Binge Worthy: The Vampire Diaries Review

Welcome to my Binge Worthy blog post series. In these posts, I will be taking my favorite shows that have finished their run, and tell you why you should be watching them as well! And if you are already a fan of the show, there will also be a discussion section, where I will be giving my thoughts and opinions on the show as a whole. From season rankings to favorite couples, this discussion section will look at the best and worst parts of each series. First up, we have The Vampire Diaries

For anyone who knows me, it should come as no surprise that my first television entry would be about my favorite show, The Vampire Diaries. I figured that since this is my first post, and I am still new to this whole blogging thing, it would be helpful to start with a show that I know endless amounts of information about. So here we go!

IMAGEs rights belong to: The CW and Warner Brothers

IMAGEs rights belong to: The CW and Warner Brothers

Background

The Vampire Diaries premiered on September 10, 2009, and is based on the young adult novels written by L.J. Smith which share the same name. It stars Nina Dobrev, Paul Wesley, Ian Somerhalder, Candice King, Katerina Graham, Zach Roerig, Michael Trevino, and Matthew Davis. It was written and created by Kevin Williamson (creator of Dawson’s Creek, and Scream) and Julie Plec, and aired on The CW for the entirety of its eight-season run.


The Plot

IMAGEs rights belong to: The CW and Warner Brothers

IMAGEs rights belong to: The CW and Warner Brothers

The Vampire Diaries focuses on a group of teens and their deep family ties to the small town of Mystic Falls, with its supernatural history. The story centers around Elena Gilbert. Once the most popular girl in school, she suffered a lot after the death of her parents a few months prior to the show's start and is now living with her young aunt Jenna and brother Jeremy. Elena's world is then turned upside down, even more, when she meets the mysterious new guy at school, Stefan Salvatore and his brother Damon. The return of Salvatore brothers, both vampires, opens the door to the town’s supernatural past. But Stefan and Damon have another secret...

After meeting Elena, they realize she bears a striking resemblance to the girl they both loved and died trying to save back in 1864 - Katherine Pierce. The brothers each try to get close to Elena to find out why she is so familiar-looking, resulting in both falling in love with her in the process.

The show also focuses on Elena’s two best friends, Bonnie Bennett (a witch) and Caroline Forbes, along with Elena's brother Jeremy, her ex-boyfriend Matt Donovan, and the mayor’s son Tyler Lockwood. Most of the teens are decedents of the founding families of Mystic Falls, a heritage kept alive through a secret council whose goal is to eradicate the town of all supernatural creatures.

Check out the trailer for season one below!

Yes, I realize this trailer makes the show look very cheesy, so I also encourage you to watch the Comic-Con farewell trailer for season eight below. Don't worry, there are no spoilers, but hopefully, it will give you a little taste of why so many people have fallen in love with the show and its adorable cast.


Why You Should Watch It

IMAGEs rights belong to: The CW and Warner Brothers

IMAGEs rights belong to: The CW and Warner Brothers

Possibly due to the fact that this show premiered on The CW during the height of the Twilight craze, with a pretty ridiculous name, I do not believe it ever got the credit or attention it deserves. This is one of the most well-thought out and fun shows I have had the pleasure of watching. And while I don’t necessarily think it's Emmy-caliber, it definitely deserves attention for its amazing writing and cast. Some of the many things to love about this show are:

  • Every episode is important. The phrase "filler episode" isn't in the show's vocabulary, and you can't skip an episode without missing a huge reveal or plot twist. What may seem like tiny details at the time often turn into much larger stories down the line.

  • It is definitely not just for teens. While the central characters are teenagers, and there are occasionally episodes centered around prom and graduation, the show honestly doesn't feel like a teen drama. Because Elena loses her parents so young, and a lot of the other characters parents are not around, they all are forced to grow up pretty quickly, especially if they want to survive in a town full of supernatural threats. The show also focuses on the lives of the adults in town and does a great job of weaving them organically into the story.

  • Much like Buffy before it, the show has a way of using supernatural storylines as metaphors. Stefan's addiction to blood parallels alcoholism and addiction; a vampire's ability to turn off their humanity and human empathy resembles depression. The show makes tired TV storylines interesting again by giving them a supernatural twist.

  • The Vampire Diaries rips through storylines like no other show I have seen. As soon as a storyline is introduced it either leads to the next one or is drawn out just the right amount of time to keep you coming back for more.

  • It has an amazing ability to create and maintain strong female characters. Because all vampires have supernatural strength, the show creates an even playing field between the genders. The women are never used as just the damsel in distress, and can not only save themselves but can save the guys as well.

  • It has an amazing soundtrack and a knack for finding the perfect song for every scene (I will be listing my top three favorite song choices in the spoiler section). If you want to check out what kind of music is featured on the show, here is a great Spotify playlist I found that features most of the songs used on the show:

    The Vampire Diaries Favorites Playlist

  • The universal themes of family, identity, and fear of death are the show's primary themes, which means that even if you don't like supernatural stories, it's still relatable.

  • It has one of the best uses of a love triangle I have seen so far. It's easy to root for either Stefan or Damon, even both. The storylines are drawn out the perfect length of time - long enough to become attached, not too long so that it gets boring. Not a big surprise, considering its creator, Kevin Williamson, was also the creator of one of the most famous, still-debated, teen love triangles on TV. (I am team Pacey, by the way.)

Vampire Diaries has also been recognized as having some of the most shocking and exciting season finales on TV.  I can honestly say I have never been disappointed by a single season finale of this show, and each one has had a huge reveal that I have never seen coming.

However, if you do decide to become a Mystical Falls resident, please do not judge it based on the first few episodes. With lines like these in the pilot, I wouldn't blame you for thinking this is just Twilight for TV:

Stefan: For over a century I have lived in secret, hiding in the shadows, alone in the world, until now. I am a vampire. And this is my story. I shouldn't have come home, I know the risk, but I had no choice; I have to know her.

Bonnie: Hold up, who's this?
Elena: All I see is back.
Bonnie: It's a hot back! I'm sensing Seattle and he plays the guitar.
Elena: You're really going to run this whole psychic thing into the ground, huh?
Bonnie: Pretty much.

As a huge fan of the show, these episodes will always have a special place in my heart when re-watching them, because of all the beautiful relationships you can see forming (and knowing what's coming next). However, as a first-time viewer, I would understand them coming across as silly. But if you make it to the end of episode six, I guarantee, you will be hooked!

In fact, if you want an episode to try and see if this show is for you or not,  I often recommend people watch a season two episode called Brave New World, instead of the pilot. It is the second episode of season two, and in my opinion, it is a great one to showcase just how well done the writing and acting is on this show, especially in this case coming from Candice King. While it will give away a bit of a twist involving her character, nothing much else will be spoiled for you by watching this episode, and you will get a great taste of the show in this well constructed and thought out episode, that involves pretty much all of the main cast.


The Essentials List

Since there is so much to watch on television these days, I often hear people say that they just like to watch the most important episodes of a show, so that they can get through them quickly and watch more things. I personally would never want to do this, if I'm going to get invested in a show, I'm in it for the long haul, even through the worst episodes. However, if this is your preferred form of television viewing, I have compiled what I believe to be the most important episodes from each season, to ensure you get the most essential information out of a shortened viewing.

Also, for people who have already seen the show and are fans, you could view this as a highlight reel to go back and watch the best episodes of each season!

Now as I stated above, there are not many episodes of TVD that do not contain major plot points, moments, or could be considered as filler. So I chose these episodes based on their importance to the main overarching story of that season, along with maybe one or two that have major significance to the show in general. However, by viewing the show this way, you will miss a lot of the other storylines that happen alongside the major story, and they usually all end up coming together at the end of a season. But hopefully, this list will give you enough of a taste that you will like it enough to watch it in its entirety at some point!

Season 1

-Pilot
-The Night of the Comet
-Lost Girls
-Haunted
-Bloodlines
-Children of the Damned
-Fool Me Once
-Miss Mystic Falls
-Blood Brothers
-Founders Day

Season 2

-The Return
-Memories
-Masquerade
-Rose
-Katerina
-The Last Dance
-Klaus
-The Sun Also Rises
-As I Lay Dying

Season 3

-The Birthday
-The End of the Affair
-The Reckoning
-Ordinary People
-Homecoming
-Dangerous Liaisons
-Heart of Darkness
-Do Not Go Gentle
-The Departed

Season 4

-Growing Pains
-Memorial
-The Five
-My Brother's Keeper
-After School Special
-Down The Rabbit Hole
-Stand By Me
-Pictures of You
-Graduation

Season 5

-I Know What You Did Last Summer
-For Whom the Bell Tolls
-Death and the Maiden
-The Cell
-500 Years of Solitude
-Gone Girl
-Resident Evil
-Home

Season 6

-Yellow Ledbetter
-Black Hole Sun
-Fade into You
-Stay
-Let Her Go
-Because
-I’ll Wed You in the Golden Summertime
-I’m Thinking of You All the While

Season 7

-Day One of Twenty-Two Thousand, Give or Take
-Age of Innocence
-Best Served Cold
-Mommie Dearest
-Moonlight on the Bayou
-Days of Future Past
-Requiem for a Dream
-God and Monsters

Season 8

To be honest, if you have made it this far into the show, I'm assuming you must really like it despite your shortened viewing experience, so my personal recommendation would be to just watch the final season in its entirety (it is only 16 episodes) as it brings up some amazing themes and callbacks to the entire series. In fact, all of the episode titles for the season are lines taken from season one. However, if you must skip through, here is my final list...

-Today Will Be Different
-An Eternity of Misery
-The Simple Intimacy of the Near Touch
-Nostalgia's a Bitch
-You Made a Choice to Be Good
-The Lies Will Catch Up with You
-It’s Been a Hell of a Ride
-We're Planning a June Wedding
-I Was Feeling Epic

Fellow TVD fans, did I miss anything, or is there anything on here you don't think is necessary? Let me know what you think of my list in the comments below!


Discussion Zone

(Beware, if you have not seen the show in its entirety, there will be spoilers from this section onward.)

IMAGEs rights belong to: The CW and Warner Brothers

IMAGEs rights belong to: The CW and Warner Brothers

My love for this show began when I was a freshman in college, and my amazing roommate convinced me to start watching the show on DVD (yes this was before I had Netflix). I instantly fell in love with the characters (especially Damon) and the smart writing. Not to mention that every episode ends on a cliffhanger making it impossible to stop watching. Eventually, two of my other new found college friends began to watch it, and once we were all caught up, we watched it live together almost every Thursday until we graduated in 2015. It even just so happened that the last episode we all watched together was Elena/Nina Dobrev’s as well, making the episode even more emotional to watch. There is so much to love about this show, and since then I have re-watched it a couple of times. So, without further ado, let’s get into what I loved, (and maybe did not like so much) about my favorite show.


First Let's Get In the Vampire Diaries Mood...

The Vampire Diaries happened to fall in the small window of time between old cheesy main titles, and the ones we have now that can sometimes last a few minutes, and are an art form all of their own. During this time, a lot of shows opted to skip an opening theme song, and just do a title card, which is what Vampire Diaries did. But, that doesn't mean they don't have a theme song. If you watch the show, you will be very familiar with Stefan's theme (written by Michael Suby), as it plays in the background of many important scenes. So now that we are in the Mystic Falls mindset, let's get discussing...  

Seasons Ranking (from best to worst)

Best: Season 2 (IMAGEs rights belong to:t The CW and Warner Brothers)

Best: Season 2 (IMAGEs rights belong to:t The CW and Warner Brothers)

  1. Season 2
    If you ask pretty much any TVD fan, they will most likely tell you this is their favorite season. It was when the show was at its best, and the perfect flow of villains from Damon to Katherine, to Elijah to Klaus just felt effortless, along with the many new friendships and relationships explored throughout the season. We get much better versions of Caroline as a vampire and Tyler as a werewolf, and Bonnie gets a better handle on her magic. Stefan and Damon begin to work together again as brothers, and Elena is at her best as a character when she was standing up for what she believed in and fighting to keep her humanity throughout the season's run. There honestly was not a thing about this season that I did not enjoy.

  2. Season 3
    This season focused mainly on telling us more about The Original Family and the history of the vampire in general. I loved that by learning more about The Originals and their history, we got to see some world building outside of Mystic Falls. The idea of good and evil being inside us all that was explored this season was so well done, as we began to discover that sometimes villains have redeeming qualities and that our heroes have dark sides to them. Ending the season by turning one of the show's most beloved characters into the ultimate weapon to kill all vampires was genius. It was hard to watch Alaric become a villain, but it was fitting that our characters began to have to face consequences for using magic, such as with Ric's ring. Stefan's journey to find himself again after first becoming a Ripper, and then being forced to turn off his humanity was also a great storyline for his character, and Paul Wesley clearly had so much fun getting to play the villain for a change. I also loved that we got more progression in the love triangle this season, as with Stefan out of the picture, Elena finally had to face the fact that she did have feelings for Damon.

  3. Season 1
    What an amazing first season of a TV show. While so many shows spend a majority of their first season slowly introducing us to the world and characters, Vampire Diaries takes off at full speed, and never really slows down. From introducing the Salvatore brothers to getting the tomb open, to defeating Isobel and all of the remaining tomb vampires, the first season covers so much ground, and lays a great foundation for the seasons to come, setting up stories for much further down the line as it goes.

  4. Season 4
    While many people did not like Elena as a vampire, it was inevitable that at some point the show would go down that road, and I think it handled the idea in the best way. Seeing the purest character have to struggle with not only losing her humanity, but the fact that she would now have to hurt people to survive was hard to watch, and Nina Dobrev did an amazing job of separating vampire Elena from both human Elena and Katherine. The introduction of the sire bond was also compelling, but it seemed like a little much. Elena was going through enough already, without not being able to tell if her feelings for Damon were real. I did, however, love the introduction of the cure, which made all the characters question whether they wanted to be human again and how their lives would change. However, despite all of the character development for the heroes, the season was lacking in the villain department. After essentially making The Originals un-killable, in season three, the show seemed to no longer know what to do with them, and the introduction of Silas was drawn out way too long.

  5. Season 6
    After a rocky fifth season, the show really seemed to want a fresh start in the sixth and final season for Nina Dobrev. I loved that the season tried something different by not teasing us about a villain for half the season and then finally introducing them. Kai was a threat from very early on and only gained more power as the season progressed. And while I was sad to see Elena go, it was nice to get to see her fade into the background a bit, as other characters like Bonnie and Caroline got bigger stories. The final episode, dedicated to saying goodbye to both Elena and Dobrev was heartbreaking, and because it's Vampire Diaries, the show, of course, had a creative way to write her off that no one saw coming. However a lot of the other secondary characters such as Enzo, Matt, Tyler, and Jeremy had some boring and repetitive storylines, and it seemed like the writers just no longer knew how to organically include them in the story.

  6. Season 8
    While the beginning of the final season was a little slow, it really picked up in the second half. We got to see so many characters come back in different ways and got satisfying conclusions to pretty much every open storyline. The idea of redemption and finding peace was a fitting ending to a show about supernatural people, and bringing back Kai and Katherine in the final episodes was a perfect way to guarantee fans would love the final big bads. I also loved that Matt and his family finally got to play an important part in the town and its history. And the idea of Alaric and Caroline opening up a school for supernatural children was perfect. However, I did not like that we had to watch Stefan and Damon both lose their humanities again, as we had already seen that multiple times. They also both killed main characters and received barely any consequences for doing so, which gave it far less impact. I also wished Elena could have returned for the entire season, but at least she was in the finale.

  7. Season 5
    This season was all over the place. While it was nice to see the girls attempt to lead normal lives and go to college, it didn't really seem to fit into the season as well as it could have. With so many different storylines and threats in this season, college definitely got pushed to the wayside, which makes me question if it was really necessary at all. The show also didn't seem like it knew where it wanted to go with the villains either, as it hopped around from Silas to The Augustine Society, to the Travelers very quickly. None of them really got enough time for us to become invested in them or think of them as true threats to our heroes. The best storylines, in fact, emerged out of background stories such as Katherine dealing with becoming human again, and the slow disappearance of The Other Side. This season did give us Enzo though, so I will always like it for that.

  8. Season 7
    This is the only season I never have, and probably never will re-watch. While Elena's absence is a huge reason why I also just didn't like many of the storylines throughout the season. While I liked the shift to the show becoming more about Stefan and Damon as brothers, as this has always been the heart of the show, I guess I was just hoping to get to see more to them than what we already knew. The season just kept rehashing the idea that Damon was selfish, and Stefan still felt guilty over forcing him to turn all those years ago. And while I did like getting to see more of them when they were human, I did not really care for Lily. As far as the big bads, I did end up liking some of The Heretics and Rayna as characters who had interesting back stories, however, I did not really care for any of them as villains. I also did not like Caroline and Ric as a couple, or that instead of just giving us a season of Caroline and Stefan together facing problems as a couple, the show seemed to just keep trying to drive them apart for no reason. Overall, the only thing I truly enjoyed in this season was Bonnie and Enzo getting together, but not enough for me to go back and re-watch it again.


Top Ten Episodes:

Best: The Departed IMAGEs rights belong to:The CW and Warner Brothers)

Best: The Departed IMAGEs rights belong to:The CW and Warner Brothers)

  1. The Departed (Episode 3x22)
    The finale of season three could honestly have served as a series finale if it had to. Elena is finally forced to make a choice between Stefan and Damon, but before she can tell them who she chooses, she is killed in a car accident mirroring the one she almost died in the night her parents were killed. This results in her turning into the one thing she never wanted to be - a vampire. The heartbreaking flashback sequence between Elena telling Stefan to save Matt, and her father telling Stefan to save her is one of the most gut-wrenching scenes on the show. To make it worse, in this episode we also lose Alaric, whose life is tied to Elena's. It had everything that we love about the show all in one episode and was a perfect conclusion to the season.

  2. Masquerade (Episode 2x7)
    "Tonight Katherine gets a stake through her heart." This episode is one of many in which our Mystic Falls gang makes a plan to take down a villain that does not go quite how they anticipate. However, it is one of the best in terms of the way the episode is laid out. It keeps us guessing how every character is involved in the plan to take down Kat up until the last minute. Another huge difference? In the end, they actually do manage to best her. Although the episode ends with Elena getting kidnapped, and Tyler triggering his werewolf curse, at least one thing worked out! It is not only a great lead into what is to come with The Originals, but a great ending to Katherine being the big bad. Also for those of you who don't remember the promo for this episode, or weren't watching the show live, click here to relive it, it's so fun.

  3. The Last Dance (Episode 2x18)
    Oh, how I miss the Decade Dances. In seasons one through four, we see the gang get to dress in different era-appropriate clothing at each of the four school Decade Dances. While each episode usually contains a threat that has followed them to the dance, none of them compare to this one. We get our first experience of Klaus's evil through Alaric, whose body he has taken over. Not to mention the amazing twist at the end that Bonnie is still alive after appearing to have died from using all of her magic to take him down. With so many twists and plot reveals, this is by far one of the show's best episodes.

  4. Founder's Day (Episode 1x22)
    This episode will forever be my favorite ending to a season of a TV show. When we finally realize that the woman talking to John is, in fact, Katherine (in her first present day appearance) instead of Elena, it is already too late for him, and us as the audience. It is a twist I don't think anyone saw coming, and this twist alone was enough for me to put it this high on my list.

  5. Dangerous Liaisons (Episode 3x14)
    Yes, this is one of my favorites because it is the first episode where Damon admits to Elena (that she remembers) that he is in love with her, but so much else happens in this episode, that fact can easily be overlooked. Not only do we get to finally meet the rest of The Original siblings and their mother, but we also find out what Esther's real plan is, to kill all of her children. Not to mention the costuming is absolutely stunning.

  6. The End of the Affair (Episode 3x3)
    This episode is mainly a flashback. This means it does not do much to further the plot in the present, but it does give us so much new information, along with some fabulous 1920s costuming. Not only do we get a look at one of the darkest times in Stefan's life, but we learn more about The Originals as well. Such as that Klaus has a sister, Rebekah. We also learn that Stefan knew them both many years ago, but had his memory of them erased when he learned they were on the run from Mikael. It is also the origin story of the necklace Stefan gave to Elena all the way back in season one, bet you didn't think that would be important right?

  7. 500 Years of Solitude (Episode 5x11)
    You didn't really think Katherine Pierce would be beaten by old age, did you? In the show's 100th episode, we got to see almost every main character come back in some capacity to celebrate the impending death of Katherine. While this episode mainly functioned as a thank you letter to the fans, it was a great episode none the less. We also finally go to see Caroline and Klaus hook up, and Rebekah and Matt reunite one last time.

  8. Klaus (Episode 2x19)
    One of the scariest things a show or movie can do to the audience is talking about a villain or threat, but never show it, because we always imagine things as worse than they are. This is a tactic Vampire Diaries used very well throughout season two, as we got so many mentions of Klaus without ever actually getting to see him. In this episode, however, we not only get our first glimpse of him but also found out more about his history and the curse that was placed upon him. And boy, did he live up to the hype. Joseph Morgan is both terrifying and charming as Klaus, and instantly became a great addition to the cast.

  9. I Was Feeling Epic (Episode 8x16)
    The show's series finale was everything you could want in a show ending. The idea that Katherine turned out to be the final evil the gang would have to face brought the show full circle. That, along with Stefan's sacrifice to save the town that he brought turmoil to by deciding to return all those years ago made so much sense. The flash-forwards at the end gave us the opportunity to see how the remaining characters would live out their lives, each finding peace in their own way. Don't tell me you didn't cry when Elena was finally reunited with her family in the afterlife.

  10. The Reckoning (Episode 3x5)
    This may be one of the show's finest examples of storytelling. It starts out with the kids trying to be normal seniors at a prank night and turns in absolute chaos brought on by Klaus's return. Not only do we get to see the success of Klaus turning Tyler into his first hybrid, but we also see the beginning of Stefan without his humanity. While I am not a Stefan and Elena fan, it is heartbreaking to watch as Klaus forces him to turn it off while Elena watches the love of her life slip away.

Worst: Mommie Dearest (Episode 7x7)
While it was interesting to get to see Stefan and Damon as children, this episode mainly focused on flashbacks about Lily, whom I didn't really care about. So an entire episode focused on her was not exactly something that I needed to see.


Favorite Writers:

  1. Kevin Williamson and Julie Plec
    So I guess this is kind of cheating, but being that they were both the creators and showrunners, and wrote a majority of their episodes together, I honestly can't choose between them. So they are tied. Known for writing almost all of the shows biggest episodes, Kevin and Julie are the ones who started it all, created the mythology, and gave voices to our favorite characters. From The Pilot to Masquerade, to I Was Feeling Epic, they were there for the whole thing and were the guiding forces behind the show.

  2. Caroline Dries
    After Kevin Williamson stepped back from the show around the end of the third season, Caroline Dries helped take over with Julie Plec as a showrunner. While some fans say that this is when the show began to lose its steam, I think she did a pretty great job. She wrote some of my favorite episodes before stepping up into this role, such as Miss Mystic Falls and The End of the Affair. She also went on to help create the show's spin-off The Originals with Julie and continued to write some of my favorite episodes for both shows. I love her style of writing, and how she is able to create both memorable touching moments, and suspense.

  3. Michael Narducci
    Michael Narducci is responsible for some of the show's best-written episodes. He started off with a bang with The Last Dance, (one of my all-time favorite episodes), and went on to then write The Reckoning. The structure of these episodes and the other eight that he contributed to the show were very near perfect, and he really understood the voice of each of the characters so well. He was also given the task of writing some of the show's biggest moments, such as the first two kisses for Elena and Damon, Alaric's death scene, Klaus turning off Stefan's humanity, and our first look at Elena without her humanity. I think it is safe to say that he was an important part of the Mystic Falls gang.


Favorite Story Lines:

Best: Klaus/Moonstone Curse (IMAGEs rights belong to: The CW and Warner Brothers)

Best: Klaus/Moonstone Curse (IMAGEs rights belong to: The CW and Warner Brothers)

  1. Klaus/Moonstone Curse (Season 2)
    Remember at the beginning of season two when we thought that Katherine Pierce was the biggest threat to the Mystic Falls gang? And then, when we found out that Elena would need to be sacrificed for a ritual to end the Sun and Moon curse, it turns out we were being tricked all along. The actual curse that needed to be broken was the curse placed on Klaus. This storyline truly starts back in season one with the introduction to Katherine and her mysterious absence from the tomb and carried us all the way into season four as we learn more about The Original Family. It was clearly well-thought-out, and had so many twists and turns that no one could ever see coming. It's no wonder why seasons two and three are by far the best.

  2. The Hell Debate (Season 8)
    Season eight was only 16 episodes long, and throughout the second half of the season, it explored what I believe to be one of the strongest ideas of the show. Could these characters, who have all killed so many people, and committed countless other crimes, truly ever be redeemed if their time did come to die? We spent eight seasons watching these characters escape death (sort of), especially after the disappearance of The Other Side when their fate after death would be unknown. With the confirmation of a Hell Dimension after meeting season eight's big bad, Cade, our characters now knew their fate after death. This sends many of them, especially Damon, on a quest to seek redemption, an idea universal to many religions and people. It was the perfect idea for a final quest for our "heroes", to finally put some good into the world after all the horror they had caused in order to possibly find peace in the afterlife.

  3. The Search for a Cure (Season 4)
    While season four is when some fans think the show began to lose its steam, I loved the idea of the search for a cure for humanity. While the quest initially begins for the newly turned Elena, by the end of the season, all of the characters have had to question what they would do if presented with the possibility to lead a normal human life and death. At this point in the show, most of our characters had some sort of supernatural ability, and so it made sense to have them question how their lives would be different if they could change their mortality.

Worst: The Heretics (Season 7)
The Heretics seemed like the show's attempt to recreate The Original family, but with little success. I did not care much about any of them individually or as a unit, and they never really lived up to the hype created for them in season six. And while I liked the potential Mary Louise and Nora had to explore the show's first gay couple, that storyline didn't play out very well either. I can't say I was sad to see any of them go.


Favorite Characters:

Best: Damon Salvatore (IMAGEs rights belong to: The CW and Warner Brothers)

Best: Damon Salvatore (IMAGEs rights belong to: The CW and Warner Brothers)

  1. Damon Salvatore
    I loved Damon from the minute he said "Hello Brother". Between that "eye thing" that he does, the hilarious one-liners, and the amazing arc he is given over the course of the show, Damon is obviously the most dynamic and interesting character of the group. And I can't imagine anyone but Somerhalder playing him. Damon begins the show as the main villain and ends up as the main hero. Over the course of the show, we get to watch him go from the man who only wanted to get Katherine out of the tomb, to the man willing to give up his immortality to be with the love of his life. While Damon may be selfish and sometimes act without thinking, he usually always has a reasoning behind everything he does, and his flaws are what make him such an interesting character. He is also fiercely loyal to those that he loves, and while it may take a while to get into that inner circle, once someone is there, he would do anything for them. This scene from season two sums up perfectly both how dynamic Damon is as a character, and just how good Somerhalder is at portraying him, and is one of my favorite moments he has on the show.

  2. Caroline Forbes
    Caroline is like the perfect combination of Monica Geller and Leslie Knope, but with the added troubles of being a teen and a vampire. She is usually seen as the mom of the group, taking care of everyone, throwing birthday parties, and making sure everyone is safe. But there is so much more to her than that. I'll be the first to admit that I did not much care for Caroline in season one. She was whiny, insecure, and controlling. But when she became a vampire, those traits ended up becoming advantages. Her controlling nature could be used to control her vampire urges, and she gained new confidence from her vampire strength and abilities, wiping away a lot of her insecurities. It is one of the best 180s I've seen a TV show character make. She is such a strong, smart, and independent person by the end of the show, you just can't help but admire and love her.

  3. Elena Gilbert/Katherine Pierce
    I know that this is cheating, but I see Elena and Katherine as two sides of the same coin. Where Elena is kind, selfless, and loves so deeply, Katherine is cruel, selfish, and never allows herself to care for anyone else. What I find most interesting about them, is that they show how two different choices after similar experiences can alter your life entirely. Both Katherine and Elena loose their parents at a young age. While Katherine becomes cold and uses this as a reason to never let people fully into her life, Elena uses the opportunity to become even more compassionate to those around her, and lean even more heavily on her remaining family and friends. This results in them having very different lives, and effects their choices going forward.

    While many people find Elena annoying in the later seasons due to her inability to handle being a vampire, I think it makes her more relatable, and seem less perfect. And while she may not be the best at being a vampire, she does eventually overcome it, a journey I loved getting to see. Even as a human, she was able to fight off the supernatural without always needing to be rescued, and is a good example of a strong female lead. She is the light in a sea of dark characters. Katherine, on the other hand, is just so much fun. You never know what side she is truly on, and her appearances throughout the show always bring interesting plot lines with them. This is a woman who managed to outsmart the world's oldest vampires for 500 years, so you know she is a pretty powerful person. And Nina Dobrev plays both parts so brilliantly, you honestly feel like they are two completely different people.

Worst: April Young
April seemed like the show's attempt to have a new innocent character once Elena was turned into a vampire. At the point in the show she was introduced, pretty much everyone knew what was going on with the supernatural occurrences in town, and it was almost like they introduced her to have a person to hide everything from. However, she just didn't work for me, and I found her boring and annoying. I had no interest in any of her storylines, especially her attempted love triangle with Matt and Jeremy. She was so unimportant in fact, that the show never even bothered to write her off, she just simply stopped appearing, and was never heard from again.


Favorite Couples:

Best: Damon and Elena (IMAGEs rights belong to: The CW and Warner Brothers)

Best: Damon and Elena (IMAGEs rights belong to: The CW and Warner Brothers)

  1. Damon and Elena
    Yes, I am team Damon. While I do love Stefan as a character, I just don't love him with Elena as much as I do Damon. While it is true that Damon does not necessarily bring out the best in Elena (as she does with him), he does make her see the beauty in life and loves her whether she is vampire or human. Whereas Stefan fights so hard to get back his ideal human version of Elena by getting her the cure, Damon loves her either way. When he does eventually get the cure for her, he gives it to her because he knows it is what she wants, not because of who she is as a human. Damon is also willing to give up his life as a vampire, the one thing he has repeated he would never do, in order to grow old with Elena, showing how their relationship changed him. Stefan and Elena are too similar, Damon challenges her, and causes her to look at things in a new perspective.

  2. Alaric and Jo
    This is the relationship that ended way too soon. Poor Alaric just keeps losing all the women in his life. Though Jo and Alaric only bless our screens for one season before she is horrifically killed at the altar on their wedding day, it was one of the most honest relationships on the show. Alaric and Jo both have very complicated histories of dealing with and being supernatural, and Alaric can finally be with someone who understands the bizarre life he leads without having to hide anything from her.

  3. Bonnie and Enzo
    This was a relationship that I was not initially on board with. As two characters who rarely get love interests throughout the shows run, at first it seemed like the writers were just throwing these two together because they were the only ones without someone. However as this relationship grew, they easily became one of my favorites, and I now wish that they had gotten together sooner.

Worst: Caroline and Alaric
I already do not like teacher/student relationships on teen shows. Just when I thought that Vampire Diaries was going to skip this trope, they went and did it towards the end of the show's run. They made it even weirder by forcing the characters together due to Caroline, a vampire, magically giving birth to Alaric's dead fiance's unborn twins. No thank you.


Favorite Friendships:

Best: Damon and Alaric (IMAGEs rights belong to: The CW and Warner Brothers)

Best: Damon and Alaric (IMAGEs rights belong to: The CW and Warner Brothers)

  1. Damon and Alaric
    What better way to start off a friendship than as mortal enemies? A vampire hunter and the vampire who turned his wife into a vampire might seem like an unlikely pair, but by season two, these two had become one of my favorite bromances. I still can't watch the scene where Damon goes to the bar alone for the first time after Ric dies and realizes he will never sit in his seat again...

  2. Elena, Caroline, and Bonnie
    One of the things I love most about this show is the strong female friendships it promotes. Too often on TV, we see women pitted against each other for popularity or for the attention of a guy. And while these three do go through their share of problems, they always manage to overcome it and put each other first, and it is almost never over a man.

  3. Stefan and Lexie
    The fact that one of the fan favorites of the show is a character who is technically only alive for one episode is pretty astounding. But through flashbacks and a few ghostly reappearances, we get to see how Lexi has and still would do anything to help her best friend. She guides Stefan through the experience of being a vampire, even sacrifices her own happiness so he many find his.

Worst: Damon and Enzo
While I do like to watch these two causing trouble together, their friendship is only really explored at the end of season five. After that, Enzo seems to be the only one invested in it, while Damon always has much bigger problems to worry about.


Favorite Villains:

Best: Katherine Pierce (IMAGEs rights belong to: The CW and Warner Brothers)

Best: Katherine Pierce (IMAGEs rights belong to: The CW and Warner Brothers)

  1. Katherine Pierce
    The one who started it all. Not only was Katherine the start of many problems for Mystic Falls, but she is also the one who turned our two heroes into vampires and caused their 100+ year feud. While Katherine may not have been the most dangerous of all the villains, she is definitely the most fun, and the fact that she is the opposite of Elena in every way makes her all the more interesting. Plus, the fact that when she died, she bypassed The Other Side and got dragged straight into Hell is a pretty good sign that she was one of the worst villains we come across.

  2. The Original Family
    When you have a group a villains who also happens to be a family, that constantly betrays but yet would do anything for each other, it makes it very hard not to become invested in them. The Originals were the first vampires to ever exist, and because of this, they made a lot of enemies over the centuries, that now become the problem of our Mystic Falls gang. Add the fact that if they die, our heroes also die, and you have a real conflict of interest. There are so many things I love about The Original Family, but the fact that the show made us hate, yet love them so much that they got their own spin-off show says enough.

  3. Kai Parker
    After a very bad run of villains, and trying to top The Originals in season five with no luck, the show finally hit the reset button and started over with a new type of villain. The thing that I loved about Kai, was that unlike most of the other villains on the show, there was nothing redeemable about him, and no way for us to relate to him and understand why he was the way he was. He was just simply evil to be evil, and while he did come from a family that did not quite accept him, the fact that he delighted in their deaths so much shows that he was just a truly terrible person who could not be saved or achieve redemption.

Worst: Markos
Does anyone besides super fans like me even remember this guy? He only appeared in a handful of episodes and managed to do pretty much nothing while he did. The only thing he did manage to do was make Mystic Falls uninhabitable to supernatural creatures, but this too only lasted for a few episodes. 


Favorite Song Choices:

1. A Drop in the Ocean (Episode 3x1)

Not only do I love this song choice, but this scene as well. It perfectly captures the show all in a span of a few minutes. From Alaric leaving Elena to be on her own, to Caroline and Tyler finally getting together, to that final heartbreaking phone call. The song fits perfectly in the background and manages to be relevant to the many different things happening throughout the scene.

2. Skinny Love (Episode 2x22)

The first of quite a few Birdy songs to be used at Mystic Falls funerals (if you are prepared to cry, click here to hear another one of her songs from Bonnie's funeral), this one was definitely the most heartbreaking. Watching Elena realize she was now truly on her own after losing both Jenna and John is devastating. Not only is this song beautiful, but it flows so nicely with the voiceover of John's letter, making the whole scene come together. I don't think I can ever watch this scene without crying.

3. Give Me Love (Episode 3x14)

A much happier song choice and scene, this scene was my first time ever hearing of Ed Sheeran. That's right before he was known for going on tour with Taylor Swift, a few of Ed's songs were used not only in Vampire Diaries scenes but in particular, important Damon and Elena scenes (click here to check out their "Kiss Me" scene). I love this song so much, and while you watch the scene, listen to the lyrics, they sync up perfectly with each dancing partnership.

It is especially noticeable when Elena is dancing with Stefan and the lines "And it's been a while but, I still feel the same. Maybe I should let you go." and "No I just wanna hold ya. Give a little time to me, to burn this out, we'll play hide and seek to turn this around." It perfectly describes how both Elena and Stefan must be feeling after having been torn apart for half of the season. Then when she dances with Damon the line "Give me love like hers." plays, referring to the fact that Damon wants Elena to love him back.

You could also make a few stretches with some of the lyrics. For example when Klaus and Caroline dance the line "Paint splattered teardrops on my shirt" can be heard, which could allude to the fact that in the next scene Klaus tries to get closer to Caroline by showing her his love of painting. Also while both they and Damon and Rebekah dance the line "All I want, is the taste that your lips allow." plays which could allude to the fact that both of these couples do not date, but do use each other for sex at some point down the line.


Hardest Deaths:

Hardest Death: Stefan Salvatore (IMAGEs rights belong to: The CW and Warner Brothers)

Hardest Death: Stefan Salvatore (IMAGEs rights belong to: The CW and Warner Brothers)

  1. Stefan Salvatore
    Obviously, the hardest death to watch was of one of our two main heroes. When the show announced prior to the final episode that a major character would die, I knew it was going to be one of the Salvatore brothers, as both were on a path to redemption, and both needed a way to be saved. However, in the end, it made sense for the brother to die to be Stefan because as a ripper he did far more damage than Damon ever had. And while he found his way back to the good side long before Damon, it was, in fact, his return in the pilot that resulted in all of the horrible events that would happen in Mystic Falls. Damon followed him home resulting in Katherine returning to make sure the tomb vampires were killed, resulting in her discovering Elena to hand over to Klaus, and well, you get the idea. So it was fitting for him to die to save the town he had brought such destruction to all those years ago. His death also allowed for Damon to become human and live out his life with Elena. Despite all of this though, I still loved Stefan and was sad to see him go.

  2. Liz Forbes
    While it killed me to have to watch Caroline lose her mother, and for the rest of the kids to lose their only remaining parental-figure, I did like that Liz got one of the only truly human deaths. To watch a person like Caroline who always wanted to be in control of everything, not be able to save her mother from the one form of death a supernatural being cannot fix, was heartbreaking, but it helped her character grow in so many ways as the show continued.

  3. Jenna Summers
    This death was so sudden and almost felt like it was unplanned. To have Jenna finally find out about all the supernatural occurrences that had been going on, only to kill her shortly after, seemed like a waste of a potentially great storyline. Plus she and Alaric were such a great couple, and it would only be the first in the many losses we see Alaric suffer.

Death that I didn't mind: Liv Parker
Liv was a very unlikable character. Even though she was supposed to be on the "good side" she never got close to any of the leads, and always had a snappy remark to everything. Her relationship with Tyler also seemed to come out of nowhere and tried to get us invested too quickly in a relationship we did not really care about.


Favorite Resurrections: (both permanent and not)

Best: Alaric   Salztman (IMAGEs rights belong to: The CW and Warner Brothers)

Best: Alaric Salztman (IMAGEs rights belong to: The CW and Warner Brothers)

  1. Alaric Saltzman
    I think this gif speaks for me, who wouldn't want to see Alaric back on screen after he was unfortunately killed back in season three? Damon got his drinking buddy back, Elena and Jeremy finally had a parental figure again, and we added another human to the slowly shrinking list of mortal beings still on the show.

  2. Grams
    I was so sad to see Grams go in season one, as I thought that her relationship with Bonnie was one of the sweetest on the show. So the fact that she came back multiple times to help Bonnie find her way was a plot hole I did not mind.

  3. Lexi Branson
    As I said above, the fact that Lexi only appeared alive in the present day in one episode, but fans kept asking to bring her back, is a testament not only to her character but to Arielle Kebbel's performance as well. I loved anytime we got to see a flashback of her and Stefan's friendship or see her return to knock some sense into him.

Resurrection I could have done without: Vicki Donovan
I didn't really much care for Vicki when she was alive, and so when the show tried to bring her back, I was less than thrilled. She was not good to Jeremy, and only caused problems for everyone around her, especially poor Matt.


Conclusion

IMAGEs rights belong to: The CW and Warner Brothers

IMAGEs rights belong to: The CW and Warner Brothers

While I obviously have a great emotional connection to this show, I love it for so many other reasons as well. Despite the characters having supernatural stories, they are all relatable in some way, and the show does a great job of making you feel for and connect with them. This show will always remind me of a certain time in my life, a time when I was growing up and finding myself, much like the residents of Mystic Falls, and I will always remember being able to make the journey into adulthood with them.

If you are also a TVD fan, I'd love to hear your thoughts on the show as well! Do you agree that season seven was not the show's best? Or maybe you are on Team Stefan and want to tell me why. Either way, I'd love to hear your thoughts on this awesome show, so make sure to leave them in the comments below!

Also, if you are wondering, yes I do watch (and love) The Originals, and will do a post for that show as well after it concludes next year with its final season. So if you liked my thoughts on TVD, make sure to check back in to hear my thoughts on its awesome spin-off!

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