We've always loved watching "The Vampire Diaries," but let's face it -- even Ian Somerhalder admits that the "racy, weird stuff" we watched back in "seasons one and two... were the best." Latter seasons have had their many high points, but they've also shown signs of age with an over-emphasis on supernatural mythology and love triangles, and not enough emphasis put on the dark, sexy fun that were the series' earlier years.
However, having screened the show's season seven premiere, "Day One of Twenty-Two Thousand, Give or Take" -- which of course, is the series' first episode without Nina Dobrev -- we're feeling quite optimistic that the show is on track to have a freaky-deaky season like the old days. Here's why:
Because it's simple.
One crucial area where the show has faltered over the past few seasons is its big bads -- minus Christopher Wood's Kai, of course, but even he was A, not a vampire, and B, a character who became a bit bogged down with supernatural oogie boogie stuff.
Going back to an old-school, season one-style vampire (well, vampires, plural) as this year's big bad already feels like the right move, because we grasp the basic concept of who these Heretics are and where they come from. This means we can (hopefully) spend less time with complicated backstories and the rules of magic and more time enjoying a classic battle between good guys and bad guys.
Because it's scary.
Even better yet is the fact that the Heretics are actually brutal and terrifying. In the premiere alone, we see them tear through the necks of Mystic Falls like Stefan in his Ripper days, and since they all have the power of magic, we know that they won't be easy for any of our heroes to take down. So, yeah -- for the first time in seasons, it seems like many of our characters (well, mainly Matt) are actually at risk of dying.
Because Damon is wild.
Before Delena shippers kill me for saying I enjoy having single Damon (Ian Somerhalder) back, hear me out -- you know that the reason you fell in love with that character to begin with was his season one, bad-boy dark side. Now that Elena's gone, that devil-may-care, bottle-in-hand attitude is back, though of course, he's trying his best to tow the line to preserve his relationship with his comatose girlfriend. He doesn't always succeed, though, and watching Damon do wrong without having to then talk it out with a crying Elena for episodes on end is a blast.
Because Stefan is in love.
Also a blast is happy Stefan (Paul Wesley), who finally seems to be free of the 150 year-old-love triangle that weighed on his soul throughout the past few years of this series. It's not like Elena needed to pass out for a lifetime for this to happen, but it probably helps that Stefan can move on with Caroline without having to see his past heartbreak make out with his brother every day. Just saying.
Because Alaric is shady.
I'm a huge sucker for a good Alaric plot, but it's been a few years since we've really seen him have one outside of the main group. Now, Jo's tragic death -- and the death of his unborn children -- spurs a rage in Alaric that we haven't seen since the early years of "TVD," and it leads him down a sure-to-be-deadly path that might also find him at odds with his BFF Damon.
Because it's all about Mystic Falls.
At the end of the day, while we were happy to see Elena, Caroline and sometimes even Bonnie get their education on, "TVD" is at its most fun when the core gang is facing evil -- and sometimes, acting evil themselves -- in good old Mystic Falls. Season seven returns the show to its roots by putting our good guys at war with an evil gaggle of vampires in their hometown, and we can't wait to see how the home of the luckiest living boy in Virginia, Matt Donovan, survives the bloodshed.