Dear Vampire Diaries: How Hot is Your Vampire?

How many of you out there have been bitten by the vampire bug? Okay, a few. How many of you have been bitten by the vampire bug and don't want to admit it? Yeah, there's quite a bit more of you, I think.

I'm an old school vampire fan. Not so old school as to be a Dark Shadows acolyte, but my love for the neck biters and those who kiss them does go all the way back to Buffy the Vampire Slayer. "All the way back." It's not like it was that long ago that Sarah Michelle Gellar and David Boreanaz fell into their tragic love story, which then spawned a separate television show when things went a bit south for them. However, with books and television shows like True Blood and books and movies like Twilight, the idylls of a vampire slayer and her Scooby Gang are largely forgotten by a whole new generation of bloodsucker fans who don't really care what came before. And now with Vampire Diaries premiering this Thursday, September 10th on The CW, a brand new high school vampire show attempts to fill the Buffy void.

But before we get too into the new show, here's a quick and dirty round-up of what I'm talking about:

Twilight: Written by Stephenie Meyer, the books and movies feature a high school girl falling in love with a centuries-old vampire guy in the dank and shadowy climes of podunk Washington. Twist: vampires are good and quest to feed off animals, not humans.

True Blood: Written by Charlaine Harris, the books and television show feature a waitress falling in love with a centuries-old vampire guy in the mossy and creepy climes of podunk Louisiana. Twist: vampires quest to gain acceptance by humans.

Vampire Diaries: Written by L.J. Smith, the books and television show feature a high school girl falling in love with a centuries-old vampire in the southern and backward climes of podunk Virginia. Twist: high school girl will be torn between two vampire brothers who appear to be nursing a centuries-old rivalry over a girl. (So much for vamps over tramps.)

And, just for completion's sake...

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Written by Joss Whedon, the television show features a high school girl falling in love with centuries-old vampire guy in the bright and sunny climes of podunk California. Twist: high school girl is destined to fight and kill vampires.

Okay, so I watched every single Buffy episode, I read every single book in the Twilight series, and I will watch every single Twilight movie. I'm proud of the Buffy addiction, I'm less proud of my Twilight problem, but the two combined -- and my grandmother's appearance in the Bela Lugosi movie -- means I sort of have a thing for the vampire genre.

I also dipped my fingers in HBO's True Blood, but I have to admit that I bailed after the first two episodes. I'm attempting to read the books instead. You'd think it would be enough that the show is so full of the sex that pointedly doesn't exist in Twilight (well, not until after a proper teen wedding takes place and sanctifies everything), but it just hasn't grabbed me as a franchise. Frankly, I'm woman enough to admit that my disinterest probably has something to do with the fact that Vampire Bill just wasn't hot enough to keep me interested.

In fact, since it's technically still summer, let's wallow in the shallows a bit and take a look at some of the higher-profile vampires of the male persuasion:

David Boreanaz: So hot, I started watching him in Bones even though that show totally sucked in the first season.

David Marsters: Pretty hot in spite of the incredibly fake British accent.

Robert Pattinson: Hm. It took me a while to appreciate his vampireness, but he had his Harry Potter stint as tragic Cedic Diggory to bring his flushed, chiseled cheeks to my attention.

Tom Cruise: Retro-80s hot, yet hard to drool over without imagining what would happen if Lestat took his fangs and went couch jumping.

Brad Pitt: Hot, but relatively boring and not broody or damaged enough.

Bela Lugosi: Not hot in the contemporary sense, but he gets major points for not having to fake that sexy accent.

So, since the Scoville rating of a vampire seems directly related to how much I will like the show, how hot will the vamp brothers of Vampire Diaries be? Well, we've got Paul Wesley playing Stefan Salvatore and Ian Somerhalder as Damon Salvatore. (Gee, with those names, can you guess which brother is the evil one?) Wesley is known for repeat appearances in Everwood, American Dreams, Army Wives and 24 and he's not unattractive.

(Image: CW/Andrew Eccles)

Meanwhile, I best remember Somerhalder, with his dark hair and those piercing Paul Newman-blue eyes, when he played Hamilton Fleming in that ridiculous and ridiculously addictive series, Young Americans. Remember that show? It was advertised as "Coca-Cola Presents Young Americans" in the summer of 2000? Talk about a guilty pleasure. However, a lot more people will remember Somerhalder for his role in Smallville and his stint as Boone on Lost.

The fact of the matter is, I wasn't completely sure I'd be watching The Vampire Diaries until I heard that Somehalder was getting on board as the baddie. Amy Amatangelo, Zap2it's TV Gal, feels similarly as she notes, "...the pilot came to life once Somerhalder's Damon hit the screen," and adds "Let the sibling rivalry begin. If my television viewing history is consistent, I'll totally be rooting for Damon over the soulful Stefan."

What about you? Will you be watching Vampire Diaries or has the unrelenting vampire craze sucked your interest dry?

Additional links:

Tara Ariano at The Sling Blog: The Vampire Diaries Panelists Hope You're Not Sick of Vampires Yet: 2009 TCA Summer Press Tour

Diana McCabe at Paranormal Romance points us to L.J. Smith's web site where she's asking fans to be patient with the new series and with the pilot in particular.

Stephanie V.W. Lucianovic is a contributing editor to BlogHer's Pop Culture and Entertainment sections. She spends a great deal of time yelling and throwing the occasional fruit and/or vegetable at her TV. That said, she loves television almost as much as she loves cooking. Her personal site is The Grub Report where she makes fun of her food and other aspects of her life.


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