had renewed the show for a second season,[22] which premiered on September 9, 2010.[23] On April 26, 2011, The CW renewed the show for a third season.[4] The third season premiered on September 15, 2011.[24]

President of The CW Mark Pedowitz said in an interview at the summer TCA's that The Vampire Diaries didn't receive an extra episode order at the request of Kevin Williamson. "Kevin Williamson felt to do the best show possible he would rather do 22. I'd rather have a great 22 than a good 24 if Kevin couldn't do it," he explained.[25]



The series premiere on September 10, 2009 gave The CW its biggest series premiere scoring 4.91 million viewers.[26] Adding in DVR numbers, the ratings for the premiere swelled to an official 5.7 million viewers.[27] The Vampire Diaries initially received mixed reviews. Metacritic gave the show a Metascore of 50 based on 22 critical reviews, indicating mixed to average reviews.[28] Entertainment Weekly gave the pilot a B+, declaring that the show "signals a welcome return to form for writer-producer Kevin Williamson". Reviewer Ken Tucker ended his review by writing that "Diaries promises us a season of sharp-tongued amusement."[29] Linda Stasi of the New York Post gave the premiere a perfect score, saying that she was "hooked after one episode". Stasi praised the pacing of the episode and the "vicious, bloody vamp action", which "starts in the opening scene and continues throughout The Vampire Diaries with such ferocity and speed that it's truly scary."[30] Conversely, San Francisco Chronicle's Tim Goodman gave the episode a highly critical review, calling the series "awful". Goodman disliked the dialogue and hoped that the extras on Buffy the Vampire Slayer would "return en masse to eat the cast of Vampire Diaries, plus any remaining scripts."[31]

Many TV critics felt the series improved with each episode. Sarah Hughes of The Independent says The Vampire Diaries turns into "a well-crafted, interestingly developed series", despite a poor opening episode.[16] The New York Post also praised the portrayal of Elena, finding the character to be a strong-minded woman who did not allow her feelings for her boyfriend to control her.[32] Karla Peterson of The San Diego Union-Tribune said that "the supernatural drama is a first-class production, featuring an insanely gorgeous cast, sharp scripts and a brooding vibe that is hard for even the most levelheaded adult to resist."[33] Mike Hale of The New York Times gave the series an honorable mention on his list of the top TV shows of 2009.[34]


The following is a table for the seasonal rankings, based on average total estimated viewers per episode, of The Vampire Diaries on The CW. "Rank" refers to how The Vampire Diaries rated compared to the other television series which aired during prime time hours.

Season Timeslot (ET/PT) # Ep. Premiered Ended Rank Viewers Live+SD
(in millions)
Date Premiere
(in millions)
Date Finale
(in millions)
Season 1 Thursday 8:00 p.m. 22 September 10, 2009[35] 4.91[36] May 13, 2010[3] 3.47[37] #118[3] 3.60[3]
Season 2 22 September 9, 2010[23] 3.36[38] May 12, 2011[39] 2.86[40] N/A 3.17[41]
Season 3 22 September 15, 2011 3.10[42] May, 2012 N/A N/A N/A

Awards and nominations

"The Vampire Diaries" won 7 Teen Choice Awards in 2010 including: Choice TV Show – Fantasy/Sci-Fi, Choice TV Actor – Fantasy/Sci-Fi (Paul Wesley), Choice TV Actress – Fantasy/Sci-Fi (Nina Dobrev), Choice TV Villain (Ian Somerhalder), Choice TV Breakout Show, Choice TV Female Breakout Star (Nina Dobrev) and Choice TV Male Breakout Star (Paul Wesley).

Other nominations were Choice Male Hottie (Ian Somerhalder) and Choice Scene Stealer (Katerina Graham).[43] The show won an award for Favorite New TV Drama at the 2010 People's Choice Awards and received a nomination for Favorite Sci-Fi/Fantasy Show.[44] It was also nominated for a Saturn Award for Best Network TV Series.[45] On November 9, 2010, it received nominations for Favourite Sci-Fi/Fantasy Show and Favourite TV Drama as well as a nomination for Ian Somerhalder in the TV Drama Actor category at the 2011 People's Choice Awards.

In 2011, "The Vampire Diaries" was nominated for 12 Teen Choice Awards including: Choice TV Show – Fantasy/Sci-Fi, Choice TV Actor – Fantasy/Sci-Fi (Paul Wesley), Choice TV Actor – Fantasy/Sci-Fi (Ian Somerhalder), Choice TV Actress – Fantasy/Sci-Fi (Nina Dobrev), Choice TV Villain (Joseph Morgan), Scene Stealer Female (Katerina Graham), Scene Stealer Male (Michael Trevino), Female hottie (Nina Dobrev), Male hottie (Ian Somerhalder) and Vampire (Nina Dobrev, Ian Somerhalder and Paul Wesley).[46]

Home release

Season one was released on DVD in Regions 1, 2 and 4 and on Blu-ray in Regions A and B. Both United States versions include commentary by cast and crew members on selected episodes, deleted scenes, behind-the-scenes featurettes, webisodes, and a downloadable audiobook of L.J. Smith's The Vampire Diaries: The Awakening.[47] It was released on DVD in Region 2 on August 23, 2010.[48] Following that release, Region 1 began selling DVDs on August 31, 2010,[47] and Region 3 on September 1, 2010.[49] In Region A, it was released on Blu-ray on August 31, 2010.[50][51] Region B's releases varied; United Kingdom on August 23, 2010,[52] Brazil on August, 26, 2010[53] and Australia on September 1, 2010.[54] The Vampire Diaries Season 2 will be available in DVD and Blu-ray on 30th August 2011.[55] Region B's releases varied; United Kingdom on August 22, 2011,[56] Brazil on August, 25, 2011.

Possible spin-off

Former president of entertainment at The CW, Dawn Ostroff, has mentioned a spin-off idea that could happen in a few years.[57] A spin-off was in development for the 2011 fall line up but due to Kevin Williamson's commitment to The Secret Circle it has been put on hold. If created, the series would focus on a group of researchers who investigate paranormal activities.[58]


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