The new sea­son of The Vam­pire Di­aries ex­plores the past and the fu­ture of its su­per­nat­u­ral char­ac­ters, Guy Davis dis­cov­ered.

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Some­thing strange hap­pened to The

Vam­pire Di­aries as the first sea­son of the su­per­nat­u­ral soapie pro­gressed – the show got pretty good.

Out of the gate, the TV adap­ta­tion of author L. J. Smith’s se­ries of young-adult nov­els by Daw­son’s Creek cre­ator Kevin Wil­liamson had the feel of a Twi­light knock-off, with small-town girl Elena ( Nina Do­brev) in the midst of a ro­man­tic ri­valry be­tween blood­suck­ing broth­ers Ste­fan ( Paul Wes­ley) and Da­mon ( Ian Somer­halder).

Their in­fat­u­a­tion stemmed from Elena’s re­sem­blance to Kather­ine, the vam­piric vixen both had adored a cen­tury ear­lier.

As the story went along, it be­came ev­i­dent that the town of Mys­tic Falls lived up its name, with a strange, su­per­nat­u­ral his­tory that con­tin­ued to man­i­fest it­self into the present day. And Wil­liamson’s knack for cre­at­ing a com­pelling group of char­ac­ters and plac­ing them in sticky sit­u­a­tions served The Vam­pire Di­aries well as the show drew to­wards the con­clu­sion of its first year.

With the sec­ond sea­son of the drama fast-tracked from the US, the stakes of the story are raised as al­liances are forged and bro­ken, and Ste­fan, Da­mon and Elena must con­tend with the re­turn of the long-ab­sent Kather­ine.

“ Kather­ine be­ing back in Mys­tic Falls is a bit of a game-changer for the show,” Wil­liamson said. “ It’s hard to talk about it with­out giv­ing any­thing away be­cause it seems like ev­ery­thing is a sur­prise and ev­ery­thing is a twist. But Kather­ine comes back and pretty much says why she’s back, and it will be fun to watch that play out … be­cause there’s al­ways more than one rea­son why some­one is there.”

With The Vam­pire Di­aries gain­ing in pop­u­lar­ity through­out the first sea­son, Wil­liamson ad­mits he was feel­ing some pres­sure to en­sure the fol­low­ing year was up to scratch.

“ It’s a very hard show to write, I’ve dis­cov­ered, be­cause there’s so much genre mixed with re­la­tion­ships and char­ac­ters,” he said. “ I didn’t re­alise how hard it was go­ing to be. But I do think we’ve found a rhythm to our show, which has these hu­man re­la­tion­ships and a mythol­ogy that runs con­cur­rently with it.”

Wil­lam­son, no stranger to com­plex char­ac­ter in­ter­ac­tions and con­stantly evolv­ing sto­ry­lines with Daw­son’s Creek and the Scream saga to his name, says that these new episodes of The Vam­pire Di­aries will ex­pand on events al­luded to in the first sea­son, es­pe­cially as far as Kather­ine ( played by Do­brev, who has emerged as one of the show’s break­out stars) is concerned.

“ We’re go­ing back to zero and telling a new story, but it’s the story that you al­ready know half of. It’s the other half,” he said.

Hot-blooded high-school­ers: The cast of in­cludes ( from left) Nina Do­brev, Paul Wes­ley, Steven R. McQueen, Ka­te­rina Gra­ham, Ian Somer­halder and Candice Ac­cola.

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