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A series of vampire books from my childhood (The Vampire Diaries) is coming to TV. I suspect only because of the success of Twilight, although to be fair vamp books have been getting picked up for movies/TV for awhile now.

Yes, a lot of things in this series are cliche NOW, but they were published back before some of it got annoyingly cliche. (1991)

Anyway, I just gotta do it!
[dramaQueen]My childhood is now officially being raped![/dramaQueen]

Not really, but I couldn't resist saying it, because I think everyone else has said it in regards to something, and this potential new show comes closer than anything else has to making me feel this way.

The first three books (The Awakening, The Struggle, and The Fury) were published in 1991 followed in 1992 by Dark Reunion. Now in addition to the upcoming television show, L. J. Smith has started on a NEW The Vampire Diaries trilogy, the first book of which has all ready been published - The Vampire Diaries: The Return Nightfall.
(I have not read the first book of this new trilogy, but it is not well-loved by those who have read it.)

But I am here to talk about the "raping" of my childhood by the "upcoming" television series not the "raping" of my childhood by the new trilogy written by the actual author of the original series, unlike the television series.

Now to be fair, I'm shockingly not as broken up about this as other fans of The Vampire Diaries are, but I'm not exactly thrilled here either. Here's a partial script from the very first episode. Obviously, following both those links will lead to spoilers from the TV series.

But first a real downside for me that I doubt anyone else will ever care about. I write fanfic, and I've always (for some reason) had trouble writing the character of Meredith, who is all set to be left out of the television series entirely. Anyway, every time I try she just feels lifeless and bland to me, so I was hoping to get closer to her once I could see an actress giving her "life" alas that apparently isn't going to happen.
(Meredith Sulez wasn't the main character, but she was in the group of primary characters.)

I have no problem with the name of the town being changed from Fells Church to Mystic Falls, though I do have to wonder why they changed the name. It just seems pointless. But more importantly I have to wonder why so many of the characters are getting a surname change. Again, there doesn't seem to be a point to it, except I suppose in the case of Damon and Stefan Salvatore in the books to Whitmore in the show. To be fair, I almost get that one, but changing the others just seems beyond pointless.

Also adding/changing relatives seems silly - though I don't really care that Margaret (Elena's baby sister) isn't there, I just don't care enough about her to care - I felt like L. J. Smith only included her in the books so that Damon could threaten her to get Elena to come to him. Trouble is I don't think I'm going to care anymore about Jeremy (Elena's slightly younger and drug dealing brother) than Margaret.

I don't even want to talk about making Matt and Vicki related... In the books they barely knew each other, but on the show they're going to be brother and sister. Oh, yeah, and Vicki's gonna be a slut... Drugs and whores, this is nothing like the books I remember, and I've read them repeatedly. Seriously though, based on the script the drugs (yes the drugs) get more screen time than the vampires. *sigh*

But the one thing I think I might actually hate is what is/will be done to Caroline Forbes. Sure Caroline wasn't a saint in the books, and she certainly wasn't a Cordelia (from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, not a saint, until Angel the Series screwed Cordelia up), but at least Caroline wasn't pathetic, and from what I'm reading about her character in regards to the show pathetic is what she's going to be.

They've even butchered the main character - Elena Gilbert, who was very much like Cordelia Chase from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The TV series seems set up to make her a saint from the get-go, which isn't Elena. Did shallow!Elena do some good things? Certainly. Just as shallow!Cordelia did some good things, and Elena did end up giving her life to save the others in the third book, but she was written as a normal popular teen girl when the books started and grew into this almost saint person. Which I hated about as much with Elena as I did Cordelia, but I wasn't as fond of Elena as Cordelia so her sainthood just doesn't annoy me as much. Though L. J. Smith does shoulder some of the blame here, I suppose, since she went overboard with saint!Elena before the TV show really got going.

Not that this matters because if it does make it to television I will probably at least watch it once. But I was (like others) hoping a television series might at least attempt to give more depth to the characters that we know/knew and loved/hated. Still I feel that it is possible I might be able to like this show for what it is and not hate it for what it's not.

I mean I do understand that a television series could not just stay with the books - even adding the new trilogy would only give them so much to work with. They would have to add/change some things (like Blood Ties did to Tanya Huff's vampire series) - I mean it'd be a real short series if it didn't, but like others I was hoping the show would build on what was all ready there rather then tearing the house down and rebulding it into something almost completely different.

Which leads to my last point - why did they shell out cash to L. J. Smith for this? No, serious question. With the way they're changing everything I think all they'd need to do is change ALL the character names (not just their last ones) and they'd have a series that I doubt anyone would connect to The Vampire Diaries. The only thing I can figure is that they really wanted the title, but I don't really see why they couldn't come up with another title and have a series they could take full credit for.
Wow, I really should stop being excited about interesting books turning into tv-shows or films)))) I must confess I only read the first book of The Vampire Diaries (a long time ago and I can barely remember it, considering I didn't like it so much), but still, it'd be interestinng to watch a tv-show... if it actually resembled the book))) Blood Ties disappointed me, even though I didn't like that book series very much either. This one, I doubt I'll even give a try. I really don't get this urge the creators of film adaptations have to change everything. I can understand eliminating some character that doesn't have a very important part to play in the storyline, or adding some extra details, but why change things so completely that the story and the characters become unrecognizeable?((
Sorry, didn't mean to cause your joy to turn to sorrow. ;)

As for The Vampire Diaries, I feel compelled to confess that I read the last book (Dark Reunion) first, because when I bought it I didn't realize it was the last in a series.

Oddly enough I think if I'd tried to read The Awakening first, I'd have been like you - bored to tears and unable to finish. But reading the last book first made me more interested in what came before than I otherwise would have been.

As for Blood Ties, I admit I didn't hate it, but I was always "slightly" disappointed that they replaced Tony with the goth chick - she-who-WILL-NOT-be-named. Okay, okay, she wasn't THAT bad, but I thought Tony was ten times the character she was. Plus the show took out almost all the slashy subtext by completely forgetting (or more likely ignoring) the fact that Henry was totally bisexual. But aside from that I did manage to (mostly) enjoy Blood Ties for what it was.

but why change things so completely that the story and the characters become unrecognizeable?

I really don't know. I mean you have to figure they buy these things because they know something like this comes with a built-in audience.

Perhaps they think they're making it better, or at least making their changes because they feel it will appeal to a more modern audience... But when the TV show/movie doesn't do well, instead of realizing the failure is their fault (because of the *&*$#*& changes THEY made), they sit back scratching their heads wondering why their built-in audience hated it.

The answer should be obvious, and is to everyone who wasn't involved with the making of the show/movie - when you change everything (or most everything) that would appeal to said built-in audience, which is to see what they liked/loved in the books/comics/whatever in the first place come to life then you have to understand changing it isn't going to make anyone (but the people changing it) happy.

Edited at 2009-03-05 08:34 pm (UTC)
Hehe, no worries)) I didn't even know about this tv-shot before reading your post))) I'm intrigued, but not enough to seek it out. And I don't think it will air where I live anytime soon)))
OH YES! I was very upset about Tony too((( I loved the subtext (and I heard there were books where Tony played a bigger part than he did in the Vicky-centric ones).
I guess we'll never know the truth about changing stuff unless we get to work in that area))))))))
Oh, yeah, the Tony books. *sigh* Once again a case where I read out of order. I honestly didn't know about the Blood books at all until I read Smoke and Shadows. And even then I read Smoke and Mirrors and Smoke and Ashes before finally breaking down and reading the Blood books.

At first I felt let-down by Smoke and Ashes, but after having reread, I still maintain it isn't the best in the series, but it is better on rereads than it was first time around.

Interestingly enough the first time around I felt all the books in the Tony series were miles better than the Vicki ones. Probably cause I liked Tony, but generally felt (at best) annoyed by Vicki. Strangely enough Blood Ties managed to actually make me like her.

Another character from the books I didn't like was Mike Celluci, in his case I actually hated him in the books. But yet again the show made me at least not hate him, and I think I might have ended up outright liking him to if the show had been given more time.

Which was weird, usually if I don't like a character in the books I will simply never like that character, but somehow Blood Ties did what Tanya Huff didn't (couldn't?) which was make me see Vicki and Mike in a more sympathic light.
I've only read the first three Blood books. They were okay. Not the best (f.ex. compared to the early Anita Blake series), but okay.
Vicki annoyed me too, but the actors that played the characters on the show (all three of them: Vicki, Henry and Mike) seemed awesome. And the show didn't seem that fixated on Vicki's eyesight troubles. The repetitive mentions of those in the books irked me(( Mike never annoyed me in the books, though)))
I'm not sure what it was, but somehow in the books Mike read like the stereotypical dumb-cop. His main purpose seemed to be to knock Vicki down, which she needed, but at the end of the day I just could not figure out WHY Vicki loved Mike. With Blood Ties I sorta got it, Huff didn't mean for him to come out as bitchy-dumb, she meant him to read as someone who kept Vicki balanced, but it sure didn't read that way, at least not to me.

Honestly, if I'd cared more about Vicki I would have found the Vicki/Mike relationship offensive.
(Though to be fair I never really understood why Mike loved Vicki either. From time to time it was clear that she did care about him, but for the most part it felt like deep down she believed she would be happier without Mike in her life, but she didn't want to give him up because he was hers.)

All this is in re: the books, not the show, or the short stories. Huff did as well as the show in making me understand the "deeper meaning" (if you will) in her short stories. And, as I said, the show did give me the general idea of what Huff was going for with Vicki/Mike (relationship and otherwise), but in the books these two characters read as two people who should NOT be together, and like I say if I'd cared about either of them the idea of them being together would have made me ranty, as well as loving one and totally hating the other.

Edited at 2009-03-06 02:48 am (UTC)