I just got done showering and shaving. During that time, I did something that most people would be too humiliated even to consider; I sang and danced “Twist and Shout” into brush and filmed it on my cell phone. You know what I proved to myself? Just because Ferris Bueller can pull it off, doesn’t mean we all can. That’s kind of how I feel about voiceover. Usually I feel like stories with a pervasive, first-person voiceover end up spoon-feeding the viewer, and they rarely work for me. There are exceptions–but when I think of Ferris (or Fight Club or High Fidelity), I realize that when it works, it’s mostly becuase the character who’s doing the narration is one with a strong voice. There just isn’t anyone like this in the show I’m about to talk about, which really hurts the overall tone.
Vampire Diaries: The Complete First Season follows Elena through her first days at Mystic Falls High School and, just like everyone else on TV and in the movies these days, as she falls in with pretty-boy, mooning vampires. Based on a series of bestselling young adult books by Alloy Entertainment, the tale follows the whole town (you know–like The OC, 90210 or Smallville) but focuses on Elena and two vampires–a good one and a bad one–who are vying for her attention, affections and blood.
I won’t go so far as to say the show’s actually bad. In fact, it’s just not meant for me. I’m a thirty-year-old man who, frankly, doesn’t care very much for vampires. I dig True Blood as much as the next guy, but outside of that there aren’t a lot of vampire stories that appeal to me. I prefer zombies, and part of what this show brought out in me is the question of whether there’s ever been a vampire story/series/saga that’s as good as The Walking Dead. I can’t think of one. The show is obviously meant for younger people, mostly female, and probably for people who like vampires. I tried to keep an open mind while watching it for that reason, but the hamfisted narration and the one-dimensional characters who feel just like every character from every other vampire story you’ve ever seen made that difficult. Like many serial shows, too, the character and plot development always seemed to move at a snail’s pace, and as often as not move backwards to remind you that the status quo is God.
The show seemed to do pretty well, and there are already more novels in its series than there are Sookie Stackhouse books to draw from, so one assumes that it’ll be there–but I won’t. The series hit on August 31, so you can own it on DVD now–although I don’t anymore, having given it away when I was done watching for the review.