THE VAMPIRE DIARIES: BOOKS VS. TV SERIES
TV show poster.
It is rare and arguably anomalous for a TV adaptation to be better than the book. However, it seems the cast and crew of The Vampire Diaries took that as a personal challenge and decided to show the world. And show the world they did because The Vampire Diaries is one of the few for which the general consensus lies overwhelmingly in favour of the TV adaptation. They aced everything from casting to plot to character development.
I believe one of the major reasons the series was so much better is because it was able to fully utilize the books as blueprint for what not to do and what to do better. The book followed the adventures of Elena, Bonnie and Caroline from meeting Stefan and Damon to journeying to Dark Dimension, a paranormal world for inhuman creatures. On the other hand, the TV series depicted their experiences in the human world with their not-so-human acquaintances.
Unlike the book, the series, over the span of its lengthy run, managed to properly flesh out the characters, giving even the side characters depth and dimension. The TV series’ Caroline Forbes is still my go-to reference character for the beauty of a well done character development. What really won me over was the fact that nearly every character that lasted more than 5 episodes was given a back-story to endear or antagonise fans of the series.
Both the books and the series had wildly unlikely curveballs and thinly veiled plot holes. For the 16-year-old version of me that read the books, its plot left something to be desired. It whet my appetite but left me unsatisfied. I couldn’t help feeling like it needed a few more books to be “complete”. The series on the other hand explored nearly everything I was curious about, leaving out just enough to keep me wanting more. It was a top-tier experience, through and through.
Surprisingly, in terms of chill factor, the book takes the cake. Yes, the threat of Niklaus, Catherine and even good old Pa Michaelson paled in comparison to the Asian mythology kitsune that terrorised book Elena and posey. The mischievious twin foxes sent chills down my spine. L. J. Smith enviously captured the horror they wreaked in spine shuddering details. In that regard, the series could learn a thing or two. I’m not sure any book has terrified me nearly as much.
Finally, while both the TV series and the books were quite good, the difference was clear. The books were easily 3.5 stars for me and the TV series was all but 5 glowing stars. If you’ve read the books and watched the TV series, let me know what you rate them.