The Vampire Diaries: The Complete First Season Blu-ray Review

In the town of Mystic Falls Elena (Nina Dobrev) and Jeremy Gilbert (Steven R. McQueen) are struck with grief after losing their parents. They are normal teenagers attending high school and while one is a perfect pupil the other, Jeremy, turns to drugs in order to deal with the loss of his close ones. Stefan (Paul Wesley) and Damon Salvatore (Ian Somerhalder) are two vampires who have been lurking the shadows for a century and are now working alone. When Stefan arrives at school, he immediately clicks with Elena, but when Damon arrives their reunion is less than friendly. Now Elena, her friends, and Jeremy  are caught in between a family feud that doesn’t seem to be ending anytime soon.

Vampires used to be scary, well not really, but they certainly weren’t a part of a love triangle that Hollywood seems to be enamored with. The essence of the mythic vampire going around sucking blood out of their helpless victims has been deterring for the past few years and been slowly turned into nothing more than a character that fits perfectly in a “good” love drama. Lately that’s what we’ve been getting from Hollywood, with the exception of True Blood, but how does The Vampire Diaries stands among this entire fad? Is it different than any other vampire “themed” story? Well, this is all based on personal taste, but I don’t think Vampire Diaries is any different than say Twilight and it certainly doesn’t do anything new to standout on its own.

For starters, the show is painstakingly slow during the first few episodes so if you have patience and manage to get through without switching the disc to something else, you might find something entertaining. As the second part of the show moves on, it quickly becomes apparent how the story begins to take off and the structure of the story begins to take shape. Although, not in a way which would allow its characters to grow and the story to standout. There are various similitude between all the other teenager love vampire stories along with the other shows that particularly focus on myths. The producers of the show seem to have left various plots hanging in order to continue on to the second season, which is happening thanks to the ratings received.

I found the characters a bit convoluted. I am not sure if this was an intentional move from the writer’s point of view, but the constant love triangle really doesn’t get interesting. I am sure many can relate this love story to the already famed Twilight plot. Perhaps the second season can help unravel everything the producers and writers are trying to do with this series and instead of being a show that clearly borrows from others, it becomes a show that stands on its own with fresh new ideas. The show has a potential to be different.

The Vampire Diaries: The Complete First Season arrives on Blu-ray with a 1080p VC-1 encode framed at 1.78:1. I am not entirely sold on the transfer used on this series, while it looks to be problematic, who isn’t to say this was the intention of the creators? However, there are a few inconsistencies throughout that I am sure aren’t there because of the director’s intention. Colors aren’t consistent throughout the show, at times they flourish looking very vibrant and other times they suffer and washed out. Skin tones can either be looking natural and lifelike to washed out and warm. Black levels suffer from a similar issue, during night scenes the black colors overwhelm the image. Fine detail can go from excellent to soft depending on the scene, which is rather annoying to say the least. During night scenes there’s some video noise, crushing, banding, and artifacts. The latter are not a huge problem as it doesn’t appear on the screen much. Regardless of some of these issues, The Vampire Diaries will please its fans, but I doubt it will impress enthusiast.

The Vampire Diaries: The Complete First Season arrives on Blu-ray with a 5.1 Digital Dolby surround track. With the months passing and Warner releases more and more TV shows, I’ve come to make peace with the studio’s constant releases with lossy audio. Moving on, The Vampire Diaries features a great dialogue reproduction. The dialogue is clean and clear throughout and well prioritized. Action sequences are loud and well accompanied by a well-balanced LFE output. Rears aren’t used much, but when utilized they serve their purpose well. The music comes out strong with great directionality. The Vampire Diaries sounds good on Blu-ray.

The Vampire Diaries: The Complete First Season comes in a 4-disc Blu-ray edition and its supplements are divided among all discs. The overview below will group all extras into one so they aren’t necessarily found in one disc.

Audio Commentary – This is a commentary on the pilot episode featuring Writer Kevin Williamson, Director Marcos Siega, and Executive Producer Julie Plec. This is a fairly generic track; however, they share some great information regarding the pilot episode, the show’s first season, production, and more. It’s very entertaining and fans of the show should enjoy it.

Into Mystic Falls: Bringing Vampire Lore – Kevin Williamson and Julie Plec discuss the differences between the books and show. They also talk about the characters, the themes of the series, special effects, and more. (Disc 4)

The Vampire Diaries: A New Breed of Vampires – Kevin Williamson and the cast show some of the casting footage and they talk about the casting process as well as the fan’s reception of the show. (Disc 4)

When Vampires Don’t Suck – This featurette just gives a look at the current vampire craze that Hollywood has created for viewers. (Disc 4)

The Vampire Diaries: A Darker Truth Webisodes – These are four (4) episodes of a miniseries found online. (Disc 4)

Vampires 101 – This is just an overview of the way Williamson wants his actors to live by. (Disc 4)

The Awakening – This is an audiobook containing the first recording of the Vampire Diaries series.

Unaired Scenes – Found in discs 1-4.

Sound Bite: Gag Reel

BD-Live Functionality

The Vampire Diaries comes in at time were anything with fangs causes a craze, whether good or bad, but the show’s pace proves to be the major roadblock for the series take off in popularity. If you have patience to go through the first few episodes then you might be able to enjoy it. The Blu-ray video transfer has much to be desired featuring a very inconsistent transfer. The audio, while it’s not lossless, it does the job. As for the supplements, it should keep the fans and newcomers satisfied. Fans of the show should find no trouble forking out the cash to get this series, for everyone else I suggest you wait until a good deal appears in a store.