I return with another Why You Should Be Watching... feature, looking this time at the CW’s Vampire Diaries spinoff, The Originals, that is currently in the middle of its second season. No spoilers!
I never really got into The Vampire Diaries, The Originals’ parent show, with it being too similar to Twilight for my liking. However, I was a massive fan of urban fantasy in general (the thing that draws me to the likes of Supernatural, Sleepy Hollow & Constantine) so I decided to check out The Originals, especially when I heard that it was not only superior to TVD, but also didn’t have a focus on romantic areas. When the pilot was available on Netflix UK, I decided to check it out, and was not disappointed, with a lot of awesomeness on display that has only improved over time.
First off, you don’t have to be watching The Vampire Diaries to be familiar with The Originals. Whilst there’s a lot to take in at first for newcomers like myself, it will eventually become easy to understand when you get invested in the characters, the backstabbing and the drama. There’s a lot of twists and turns here, and that’s one of the most refreshing things about this show. It’s unpredictable. You will not see what’s coming next, and one of the only shows that’s managed to do that, that I watch, is Person Of Interest. But anyway, enough with that. Let’s get back to The Originals. It’s focused on the three Original Vampires, the first of their kind, the Mikaelson family. They came to New Orleans to escape their father, who wants them all dead for the monsters that they’ve become. For a time, they lived in New Orleans – but were driven away when their father found them. Now, drawn back to the city, they find that it is no longer theirs. And so begins an epic power struggle in an attempt to bring it back.
The three Originals are Rebekah (Claire Holt), Klaus (Joseph Morgan) and Elijah (Daniel Gillies). Klaus is a hybrid, a half werewolf, half vampire, and the most unhinged of the lot, constantly unpredictable and extremely ruthless. Both Klaus and Elijah are drawn to New Orleans when they learn that Hayley Marshall (Phoebe Tonkin) is carrying Klaus’ child, which should be impossible, given that vampires cannot have birth children. However, it’s Klaus’ hybrid side that is rendering things incredibly unpredictable. But to make matters worse, it turns out that Hayley is held captive by the Witches in New Orleans, who include Sophie Deveraux (Daniella Pineda), who are using her to get the Originals on their side to help fight off the current ruler of the city, Marcel (Charles Michael Davies), who Klaus mentored and is responsible for turning him into a vampire. Marcel is controlling the witches through a secret weapon, Davina Claire (Danielle Campbell), a sixteen year old powerful witch who can work out when and where magic is happening in the city.
If that sounds like a lot going on, then it is. There really is a lot going on in The Originals, and you’ll have to pay attention to it if you want to follow everything that happens, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the events in The Vampire Diaries (like I was – however this show has got me kind of interested in watching TVD). Things that another show would take a whole season to accomplish are pulled off in one episode alone, and with constant twists and turns, you’ll never be able to see where this show will take you next. Multiple times per episode it’s capable of producing jaw-dropping twists, and it’s also one of those shows that’s great for binge watching. With the first season on Netflix in both USA and the UK (and the second currently airing), there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be watching it.
New Orleans is a fascinating place, and whilst some shows don’t really deal with the city’s backdrop (for example, NCIS: New Orleans is a show that literally could be set in any other location and we wouldn’t know the difference) this show certainly does. It constantly deals with the city and it certainly feels like The Originals would be a vastly different show were it to take place in say, New York or Chicago.
The acting is good, with some strong performances from most of the cast. The smooth talking Elijah is a great lead character, but Klaus and Rebekah also get plenty of time as well. The show also expands the characters’ pasts as it goes on, with plenty of flashbacks. We also get separate storylines for the likes of Marcel, Davina and more besides. The directing is also pretty well done and the special effects concerning the vampires is pulled off pretty well, with it never looking too cheesy. There’s also some great song choices as well – Arctic Monkeys being one of the more awesome bands featured. There’s a playlist on Spotify if you want to get an idea of the music that the show uses.
So, what are you waiting for? Go and watch this show now, and if you’re a fan of urban fantasy, you won’t regret it. Next up, when I eventually get around to doing it, this feature will probably look at either How To Get Away With Murder, Manhattan, The Knick or Dark Angel, so stay tuned.