Donnie, a fellow TVD fan asked a question to TV Guide’s writer Matt about why The Vampire Diaries is not taken seriously by critics (cough, cough, snobs, cough):
Question: As we approach the annual barrage of year-end Top 10 lists, I’m dreading the fact that one worthy, excellent TV show will be overlooked by most critics: The Vampire Diaries. Don’t get me wrong, I love Breaking Bad and Game of Thrones as much as any sane person, but I also think TVD is one of the most expertly paced, perfectly plotted shows on TV right now. Unfortunately, I don’t think many professional critics bother to watch it, though they’ll analyze lesser shows like True Blood and The Walking Dead just because of the networks they air on. Even if critics don’t think The Vampire Diaries is Top 10 worthy, I think it at least deserves to be part of the year-end conversation. Why is it so hard for a show like this to be taken seriously? — Donnie
Matt Roush: I like Vampire Diaries and probably give it more consideration than many critics do — just try sitting through Secret Circle afterward, and you instantly appreciate how much more enjoyable TVD is — and I do appreciate its breakneck (often literally) pace and what-next plotting. But this is one of those shows I classify as more of a “guilty pleasure,” and while I can enjoy the over-the-top twists and turns, it just doesn’t feel serious enough as a supernatural drama for me to take it terribly seriously. There is a CW factor at play here as well, I’m sure, because we’re being asked to believe these characters are still in high school, plus the various authority figures are so shallow, and Mystic Falls seems to have at least one major social event every week where someone ends up dead or missing. True Blood is just as campy, and though I felt it had its best season this year since the first, it’s not really Top 10 material, either. The Walking Dead earns points for its graphic ruthlessness, and I wasn’t nearly as bored on the farm as others seemed to be. But the only sci-fi/fantasy type show making the cut on my Top 10 list this year (which will be published in the issue on stands next week — and online at some point) is Fox’s Fringe, which not only blew me away with its creative ambition and worlds-colliding risk-taking, but actually made me care for Peter and Walter Bishop and the various versions of Olivia Dunham. Nothing derivative or silly about that show.
What do you think? Does The Vampire Diaries deserve to be taken seriously by critics? Or is Matt right? What about True Blood?