Dianne Sylvan is a well known author, blogger and tweeter. She has incredible insight on television, movies, and life in general. You will increase the value of your life by following her on twitter and by reading her blog. You can purchase all of her wonderful books on Amazon.com, including the novels in her “Shadow World” series. She was kind enough to take a time out from writing her next novel to answer some very important questions for me.
You write about vampires all of the time. Who is you very favorite vampire?
Aside from my own characters (I don’t think it would be fair to list any of them since I know them inside and out, so it would be like picking my friends first for dodge ball), I think I’d have to go with Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. In the beginning he was just a murderous badass, and a gleeful one at that; you so rarely get to see vampires genuinely enjoying what they are. Spike was a big inspiration for my own work because the vampires I write about don’t waste time feeling all mopey about being vampires; they’ve got stuff to do, people to shag, lives to save. So did Spike. A lot of people hated when he fell in love with Buffy, but Season Six was my favorite because it was so deliciously dark and twisted, and the Spike/Buffy relationship was the best part of that. I understood people feeling like they de-baddassified
the character, but I found his evolution toward sort-of-hero fascinating.
According to me, television is better than it has ever been. Of everything you’re watching right now,
what is your favorite?
That’s so hard to say because all of my shows are so different! I wouldn’t want to rate Castle against The Vampire Diaries or Grimm – it’s apples and oranges. But The Vampire Diaries is the show that gives me the most agony as well as the most ecstasy, so I think it comes out on top.
You recap The Vampire Diaries every week and share an amazing amount of insight. What about this
show inspires you to write?
I think two things made me start recapping: one, the shipper wars were driving me bananas and I wanted to offer an alternative (At this point I’m Team Wickery Bridge), and two, both the show and the fandom take themselves so seriously (not necessarily a bad thing) that I absolutely had to snark on it. As I’ve said on the blog, it’s important to be able to poke fun at the things you love, because if you can’t, you begin to lose touch with reality. Speaking as someone who lives in her own world most of the time, reality does still have its benefits – it’s where your real three-dimensional friends live.
Anything you watch that you wish you could just give up?
Right now, no, but I definitely have in the past. I have this theory that all TV shows should have a maximum five-year lifespan. So many shows go on and on way past the point where they run out of story, but if every show had a time limit, the writers could plan the story arc and character evolution, leave a little room for surprises, and really devote themselves to those five seasons. Typically seasons two and three are the best, four and five are great, and after that it starts spinning its wheels – I’ve given up on two shows in the last few years right around that time because I just got tired of feeling jerked around by the writers. I was intensely devoted to both Supernatural and Bones, but finally, I just couldn’t do it anymore. I dreaded new episodes because I spent so much time throwing things at the screen. So I dragged myself away, and though I’ve heard both shows have gotten way better, I haven’t been terribly interested in going back.
As always, there have been a LOT of new shows this season. Anything you are madly in love with?
Anything you were hoping to love but just didn’t?
I try really hard to keep the number of shows I watch to a minimum, so I haven’t watched a whole lot of what’s new this year. But during premiere week, I had a boring evening with nothing to do, and I watched the pilot of Arrow fully expecting it to be ridiculous. It was awesome. I’ve become hopelessly hooked. I can’t even say why; there have been some cringe-worthy moments and stumbles like any infant show, but I just love where they’re taking it and some of the storytelling decisions have been fantastic. Even if I wanted to look away I can’t because they brought in John Barrowman. Plus Stephen Amell spends a lot of time shirtless, and that’s never a bad thing.
Vampire Diaries Season 4 is well under way. What has been your favorite part of the season so far?
I think so far Damon’s character has been the best thing. He consistently gets the best dialogue, especially in the standout ep “Memorial,” which many people agree is the best so far this season. I love that he’s the one who asks the questions nobody else will ask, like whether Stefan wants to “cure” Elena for her sake or because he can’t love her as a vampire. I don’t especially want Damon and Elena to hook up because both brothers are way more interesting, smart, and enjoyable when they’re not with her. But the dynamic between the two brothers remains the best thing about the show. I love that their roles are so different from what was established in the first season – it’s not just a question of good brother/bad brother. It’s so much more complicated than that. Neither is wholly good or bad, and their dark sides bubble up to the surface over and over. I’m kind of hoping that we’ll get to see Damon go back off the rails…preferably for reasons unrelated to Elena. I think everyone’s done enough fretting and pining over Elena.
I hate using the term “guilty pleasure” because I never feel guilty about TV but, is there something
you’re embarrassed to admit you watch regularly?
I agree – unless you’re kicking puppies, your pleasures should never be guilty. Having said that, it’s surprising how many people my age give me the hairy eyeball when they find out not only do I watch a show about teenage vampires, I blog about it. I’m not into YA literature for the most part; my books are definitely for an adult audience. On the other hand I’m not into adult vampire shows like True Blood (I have a serious aversion to True Blood, in fact). But people who’ve never watched TVD think it’s just Twilight all over again, and if they had any idea how much more complex, mature, believable, and well-written it is, they might not make such a comparison. Not all adult women have to confine their viewing to medical and police procedurals.
Favorite television character of all time:
Willow Rosenberg from Buffy. Aside from the Buffster herself, Willow had the most dramatic and believable character evolution on the show, from awkward nerd to powerful witch to Darth Willow and eventually into her own woman. Two of my favorite episodes are the ones that feature Vampire Willow, an “evil, skanky, and kinda gay” version of Will from an alternate universe. As you might have guessed I’m a sucker for great character growth. All her doubts, insecurities, and strengths made her so real, and her goofy wit made her enduringly endearing.
Favorite Television moment of all time:
Oh, there are so many, but if I had to pick one right at this second I think that would have to be the moment in the season 4 premiere of Supernatural, Lazarus Rising, in which Dean, newly escaped from hell, first meets Castiel. That one moment completely changed the course of the show and turned its entire universe on its head – up until that point angels had never been mentioned, and bringing that mythology into the show was just a ballsy move on all fronts. A lot of people would disagree, preferring the monster-of-the-week format of the early seasons, but I love, love, love a good mytharc, and the possibilities that sprang up just in the wake of that one conversation made my little writer’s heart do a Snoopy dance. The phrase “game-changer” is way overused nowadays but that scene was definitely a game-changer.
The show you wished would have never ended:
I’m still pissed at the CW for cancelling The Secret Circle. Was it perfect? No. But it had so much potential – they really hit their stride midseason and that finale was amazing. Given some of the stuff they’ve kept on for years and years, it’s doubly galling that something smart and complicated with the potential to be even more awesome was thrown away…and has since been replaced with Beauty and the Beast, a wholly unnecessary remake that is one of the worst things I’ve ever seen on television.
If you could say one thing to all of the current TV watchers what would it be?
Calm down, guys. Seriously. Between the ridiculous shipper wars and people heaping abuse on showrunners on Twitter, online fandom is really showing its ass these days. Imaginary people are not worth hurting real people.