On April 6, 2015, lead actress Nina Dobrev confirmed via Instagram that she and co-star Michael Trevino (who plays Tyler Lockwood) would be leaving the show after its sixth season. Dobrev returned to record a voiceover for the seventh-season finale. Trevino appeared as a guest star in season seven and returned for season 8. On March 11, 2016, The CW renewed the series for an eighth season, but on July 23, 2016, announced that the eighth season, which would have 16 episodes, would be the show's last. The final season began airing on October 21, 2016, and ended March 10, 2017.
The series is set in the fictional town of Mystic Falls, Virginia, a town charged with supernatural history since its settlement of migrants from New England in the late 19th century. It follows the life of Elena Gilbert (Nina Dobrev), a teenage girl who has just lost both parents in a car accident, as she falls in love with a 162-year-old vampire named Stefan Salvatore (Paul Wesley). Their relationship becomes increasingly complicated as Stefan's mysterious older brother Damon Salvatore (Ian Somerhalder) returns, with a plan to bring back their past love Katherine Pierce, a vampire who looks exactly like Elena. Although Damon is initially the villain and harbors a grudge against his brother for forcing him to become a vampire, he later reconciles with Stefan and falls in love with Elena, creating a love triangle among the three. Both brothers protect Elena as they face various villains and threats to their town, including Katherine. The brothers' history and the town's mythology are revealed through flashbacks as the series goes on.
Nina Dobrev as Elena Gilbert (seasons 1–6; uncredited voiceover season 7; guest season 8), whom the series follows as she falls in love with Stefan, and later leaves him after leading everyone to believe he was her true love, for his brother, Damon Salvatore, creating a love triangle. This results in her being drawn into the supernatural world, with the show following her struggles in surviving supernatural events in the town. Dobrev also portrays Elena's doppelgänger, Katerina Petrova also known as Katherine Pierce. Katherine sporadically appeared in subsequent seasons and played a significant role in the fifth season. Dobrev has also played the progenitor of the Petrova doppelgängers, Silas's true love known as Amara, during the fifth season, whom he had sought in the afterlife for two thousand years. Dobrev also played another doppelgänger Tatia in The Originals season 2 episode "Red Door." In the season 6 finale, Elena's life was tied to Bonnie's in such a way that as long as Bonnie is alive Elena will remain asleep. Damon put Elena in a coffin and had Tyler hide her in a warehouse in Brooklyn for the next 60 years or so while he waits to reunite with her. In the series finale Elena is awoken and she ends up choosing Damon in the series finale and they live a long and happy life together, earning her happy ending.
Paul Wesley as Stefan Salvatore, a good-hearted and affectionate vampire and the complete opposite of his older brother, Damon Salvatore. Later in the series, Stefan reverts to his old ways as a Ripper to save Damon from a werewolf bite and his role becomes more antagonistic, especially after he is forced to turn his humanity off. Eventually, he returns to his good-hearted and caring self and reconciles with Elena, but the relationship doesn't last long. He marries Caroline in Season 8 and is killed afterwards in the series finale as he sacrifices himself for Mystic Falls. Wesley also portrays his revealed doppelgänger, Silas (seasons 4–5), the world's first immortal being. Wesley also played another doppelgänger, Tom Avery, during the fifth season.
Ian Somerhalder as Damon Salvatore, the malevolent vampire brother who initially served as the show's anti-hero. He is mostly thought of as selfish and manipulative, but later on in the series, he begins to display a more caring side. Though his love for Elena is initially one-sided, she begins to develop feelings for him as they work together to save Stefan after he's given in to his Ripper side. They begin dating in season 4, and continue to date (with some breakups along the way) until Elena is put into her deep sleep at the end of season 6. Damon is extremely close with Stefan, but also has a close relationship with Bonnie, despite the fact that they hated each other for the first 5 seasons of the series. Throughout seasons 6 and 7, their relationship has developed into a deeper bond, with Damon later confirming Bonnie is his best friend.
Steven R. McQueen as Jeremy Gilbert (seasons 1–6; guest season 8), Elena's younger brother, later revealed to be her biological cousin and a member of The Five, a vampire hunter. Jeremy is killed in season 4 after Katherine throws him onto Silas, who drains his blood. He is resurrected by Bonnie Bennett, his love interest, in the season 4 finale. He leaves town numerous times during the show, and has only come back once since his exit mid-season 6, to say goodbye to Elena.
Sara Canning as Jenna Sommers (seasons 1–2; guest seasons 3, 5, 8), Jeremy and Elena's aunt and legal guardian. Canning left the show after season two when Jenna was killed after being turned into a vampire and used for Klaus' ritual.
Kat Graham as Bonnie Bennett, Elena and Caroline's best friend and a very powerful witch, who has died numerous times during the show but always returned. She develops and controls her powers with the help of her grandmother, Sheila or "Grams", another witch in the family. She is often able to use her magic to help the group, and while she initially hates vampires, particularly Damon, she ends up warming up to them and becomes Damon's best friend after being stuck in a prison world with him for four months. Bonnie has lost and regained her ability to do magic multiple times throughout the show. She spent seasons 2 through 5 in an on-again, off-again relationship with Elena's brother Jeremy and later became involved with Enzo. In season 8, Bonnie faces the challenge of having received Rayna Cruz's hunters' curse, which puts all her vampire friends at risk.
Candice King as Caroline Forbes, Bonnie and Elena's best friend, who was insecure and often jealous of Elena at first, but after becoming a vampire in the second season comes into her own. Neurotic but lovable, Caroline has been the love interest of many of the male characters. Initially serving as Damon's plaything in season 1, which she still hates him for, she has had serious relationships with Matt, Tyler, Alaric, and Stefan, and was long the subject of Klaus's adoration. She married Stefan before his death. Currently, she is raising twins with Alaric.
Zach Roerig as Matt Donovan, Elena's childhood friend and ex-boyfriend, who became romantically involved with Caroline in season 1. They remain good friends even after breaking up during the second season. Matt wants no part in the supernatural events in his town and later is at odds with the vampires as he becomes a police officer and tries to protect the town from them.
Kayla Ewell as Vicki Donovan (season 1; recurring seasons 2–3, 5, 8), the drug-addicted sister of Matt. She appears to be dating Tyler but is more interested in Jeremy. She is turned into a vampire by Damon and is killed by Stefan shortly after. Ewell left the show after the first season but has appeared as a guest in multiple seasons since.
Michael Trevino as Tyler Lockwood (seasons 1–6; recurring seasons 7–8), a werewolf later turned into a hybrid, Jeremy and Matt's best friend, and son of the mayor of Mystic Falls; male members of his family have been shown to carry a lycanthropic trait. His uncle Mason was also a werewolf, who was killed by Damon in season two. He was turned into the first successful hybrid by Klaus. In the season 5 finale, he is returned to being just a werewolf. He leaves town at the end of season 6, though he appears in a couple episodes of season 7, protecting Elena's coffin.
Matt Davis as Alaric Saltzman (seasons 1–3, 6–8; recurring season 4–5), a history teacher, vampire hunter, and love interest for Jenna. Davis left the show at the end of season three after Alaric was killed. His character returned as a regular in season 6, after he was resurrected. Alaric is able to return to being a human with the help of Josette Laughlin (Jodi Lyn O'Keefe) and the two begin dating. Jo becomes pregnant and they plan to marry, but she is murdered by Kai at their wedding. Jo's family of witches was able to transfer the babies to Caroline, however, so she gives birth to their twins, and Caroline and Alaric move to Dallas together. They begin a relationship, but end it when Caroline decides to be with Stefan after his return at the end of season 7.
Joseph Morgan as Original VampireKlaus Mikaelson (seasons 3–4, recurring season 2; guest seasons 5, 7). He begins to build an army of new "hybrids," which are half vampire and half werewolf. During season 3, Klaus began to develop feelings for Caroline and falls in love with her. Morgan left the show after the fourth season when Klaus moved on to his own spin-off, The Originals.
Michael Malarkey as Enzo St. John (seasons 6–8; recurring season 5), a vampire formerly under the imprisonment of the Augustine society. He was Damon Salvatore's cellmate back in the 1950s when the latter was captured by the Augustines. He and Damon revived their friendship as he searched for his lost lover, Maggie. In the episode "Man on Fire," Enzo shut off his humanity and then Stefan Salvatore ripped out his heart. He was resurrected in the season finale, and later becomes Bonnie's love interest before coming under the control of the monster in the vault at the end of season 7.
Initially, Kevin Williamson had little interest in developing the series, finding the premise too similar to other vampire tales. However, at the urging of Julie Plec, he began to read the novels and started to become intrigued by the story: "I began to realize that it was a story about a small town, about that town's underbelly and about what lurks under the surface." Williamson has stated the town's story will be the main focus of the series rather than high school.
On February 6, 2009, Variety announced that The CW had green-lit the pilot for The Vampire Diaries with Williamson and Julie Plec set as the head writers and executive producers. On May 19, 2009, the series was officially ordered for the 2009–2010 season.
The pilot episode was filmed in Vancouver, British Columbia, but the rest of the episodes have been filmed in Covington, Georgia (which doubles as the show's fictional small town of Mystic Falls, Virginia) and various other communities around Greater Atlanta to take advantage of local tax incentives. On the morning of May 10, 2012, a fire broke out in the building on Clark Street in Covington that was used as the setting for Mystic Grill on the show.
The series was given a full 22-episode order on October 21, 2009, after strong ratings for the first half of the season. Now there is a spin-off called The Originals, that goes into depth about the original vampire family from The Vampire Diaries. On February 16, 2010, The CW announced that it had renewed the show for a second season, which premiered on September 9, 2010. On April 26, 2011, The CW renewed the show for a third season. The third season premiered on September 15, 2011. The fourth season premiered October 11, 2012. The CW renewed the show for a fifth season on February 11, 2013. On February 13, 2014, The CW renewed the series for a sixth season. On January 11, 2015, the CW renewed the series for a seventh season.
President of The CW, Mark Pedowitz, said in an interview at the summer TCA's that The Vampire Diaries didn't receive an extra episode order for the second season at the request of Kevin Williamson. Kevin Williamson felt to do the best show possible, he would rather do 22 episodes. "I'd rather have a great 22 than a good 24 if Kevin couldn't do it," he explained. The first writers meeting for the fifth season held on April 15, 2013. Filming began on July 10, 2013, and finished on April 10, 2014. On July 23, 2016, it was announced that show would end after a 16-episode eighth season.
The Vampire Diaries initially received mixed reviews, which through the course of the show improved greatly. Metacritic gave the show a Metascore of 50 (out of 100) based on 22 critical reviews, indicating "mixed or average reviews".Entertainment Weekly gave the pilot a B+, declaring that the show "signals a welcome return to form for writer-producer Kevin Williamson." Reviewer, Ken Tucker, ended his review by writing that "Diaries promises us a season of sharp-tongued amusement." Linda Stasi of the New York Post gave the premiere a perfect score, saying that she was "hooked after one episode." Stasi praised the pacing of the episode and the "vicious, bloody vamp action," which "starts in the opening scene and continues throughout The Vampire Diaries with such ferocity and speed that it's truly scary." Conversely, San Francisco Chronicle's, Tim Goodman, gave the episode a highly critical review, calling the series "awful." Goodman disliked the dialogue and hoped that the extras on Buffy the Vampire Slayer would "return en masse to eat the cast of Vampire Diaries, plus any remaining scripts."
Many TV critics felt the series improved with each episode. Sarah Hughes of The Independent says The Vampire Diaries turns into "a well-crafted, interestingly developed series" despite a poor opening episode.
The New York Post also praised the portrayal of Elena, finding the character to be a strong-minded woman who did not allow her feelings for her boyfriend to control her. Karla Peterson of The San Diego Union-Tribune said that "the supernatural drama is a first-class production, featuring an insanely gorgeous cast, sharp scripts, and a brooding vibe that is hard for even the most levelheaded adult to resist."
Mike Hale of The New York Times gave the series an honorable mention on his list of the top TV shows of 2009.
The third-season finale, "The Departed," received critical acclaim. Diana Steenbergen of IGN praised the episode and the writers for clearing up a couple storylines and making all of them come to a head. She also praised Dobrev's performance in this episode, addressing her behaviour as another reason the final revelation from Meredith was more shocking and believable. Similarly, Mandi Bierly of Entertainment Weekly review praised the writer's skills in creating the more unexpected final twist.
The series premiere of The Vampire Diaries on September 10, 2009, gave The CW its biggest series premiere, scoring 4.91 million viewers. Adding in DVR numbers, the ratings for the premiere swelled to an official 5.7 million viewers. In 2016, a New York Times study of the 50 TV shows with the most Facebook Likes found that "as with several other shows that focus on the supernatural", The Vampire Diaries was "slightly more popular outside of cities. That said, the show's fandom has the smallest amount of spatial variation of all 50 shows".
The following is a table for the seasonal rankings based on average total estimated viewers per episode of The Vampire Diaries. "Rank" refers to how The Vampire Diaries rated compared to the other television series which aired during prime time hours.
Ian Somerhalder gained much attention from critics and audiences, and won several acting awards.
The Vampire Diaries won 7 Teen Choice Awards in 2010 including: Choice TV Show: Fantasy/Sci-Fi, Choice TV Actor: Fantasy/Sci-Fi (Paul Wesley), Choice TV Actress: Fantasy/Sci-Fi (Nina Dobrev), Choice TV: Villain (Ian Somerhalder), Choice TV: Breakout Show, Choice TV: Female Breakout Star (Nina Dobrev) and Choice TV: Male Breakout Star (Paul Wesley). Other nominations were Choice Male Hottie (Ian Somerhalder) and Choice TV: Female Scene Stealer (Kat Graham). The show won an award for Favorite New TV Drama at the 2010 People's Choice Awards and received a nomination for Favorite Sci-Fi/Fantasy Show. It was also nominated for a Saturn Award for Best Network TV Series. On November 9, 2010, it received nominations for Favourite Sci-Fi/Fantasy Show and Favourite TV Drama as well as a nomination for Ian Somerhalder in the TV Drama Actor category at the 2011 People's Choice Awards.
In 2011, The Vampire Diaries was nominated for 12 Teen Choice Awards including: Choice TV Show: Fantasy/Sci-Fi, Choice TV Actor: Fantasy/Sci-Fi (Paul Wesley), Choice TV Actor: Fantasy/Sci-Fi (Ian Somerhalder), Choice TV Actress: Fantasy/Sci-Fi (Nina Dobrev), Choice TV: Villain (Joseph Morgan), Choice TV: Female Scene Stealer (Kat Graham), Choice TV: Male Scene Stealer (Michael Trevino), Choice Female Hottie (Nina Dobrev), Choice Male Hottie (Ian Somerhalder) and Choice Vampire (Nina Dobrev, Ian Somerhalder and Paul Wesley).
At the 2012 People's Choice Awards, the show gained four nominations: Best TV Drama, Best Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Drama Actor for Ian Somerhalder and Drama Actress for Nina Dobrev. While the show and Ian Somerhalder lost out (to another The CW show Supernatural and Nathan Fillion, respectively), Nina Dobrev won in her category, becoming the first write-in person ever to do so. At the 2012 Teen Choice Awards, the show gained nine nominations: Choice TV Show: Fantasy/Sci-Fi, Choice TV Actor: Fantasy/Sci-Fi (Paul Wesley), Choice TV Actress: Fantasy/Sci-Fi (Nina Dobrev), Choice TV Actor: Fantasy/Sci-Fi (Ian Somerhalder), Choice TV Actress: Fantasy/Sci-Fi (Kat Graham), Choice TV: Villain (Joseph Morgan), Choice TV: Female Scene Stealer (Candice Accola), Choice TV: Male Scene Stealer (Michael Trevino) and Choice Male Hottie (Ian Somerhalder), and won six.
In 2013, The Vampire Diaries was nominated for five People's Choice Awards, including: Best Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Drama Actor for Ian Somerhalder, Drama Actress for Nina Dobrev, Drama Actor for Paul Wesley and Favorite TV Fan Following. While the show lost to another The CW show Supernatural, Ellen Pompeo and Nathan Fillion, respectively. At the 2013 Teen Choice Awards, the show gained eight nominations: Choice TV Show: Fantasy/Sci-Fi, Choice TV Actor: Fantasy/Sci-Fi (Paul Wesley), Choice TV Actress: Fantasy/Sci-Fi (Nina Dobrev), Choice TV Actor: Fantasy/Sci-Fi (Ian Somerhalder), Choice TV Actress: Fantasy/Sci-Fi (Kat Graham), Choice TV: Villain (Joseph Morgan), Choice TV: Female Scene Stealer (Candice Accola), Choice TV: Male Scene Stealer (Steven R. McQueen).
In 2014, The Vampire Diaries was nominated for four People's Choice Awards, including: Favorite Sci-Fi/Fantasy Show and Favorite Sci-Fi/Fantasy TV Actor for Ian Somerhalder in which he won the award, Favorite Sci-Fi/Fantasy TV Actress for Nina Dobrev and Favorite On-Screen Chemistry (Damon Salvatore & Elena Gilbert) in which they won the award. At the 2014 Teen Choice Awards, the show gained ten nominations: Choice TV Show: Fantasy/Sci-Fi, Choice TV Actor: Fantasy/Sci-Fi (Paul Wesley), Choice TV Actor: Fantasy/Sci-Fi (Ian Somerhalder), Choice TV Actress: Fantasy/Sci-Fi (Nina Dobrev), Choice TV Actress: Fantasy/Sci-Fi (Kat Graham), Choice TV: Villain (Paul Wesley), Choice TV: Female Scene Stealer (Candice Accola), Choice TV: Male Scene Stealer (Michael Trevino), Choice Male Hottie (Ian Somerhalder).
In 2015, The Vampire Diaries was nominated for five People's Choice Awards, including: Best Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Drama Actor for Ian Somerhalder, Drama Actor for Paul Wesley, Drama Actress for Nina Dobrev and Favorite TV Duo (Ian Somerhalder & Nina Dobrev) in which they won the award. At the 2015 Teen Choice Awards, the show gained ten nominations: Choice TV Show: Fantasy/Sci-Fi, Choice TV Actor: Fantasy/Sci-Fi (Paul Wesley), Choice TV Actor: Fantasy/Sci-Fi (Ian Somerhalder), Choice TV: Scene Stealer (Kat Graham), Choice TV Actress: Fantasy/Sci-Fi (Nina Dobrev), Choice TV Actress: Fantasy/Sci-Fi (Candice Accola), Choice TV: Villain (Chris Wood) Choice TV: Chemistry (Kat Graham & Ian Somerhalder), Choice TV: Liplock (Candice King & Paul Wesley), Choice TV: Liplock (Nina Dobrev & Ian Somerhalder).
In 2016, The Vampire Diaries was nominated for two People's Choice Awards, including: Best Sci-Fi/Fantasy and Drama Actor for Ian Somerhalder. At the 2016 Teen Choice Awards, the show gained seven nominations: Choice TV Show: Fantasy/Sci-Fi, Choice TV Actor: Fantasy/Sci-Fi (Paul Wesley), Choice TV Actor: Fantasy/Sci-Fi (Ian Somerhalder), Choice TV Actress: Fantasy/Sci-Fi (Kat Graham), Choice TV Actress – Fantasy/Sci-Fi (Candice King), Choice TV: Chemistry (Kat Graham & Ian Somerhalder), Choice TV: Liplock (Candice King & Paul Wesley).
In 2017, The Vampire Diaries was nominated for two People's Choice Awards: Favorite Network TV Sci-Fi/Fantasy and Favorite Sci-Fi/Fantasy TV Actor for Ian Somerhalder. It was also nominated for three Teen Choice Awards: Choice TV Show: Fantasy/Sci-Fi, Choice TV Actor: Fantasy/Sci-Fi (Ian Somerhalder), and Choice TV Actress: Fantasy/Sci-Fi (Kat Graham)(Won)
Season one was released on DVD in Regions 1, 2 and 4 and on Blu-ray in Regions A and B. Both United States versions include commentary by cast and crew members on selected episodes, deleted scenes, behind-the-scenes featurettes, webisodes, and a downloadable audiobook of L.J. Smith's The Vampire Diaries: The Awakening. It was released on DVD in Region 2 on August 23, 2010. Following that release, Region 1 began selling DVDs on August 31, 2010, and Region 3 on September 1, 2010. In Region A, it was released on Blu-ray on August 31, 2010. Region B's releases varied; United Kingdom on August 23, 2010, Brazil on August 26, 2010, and Australia on September 1, 2010.The Vampire Diaries Season 2 will be available in DVD and Blu-ray on August 30, 2011. Region B's releases varied; United Kingdom on August 22, 2011, Brazil on August 25, 2011. The Vampire Diaries: Season 3 will be available on DVD and Blu-ray on September 11 and A and on September 5, 2012, for Regions 4 and B. The Vampire Diaries: Season 4 is available on DVD and Blu-ray in A as of September 15, 2013.
In Japan, the fourth season was released in a special collection including bonuses not available elsewhere. Included in the collection are an ankle bracelet, promotional image cards and a booklet about the cast.
Former president of entertainment at The CW, Dawn Ostroff, mentioned a spin-off idea in 2010 that she said could happen in a few years. A spin-off was in development for the 2011 fall line-up but due to Kevin Williamson's commitment to The Secret Circle, it was put on hold indefinitely.
Logo of The Originals
On January 11, 2013, it was announced that a back-door pilot focused on the Originals, starring Joseph Morgan as Klaus titled The Originals would air on April 25 for a potential series pick-up for the 2013–2014 season. This second spin-off attempt was carried out by Julie Plec with no involvement by Kevin Williamson.
On April 26, 2013, The CW announced that The Originals had been ordered to series premiere in the 2013–14 television season.The Originals premiered on October 3, 2013.
At the Television Critics Association winter 2016 press tour, CW president Mark Pedowitz announced an official crossover between The Vampire Diaries and The Originals where Stefan goes on the run and finds safe haven in New Orleans where he runs into Klaus.
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