Now, to be completely fair TVD predates not only Twilight by over a decade, but also Buffy the Vampire Slayer. So, I’m in no way saying that L.J. Smith has ripped of Buffy (although I am comparing the shows here, not the books – so it may be possible that Buffy inspired some of the changes that have been made to the small screen version of the story). What I really want to point out is how these two shows were set up and that maybe in their similarities is a formula for success.
Blonde, cheerleader, just some girl who seems insignificant but turns out to be extraordinary…Elena/Buffy: Both Elena and Buffy were spunky school girls who fell in love with vampires. Neither wanted to become vampires themselves and they dealt with all the drama of loving a man who would never die. Damon even called Elena “Buffy” in one episode, and while the Elena we know from TV isn’t blonde, her counterpart in James’ books is. Both Elena and Buffy put their friends and family first. They’re strong female leads willing to fight and at times even sacrifice themselves for the ones they love.
What makes Elena different: Evil Elena has been fun to watch on the show, and while Buffy had her bad moments even during her brief stint as a vampire she was good to the core. Elena’s character has been taken to a darker place than Buffy’s ever was and I enjoy that about TVD.
What makes Buffy different: She’s The Slayer. Elena was just a girl and often in need of saving whereas Buffy was the one doing most of the saving on BtVS. However, new vampire-Elena is stronger.
Stefan/Angel: Both Stefan and Angel were vampire protectors for the human girls they fell in love with. They both had dark histories they were trying to make amends for, both fighting against their very nature to be good. But, they also both slipped up at times. For Angel it was losing his soul that turned him into a deranged killer, for Stefan it was his overpowering bloodlust and shutting off his humanity.
What makes Stefan different: He’s not crippled by a curse that prevents him from ever being happy. He’s often brooding and serious but what I love about him is that he’s capable of having fun and being happy. This makes his character a little lighter and his relationship with Elena a little easier than it was for Buffy and Angel.
What makes Angel different: Stefan’s whole world seems to revolve around Elena whereas Angel was a bigger picture kind of guy. In the end Angel was going to do what was best for the whole world, in one episode he’s even cured of vampirism and made human, but he gives it up and gives up a chance to be with Buffy knowing he can make a bigger difference in the world as a vampire. Stefan on the other hand would gladly take the cure with Elena and be human with her so they could live out the rest of their lives.
Impulsive vampire bad-boy who stars out wanting to kill every one of our main characters, but ends wanting to be good…Damon/Spike: Julie Plec called Damon their “Buffy” because of his snarky comebacks, but I think his character is much more in tune with another blue-eyed hottie – Spike, whose snarky commentary kept up with Buffy’s and created great sexual tension on the show. Much like what we see between Damon and Elena. Even the love triangle matches up perfect. Angel – Buffy – Spike, and Stefan – Elena – Damon.
The progression in character development of these two vamps followed a similar path. Both Spike and Damon were impulsive, selfish bad-boys who originally appeared on their respective shows as villains. Later they became allies with the good guys when it suited their needs, and then as they developed feelings for the heroine of the show they began to truly change their ways. Spike became a good man for Buffy just like Damon became a good man for Elena. It’s a story of redemption, and it’s our heroine’s love for them, and her trust and faith in them that changes them.
What makes Damon different: Damon is okay being the bad guy, and not that Spike wasn’t but Damon dealt with his guilt better. In Season 7 of Buffy we got to see a rather crazed, soul-full Spike who was ultimately being torn apart by his guilt. He truly wanted to be completely good. Damon has his guilt-ridden moments every now and then, but at the end of the day he accepts the bad things he has to do as necessary even if that means he’ll never completely be good. Damon never wanted to live up to anyone’s expectations, whereas Spike wanted to prove that he could be good.
What makes Spike different: Spike had an easier time connecting with the people around Buffy than Damon did with Elena’s friends. He quickly bonded with her mom, Joyce, and younger sister, Dawn, and put their protection and his care for them high on his list. Spike may have put all of Buffy’s friend’s lives in danger at one point or another, like when he kidnapped Willow and Xander, but he never actually killed any of them. Damon on the other hand didn’t even think twice about tearing into Elena’s circle. He turned Vicki, killed Alaric (multiple times) and even snapped her brother, Jeremy’s neck.
Bonnie/Willow: Willow was Buffy’s best friend, and a witch, just like what Bonnie is to Elena. They were both usually the level headed influence of the show, but also both had their dark sides as well. Currently Bonnie seems to be falling off the deep end with her magic much like Willow did in season 6 of Buffy. After the death of a significant other both Bonnie and Willow got a little scary, for Willow her magic became addictive with time, and we’ve seen small pieces of Bonnie’s magic taking control with her. Also in the books Bonnie was a red-head, just like Willow.
What makes Bonnie different: Bonnie quickly develops into her own independent person on TVD, whereas Willow struggled to figure out who she was for much longer. Because of this Bonnie is often the voice of reason. She still makes bad decisions, but she’s much more grounded and stable than Willow was.
What makes Willow different: Willow realizes in season four that she’s a lesbian which added to the complexity of the things her character had to deal with.
Popular, blonde, airhead, turned vampire…
Caroline/Harmony: In season 1 on The Vampire Diaries Caroline was just as conceited and self-involved as another blonde cheerleader, Buffy’s Harmony. Also the relationship that Caroline and Damon have in season 1 of TVD is very similar to the relationship that Harmon and Spike have in seasons 4 and 5 of Buffy. However, at times I think Caroline is more like Buffy’s Cordelia, especially when you look at how her character develops over the seasons.
What makes Caroline different: Caroline grows up; she matures and becomes a more well-rounded person. Harmony on the other hand stayed pretty much an air-head through the shows entire run. She did grow some, but not to the extent that Caroline did. I loved that Caroline was a much deeper character than Harmony. No one ever really took Harmony seriously, but Caroline was a force to be reckoned with.
What makes Harmony different: Harmony never had the depth that Caroline did which also made her more bubbly. She often came across as a bit of a comic-relief, but her ditzy ways made you smile.
Loving, brother figure to the main character…
Jeremy/Xander: Xander may not have been Buffy’s brother, but he fell into a brotherly role with her as the series went on. Both Jeremy and Xander always wanted to be in the fight but Elena and Buffy were always trying to protect them. Even Jeremy’s relationship with Bonnie mirrors Buffy in regards to Xander’s relationship with Willow in season 3.
What makes Jeremy different: Jeremy became a hunter, developing his own set of supernatural powers, unlike Xander who remained completely human through the entire show.
What makes Xander different: Since Xander wasn’t Buffy’s actual brother the crush he had on her in the beginning of the series created an interesting dynamic. In some ways Xander may even be a little more like TVD’s Matt.
Alaric/Giles: Alaric isn’t quite as old and stuffy as Giles was at times, but he does fall into this mentoring role with Elena that reminded me of Buffy’s relationship with Giles. Alaric even starts training Elena to fight, just like Giles did as Buffy’s watcher. They’re both also occasional drinkers with bad luck in the romance department.
Out of control party girl…
Vicki/Faith: Vicki’s untimely death means that we won’t know if her character will evolve like Faith’s did, but her careless attitude is very similar to the Faith from season 3 of Buffy. And both characters come from broken homes.
Villain who can take on the face of other characters to manipulate and confuse them…
Silas/The First: The First was the embodiment of all evil, and somewhat confusing to understand. Silas is an immortal warlock. What they have in common is their ability to look like anyone (well, any dead person in The First’s case) which causes some really emotional scenes as the big bad pretends to be a loved one of our characters.
Other noteworthy similarities:
- Some of the dialogue in The Vampire Diaries closely resembles the quirky ways the characters of BtVS would speak.
-Elena: "It's the fog, It's making me foggy. And then back there, there was this - this bird, and it was all very Hitchcock for a second. That is the bird movie, right, the Hitchcock? . . . I'm Elena.
-Willow: "It's a doodle, I do doodle. You too! You do doodle too!"
-Buffy: "I didn't say I'd never slay another vampire. It's not like I have all these fluffy bunny feelings for them, I'm just not going to get way extra-curricular with it."
-Spike: “Great love is wild and passionate and dangerous. It burns and consumes.”
-Damon: “You want a love that consumes you. You want passion and adventure, and even a little danger.”
-Close your eyes --> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4771fuz0AsM
Obviously there are HUGE differences that remain between these two shows, but the connections between the characters is very similar, and if you have a complicated story you might want to look at the webs of characters for these two shows.
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