Brilliant Television – The Vampire Diaries

Blood-sucking immortals with otherworldly beauty. It started as a show about vampires, but it has developed into something so much more.

“The Vampire Diares” is brilliant in every way that a television show should be. At first glance, people often pass it off as unoriginal (love triangle! vampires with feelings!). However, this show is so fast paced that after the first few episodes, viewers began to see creative, intriguing, original storylines take place. Creators and head writers Kevin Williamson (“Dawson’s Creek”) and Julie Plec created a very real town, that unbeknowing is filled with a rich supernatural past. “The Vampire Diaries” is written with such depth, that it only takes a couple of episodes to become completely engrossed with each character. Unlike a lot of TV shows, there are no weak links in the cast, or in the writers room for that matter.

This show is so fast paced that every new episode is a game changer in some way. Not only is it full of twists and turns, but there continues to be profound character developments. This is a show that you seriously have no idea what is going to happen next. As much as people like to guess and predict what will occur the next week, it has proved to be impossible.

As an entertainment fanatic, I watch and follow many television shows. (Thank you DVR!) Once I become invested in a show, I very rarely ever give up on it. I am an avid viewer. However, it takes a lot for me to become fully, and emotionally engrossed in a show. “The Vampire Diaries” is probably the only television show currently on air that I am like that with. Though, there are a few that have the potential to make it into this exclusive group of mine. (More on that another time).

If you are not watching “The Vampire Diaries”, I highly suggest you start. I promise you will not be disappointed. I have never met someone who isn’t captivated by the essence of this extraordinary show. The first 2 seasons are available on Netflix, and new episodes air Thursday night’s at 8:00pm/ET on The CW. Give it a try. And then come back here and share your thoughts on what is soon to be your new obsession.


January 23, 2012 at 10:49 pm Leave a comment

Successful Television

The premises are often simple.

  • The life of an unconventional family. (Modern Family)
  • The life of six close friends living in New York. (Friends)
  • A group of surgeons at a Seattle hospital. (Grey’s Anatomy)
  • A group of outcast high schoolers who sing and dance. (Glee)

So, what is the recipe for a successful television show? Many different theories and opinions have been formed about such ingredients. Even though predicting the elements of a successful TV show is far from being a science, there are some guidelines. The majority agree that a profitable show is made up of a handful of witty material, a dash of talented cast with chemistry, and a dollop of exceptional marketing strategies. The television show Friends (my favorite show.. ever) seemed to have every ingredient for success, eventually becoming one of the most popular sitcoms of all time. Everything seemed to fit into place when they began the show in 1994. Lasting for 10 years, the half-hour sitcom about the lives of six close friends quickly became a phenomenon.


Photo Credit: Warner Brothers

As I said before, many successful television shows begin with a simple premises, yet go on to become some of the most popular in the industry. The writing is just as important as the cast. Good writing can not be appreciated when performed by a defective cast. Just as a great cast can not act to their full potential accompanied by lousy writing.

Nevertheless, would any of the above television shows have been as successful as they are/were if there had not been any marketing, publicity or advertisers? Unfortunately, many popular shows and programs have been cancelled over the years because advertisers have considered their audiences too old, too young, or too poor. If there are not enough advertisers to support a television show, it is unlikely to continue to stay on the air (even if the show is popular and has great content). A lot of the time, the quality of the content and the television ratings for a show have nothing to do with each other. Television ratings are based on popularity, while the quality can be awful, and still get great ratings, (ex. Jersey Shore). I realize that some of you may find Jersey Shore entertaining, but I don’t think anyone is able to say that the MTV reality series has good, quality content.

It is easy to believe that television shows become successful based on a talented cast, or solely because of the uproarious material. In reality, studies have shown countless factors that make up a profitable television show, some of which can not even be controlled.

What do you think makes a show successful?

January 27, 2011 at 5:28 pm Leave a comment

Recycling storylines

Recycling waste materials is good.

Recycling storylines is not.

Are television shows recycling storylines more than normal? This thought occured to me while I was watching Monday night’s new episode of 90210. In this week’s episode, Mr. Canon holds Naomi hostage. This is about the time I began to have deja vu. Does anyone remember One Tree Hill’s Psycho Derek storyline?  – – -> Crazy dude (Mr.Canon/Psycho Derek) attacks and holds girl (Naomi/Peyton) hostage. Said girl’s best friend (Silver/Brooke) comes over and also gets tied up by the crazy. And again, after a few plot fillers, the two girls take down crazy dude. 

Deja vu, anyone?Peyton and Brooke held hostage

My point is that there are few shows that come up with original ideas, and if you think about it, those are the shows that tend to succeed. Now, this might seem obvious to us viewers, but if it was so obvious, then why do storylines continue to be recycled? The example I gave above is a very specific recycled storyline, which is why it seemed to stick out more than usual. There are countless overused storylines that almost every show has done at some point in time. But the question is: Do overused story lines even exist? Because every story has been written about once, it’s just the way it’s gone about. When viewers of specific genres (drama, comedy, etc) often expect the familiar, cliché becomes a form of shorthand. Using tools familiar to the viewer keeps unambitious viewers in their comfort zone.

What do you think?

January 27, 2011 at 1:29 am Leave a comment

2011 Awards awkwardness

The Academy Award nominations were announced early this morning, bringing much excitement to the entertainment world. Like most entertainment junkies, awards season is one of my favorite times of the year. It is not just about the glam, or the fashion. It’s about honoring remarkable work in the performing arts, as well as watching the host ruin their career sink or swim. Yes, I am speaking figuratively. More on that later.

As a home viewer, Hollywood award ceremonies (Oscars, Golden Globes, Emmys, etc.) are exciting and.. awkward. Hundreds of celebrities.. nervous, anxious, and all dressed up… on live national television, no less. The question in my mind on awards nights is always “who is going to eff up this time?” Nine times out of ten, someone either 1) makes a complete fool out of themself (Ricky Gervais), or 2) someone surprises the hell out of the audience by doing something purposefully ridiculous (again, Ricky Gervais). When this happens, it is always entertaining to see how people react. Take the recent Golden Globes for example. In Ricky’s opening monologue, he threw so many inappropriate (yet, admittedly hilarious) zingers at celebrities who were seated only yards away. I cringed with laughter when he called out the ridiculousness of The Tourist’s nominations. Reasons for cringing: Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp are both acclaimed, respectable actors. By the look on their faces (see picture below), you could tell they agreed with the ridiculousness of them being nominated. They have no control of who gets nominated, and to skip the awards would be disrespectful. I’m sure they were prepared for the speculation on why they were in fact nominated. I don’t think they were prepared for Ricky to voice the recent gossip and theories on the subject to an audience full of fellow celebrities. Reason why I laughed: Ricky said what was on everyone’s mind, and the reason the majority of the audience awkwardly laughed was because it was true!  If it hadn’t been true, crickets would have been a chirpin’.

2011 Oscars Promo Photo

Image Credit: Bob D'Amico/ABC

The 2011 Academy Awards are coming up in a month, and the hosting duo of Anne Hathaway and James Franco (who is a first time nominee) is almost guaranteed to make it an interesting show. James is nominated in the Best Actor category for 127 Hours, and it will be the first time in 24 years an Oscar nominee will also host the show. I first fell in love with James Franco after watching Pineapple Express a few years ago. How could you not love James? He is always delivering impressive performances, surprising the audience each time. I have a feeling the Academy also has a soft spot for James, as they wouldn’t choose him to host and/or nominate him if they didn’t respect him. Or.. would they?

January 25, 2011 at 9:59 pm Leave a comment

Hello world!

Hello my fellow pop-culture junkies! 

Sparkling Pen will be keeping you up to date on the latest happenings in the entertainment industry. SP will also feature reviews on television shows, movies, and maybe even books if I’m feeling crazy. My goal is to indulge my readers, while sharpening my writing skills. I am a college student majoring in Mass Communications/Journalism. As you may have guessed, I am an entertainment fanatic! Every type of entertainment (television, movies, music, books), I am obsessed! Which is why I aspire to be an entertainment journalist/publicist. This is my first blog, so please bear with me in the beginning.

If you have any suggestions/questions, please (please!) leave a comment or send me an e-mail!

Welcome to Sparkling Pen!

January 14, 2011 at 10:18 pm Leave a comment


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