The Originals proves to have potential as the worthy spinoff of The Vampire Diaries.
I’ve had to defend myself repeatedly for it on the Screen Rant Underground podcast in the past but I think they get it now – I’ve been watching The Vampire Diaries since it first aired. Yes, every episode. Why? Because Ian Somerhalder was in it and looked good as a vampire. I convinced Ana (my fiance) that that cute guy from Lost and a few episodes of Smallville had a new show, so we watched, and even though the first episode was a bit campy and teen-focused, it quickly found the right tone and at the time – was the right fix for the mess that was the Twilight movies and the wasted opportunity that was HBO’s True Blood.
Five years later and some of the best supporting characters to join The Vampire Diaries cast have earned their own spinoff, titled The Originals, and even though I didn’t know it at the time, my favorite episode of last season 4 of TVD – perhaps even my fave of the series – was actually a backdoor pilot for The Originals.
It was entirely set in New Orleans and focused on the original hybrid (half werewolf, half vampire), Klaus, and his always-loyal brother Elijah. That episode, while great, is pretty much the same as what the first episode of The Originals is. Elements of the backdoor pilot are put into context with a different perspective on the events of Klaus being drawn to New Orleans, a city he and his siblings once ruled.
For those who didn’t see that backdoor pilot, and even those who never watched an episode of TVD, episode 1 serves as a adequate introduction to the craziness that is the original family, flashbacks to their origins and all. For the fans, there’s enough new material, and a few key reveals, to setup the first season. Too much exposition though, but they understandably had to force in a lot.
The story boils down to a battle for “power” between Klaus (who wants it) and his old buddy Marcel (who currently has it). Marcel somehow has not only pushed the werewolves out of New Orleans, but has found a way to control the witches of the area as well, banning them from using magic. This has piqued Klaus’ interest (and jealously) and it’s up to good brother Elijah to control him and have him help the witches who hold hostage the mother of Klaus’ child.
Except, once again, Klaus turns on Elijah and can’t be trusted. How long these story threads can hold over a 24-episode, we don’t know. Will the show remain in New Orleans or will we see lots of crossovers with the TVD cast who arguably could use the help of the most likable supporting characters?