The Vampire Diaries is an American supernatural drama television series developed by Kevin Williamson (Scream; I Know What You Did Last Summer) and Julie Plec (co-producer of Scream 2 and 3; Cursed), based on the popular book series of the same title written by L. J. Smith. The series premiered on The CW on September 10, 2009.
The series takes place in Mystic Falls, Virginia, a fictional small town haunted and surrounded by supernatural beings such as vampires, werewolves, and witches.
The pilot episode attracted the largest audience for The CW of any series premiere since the network began in 2006. The first season averaged 3.60 million viewers, and following seasons retained an audience of over 2 million viewers.
The series began with mixed reviews, but critics agreed as the first season progressed that the show improved. Subsequent seasons have premiered to more positive critical reception. On March 11, 2016, The CW renewed the series for an eighth season.
In 2013, a spin-off series, The Originals, was launched.
The series follows the life of Elena Gilbert (Nina Dobrev), a teenage girl who falls deeply in love with a 162-year-old vampire named Stefan Salvatore (Paul Wesley). Their relationship becomes increasingly complicated as Stefan’s vicious, malevolent and mysterious older brother Damon Salvatore (Ian Somerhalder) returns with a plan to wreak havoc on the town, seeking revenge against his younger brother for turning him into a vampire against his will. Because Elena resembles their past love Katherine Pierce, Damon also begins to fall in love with Elena.
It is revealed that Elena is a descendant of Katherine, who eventually returns with plans against the trio. Elena undergoes many hardships and deaths of close family members and loved ones throughout her high school experience.
The series is set in the fictional town of Mystic Falls, Virginia, a town charged with supernatural history since its settlement of migrants from New England in the late 19th century.
Additional story lines revolve around the other inhabitants of the town, most notably Elena’s younger brother Jeremy Gilbert (Steven R. McQueen), her best friends Bonnie Bennett (Kat Graham) and Caroline Forbes (Candice King), and their mutual friends Tyler Lockwood (Michael Trevino) and Matt Donovan (Zach Roerig).
The town’s politics are orchestrated by descendants of the original founding families, all comprising a “Founders’ Council.” The founding families of Mystic Falls includes the Salvatores, the Gilberts, the Fells, the Forbes, and the Lockwoods. They guard the town mainly from vampires, although there are many more supernatural threats such as werewolves, witches, originals, hybrids, travellers and ghosts.