It’s sexy, silly, gory, romantic vampire fun.
Tonight, the eighth and final season ofThe Vampire Diaries premieres on the CW. Fans have obsessively watched the ever-expanding universe of vampires, werewolves, and doppelgängers, gasping at every kiss and every brutal murder. To non-fans, well…maybe this all sounds ridiculous and a little juvenile.
It’s true: the show can be pretty silly—but that’s half the fun. Sometimes the rules seem to evolve just to serve the storyline (if you think everyone who dies stays dead, think again), and the phrase “epic love” is tossed around with zero irony. But if you like TV that is meant to be gobbled up after a stressful day at work, that thrills you, and, most importantly, moves you, The Vampire Diaries absolutely fits the bill.
In the pilot, we meet our heroine, Mystic Falls resident Elena (Nina Dobrev). Elena’s beautiful and kind, but tragic: She’s just lost her parents and wants to put on a brave face. “Today will be different,” she writes in her diary. Enter Stefan (Paul Wesley), who’s handsome and oh so mysterious. She doesn’t know it yet, but he’s going to be her first epic love. Oh, and he’s a vampire. Every day after that really is different.
In honor of the show’s final season, here are seven plus one reasons you’ve just got to watch The Vampire Diaries right now (all seven previous seasons are on Netflix, by the way).
1a. So much romance.
ANNETTE BROWN/THE CW
The Vampire Diaries is the show that launched a thousand ships. The show is full of swoonworthy professions of love, passionate kisses, sweeping symbolic gestures, and even true soul mates whose relationships transcend the bounds of time. It’s hard not to take a side…and then instantly switch allegiances. Plus there’s a lot of sex. CW-rated sex, but still.
1b. So much romance with THESE guys.
BOB MAHONEY/THE CW
ANNETTE BROWN/THE CW
BOB MAHONEY/THE CW
2. Caroline Forbes is the baddest in town.
Far from being just a stereotypical ditzy beauty queen, Caroline might be a good “Miss Mystic Falls,” but she’s also a total powerhouse. Intense and demanding, she finds a way to channel her natural qualities—which get a supernatural boost later on in the show—to make her and her friends’ lives better. But The Vampire Diaries doesn’t intend for supercharged Caroline to be morespecial—her empathy and commitment already make her a formidable friend and foe.
3. Nina Dobrev crying will make you cry.
It just hurts, so much:
Elena goes through almost everything imaginable over the series, but Dobrev finds a way to bring a unique and devastating grief to each. She can do “staying strong but hurting” or “completely, uncontrollably destroyed” or “shocked by the literal horror she’s just seen.” She’s a master of sorrow, and it’s strangely a pleasure to witness.
4. It’s so, so campy and OTT.
Many TV shows have some kind of mythology you have to buy into. WithThe Vampire Diaries, the rules seem even less realistic and even more malleable. But honestly, that’s part of what makes it so entertaining. Sure, you might be plagued with thoughts like, “Isn’t it convenient that all their problems are solved now?” or “Man, witches really do have a spell for everything!” or “Wait, vampires can dothat now?” But most of the time you’ll just have fun going along for the ride.
5. The writers know exactly when to twist the knife.
We all know that the high school years give rise to great heights and valleys of emotion. The Vampire Diaries taps into all that angst and desire, and pulls no punches. Take this scene: hot bad boy Damon (Ian Somerhalder), confesses to Elena that he loves her. But he’s also still taunting her, holding on to something precious that she wants. But wait—he’s only holding it because as soon as he says, “I love you,” he’s going to erase her memory of it. Before he does that, though, he says he doesn’t deserve her—his brother does. Oh, are you crying, even though you have no idea who these people are? Exactly.
6. Did we mention knife-twisting?
If you’re at all into blood and gore, is this the show for you. There is just So. Much. Blood. Even if you don’t like violence in your entertainment, though—I usually don’t—it’s at least very closely tied to the plot. Some of the biggest shocks on the show come from who dies and when, which keeps you on your toes, if nothing else.
7. Even the villains are totally addictive. And gorgeous.
CURTIS BAKER/THE CW
The show completely makes you question your idea of good and evil (for, like, an hour a week at least). Take Klaus, a very bad vampire whom we meet in season two. He torments everybody. He kills a beloved character. But by season four, he was a fan favorite. Maybe it’s because villains get to have so much fun chewing up the scenery in The Vampire Diaries, but mostly it’s because Joseph Morgan is just so damn good in this role. In fact, he’s so beloved that there’s a whole new show dedicated to Klaus and his fellow original vampires.