I don’t want to be that person.
But I really can’t help it right now.
It used to mean something to be a fan of Lisa Jane Smith and her work. A whole group of us grew up on the works of LJ Smith–from The Vampire Diaries to Dark Visions to the Forbidden Game Trilogy to the Nightworld and everything in between.
The struggles of characters like Cassie and Jenny and Jezebel were ours and their adventures provided us with endless entertainment and amusement. The characters that ran around in these books were made up of strong, powerful characters. These characters weren’t blank slate characters like Bella from Twilight. No. These girls fought for their due and won the boys on their own terms.
I have been a long time LJ Smith fan. I’ve been reading and rereading her books since my middle school days back in the 90s. Before Twilight came out, I was reading the Vampire Diaries and Nightworld and the Secret Circle and I was recommending them to anyone who’d listen.
Now anyone who’s familiar with LJ Smith’s early career knows that she disappeared sometime when she was just about on the verge of finishing the Nightworld series. The series is made up of several interconnected books (though many of them could be read on their own) that all were set in this alternate reality where vampires, witches, werewolves, shapeshifters and any manner of supernatural creatures lived among us. And oh yeah, the apocolypse was coming. And there were four wild powers who were supposed to fend off the end of the world. Three of them had been revealed. The fourth was supposed to be revealed in the final book of the series, Strange Fate, which was originally set to be released in Spring. Of 1998.
SPRING. OF 1998.
13 years later and Strange Fate has yet to be released.
The good news is that the popularity of Twilight brought LJ Smith back. When Twilight initially came out and was making a splash, I hoped that the domino effect would happen, and that LJ Smith’s brand of YA Supernatural/Romance would come back into circulation.
And it did.
As a fan of LJ Smith and her works, I am so happy to see her back. I am happy that a whole new generation of fans is discovering her work and falling in love with Julian and Jezebel and Keller and her whole cast of amazing characters.
Honestly–it’s overdue. She deserves recognition.
What she doesn’t deserve, and what drives me crazy is the utter lack of respect for her original works on the CW. I never cared to follow the televised version of the Vampire Diaries. It followed to closely on the heels of the immense wave of love (misplaced in my opinion) for Twilight. I expected them to trade in ideas for money. So I let that battle go. Especially since LJ Smith herself was (originally) on the production staff and if she was happy with it, that’s really all that counted. Right?
That’s what I figured.
They decided to go on with the destruction of the stuff I treasured and created another LJ Smith inspired show on the CW. I say inspired because having watched the first episode of the Secret Circle premier last night–It was inspired by LJ Smith. The show itself clearly has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with the original LJ Smith series. The commonalities end at character names, and even the characters have been changed to suit the production staff–and I will add right now that I am NOT impressed by the executive producer, Kevin Williamson, of the Secret Circle. Why? In a supposedly harmless ad for bing and the CW’s Secret Circle, he managed–in a VERY short time–to denounce the entire history of the Secret Circle and LJ Smith’s career. Call me overly sensitive all you want, but the way he acted like the idea for the Secret Circle came out of a magic vacuum and was a whole new idea did NOT work for me. It only infuriated me.
I shudder to think of what will happen if this trend of exploitation continues. Sure. The books that LJ Smith wrote will always be there to hold their own, but as much as the CW is screwing up everything about the original stories….they could just as easily get lost because of not being trashy enough on paper as they are on the CW.
As a long time fan of LJ Smith and her work–It’s impossible to not be hurt by the developments. An entire segment of my youth is being turned into garbage by producers who have no respect for the original works. I love LJ Smith. I love that she’s getting new readers. I hope she’s making good money from these shows that have her titles/characters attached to them. I hope that she continues to gain exposure.
I really do wish I was happier with what her work is being turned into. But I’m not. And I’m having to learn what it means to reconcile the real/the good/the amazing with the absolute drivel that the CW is creating.
I don’t like it.
To those out there who feel similarly/who have said it better than even I’ve said: Thank you. I’m glad to not be alone.
To those of you who are longtime fans of LJ Smith and can embrace the CW’s televised versions: Thank you to you to. LJ Smith definitely needs fans like you!
To those of you who are brand new fans of LJ Smith and are discovering both the books and the TV shows and enjoying both–Thank you as well! Enjoy the sense of discovery! LJ Smith has some great stories and even better characters.
To those of you who’ve stuck through to the end of this rant….You deserve a reward. Go pick up the Forbidden Game trilogy and have fun.