I have been super sick for the past week requiring time off work, lots of time in bed, sipping tea and watching three seasons of the Vampire Diaries.
I was never tempted to watch the show. I read one of the L.J. Smith books and thought it was horrible. The Elena character was very unsympathetic and I did not follow the series.
I watched my first episode a week or two ago and was surprised at how good the show was. I chalk that up to Kevin Williamson's involvement. The book series gave them the idea and since I never read past the first book, I'm not sure how much the books have influenced the television show.
I figure it's probably like True Blood. The television writers draw the characters from the books but don't follow the book plots too closely.
Anyway, I was happily impressed. It's probably not a good idea to watch 60 episodes in a week because after a while the story lines blend into each other and it seems that every other minute Elena is being kidnapped and Jeremy and Alaric are getting killed and coming back to life.
I hate to say this but I'm glad Klaus is still alive. He's the love to hate character. You love the evil thrills he provides but don't like him because he's evil.
I also like him because his negatives allowed Damon to humanize and he's a much more enjoyable character as a good/bad guy rather than just bad.
I did not enjoy Stefan's return to being the Ripper. It was just too gory for me and made it hard for me to see him as the gentle, bunny-blood loving soul as he started out. As a plot device, separating Elena and Stefan for almost an entire season gave the writers the opportunity to explore the Elena/Damon connection.
It's funny how movies and television can grow from pretty bad books. Charlaine Harris' Sookie Stackhouse books aren't all bad but some of them are very poorly plotted and organized and have utterly silly stories that never made it to screen.
It's probably easier to come up with clever plot points with a team of writers. I did notice that Williamson and co-creator Julie Plec together wrote a slew of the scripts in season one. It was only in the later part of the season and into season two and three that other writers have appeared.
Then again, the stories in season two and three were more sophisticated and had more complex plots. At one point every episode ended on a cliff hanger (ala J.J. Abrams in Alias) and every attempt to isolate and kill Klaus was defeated.
This show has very good writing.