‘Originals’ fires up vampire craze

Posted May 3, 2014


Stephanie Meyer’s 2005 series “Twilight” sparked a national, if not global, phenomenon. Even if you’ve never read the books, you’ve at least heard of the movies. All of a sudden, the world seemed to have this “teenage obsession” over vampires and the supernatural.

Vampire, werewolf, witch and supernatural stories aren’t something new. But, the “Twilight” saga essentially took the notorious “Dracula” and turned him into a sparkly yet sexy, over-aged, teenage boy with an overload of emotional issues. What’s worse is that many other movie and TV producers soon began doing the same thing—taking vicious, human-killing supernatural creatures and turning them into whiny, sappy, teenage love stories.

For example, in 2008, HBO came out with the series “True Blood,”followed by the CW’s, “The Vampire Diaries” in 2009, and even MTV joined the craze by creating “Teen Wolf,” the summer of 2011.

Known for its intense drama, jaw-dropping moments and very good-looking actors, “The Vampire Diaries” remains one of the CW’s best-hit TV shows that continues to thrive.

Now that Elena Gilbert is a vampire and no longer a helplessly annoying human being stuck in the middle of a love triangle between two brothers, things have finally gotten interesting. Even more impressive is how successful the producers have turned the show from revolving around high school teenage love drama into a more mature college setting.

Many hoped that the last “Twilight” atrocity in 2012 would put an end to the whole vampire, supernatural nonsense. It appears as though the whole high school teenage love portion of the craze has died down, especially with “True Blood” in its final season, however, “The Vampire Diaries” new spin-off show, “The Originals,” illustrates that the whole vampire phenomena has only just begun.

If you think watching “The Originals” is anything remotely similar to “The Vampire Diaries,” then you are severely mistaken. In a land where witches, werewolves, vampires and humans all live together “The Originals” centers around an impossible pregnancy, a curse on werewolves, witches brewing evil, and epic battles between all kinds of supernatural creatures.

Yes, the original vampire family is back, but this time with much darker and more intense drama, twistedly sinister plots and psychopathic storylines.

Klaus (Joseph Morgan), Rebekah (Claire Holt), Elijah (Daniel Gillies) and the rest of the 1,000-year-old Mikaelson family were introduced in season 2 of “The Vampire Diaries.”The ever-so dysfunctional family once consisted of seven siblings—the oldest, Aaron, was killed by a plague and the reason for the family moving to the new world; the youngest, Henrik, was later killed by werewolves.

It was because of Henrik’s death that led their mother, Esther, the original witch, to use dark magic in order to protect her family from any future harm and thus, creating the most powerful and most dangerous, first-ever original vampires from which all others descended.

But when Klaus turned into a vampire it was discovered that he had been the result of an affair his mother had had with a member of the werewolf clan. Because of this, his father Mikael grew to hate Klaus, always tormenting, torturing, and tracking him down in order to kill him. Instead of just becoming a vampire, Klaus became an abomination and the most powerful, immortal creature to ever walk the planet—a hybrid (half werewolf and half vampire).

Two of the Mikaelson members — Kol (Nathaniel Buzolic) and Finn (Casper Zafer) — were killed off in “The Vampire Diaries, “thus, never making it over to The Originals (but that doesn’t mean we can’t hope for flashbacks!).

The backdoor pilot, airing as season 4 episode 20 of “The Vampire Diaries,” revealed that the she-wolf, Hayley Marshall (Phoebe Tonkin), in search of information regarding her family, is now pregnant with Klaus’s child (Remember the hot, steamy, yet shockingly unexpected hookup on “The Vampire Diaries?”). Hayley is captured by a coven of witches in order to lure Klaus into the city in order to stop the “evil” Marcel.

Klaus, Elijah, the oldest, and Rebekah, the youngest and only daughter, leave Mystic Falls (the setting in “The Vampire Diaries”) in order to continue their long, disturbed and malfunctional story in the heart of the French Quarter of New Orleans.

Klaus is brought to New Orleans in search of those supposedly conspiring against him, and good ole, moral Elijah only wants to protect and keep his vow that “family is forever and always,” and follows Klaus to assist.

In New Orleans, Marcel rules the French Quarter and controls the vampires as well as the witches and the city. The werewolves (Hayley’s family) were cursed by a witch (thanks to Marcel) and exiled into the Bayou. Marcel claims to have a “secret weapon” (a powerful witch named Davina), that tells him when and who is practicing magic. In admiration and jealousy, the un-killable hybrid Klaus, wants to take (back) the kingdom Marcel has created.

Elijah only wants to keep his family together even if it means protecting Rebekah and himself from Klaus. Rebekah only wants to find love and have a family but has never been able too because of her strong bond and loyalty to her brothers.

“The Originals” aired its first official episode on Oct. 3, 2013, after “The Vampire Diaries.” Airing on Tuesdays, right after “Supernatural,” the complex dynamic between Klaus, Rebekah and Elijah contains history, betrayal, regret, anger, and so many other complex emotions. It’s the elaborate character development and surprising relationships that compels viewers to these pernicious characters.

Klaus has always been portrayed as the villain, especially in “The Vampire Diaries.” However, “The Originals” portrays Klaus slightly different (at least for the first half of the season) but still remains sinister, psychotic, mentally disturbed and keeps his uncontrollable temperament.

On the other hand, Klaus has been shaped into being so mentally disturbed by the life he’s lived, that Elijah’s quest for redemption seems almost ridiculous. Unloved, tormented and hunted by his father, an abomination of nature, forced into believing that nobody would ever love him and doomed to live a life alone, help explain Klaus’s transformation into the sinister, evil, psychopath we’ve all grown to love and accept.

Despite all the horrible things Klaus has done over the centuries (like daggering both siblings and locking them in a coffin for 70-plus years) both Elijah and Rebekah maintain this undeniable loyalty, love and respect for their brother. Although Rebekah’s tolerance for Klaus has just about run it’s course, she comes to New Orleans to help Elijah save their brother from himself and start a family with Hayley and the new baby.

Each episode of “The Originals” is packed with so much history, backstory, and clever mythology; it’s no wonder “The Vampire Diaries” producers made a spin-off show just for them. “The Vampire Diaries” introduced us to the original family (and aren’t we so happy they did!) and the “The Originals,”continues their journey, explaining the long family history, portraying shocking flashbacks that explain each character and their development, and unique, clever, and brilliant mythology, not to mention the thousands of “Oh, my God!” moments in each episode.

Although you’d benefit from watching seasons 2, 3 and 4 of “The Vampire Diaries,” to really dive into the history of the original vampire family, you don’t have to keep up with one show to be able to enjoy the other. The short version of the backstory is explained via voiceover in the first few episodes.

In all, if you’ve been scared (like I have) from ever liking vampires due to the nonsensical movies of “Twilight,” then you must watch at least one episode of “The Originals” to reiterate your love for the supernatural. If anything, “The Originals” is the complete and total opposite of “Twilight” but it isn’t anything like “The Vampire Diaries” either. The plots are dark, twisted, clever and sinister with action, fighting, killing, cursing, and very little romance.

“The Originals” portrays vampires, witches and supernatural creatures, as they should be. If you love and miss the epic Dracula, then you will not just love, but will be addicted to, the calamitous, nefarious and malicious Klaus and the Mikaelson family.

“The Originals”

  • Starring: Joseph Morgan, Claire Holt, Daniel Gillies, Phoebe Tonkin, Charles Michael Davis, Daniella Pineda, Leah Pipes, Danielle Campbell
  • Created by: Julie Plec
  • New Episodes air Tuesdays at 8p.m.
  • Network: The CW
  • Format: Supernatural Drama, Horror, Fantasy