Welcome to our first edition of CarterMatt’s Scare-O-Ween series! This is going to be a recurring article series over the next two weeks leading up to Halloween, where we take a closer look at some particularly spooky shows and what they can do to better represent one of our favorite holidays on October 31.
“The Vampire Diaries” does feel in many ways like the perfect show to kick off this series with, largely because it encapsulates pretty perfectly everything people like about the holiday: mystery, costumes, scary moments, and a variety of supernatural characters. Yet, for whatever reason, this is a show that is still looking for some more definitive Halloween episodes. Why is a show like an “American Horror Story” able to do it better than one that seems just as tailor-made? We feel like there are two elements here that make it hard for the Mystic Falls crew to properly ring in the holiday.
1. Timing – Thanks to the way in which stories are told on this show, you don’t always get Halloween happening in Mystic Falls around the same time that it is in real life. Thanks to the super-natural themes that this show possesses, it can claim in many ways that almost every episode is a Halloween episode, which to us is a bit of a cop-out. With this show being centered around vampires, we would think that the Halloween episodes would have a natural tendency to up the scare factor with maybe a vampire or two that’s coming through town and causing chaos in a frightening way instead of a romantic way.
2. Romance – We don’t often associate love with Halloween, since so much of it involves you dressing up so that you can pretend to be someone else. Doesn’t that render romance somewhat useless? This show fashions itself as an epic love story almost as much as supernatural horror (if not more), so you spend more time during some of its episodes wondering if this character and that character will have the time to explore a future together as opposed to if someone is going to rip out someone’s throat. We have to remember here that this is a show primarily about vampires… a ghoulish creature that drinks the blood of the living.
The big thing that “The Vampire Diaries” could do moving forward to change this and give us a memorable Halloween episode is something that they don’t do often: Press pause. This is one of the rare times where a standalone episode could be useful to a show like this. Maybe introduce a new supernatural creature that bands the characters together, or given them a chance to step outside of their own skin for a minute. What Halloween looks like to characters who are already the epitome of Halloween in their own right sounds interesting to us.
What to go back and watch – “Haunted” back in the first season is probably the best Halloween episode the show has produced, since you had everything from a costume party to the death of Vicki, who later returned in ghost form. This episode gave you seasonal fare, but also propelled the story forward.
Want to get some other “Vampire Diaries” news? Then head over here to see our exclusive chat with Michael Malarkey! Also, you can sign up here to get some other TV scoop / exclusive teasers sent right to you via our CarterMatt Newsletter. (Photo: The CW.)