This past Tuesday news broke that Nina Dobrev was leaving “The Vampire Diaries” at the end of the current season. The show is already renewed for season seven, but season six will be the last for Dobrev.
Beware: spoilers below!
I think I speak for all of us when I say I was shocked to learn that Dobrev (who plays Elena Gilbert) was leaving “The Vampire Diaries.” Not only are the books (first published in 1991) written from her perspective, but almost every episode of the show’s 130-episode run has featured her as the primary storyteller. Either through voiceover diary entries or the main plot of a love triangle between Elena and the Salvatore brothers, we have been focused on Elena’s life (and death) for six years.
Many have speculated that the show’s next season will be its last. After all, how can a show continue to run without its lead character? “The Vampire Diaries” is no stranger to death. Over the years we’ve said goodbye to almost every character on the show, and some more than once. This year alone Damon and Bonnie died only to be found in a hell dimension. Jeremy (Elena’s brother) left the show this year as well, (although this time he didn’t die) but as of today he won’t be returning for next season. Michael Trevino (Tyler Lockwood) has been cast in a pilot although the door remains open to him should he wish to return. “The Vampire Diaries” has proved that it is more than one character—although they bring back almost as many as they kill.
“The Vampire Diaries” is a teen drama. Despite routinely having characters that are 1,000 years old they cling to storylines of high school—and now college students. Drama is their bread and butter and no matter how insane the storylines get I like watching to see how they will get out of this mess. But oftentimes I think the plots on TVD are bogged down dealing with Elena’s drama to the detriment of other characters with potentially great stories to tell. Dobrev leaving could be the chance to breathe much-needed new life into the show and help it continue to run for years if the current cast chooses to stay.
Don’t get angry, just hear me out. I like Nina Dobrev. I think she is a remarkable actress and in her time of “The Vampire Diaries” she has played, in her own words,“a human, a vampire, a doppelganger, a crazy immortal, a doppelganger pretending to be human, a human pretending to be a doppelganger. I got kidnapped, killed, resurrected, tortured, cursed, body-snatched, was dead and undead.”
She played all those nuances well, and made us believe that she was Katherine pretending to be Elena pretending to be Katherine or whatever, but while I enjoyed watching Nina I hated Elena. Some might question how I can love Dobrev but hate her character, but I do. Elena was involved with everyone, either she dated them or was best friends with them, but they were still their own people. The secondary and tertiary characters on TVD have been used to prop up her storylines, and I think it’s getting old.
Elena is whiny, and it’s not entirely her fault. She’s watched pretty much everyone she loves die—some many times—and she has to keep living. That would turn anyone into a huge emotional wreck, but Elena never seemed to grow or change to me—except when it came to her taste in Salvatore brothers (#TEAMDELENAFOREVER). Aside from her penchant for the perfect crying face, Elena was the center of her group. Generally we root for them, but everyone around her continues to believe that they should be sacrificing themselves for her. They have convinced themselves that dying is worthwhile as long as it’s of the sacrificial variety. While sacrifice is noble I am hopeful someone will decide, just this once, that their life matters too.
Those of us who enjoy “The Vampire Diaries” have been pleasantly surprised by some of the secondary characters becoming our favorites. I, personally, have loved watching Caroline become a well-rounded person. Seeing Stefan be interesting without Elena attached to him is something I thought would never happen. I am so glad Alaric is back and in love, especially now that Damon is really gonna need him.
Once all the residents of Mystic Falls realize that they can survive losing their friend, a fount of interesting stories will be waiting to be told. The actors who are staying on for season seven will be able to take their characters through the journey of losing their friend, lover, and sister.
Since we don’t get a new episode this week and we’ve got TVD on the brain with this announcement, join LD for a live watch and tweet of “The Vampire Diaries” pilot at 8/7c. Follow us on Twitter @litdarling and tweet us with the #TVD to follow the rewatch!
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