||Horror, Science Fiction, Drama, Fantasy, Romance
||Zach Roerig, Ian Somerhalder, Michael Trevino, Paul Wesley, Nina Dobrev, Candice Accola, Kayla Ewell, Sara Canning
Four months after the tragic car accident that killed their parents, 17-year-old Elena Gilbert and her 15-year-old brother, Jeremy, are still adjusting to their new reality. Stefan is noble, denying himself blood to avoid killing, and tries to control his evil brother Damon, who promised to Stefan an eternity of misery. Stefan falls in love with schoolgirl Elena, who has an uncanny resemblance to the Salvatore brothers old love, Katherine; and whose best friend Bonnie is a witch. Elena has always been the star student; beautiful, popular and involved with school and friends, but now she finds herself struggling to hide her grief from the world. Elena and Jeremy are now living with their cool-but-overwhelmed Aunt Jenna, who is doing her best to be a surrogate parent. Many TV critics felt the series improved with each episode. Sarah Hughes of The Independent says The Vampire Diaries turns into "a well-crafted, interestingly developed series", despite a poor opening episode. The New York Post also praised the portrayal of Elena, finding the character to be a strong-minded woman who did not allow her feelings for her boyfriend to control her. Karla Peterson of The San Diego Union-Tribune said that "the supernatural drama is a first-class production, featuring an insanely gorgeous cast, sharp scripts and a brooding vibe that is hard for even the most levelheaded adult to resist." Mike Hale of The New York Times gave the series an honorable mention on his list of the top TV shows of 2009. The show's second season opened to universal acclaim from professional television critics as it received a 78/100 score on Metacritic. As the series progressed and developed onto the third season, critics praised the portrayals of the main characters and the development of the female characters such as Elena Gilbert played by Nina Dobrev, Bonnie Bennett who is played by Katerina Graham, and Caroline Forbes who is played by Candice Accola. The third season finale, The Departed, opened to generally positive reviews. Diana Steenbergen of IGN praised the episode and the writers for clearing up a couple story lines and making all of them come to a head. She also praised Dobrev's performance in this episode, addressing her behaviour as another reason the final revelation from Meredith was more shocking and believable. Similarly, Mandi Bierly of Entertainment Weekly review praised the writer's skills in creating the more unexpected final twist. Several reviewers also addressed the dynamic of the show may change now with the character of Elena being transitioned. Keshaunta Moton of Poptimal refers to the upcoming changes as "huge" and notes the change as something that'll affect her relationship with other characters. Other reviewers, like Matt Roush of SeattlePi and Ben Lee of Digital Spy refer to the finale as a "game-changer" and one to set up a completely new storyline for the fourth season.