THE SHOW "The Vampire Diaries"
WHEN | WHERE Thursday night at 8 on CW/11
WHAT IT'S ABOUT "I'm human . . . at least I was." And so begins the fourth season, as Elena Gilbert (Nina Dobrev) fully realizes, if not appreciates, her new reality as a vampire. There are not all that many humans left in Mystic Falls, but until last season's finale, she was one of them. A serious head injury landed her in the hospital, and a vamp blood infusion began the process. Then, after the car she was driving with Matt (Zach Roerig) plunged into a river, she implored Stefan (Paul Wesley) to save Matt instead. "And now the world has one more quarterback," says Damon (Ian Somerhalder). "Bravo, brother." And maybe one less human. Elena is about to become fully undead unless Bonnie Bennett (Kat Graham) has a solution. Timing is of the essence: The Town Council is in a full-throated uproar over Mystic Falls' vampire population, which Elena is about to join.
MY SAY The third season ended with a couple of big bangs -- Elena chose Stefan over Damon and, of course, went to the dark side. But in the overall scheme of things, does anyone really believe that's how one of TV's hottest teen soaps will settle out over the next few months? Death, life and various stages in between, constantly shift among Mystic Falls citizens and always have.
Like a snail changing shells, original vampire Klaus (Joseph Morgan) merely shifted over to Matt's pal Tyler Lockwood (Michael Trevino), and who knows where Tyler went, though he must have a male version of a Petrova doppelgänger out there somewhere. Point is, rules are made to be broken on this show, even if once a vampire, always a vampire does seem ironclad.
BOTTOM LINE Fans will be happy -- maybe.
GRADE (for fans) B+