The Originals


The Originals Cast

The Originals Cast

Last year, the CW decided to develop a spin-off to its popular show The Vampire Diaries. Called THE ORIGINALS, a backdoor pilot was integrated as an installment of TVD last spring, appropriately titled “The Originals.” This week, THE ORIGINALS’ own series premiere, “Always and Forever,” airs. For regular viewers of TVD, it will seem awfully familiar.

“Always and Forever” is mostly reused footage from “The Originals.” There are some additional and extended scenes, but these seem to make up far less than half of the hour. Instead, the story of Klaus (Joseph Morgan) traveling to New Orleans and having run-ins with the vampire that controls the town, Marcel (Charles Michael Davis, Grey’s Anatomy), and witches, is retold. A flashback to the Original family, from a different Vampire Diaries episode, is also included.

This is a terrible idea. While it is true that “Always and Forever” stands alone as a setup to the series, and thus is plenty accessible for new viewers, most of the people tuning into the episode, which airs immediately after the season premiere of TVD, will have already seen a lot of this. It’s frustrating to be waiting for something new and basically getting an enhanced rerun.

Now, I’m not saying that THE ORIGINALS is going to be a bad show; in fact, I believe quite the contrary. As a regular watcher of The Vampire Diaries, it seems a great idea to take a portion of the cast and do something new with them, thus expanding the story and the universe. And I think the premise of the new series is a strong one, with lots of mystery and potential to go in fresh and interesting ways. I’m just saying that repeating so many scenes sucks for the fans.

A lot of the new stuff in the episode centers around Elijah (Daniel Gillies). Not being a main character in TVD, unlike Klaus, his involvement in “The Originals” was limited. But now his part has been beefed up and he is much more involved in the tale, so “Always and Forever” fills in those gaps, making him a major player to this particular story.

A primary motivating factor for Elijah, as well his sister Rebekah (Claire Holt), is family. In “Always and Forever,” it is revealed that werewolf Hayley (Phoebe Tonkin) is carrying Klaus’ child, something everyone assumed would be impossible, as Klaus is a vampire, and vampires cannot have children. But Klaus is also a werewolf, and werewolves can produce offspring. Whatever the method, though, Elijah wants to protect that new addition to the family, the first in a very, very, very long time.

This is a side of Elijah we haven’t seen explored in depth. Although the child is not biologically his, he reacts as a parent would, providing protection and willing to make sacrifices for the good of the fetus. Elijah will be the primary guardian here, as Klaus is much more stubborn and hot-headed and, at this time, doesn’t see any responsibility owed to the baby.

Unfortunately, Klaus has a history of thwarting Elijah if Elijah gets in his way, and “Always and Forever” finds that happening again. To avoid spoilers, I won’t go into details, but let’s just say Elijah is going to need some help.

One ally Elijah may have is Rebekah, if she ever agrees to move to New Orleans. In “Always and Forever,” she is reticent to leave Mystic Falls, understandable given how her brother Klaus has treated her. Assumedly, this will change at some point in the future, since Holt is a series regular on THE ORIGINALS. Though, when last we see Rebekah in TVD, three episodes after “The Originals,” which is also the story in “Always and Forever,” she is planning on traveling the world with Matt, so hopefully that will be addressed, and the new show won’t just skip over how Rebekah gets from there to here.

Along those lines, Klaus seems awfully happy in TVD season finale when giving Carolina a graduation gift, so I hope that plays into the timeline of this project, to..

It’s really cool that THE ORIGINALS will be giving more time to examine the familial relationships present in the old vampires. All of the scenes between Klaus and Elijah are really strong, and I look forward to more of this type of character development.

Besides the vampire family trio, and Hayley, who is migrating over from the mothership with them, THE ORIGINALS sports a number of new supernatural characters. Marcel is someone Klaus and company have a past with, and he is not at all willing to just hand over control of the city the older vamps built. He will have some help in that arena from Davina (Danielle Campbell), a witch who is playing a very vital role in the makeup of the town. We also have Sophie (Daniella Pineda), the witch holding Hayley and her baby hostage in exchange for Klaus and Elijah’s help against Marcel, and Cami (Leah Pipes), a human bartender.

Basically, in the tradition of The Vampire Diaries, many kinds of supernaturals will mix, often with explosive results. There will be flashbacks and secrets and shifting alliances and major battles. This may sound like more of the same, and it is, but with a fresh setting and lots of new players, which should prove a steady draw for fans who already like the first series. This is a worthy expansion.

THE ORIGINALS premieres Thursday, October 2nd at 9 p.m. EST in most places. Check local listings for variations, such as here in Columbus, Ohio, where it will air at 11 p.m. EST.

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