The Originals Season 1: Life After Mystic Falls?

The Originals Premiere (6)

The Originals is a strange beast. Spinoffs are usually written in such a way that they invites brand new viewers in, requiring no knowledge of the parent series in order to be fully enjoyable. This is a smart move; sometimes a spinoff will have something the parent show lacked and that will be just what a new viewer wants, even if they previously turned off the parent show.

So it would make sense for The Originals to be a standalone show, completely separate from its parent The Vampire Diaries. Sure, the fact Klaus is a hybrid and his siblings are original vampires would have to be established early on, and it was, but two episodes in and The Originals has a bit of a problem – for new viewers it is inaccessible and for existing viewers it is superfluous.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s a solid show and I’m enjoying it. It might lack the breakneck pacing of TVD and only have one background human character (not counting the myriad witches), but it has a lackadaisical approach to its characters that is can actually be quite charming, at least to those of us who know the main characters. Klaus is portrayed as a heartless bastard who has a secret soft side, which isn’t far from the truth, but it only really makes sense to existing TVD viewers. To new viewers, I fear Klaus may come across as a weird old monster who can’t quite make up his mind about things and who has some epic daddy issues. He clearly has some huge sibling issues too, but while daggering your kin makes sense in TVD, to fresh eyes watching The Originals it probably seems like overkill (no pun intended).

Perhaps the biggest issue with The Originals is the one which affects the show whether or not you’re a The Vampire Diaries viewer: this show has no ‘in’ character. There is no one for us to view the world through. In TVD this was Elena, the human who lead us into this murky world of vampires, werewolves and magic. In TO we’re thrown in with Klaus et al, left to find our way through a mass of monsters and random flashbacks without a human character to truly empathise with. It doesn’t really help matters that Elijah – a character well known to TVD viewers – was daggered in the pilot episode before new viewers could even get to really know him. He’s currently a massive stereotype: a noble matyr who ‘died’ trying to protect a damsel in distress. Here’s hoping he’s back sooner rather than later.

In short: new viewers may have a heck of a time getting into the Mikaelson family drama. For The Vampire Diaries fans, however, The Originals is a fun little side story that allows us to keep all that Klausy goodness while the main show finally gets to move on and do something new. I still stick with my assessment of the series as being superfluous, but it’s kind of like chocolate: just because you don’t need it doesn’t mean you don’t want it and you definitely enjoy it. I can’t wait to see what tasty treats The Originals has in store next.

What about you, dear reader: do you think The Originals is accessible to new viewers? Do you think the series was really necessary? What do you think of the show so far? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!