With many TV Fanatic favorites on a midseason break, we'll be using the next couple weeks as an opportunity to assess various programs and offer advice on where they should go in 2012.
First, our Grey's Anatomy critic offered her thoughts on the first half of that show's eighth season. Now, I'm excited to pore over The Vampire Diaries, hand out a midseason grade and see where readers stand on television's most twist-filled drama.
Best Character: Klaus. It takes a lot to beat out Damon Salvatore and his snark, smile and smolder. But Klaus has given us a lot... and then some! He's the ideal villain: sympathetic, cruel, multi-dimensional, funny. Joseph Morgan portrays this character with an eerie calmness, making those moments when he loses it even more impactful. Plus, the addition of Klaus has led to the addition of Rebekah. Major points there.
Worst Character: Katherine. She disappears. She shows up. She always has some mysterious agenda. The writers seem to have lost their grasp on this ancient vampire a long time ago. Nothing more than a plot device at this point, Katherine really has to disappear one final time - forever.
Best Episode: "The End of the Affair." New light was shed on Stefan's friendship with Klaus; we flashed back to Chicago; we first met Rebekah; we were introduced to Mikael. A packed episode provided viewers with fresh sympathies for Klaus, Elena and Stefan.
Worst Episode: "Ghost Town." Easily the worst installment in show history, it seemingly existed solely to bring back former characters. Sadly, not even the handsome face of Tyler Kinney could save this boring, nonsensical hour of filler.
Most Interesting Development: Tyler as a hybrid. What does this mean for Forwood? Where do Tyler's loyalties lie? How many more breakfasts will the guy spill on his shirt? The directions the show can now go with Tyler know as few bounds as the affection our site has for his girlfriend.
Biggest Surprise: Klaus killed his own mother, and was being hunted by his own father! Gotta combine this storyline into one major shocker. We figured the history of the Originals would be rich. We just didn't expect it to take even Rebekah by surprise.
Best Bromance: Alaric and Damon. Granted, there are no other contenders (no offense, Matt and Jeremy), but these two deserve their own shout-out for simply making me crack up so often. Damon is the only person allowed to refer to his pal as Ric.
Most Misused Character: Bonnie. All she does is pop into a scene, cast a spell and leave. This may belong in the following category, but the show needs to round Bonnie out to be more than just an angst-filled witch. Fortunately, this appears to be the plan. Look who is on her way to Mystic Falls.
Hopes for 2012: Full-on Delena. I'm not just saying this because the pair won our poll for Best Teen Couple, and it would be nice if they were actually a couple. But the series needs to make a choice in either direction. No more teasing, writers. You've done an admirable job developing the feelings between Elena and Damon. They feel real and believable at this point. Stefan may not want his humanity, but Damon does want the girl who makes his rise to the surface. Give her to him.
Also: a bubble bath scene for Rebekah; even more Caroline; the return of Elijah; the opening of a competing restaurant for the Grill.