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The Vampire Diaries -- Where Did It Start Going Wrong?
Season one was great, with a perfect ending finale. Season two had some problems, but it was still great. And season three was quite frankly awful. So where did it all start to go wrong?
In season one while the main story was Elena and the Salvatore brothers there were also other stories, as well. There was more of a balance to the show than it has now. Then starting with 2.08 someone got the idea in their head the entire show had to revolve around Elena and Elena had to be the center of every story on the show. I'd thought it was only going to be for season 2, but it got even worse in season 3.
There's also the problem of Elena. In season one she was a likable character, but as each progressive season progressed she became more and more unlikable. I think the reason is Season One Elena cared about her little brother Jeremy and had a real relationship with him. She cared about her friends and had real relationships with them, as well. In season three Elena saw Jeremy smoking dope and she pawned the responsibility of talking to Jeremy and helping him on Alaric who dodge the duty because it would take a few minutes away from her obsessing over her missing boyfriend, Stefan. She only cared about Jeremy being able to see ghosts when she thought she could use it to help Stefan. And she's no better a friend to her friends than she is a sister to her brother. It's a large part to why Season One Elena was likable and Season Three Elena in insufferable, and this is the character they're trying to make the big protagonist of the show. Antagonist would be more like it, as she antagonizes a lot of viewers with her selfish user ways, while the show sells her as some paragon of virtue that everyone is willing to die for..
Another problem is with the main triangle that keeps being pushed. It was viable in season one, but in season two the Damon and Elena part of it stopped being believable. Aside from the Mystic Falls Mind Meld telling Damon non-stop that he loves Elena, there was nothing to show when he supposedly fell for her, when he was still in love with Katherine. He was so devastated when Katherine told him she never loved him he went over and broke Jeremy's neck not caring he was breaking Elena's brother's neck right in front of her. You don't do something like that to someone you're supposed to be in love with.
In season three, after Damon was there for her while Stefan was gone, Elena had Stefan break Damon's neck because he was in her way she she was finding him a nuisance. Maybe the show did it as a tit for tat evening of the odds with Elena having Damon's brother to do to him what he did to her brother. Maybe they were trying to show that Damon and Elena were more alike than you'd think. But it just made an ugly pairing even more uglier, especially when Elena acted like what she did to Damon was no big deal. Then she added insult to injury when she practically jumped Damon to try and figure out what she feels for him because Stefan wouldn't take her back unless she could define what she feels for Damon. Of course, per usual selfish Elena behavior, she tried to blame it on Damon and that he's always messing things up between them.
Since the showrunners have said ad nauseam that the show is about Stefan and Elena's romance, they need to drop this poor excuse for a triangle and just do Stefan and Elena. As for Damon, he's gotten two romances with big potential that the show has ignored for the most part: Damon and Katherine and Damon and Rebekah.
Another problem is all the stories they built-up in season two for season three were summarily dropped. Everyone was fighting to keep Klaus from succeeding at releasing his dormant werewolf side, because he would become the most powerful supernatural being around and it would be the beginning of the end if Klaus started making his superior hybrid slave race, with the vampire, werewolf and human race all being in danger. In season three, this great threat to mankind was so easy to kill that even Little Jeremy was easily able to take one down. Stefan aka The Rippah story was never really told. Stefan was supposed to be this out-of-control blood addict and that Stefan was never shown. The writers seemed more interested in putting in excuses to write-off Stefan's behavior so it wasn't his fault. He didn't turn cold and unfeeling until Klaus compelled him to turn off his emotions, making it Klaus' fault for the way Stefan was behaving. If you're going to start a story like this you need to commit to it fully and do a good job of telling it. Stefan being a blood addict was excuse enough for what he did, but he didn't act like an out-of-control addict at all. There were times I wasn't even sure he was still drinking human blood unless he said he was. The sad thing is it could have been a good story and added some much needed depth to the Stefan character. And Jeremy's ghost story wasn't done any better. The story that got all the play time was Klaus and his Original siblings. And to make room for all these new characters they brought on, several of the characters that have been on the show since day one got the shaft. Jeremy and Tyler were the ones who got it the worst as they got shipped out of town for multiple episodes.
The stories that were done in season three weren't written with much depth. Tyler was killed by Klaus and turned into a hybrid and they never did much to show Tyler adjusting to being both dead and a vampire.They revealed this secret love Stefan had with Rebekah and it was dropped within an episode. They made a big thing out of the vervain necklace that originally belonged to Esther and it was never brought up when Esther was around The Originals stories was filled with mass inconsistencies.
Another problem is the show lacks any balance, which it had in season one. The fact that nearly every character has become a vampire is evidence of that. It's why I never thought they'd go there by making Elena a vampire, too. They just made too many of the regular characters vampires, this year. As of now Matt and Jeremy are the only humans. Liz and Carol Lockwood are also human, but they're barely on, so they don't really count. And since Jeremy sees dead people, he's not really human human. He's supernatural. So that basically leaves just Matt. And since Klaus has been decimating the werewolf population turning them into hybrids, the werewolves and humans have become endangered species on this show.
It's truly represents the core problem with the show, which it has no balance any longer. All the stories have to revolve around Elena and have her be the center of them. Practically all the characters have been turned into vampires. And if I had to pinpoint the moment when the show started to change it would be 2.08 when the show became all about Elena.
How can the show fix what's wrong? Start by stopping the over-emphasis of Elena. Yes, she's supposed to be the lead character, but she doesn't have to be the center of everything. Share the wealth. Develop stories for some of the supporting characters who have received little to no development. That will return the balance to the show that it originally had. If you lay the groundwork for stories for the new season, follow through with them and don't just drop them. And an absolute must is to put some consistency back into the writing for the show. Inconsistent writing is what killed the V reboot.