Pilot (The Vampire Diaries)
|The Vampire Diaries episode|
|Episode no.||Season 1
|Directed by||Marcos Siega|
|Original air date||September 10, 2009|
"Pilot" is the pilot episode of The CW television series, The Vampire Diaries, as well as the first episode of the series. It originally aired on Thursday, September 10, 2009. The teleplay was written by Kevin Williamson and Julie Plec and it directed by Marcos Siega.
The episode begins with a couple, Darren Malloy (Steve Belford) and Brooke Fenton (Cindy Bushy), driving their car when suddenly they hit someone. They stop to see if the person is injured, however both of them end up being killed by this person.
In the small Virginia town of Mystic Falls, Elena Gilbert (Nina Dobrev) and her brother Jeremy (Steven R. McQueen) cannot come to grips with the fact that their parents have recently died and that they are being looked after by their aunt, Jenna (Sara Canning), who acts more like their friend than a parent. Elena becomes emotionally withdrawn after recently breaking up with her boyfriend, Matt, while Jeremy turns to drugs to avoid dealing with his own feelings. At school, Elena bumps into the mysterious new student Stefan Salvatore (Paul Wesley) who attracts Elena's attention.
Elena goes to the cemetery to visit her parents and write in her diary. While writing, a crow appears and refuses to move even when she attempts to scare it away. Suddenly, fog begins to cover everything and Elena starts running, dropping her journal. She trips, gets hurt, and upon standing up, finds Stefan there. While they talk, the smell of blood from Elena's leg seems to cause some changes in Stefan's face who vanishes all of a sudden. He later goes to Elena's house to apologize for vanishing and returns her journal to her.
At the Salvatore house, Zach (Chris William Martin), after seeing the news about the two people who were attacked by an animal, asks Stefan why he came back and why Stefan attacked these people despite his promise not to hurt anyone. Stefan denies that he had anything to do with the attack and leaves to attend the campfire party where Elena will be.
Elena's friend, Bonnie (Kat Graham), tries to make fun of her grandmother who told her that she is a psychic, but she later feels something mysterious when she touches Elena and starts to feel like she might have some powers. Intuitively, she suspects something is strange about Stefan when they meet up at a campfire party; Tyler Lockwood (Michael Trevino), the mayor's son and classmate of Elena, also suspects Stefan.
Matt's sister Vicki (Kayla Ewell) is found by Jeremy in the woods, bitten by something they believe to be an animal. Stefan realizes that there is someone else in town who is like him and who is also responsible for the first two attacks and he runs back home. He informs Zach about it and then Stefan's brother, Damon (Ian Somerhalder), appears.
Stefan confronts Damon why he is in Mystic Falls despite his dislike of the town. Damon answers that he is in town because of Elena, who looks similar to a girl named Katherine whom Stefan keeps a picture of from 1864. Damon tells Stefan to feed on Elena and the siblings get into a fight. Damon, who is much stronger than his brother because he is feeding on human blood, beats Stefan. Damon takes Stefan's ring which seems important for their survival though its features still seem mysterious, but he then gives it back.
In the meantime, Vicki wakes up at the hospital and tells Matt that she was not attacked by an animal, but by a vampire.
Initially Kevin Williamson had little interest in developing the series, finding the premise too similar to other vampire tales. However, at Julie Plec's urging, he began to read the novels and started to become intrigued by the story: "I began to realize that it was a story about a small town, about that town's underbelly and about what lurks under the surface." Williamson has stated the town's story will be the main focus of the series, rather than high school.
On February 6, 2009, Variety announced that The CW had greenlit the pilot for The Vampire Diaries with Williamson and Julie Plec set as the head writers and executive producers. On May 19, 2009, the series was officially ordered for the 2009–2010 season.
The pilot episode was filmed in Vancouver, British Columbia, but the rest of the episodes have been filmed in Covington, Georgia (which doubles as the fictional small town of Mystic Falls, Virginia) and various other communities around Greater Atlanta, to take advantage of local tax incentives.
- "Here We Go" by Mat Kearney
- "Siren Song" by Bat for Lashes
- "Never Say Never" by The Fray
- "Back to Me" by The All-American Rejects
- "Death" by White Lies
- "Running Up that Hill" by Placebo
- "Kids" by MGMT
- "Thinking of You" by Katy Perry
- "Say (All I Need)" by OneRepublic
- "Consolers of the Lonely" by The Raconteurs
- "Sort Of" by Silversun Pickups
- "Take me to the Riot" by Stars
- "Kuh" by Lalala
The initial 30 minutes of the episode was watched by 4.713 million of viewers, with 5.100 million of viewers tuning in for the second half of the hour, bringing the total of viewers up to a total of 4.906 million of viewers. Plus the Live + 7 DVR Ratings the series premiere scored an even higher 5.7 million of viewers. Till date, is the most watched episode in the history of the show.
Dan Phillips from IGN gave the episode 7/10 and compared it with the Twilight movie and the series Dawson's Creek. "The Vampires Diaries obviously isn't the most original show, but it's not without its redeeming qualities. A good chunk of the show's target demographic of angst-ridden teenagers will likely fall in love at first sight, and their male counterparts might even derive some entertainment out of it as well. That said, if my girlfriend voiced an interest in sitting down to watch this romantic vampire show together, I'd probably ask her if we could watch True Blood instead."
Alyse Wax of Fear Net stated that the show is "worth viewing" with a "strong cast" and she was "pleasantly surprised". "I honestly thought it was going to be another teen throwaway, capitalizing on the success of Twilight. But having Kevin Williamson (Scream, Dawson's Creek) at the helm definitely bumps up the quality of the show several notches. Pilots are notoriously weak: they have to set up an entire cast of characters, an episode plot as well as a series arc, and often have significantly less time and resources than a standard series episode. The Vampire Diaries pilot took its time – Damon wasn't even introduced until the last act."
Liana Aghajanian of Mania gave a good review to the episode saying that is "not as sucky as you think" and stated: "For all its plot similarities to other current vampire dramas, somewhat stagnant dialogue and hard to believe scare tactics, “The Vampire Diaries” has zoned in on an audience that will remain faithful to the show – no matter how many times they’ve seen the bites, camera and action before."
Cheril Vernon of Crushable also gave a good review to the episode saying that it was "creepy at times" and with "great supporting characters".
- Hughes, Sarah (February 5, 2010). "The Vampire Diaries - Fresh blood for teenage vampire lovers". London: The Independent. Retrieved February 5, 2010.
- Topel, Fred (August 4, 2009). "Why Vampire Diaries isn't just the usual fang-bang". Sci-Fi Wire. Retrieved 2009-10-27.
- Michael Schneider (2009-02-05). "CW picks up 'Vampire Diaries' pilot". Variety. Retrieved 2009-11-13.
- Nellie Andreeva. "CW picks up 'Melrose Place,' 'Vampire Diaries'". The Hollywood Reporter.
- Khouli, Gabriel (July 21, 2009). "'Vampire Diaries' crew to film on square Thursday, Friday". The Covington News. Retrieved 2009-10-20.
- "The Vampire Diaries Season 1 Episode 1: "Pilot" Music". TV Fanatic. Retrieved January 27, 2014.
- "Pilot - Music". Heard on TV. Retrieved January 30, 2014.
- "DVR spells OMG ratings for CW". TVbythenumbers.com. 2009-10-01. Retrieved 2010-11-08.
- Phillips, Dan (September 9, 2009). "The Vampire Diaries: "Pilot" Review". IGN.
- Wax, Alyse (September 10, 2009). "We Sink Our Fangs into 'The Vampire Diaries' Pilot". Fear Net.
- Aghajanian, Liana (September 11, 2009). "The Vampire Diaries: Pilot Review". Mania.com.
- Vernon, Cheril (June 27, 2009). "The Vampire Diaries Review: You're gonna love it!". Crushable.
- VanDerWerff, Tod (September 10, 2009). "Pilot". The A.V. Club.