I forgot one other summer TV show in my last round-up: The Glades. Again, this show demonstrates what great casting can do. Matt Passmore is dead-on as the jerk-with-a-heart detective, and all the other characters (the hard-pressed buddy, the geek, the conflicted girlfriend, and the conflicted girlfriend's growing-up-to-fast son) fill the constellation of the show well. Most of the episodes are well written, and the camera work eschews the glare of CSI: Miami. (In fact, I'd say the camera work is even better than that of Burn Notice, the other Miami-based tv show.)
With almost all the tv shows I watch, I usually do something else while watching them. The writing is light enough, and the plots formulaic enough, that I can follow the show while picking up the apartment, playing with the cat, even studying sometimes. This paradigm does not hold for The Vampire Diaries. When I watch the show, I have to sit down and stare at it (unless I stand up and stare at it, which happens). I talk back to the show, I tell the characters what they should or should not be doing, etc. The show is much closer than the Meyer oeuvre to how my inner teenage girl would write vampire stories. And given that they have killed off characters I thought would be returning, I can honestly say that when I watch it, I'm not sure what will happen next. Also, they eschew the weird pseudo-religionism of Supernatural, which makes the show much more palatable (although I still love Supernatural, if for no other reason than the rare glimpse of Jared Padalecki's forearms - *swoon*). The Vampire Diaries is simply a well written vamp-teen soap opera, with engaging characters, multiple plot lines, and enough sufficiently creepy situations to keep me riveted all the way to the last second of each episode.
Which brings up the question: has anyone read the books, and if so, how do they compare to the TV series?