Midseason report card: Has ‘The Vampire Diaries’ season 5 lived up to Nina Dobrev’s performance?

Cast -For its fifth season, “The Vampire Diaries” has offered us something that actually has a few similarities to a reboot, if you really stop and think about it for a minute. You’ve lost some great actors in Joseph Morgan, Daniel Gillies, and Claire Holt to “The Originals,” and the idea here was to refocus the story a little bit more so that Elena and Caroline attending college would be a more important story.

Has the show done that successfully? In some ways definitely, but at times, there have also been a few moments where we’ve wondered whether there has been too much in the way of doppelganger confusion, and we haven’t cared as much for some of the new characters in the way in which we hoped.

The shining stars – The #1 here is Nina Dobrev, who at times this year has played Elena, Katherine, and Amara. She’s taken a lot of praise and blame when things go right or wrong, and handled most of these stories fearlessly. You can see the improvement in her performance from year to year, especially when you go back and watch early episodes.

We also really liked Paul Wesley as Silas for most of the time, that Bonnie’s revival did not come without consequences, and that Matt has for the most part had more to do this season. Most of the major story points have made a little bit more sense, especially Katherine. Human Katherine has been a blast.

What needs work – We don’t care about Nadia … or Dr. Maxfield … or Aaron … or really anyone else that the show has introduced since the start of this season. There hasn’t been another Klaus sort of character that has popped of the screen, or a replacement for some of the other departed characters like Alaric. Maxfield especially felt like a lazy character, mostly because we already had someone similar in Professor Shane just last year.

Also, can someone give Damon a more defined role? It feels like he didn’t get enough good stuff until near the end of the first half of season 5, and the show still has no idea what to do with Tyler, and even at times Jeremy when he’s not working with Bonnie. The last issue is a minor pet peeve we’ve always had with the show: People still refer to one other way too much by name. We know that Damon’s name is Damon, and don’t need to listen to Stefan or Elena say that every time they are in a conversation with him. Nobody talks like that.

Overall – An okay start to the post-Klaus era, but it feels like the show could have done more with its characters now in college. Also, we want a better villain in the second half of the season, and more exploration into the human part of being a vampire, and just how different that makes life. That’s more interesting to us than more ancient people with vendettas. Grade: B-.

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Photo: The CW

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