Friday, September 11, 2009

I once worked with a person who insisted on reading the end of a book first or on finding out from someone the end of a movie before seeing it because they wanted to know how it ended before they got invested. It pissed me off. Well, now comes "The Vampire Diaries" on one of those lame teen TV networks and, though I don't know her any more, I really think this is a show written for someone like her. She would easily predict what will happen and be glad that everything will have a happy ending just like it says on the site for L.J. Smith, the author of the books for which the series is based.

I promise you I hated the show. Here's why: unless you never watched or read a book (aside from the Stephanie Meyers crap) about vampires, you'll know what will happen. At some point I just started to watch the clock and figured out very quickly that the script is perfectly timed. I never noticed this in shows well written. Here's the timeline I noted:

0:00-0:08 Narration a la brooding confession combined with lots of perfect hair, dark wet streets, beating into your head that the lead female dark teenager, Elena, lost both her parents in recent times, heavy amounts of pressure on her to be happy.

At 8 minutes in: Vampire Stefan glamours a person of authority a la Obi Wan Kenobi Jedi mind tricks.

At 9 minutes in: Vampire Stefan and Elena are eye-to-eye, AWKWARD! ...but he's no "Angel."
Sometime in the next ten minutes we're supposed to be all mystified by a crow in a cemetery, fake dry ice fog... are you goths still with me?

At 17 minutes in: Object of importance is planted... the diary.

At 19 minutes in: first ironic joke between human and vampire (aw, if she only knew he was a vampire and how much that is so ironic), gag, cough, gag.

Group scenes with Stefan and the teens involve lots of silent gawking and ditzy blonde comments from the female teen named Caroline, who's no Cordelia Chase.

At 20 minutes in: Elena feels the bond. Oh, yes, Vampire Stefan writes a diary too. Utterly phenomenal stuff, really. More moments of dumb gawking.

At 23 minutes in, we are shown a woman from Stefan's past that, guess what, looks just like Elena!

At 35 minutes in, you see Elena thinking Stefan is kind of weird, big HMMMMMMMMM.

At 36 minutes in, the first attempted kill (damn) of a somewhat disposable character. If you didn't know that walking alone in the dark in a suburban forest well lit by set lights was dangerous, well, bad girl sex addict, you will soon find out. The character is named Vicki (played by "Freaks and Geeks" alum who did 3 episodes, Kayla Ewell), whom by the way is close friends with Elena's brother whom is way too mothered by Elena that it's almost like incest.

At 42 minutes in, we meet the big bad guy of the series, Vampire Damon, played by the botoxifull Ian Somerhalder, remember Locke's "friend" from "Lost"? Yeah, that guy. Sad that he was bearing a completely expressionless face. BUT, and a big but, he was mocking Vampire Stefan referencing the mystical fog and spooky crow! One point goes to Vampire Damon!

At this point I am nearly in tears that it isn't nearly over yet and that I committed to reviewing the pilot episode for this blog, but finally, 51 minutes into the goth-forsaken episode, we see a fight between Damon and Stefan, like some real physical action for about 10 seconds. But Vampire Damon doesn't even growl for real, it's recorded! Damon even needs some special effects to move his face into a frightening sneer! Lots of "men beating chest" and "I'm stronger," and "No, I'm stronger."

At 54 minutes in, the word "vampire" is uttered for the first time by the victim of the attack while recovering in a hospital.

At 59 minutes in, Elena invites Vampire Stefan in... fade to black.

If reading this was sheer agony for you, then try watching this pilot, or rather, don't and spend that time making an effort to do something really important like dye some pretty lace outfit from bright white to midnight black and wear it out on the town with your hair all wild for a drink of some delicious dark red wine with your favorite buddy. Life is too short to spend a minute watching "The Vampire Diaries."

Monday, September 07, 2009

new book: Andromeda Klein by Frank Portman

If you're digging the young adult novels or are seeking something fun to read, check out Andromeda Klein by Frank Portman, his follow-up to his first book King Dork. You may just see him singing in a bookstore soon. He's on tour to promote Andromeda Klein.

Portman, aka Dr. Frank, was the singer in the '80s pop-punk band The Mr. T Experience. In 2006, his first book King Dork was published by Delacorte Press. It went so well that they wanted him to write some more books and songs. His words are brilliant just like the band names that the King Dork character, Tom Henderson, invented, which include Tennis with Guitars, The Mordor Apes, Ray Bradbury's Love-Camel, and The Underpants Machine.

If you are a young adult/teen reader, you can volunteer at one of the signings or by contacting him ahead of time to plan which passage you want to read from in either book.

Here's an article from The East Bay Express.