Karla Peterson of The San Diego Union-Tribune said that "the supernatural drama is a first-class production, featuring an insanely gorgeous cast, sharp scripts, and a brooding vibe that is hard for even the most levelheaded adult to resist." The show's second season opened to favorable reviews from professional television critics as it received a 78/100 score on Metacritic.
Dobrev returned to record a voiceover for the seventh-season finale.
In 2016, a New York Times study of the 50 TV shows with the most Facebook Likes found that "as with several other shows that focus on the supernatural", The Vampire Diaries was "slightly more popular outside of cities.
That said, the show's fandom has the smallest amount of spatial variation of all 50 shows".
The Vampire Diaries initially received mixed reviews, which through the course of the show improved greatly.
Metacritic gave the show a Metascore of 50 (out of 100) based on 22 critical reviews, indicating "mixed or average reviews".