The story is pure cheese, but so, to my mind, that's the level upon which it should be judged. No comparing it to lobster, you know? The fog and the crow? This is a gothic (teen) romance. They have their place here.
There's some attempts to convey real emotion, but despite the amount of meat in the pilot-indicating that there's plenty to explore over the course of a season-The Vampire Diaries displays only faint signs of having any life in it.
Williamson has said that the Vampire Diaries books eventually take a unique turn and that the series will do the same, but quicker. Little in the premiere will encourage viewers to return in order to find out if that's true.