I am almost ashamed to write this, but having just pre-ordered [at a not-to-be-sneered-at 27.99, especially considering my student status] season 2, I cannot give this series anything but four stars. The script is at times witty, at times horrendously cliched [at one point Elena writes dear diary-really?], at times poignant, but often unrealistic [note particularly the sunshine disposition and psychological well-being with which many characters receive earth shattering news]. The acting is in some areas good, in some bad-the two brothers fair well, projecting believability and life [ironically] into what could easily have digressed into something cheesy and stale. Nina Dobrev, as Elena however, frequently channels the Keira Knightley effect , although the character is written a little one-dimensionally anyway, she certainly doesnt help matters by emulating the emotional versatility of a plank of wood. Beautiful though, so alls forgiven. On to the positives , its sexy, fast paced, and has enough plot twists to satisfy the most weathered of vampire fans. Theres a moral message to be derived from every episode [expected, really, in an American drama], but fortunately they dont lay it on too thick, and characters like Damon are allowed to continue to kill, torture and pillage without too many righteous repercussions. Essentially though, it is the socially acceptable and nausea-free deliverance of Twilight; grown-up emos, literature students and romantics alike can indulge in a daily dose of Vampires without too many horrific guilt pangs, and the plot just about manages to remain on the right side of good taste whilst staying compelling. Finally, if you dont watch it for anything else, watch it for Damons outrageously blue eyes. Honestly, hes bloody gorgeous.