Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Advent 2014: Favourite Characters – Day #2: The Mikaelson Family (The Originals)

In the second chapter of my Advent 2014 column looking at my favourite characters from 2014, I turn my attention to the Original Vampires, specifically the Mikaelson family, and specifically, within the Mikaelson family, Elijah, Klaus and Rebekah, the New Orleans-based leading stars of the CW’s The Originals, a Vampire Diaries spinoff that’s far superior to its parent show.

 First off, here’s the standard stuff, in case you missed Day 1 or want a refresh on the rules:

As you’ve probably noticed from above, this is a new blog series dedicated to showcasing my favourite characters from 2014. I will draw from a wide variety of sources but the conditions are simple – I have to have either first encountered that character in 2014, (or a different iteration of that character in 2014, for example, If I were to use, Steven Moffat’s Sherlock Holmes, I would be allowed to as even though I discovered the character before the year of me writing the Advent list, I did not discover Moffat’s take on the character until 2014. Of course, I watched BBC’s Sherlock before 2014, but that’s just a standard example). I can also refer to groups of characters, for example, on a variation of a list last year, I used the Clone Club from Orphan Black, and the main cast from Stargate Atlantis. This will be used multiple times this year when talking about TV show characters – as they are generally better as an ensemble piece as opposed to an individual group.

And also, as is evident from the first character that I have used this year, Raylan Givens, I am allowed to pick characters from previous years as long as I have discovered them in this year. By discovered, that obviously means I have to have watched the first episode of the TV series in 2014, or alternatively, I am also allowed to include characters who I have become more attached to in this year that I weren’t necessarily so keen on before, for example, If a character did something awesome this year to raise their game and turn him or her into a new fan favourite than these characters would be allowed to be included.

So what makes the Originals so special? Put it this way, The Originals is the surprise hit of the year for me. Yes, I know it came out in 2013 (I didn’t watch it until it showed up on Netflix recently, and I recommend you do too), but it had a unique blend of vampires, witches and werewolves and catapulting them into an equally unique city of New Orleans and watching the bloodshed that followed. It tied richly into the city of New Orleans and created a fascinating world for the characters as well as over the first season, developed the large cast and fleshed them out well. But what relieved me the most was that this series itself is proper urban fantasy at is best on television. It’s fun, action packed and deeply engaging, with several twists and turns. Even if you aren’t watching The Vampire Diaries (which I wasn’t before starting this show) The Originals is accessible, if a little complicated to understand at first.

So, who are Elijah, Klaus and Rebekah, then? I’ve already mentioned that they’re the first vampires, at least in the universe of The Originals, but what makes them standout is that they’re actually proper vampires, which is something that I wasn’t expecting from the CW. Elijah, Klaus and Rebekah all do ruthless things, often varying in number, with them all being incredibly unpredictable. At the same time, the actors portraying them allow their characters to be sympathetic and do them justice, and if you stick with the series you’ll even find yourself supporting Klaus (Joseph Morgan), who is the biggest bastard of all. Klaus is a vampire-werewolf hybrid, and I know that sounds cliché and the mother of all urban fantasy tropes but it works. His backstory gets fleshed out and revealed through flashbacks thus creating his own mythos. The blend of alliances and friendships between brothers and their sister is always changing over the course of the series, and even over the course of multiple episodes. Put it simply, when stuff gets done, it gets done. They often do what would have taken a whole series in another show and wrap it up in just one.

Next up is Elijah (Daniel Gilles), the smooth-talking, calm and calculated Original who believes there is hope for his family and is doing everything to hold together the motto “Always and Forever”. Over the centuries it’s increasingly hard to do so, especially with the unhinged and unpredictable actions of Klaus. And then to make matters worse, there is Rebekah (Claire Holt), the youngest surviving member of the Originals clan and the only female Original. She’s just as awesome as the other two and just as badass, and there’s plenty to talk about when it come to her. Unfortunately, Claire Holt is no longer a series regular on the cast, but when she returns (like in the upcoming midseason finale of Season 2 for example), her impact is really felt.

So The Mikaelson Family is probably my next pick for this series. Of course, there’s more characters included (Kol, Finn, and Esther and Mikael) but I don’t particularly want to go into great detail about them for fear of spoilers in case anyone’s reading this who isn’t familiar with the Originals. And if you’re not familiar with the Originals, then what are you waiting for?

Urban Fantasy fans will love it.

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