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'VAMPIRE DIARIES': FLUFFY BUT FUN

It was a dark and stormy night. As the two lovers drove home along the deserted road, a dense fog swallowed their vehicle, obscuring the path ahead. Then suddenly - !"

Cue jump scene.

This dramatic (and cliched) start to the CW's The Vampire Diaries, premiering at 8 tonight, gets your heart rate up. Does it show great depth? Nah, but with a show like this, it doesn't matter.

Based on a series of books by L. J. Smith and featuring a complete cast of pretty people, Diaries centers on the obviously-going-to-be-complicated romance between Elena (Nina Dobrev) and Stefan (Paul Wesley).

Stefan is the handsome new student at Mystic Falls High. He's older than he looks, he's been here before, and he knows a few people, not all of them friends. Elena is still grieving the loss of her parents, all while trying to help her younger brother Jeremy (played by Steven R. McQueen, grandson of his namesake) cope without using drugs. Stefan arrives days after a couple is mysteriously found "ravaged by an animal." Coincidence? Or is Stefan not your average teenage boy? If the title didn't tip you off, you'll just have to figure it out for yourself.

The whole setup is reminiscent of Stephenie Meyer's Twilight series and its many clones. It has the flashy glamor and OMG vibe of most CW originals such as Gossip Girl and One Tree Hill, along with plenty of moments that make you think "Gee, I've seen that before." All in all, Diaries is further proof that those CW originals aren't that original.

However, the actors are appealing and it's a very watchable show. If you're a fan of fanged romances and tolerant of their flaws, odds are it's worth sticking around for a few episodes.

Mina Asayesh-Brown is a student at St. Petersburg High.

Grade: ***

The Vampire Diaries

8 tonight on the CW

Up next:SNOUTBREAK!

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