I'm actually quite happy then that they didn't renew, because I don't think there was any way they could top Season 7 in terms of a big bad. Who's more difficult to defeat than the essence of evil itself? Nobody. If they'd carried on the show probably would've gone downhill. As it was, they ended on a high with (imo) the best season of all.
If they are something like "The First" maybe they would choose Jeremy because they think he is the most vulnerable and the easiest to manipulate? If they haunted Elena she would just tell Damon straight away.
If the episodes of Buffy you've watched are from Season 1 then thats the weakest season, I think. But if you sit through those 12 episodes so you know everything thats going on, Season 2 is amazing (the two villains are modeled on Sid Vicious and Nancy Spungen and its pretty funny).
I never said Vicky and Anna are ghosts - I said the writers said they weren't ghosts. However, they also said that it was sort of the right starting point. And I know "The First" is evil personified. I've watched all 7 seasons of Buffy like 5 times, I even have the box set. But I don't see why Vicky and Anna couldn't be the same thing. Part of the greater essence of evil, yet also themselves, like the Mayor explains to Faith.
I don't think we can foresee the endgame. At least, it the show is going to continue to be good we shouldn't be able to. So many shows suffer from the endgame becoming obvious - The OC (Seth and Summer) - Gossip Girl (Chuck and Blair) - Some of the best shows (imo) kept the viewers guessing. Ross and Rachel on Friends were broken up for so many years you couldn't be sure when they would get back together. On Buffy, you could never have foreseen at the end of Season 2 that Spike would fall in love with Buffy and regain his soul whilst Angel would be off doing his own show. If you live in the UK, I never imagined they would kill Mitchell at the end of the last season of Being Human. If TVD is going to be this good for several more years they need to shock the viewers (like they did with turning and killing Jenna) and keep them guessing as to what will happen next.
I get it. I think its kind of inevitable with a vampire show that the same plots will be used. You have to have the whole clash between human and vampire and whether a human can really have a long-term relationship with someone who doesn't age. And you have to have the whole good vs evil thing and the vampires struggling with their bloodlust and desire to kill. And you're probably going to end up with the addition of other supernatural characters like witched and werewolves. However, I do think the basics of Stefan-Elena-Damon are very close to the basics of Angel-Buffy-Spike, perhaps unnecessarily close.
For me, Buffy is better. I love TVD but i think Elena is not complex enough and they have evolved Damon a bit too quickly. If they evolve Damon and Elena's relationship too fast next season and don't make and keep Stefan bad until the end of the season, they might start running out of story lines. Plus, they need to stop using magic as a quick-fix. In Buffy, magic messed things up more than they sorted things out and Willow's use of it had really serious consequences.
I really want to see Stefan hurt Elena, completely intentionally, like Angel in Buffy Season 2, but I'm not sure if TVD has the guts to go that far. However, if they did, it would certainly drive Elena towards Damon and make her feel, at least temporarily, that Stefan is beyond saving.
I never thought about Anna and Vicky as being like "The First." It makes sense though as the writers have said they're not ghosts but thats a good starting point. I hope its true, then there will be real, serious consequences for bringing Jeremy back.
Problem I have is that when I think of the best plots they could do and everything I would most like to see, its basically just Buffy. And I don't want the show to be a copy of Buffy because then it would get boring and a bit pointless to watch.