The Vampire Diaries The second-season premiere of The Vampire Diaries proves once again why this series is one of prime time's more cleverly constructed, well-acted nighttime soap operas.… The Vampire Diaries The second-season premiere of The Vampire Diaries proves once again why this series is one of prime time's more cleverly constructed, well-acted nighttime soap operas.… 2010-09-09 Drama Ian Somerhalder The CW
TV Review

The Vampire Diaries (2010)

The Vampire Diaries, The Vampire Diaries | The Vampire Diaries Nina Dobrev and Paul Wesley
Image credit: Annette Brown/THE CW
The Vampire Diaries Nina Dobrev and Paul Wesley
EW's GRADE
B+

Details Start Date: Sep 09, 2010; Genre: Drama; With: Ian Somerhalder; Network: The CW

The second-season premiere of The Vampire Diaries proves once again why this series is one of prime time's more cleverly constructed, well-acted nighttime soap operas. After last season's finger-chopping cliff-hanger, we get neck snappings, a smothering, an unlikely alliance between two warring brothers, and the line ''Kiss me or kill me!'' Oh, and as Ian Somerhalder's Damon adds, ''Doppelgänger high jinks ensue.''

He's referring, of course, to Nina Dobrev's Elena/Katherine, the series' yin and yang of good and evil, purity and villainy. Dobrev has really risen to the challenge of portraying these two, managing to confuse viewers as to who's who when Katherine wants to impersonate Elena for some mischief.

This season hauls in Taylor Kinney as Mason, the ''black sheep'' brother of the late Mayor Lockwood. Mason has a nice swagger, and it looks like he'll take up any slack that might have occurred with the death of the Mystic Falls mayor.

But the throbbing red heart of The Vampire Diaries remains the tension between Damon and Paul Wesley's Stefan, and their mutual attraction to whomever Dobrev is embodying at the time. ''She's Katherine! She loves to play games!'' splutters Damon in the season opener. It's not long after this that she plays a romantic game with him that will doubtless have reverberations throughout the season. As Katherine says: ''Game on.'' B+

See all of this week's reviews

Sign up for EW.com's What to Watch Newsletter!

What to watch on TV. Hear what's on tap for the night ahead and get witty, morning after recaps of top shows (sent weekday mornings).
Originally posted Sep 01, 2010 Published in issue #1119 Sep 10, 2010 Order article reprints