I have been watching the CW’s The Vampire Diaries (TVD) since it first started to air in the fall of 2009. The show is based on L.J. Smith’s book series, but the writers, namely Julie Plec and Caroline Dries, began to take their own direction as the show became more popular after the first season. While the plotlines are not necessarily always strong, the character development remained pretty consistent throughout, especially during the first few seasons. The show had value and was always entertaining, I found. Whether it was the handsome, leather-clad Salvatore boys that kept you watching, Damon Salvatore’s incredible ability to make you laugh with his snarky attitude and sometimes dark humour, or the supporting characters, one thing remained constant: Elena Gilbert (played by Nina Dobrev). The Vampire Diaries is a love story between Elena Gilbert and Damon Salvatore (Ian Somerhalder), and while fans will have their ‘ship wars’ and argue that a triangle including Stefan Salvatore (Paul Wesley) still exists, the show had established itself as a romance with Elena at the centre from day one.
So what went wrong? The end of season 6 had me in tears. It had fans all over the world up in arms. It had ‘Delena’ (Damon and Elena) fans crying their eyes out. Why? Because Elena ended up in a witchy coma that would only let up when her best friend dies. Horrible, I know. Julie Plec had announced in early May 2015 that Nina Dobrev would be leaving the show after season 6, so imagine what fans would be feeling. They’d be speculating between the tears – will Elena die? Will she leave Mystic Falls, her hometown? How could the writers tell us this? The show is ruined! I know that’s how I felt. Still, I am incredibly happy for Nina for accomplishing so much in her acting career so young. But here’s the thing – the show should have ended with Dobrev’s departure.
You have a show that is built on a love story between two characters. Take one of those characters away, and now, depending on how long you intend to keep the show running, eventually you will have to change up the show. I don’t think it’s realistic to break down a foundation that quickly. The catch is that Dobrev said she would come back for the series finale if needed, which frankly, changes everything. See, if the TVD writers decide to end with season 7, this storyline could actually work. Nina Dobrev not being in any episode other than the finale could actually work. The only problem I have then is that I was rooting for Elena Gilbert since day one. The fans wanted her to have a happy ending, and if that ending is going to be prolonged in order to keep the show running (when it had the chance to end on a great note), then I’m not sure I want to remain the dedicated viewer that I have been for the past six years. Fans such as myself begin asking whether profits have become the priority, rather than good storytelling. I understand that it is a business – that other very talented actors including Ian Somerhalder, Paul Wesley, Kat Graham, Candice Accola, Matt Davis, etc. rely on this show. Nevertheless, at the end of the day, you are providing entertainment for viewers, and if fans are not happy then the show will not last. I have supported the cast and crew of The Vampire Diaries since the first season, and I am extremely disappointed that they did not end the story with Nina’s departure. It would have made sense. It would have been a good way to close the TVD chapter for everyone.
Don’t take me wrong – I’m not saying that season 7 will definitely flop. There’s hope for it, especially if they are still making Elena Gilbert the centre (despite her not being there). But if the writers are trying to turn the show into Supernatural 2.0, I can guarantee a flop. A show that has been built around a young teenage girl falling in love with vampires will be difficult to turn into a show that is built around two supernatural brothers and their adventures. It’s not impossible, but it will bring in a new audience, and it will leave the original hard-core fans bitter. This is a personal opinion, and I’d like to take the time to say congratulations to Nina Dobrev for her great work and the fact that her latest movie The Final Girls has been selected to air at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). Giving my best to the TVD cast, and I truly hope they can make it work without Nina, but I can’t fully commit to a show that is continuing without most of the fans’ (including mine) favourite lead character, Elena Gilbert. Here’s to a phenomenal six seasons!
Please leave your comments below – would love to know if there are any TVD fans/shippers around here and how you feel about what’s happened. Are you optimistic, or not so much? Let us know! We’d love to see a friendly debate take place in the comments! 😛