Stephenie Meyer did not invent vampires. Not every show, film or story involving vamps needs to be compared to "Twilight," but these comparisons inevitably happen due to its intensely massive popularity. The new CW show "The Vampire Diaries" is so much more than a love story between a human and the undead. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge fan of the "Twilight" series, but what this new show gives viewers is characters with depth and some realism.

The Vampire Diaries
Episode 1-7: “Haunted”
Aired: 10/29/09

The premise of the series involves a high school student Elena Gilbert (Nina Dobrev) struggling to pull her life back together after the death of her parents. Enter the mysterious Stefan Salvatore- the new kid in the small town of Mystic Falls, Virginia. Elena and Stefan’s relationship develops very naturally during the course of the show; it doesn’t feel too sudden or intense. Elena has normal, teenage girl reservations about dating Stefan that have nothing to do with him being a vampire, a fact she is not privy to at first. Aside from you know, being 145-year-old vampire, Stefan comes with a lot of complexities. He works hard to maintain an animal blood only diet (yes, I know just like Edward), has issues with constantly lying to Elena, and is trying to keep his meddlesome and evil brother at bay.

Evil older brother Damon (Ian Somerhalder) is the most fascinating character of the show. He harbors resentment towards Stefan for denying his natural thirst of human blood, and the brothers are still at odds over a mysterious secret from their past involving another woman. Damon is always quick with a sneer and scathing comeback, and makes no apologies for tearing the throats out of various townspeople. He finds his younger brother’s attempts to keep him from feeding humorous. Stefan has his hands full just trying to deal with Damon and his impetuous acts of rage and terror.

The writers of the show have given their monsters traits from several schools of vampire thought. No coffins, crucifixes or garlic, but a wooden stake can end them as well as the sunlight. Super speed, sensitive hearing and even mind control powers are granted but unless you invite them into the house, they are powerless at the doorstep. Strength of powers depends heavily on the amount of feeding with human blood, which is what makes Damon much more powerful than Stefan and ultimately why Stefan cannot simply take his brother down. And no, neither of them sparkles in the sunlight.

This week’s episode brought another Damon-initiated problem into Stefan’s world. In a great plot twist, an impulsive Damon turns the troubled Vicki into a vampire. Vicki is the love interest of Elena’s brother Jeremy and probably the absolute worst person possible to become a bloodsucker. Before Damon’s interference, Vicki was happily living the life of a hard-partying druggie. Add some serious blood-lust to her already addictive tendencies, and the mortals of the town should probably only go out in daylight. Stefan tries in vain to teach Vicki how to control her thirst, but of course Damon is standing by to complicate matters. Coupled with the girl’s rebellious streak, it makes a difficult task for Stefan to control her and keep Elena and Jeremy safe. There’s an explosive action scene near the end that I won’t ruin, but once again the writers pulled off another fantastic plot twist.

"The Vampire Diaries" airs Thursday nights at 8 p.m. on the CW.

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