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Nothing lasts forever. We all know this...and yet, with contemporary art and entertainment, it becomes more and more difficult to accept the finality of those things we come to love. We no longer are a culture that attends live performance absolutely prepared to enjoy it as a singular experience. Now we expect it to be taped and filmed and documented, with attending fanfiction, fanart, spinoffs, serials, prequels.

Serialized television is the ultimate example of this form of drawn-out, perpetual entertainment creating addicted fans when we find our perfect drug. And who's to say why and how those addictions occur?

I have no doubt that folks used to enjoy their weekly sitcoms, their hour-long family dramas, the cop shows...but the experience of 21st Century serialized TV is akin to what many experienced with 20th Century soaps. Anyway, that's a whole 'nother discussion. But whenever I spend time with "my" shows, it's something that I try to sort and understand, because the passion I feel for "my" shows is the same passion I feel for "my" books, or "my" music, or "my" movies. What makes us passionate about art and entertainment? Why do we develop a relationship with these things and how is that we take possession of them? It's definitely Jungian and archetypal. What hooks us, what draws us, what inspires us, and sparks us.

The Vampire Diaries. Vampires in general are a thing that arouse passion. VERY archetypal. Most of us have a relationship with vampires in art and entertainment form. Books, movies, tv shows, songs...Bela Lugosi's Dead. I don't care for Stoker's novel but Coppola's film is near vampire perfection to me. Buffy the Vampire Slayer worked for me only in small *ahem* bites and I despised the ending. I do believe that True Blood is pretty near to flawless for both genre and serialized television.

So, how does The Vampire Diaries fit into my fannishness? It's the perfect cocktail. It's an extended YA chick flick with beautiful people and believable angst. It features, front and center, the good boy/bad boy trope and the girl stuck in between with the delicious twist that she sorta kinda gets them both. It's not too witchy at first and by the time it gets all woo-wah, I was so invested in the characters that I simply accepted the supernatural bend as another character. In many ways, it's a better BtVS because it's sympathetic to the vampires! And I'm 100% sure that's how the original YA books got thought up - BtVS fanfiction on steroids. I mean, weren't we all pulling for Spike????? C'mon, be honest.

And that, my dear readers, is my biggest entertainment attraction - when a book/show/film go in a direction that should be, ought to be, taboo...and takes you along willingly. However, that sort of embrace of debauchery needs to have a counter-weight, it needs to be balanced lest entertainment bleed into real life and we find ourselves trapped in a de Sadean world. Surprisingly, TVD has you rooting for both humanity and vampirism. Without being moralistic or preachy. (Which is another aspect that makes TWD more like TB than BtVS.) It's a balance that elevates the show. There's enough depth of character to analyze the meanings of these lives and the vampirism works - as it's supposed to!!! - as the jumping off point for seeking out the meaning of life.

The first five seasons of TVD has the typical ups and downs and shark jumpings and reconcillations. On a binge rewatch, Seasons 1 - 5 really hold up. Pure unadulterated romantic entertainment. But Season 6 is really where the show takes all of its meandering paths and brings them together and puts a comfortable memorial bench there in that spot so that the fans can sit a while and ponder all these lives we've come to love. It bears discussing. Because it does mark the end of the highschool, Gilbert, love triangle era. (But don't forget, you can rewatch and rewatch and rewatch.)

These are just random thoughts I'm thinking having just mainlined the first six seasons. For swirlsofblue.

The first thing to note, going into this penultimate season, is that it is a long swan song for Elena Gilbert. And Jeremy. Things have to shift for the characters and the viewer. The characters must come to grips with the changes they are undergoing and the viewer has to accept that things do change and trust the writers to make those changes bearable and plausible and, above all, meaningful.

The decision to give Elena her choice back is important. She has been a reluctant vampire, but the nice aspect of The Cure in S6, is that her reluctance has become acceptance, so it makes her choice more conflicted. Although the writers don't spend more than one or two soliliquies on that...still...the viewer understands the conflict because the viewer so badly wants Damon to be rewarded with an eternal love.

Of course we don't really believe that Damon will take the cure with her. But there's enough doubt to give the fan food for thought. Should he? Could he? Will he? Won't he? And that helps us explore concepts of love and individualism. There is no question that Damon loves Elena more than life itself, and that's the riddle...he doesn't love life, he loves his dead self. And loves Elena as a human.

And in the end, Elena gets the Sleeping Beauty treatment with all manner of fannish possibilities. A 60 year ageless sleep. That's quite risky, what if she wakes and everyone she's known and loved is gone?

What surprised me most about S6 is my newfound love for Bonnie. Finally, this complicated character who, like Matt, has had to play the moral compass, gets a thorough exploration and the payoff for undergoing so much personal trauma is huge for the viewer. She becomes fully actualized and more real than she has been for the past five seasons. Her exile gives her superhumanpowers and it isn't until we see her deep need for revenge on Kai that we begin to understand the depth of her tortuous experience. It's all very human and very successful. Of course, now I want Damon/Bonnie because Bonnie is maturing in ways that Elena was denied. She's more real than Elena was.

And Damon is maturing. Damon is more real with Bonnie than he can be with Elena. Elena still represents some higher love that he doesn't feel worthy of. He wants her on a pedestal and I would have LOVED to see the writers put her in a glass coffin there at the end...but we will have to be content with the very gorgeous moving and fairytale like dance in the middle of the road where first they met. Sigh.

Stefan. My conflicted heart. I'm not sure I like the direction he's moving. For so long he wanted nothing more than his humanity, but he's becoming more human than vampire and it's a bit of a weak look for this strong character. I don't feel his growing love for Caroline. At all. But maybe that's because I will go down with my Klaus/Caroline 'ship.

That was one of the most infuriating aspects of S6 for me. Klaus shows up at Caroline's highschool graduation but is absent from the single most important moments of her life???? Not good writing. I get that the show is pulling for Stefan/Caroline but Klaus is her match. Stefan is simply too easy a mark. Now I want to write a long AU fic in which it is Klaus that helps her through the funeral and her flipping the switch...

Tyler/Liv doesn't work at all. Ugh. That actress. Ric/Jo works...but of course this guy isn't allowed any sort of long-term happiness. Matt comes down on the side of human and that is a wildly successful arc. Bravo!

Enzo. WOW!!! Not an easy thing to come in as a secondary character half way through a show's run and make every single fan fall madly in love with you. Amazing, really. He gets all the best lines, the best hair, the most expressive moments. I wanted so much more for him...and the character wants so much for him, too...

The first few episodes of S6 were insanely difficult...with the seriously misguided and immature decision that Elena makes regarding mourning Damon. It was brilliantly scripted and gorgeously acted...but impossible to watch. It doesn't make sense until it obviously does. This is the same character who burnt her house down to the ground to avoid Jeremy's death. In the end, though, the season is worthwhile and a seminal season in regards to the overall arc of the story. The writers did the fans proud (with the exception of Klaroline) and the season deserves to be watched because of the end of the Gilbert era. With Elena sleeping, we begin to realize that this is NOT her story...it's Damon and Stefan's story.

It's a story about all versions of love and relationship. Love of life, of self, of one another.

This reunion though -


( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 21st, 2017 06:46 pm (UTC)
Wow, you and I differ in soooo many ways. LOL.

I would definitely not say that overall TVD was a better show than BtVS. I guess it does depend on what you're looking for, but for me quality wise, acting wise, plot wise, BtVS was definitely the better show.

It was certainly not perfect and I don't hold it up on a pedestal like a lot of fans do, but overall it was good. I was mostly disappointed in the last two seasons but I really enjoyed the finale. In fact, I would say of all the finales of shows I've watched that have come along recently that BtVS ranks high up there. I love a happy ending and BtVS mostly had that and thankfully, none of my favorites died.

I never felt like BtVS was preachy. They were willing to admit that the world isn't black and white and their characters had shades of gray and had faults. But they were not a show, like TVD, where all of the characters do increasingly heinous crap and we're supposed to forgive them over and over (with the exception of Spike.)

I will say categorically, and being completely honest, I was not pulling for Spike. When he was the villain I enjoyed watching him and liked the character - and other than rooting for him against Angellus in season 2 - I never rooted for him to win or succeed. Once he fell in love with Buffy, I despised the character so much so that I couldn't watch the last season of Angel when they decided to shoehorn him in.

On the TVD side, I never really rooted for Damon to get eternal love. About my only use for Damon was that I did come to love the Stefan/Damon relationship and that's the only reason that I watched up to the end (well up to a point. Still haven't watched the final season.) I did like Bonnie/Damon and would have vastly preferred them to Damon/Elena.

I'm a weird one in that I didn't really like Stefan/Caroline or Klaus/Caroline. I mean Klaus/Caroline is fine, but I never saw some strong love story there, more like obsession on Klaus' part. I don't think Klaus not showing up for Caroline at the funeral was bad writing. At that point, Klaus had his own show and couldn't show up all the time since he had his own issues at home to deal with. It probably helps that I didn't even begin liking Klaus until season two of The Originals and that was because of his relationship with Cami and not Caroline.

I will again be contrary and say that, no I did not fall madly in love with Enzo. I kind of liked him at first, but then he became whiny and jealous over Stefan and he basically became Damon lite and I barely like Damon as it is.
Jul. 21st, 2017 06:59 pm (UTC)
YAYAYAYAY, S! Thank you for sharing your thoughts! I love that there are 31 flavours of ice cream and that we don't all find ourselves attracted to the same things. I also enjoy how well-spoken you are and how much you recognize your own likes/dislikes...nothing wishy-washy about you at all!

I do admit that I detest BtVS. And that can be a problem in fandoms because for many it is held up as the supernatural show of all supernatural shows. I found it VERY preachy and moralistic. I think...being based on Buffy's pov...as a vampire slayer...that was the only course one could take. Moralistic. And I recognize that the allowance of some truly abysmal behavior in TWD on the part of the vampires is easily glossed over and that isn't a good thing. That's what I mean when I talk about "balance". Which I do think TWD finds. Eventually.

Obviously, our differences are directly rooted in our attraction to male characters. I prefer complicated darkness and you seem to be drawn to an ethereal lightness. THAT'S WONDERFUL!!! We need folks to be on differing teams because it's that built-in tension that makes the game worth the candle.

I must say that the idea that the BtVS finale is a happy ending is staggering to me. I need to mull that one over a bit. I put that finale firmly in the category of UNSATISFYING and SERIOUSLY DEPRESSING.

Jul. 23rd, 2017 06:42 am (UTC)
Thank you!

I definitely can't argue it being unsatisfying. I know there could be several reasons for that - not liking the writing, not how you envisioned it ending, etc. But I just didn't find it depressing. I guess if you're a Spike or Anya or Spike/Buffy or Xander/Anya fan I can see that, but other than that I thought the outcomes for everyone - especially Buffy - were not depressing. Though my bar - at the time - was if the Scooby gang made it out alive, that's good for me.

Jul. 22nd, 2017 08:00 pm (UTC)
Ooh, thank you for this awesome analysis! Brilliantly put! The fascination with vampires is intriguing, there's just a combination of things with them that's endlessly fascinating. Immortality and all it entails, the comparison mortal to immortal, mind controlled person to mind controller, these powers and how they use them, how they make them feel, how they make them grow. The strength and the frailty. The notion of swaying someone who could crush you like a bug. The humanity of beings who are in many ways beyond human. The growth of characters whose brains are stuck at their deaths.

I do like the notion of the cure and the choices it entails. And there are simply gorgeous sets of choices to be made in the final season. Yes, this is Elena's opus. This is this point we realise it is the story of the brothers. But it also feels a little too Damon-centric to me, a lot of TVD does.

I LOVE BONNIE. I'VE ALWAYS LOVED BONNIE. I ALWAYS WILL LOVE BONNIE. And the growth of her and Damon's relationship is absolutely splendiferous and delightful.

I really do like the Stefan/Caroline, but season 6 does seem to be doing its best to ruin the pairing. Also, it made Liz's death far too Damon-centric for my liking. It still irks me that Liz never knew that Damon abused her daughter.

I did like Liv as a character but yeah the Liv/Tyler seemed more a means to an end than anything that worked. Then again I wasn't so keen on Jo/Alaric either.

I do not like Enzo.
Jul. 22nd, 2017 08:18 pm (UTC)
*smooch* It was fun to try and capture the huge conflagration of burning thoughts I've been having the past few days, since finishing S6. Complicated! And full of the feels.

For a "YA" highschool show, this show really matured. I'm looking forward/dreading diving into the final two seasons. And now we hear that The Originals has been cancelled. :( Sad.

I struggled with Bonnie in the first few seasons. I've always been a Caroline girl. But my main issue with her was the witchiness which can be such a crutch for a character. And such a cop out for a show. But she really came into her own this season and it was celebratory!

There is no question that the show is Damon-centric!!! And all of his transgressions are forgiven. I mean, honestly, how could Stefan ever forgive the death of Lexi? And how could Elena ever forgive the neck breaking of Jeremy? It isn't believable.

ENZO!!!!!!!!!!! OMG! I LOVE HIM!!!! That face, that wit, that hair!
Jul. 23rd, 2017 08:29 am (UTC)
Both looking forward to and dreading seems like the correct approach going into any season of this show. I too am sad The Originals has been cancelled. You should definitely watch it when you're done with TVD. Season 7 of TVD is a mess, but it does have its moments.

Ooh, I love Caroline too. I have too many favourites on TVD. I think at one point I was saying 'that one is my favourite and my baby and I love them more than all the others' about nine different characters. As much as the show is sometimes too eager to be fast-paced to let the characters sit with what they're going through, I do like the way they characterise.

IKR. It's utterly ridiculous how much Damon stuff is just swept under the rug. I still think the most ridiculous was when Damon blamed Katherine for Vicky's death IN FRONT OF MATT and no one said anything. Like no, no Damon, you killed her.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )


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