Is it possible to repeat the past without there being any consequences? What happens when you don’t like the answers that you find? That’s part of the premise behind the CW’s newest show “The Originals,” which followed three popular characters from the “The Vampire Diaries” as they returned to New Orleans to reclaim what was rightfully theirs. The results may be familiar, but the execution made it worth watching each week.
“The Originals” followed Klaus Mikaelson (Joseph Morgan) who made a name for himself in Mystic Falls one of the members of the Original Vampire family. He was also the only vampire-werewolf hybrid who couldn’t be killed no matter how hard people tried. He left Mystic Falls after being given a questionable tip that a supernatural plot was being formed against him by a group of witches in New Orleans. Klaus was curious about this conspiracy and returned to a town that he helped build with his brother Elijah (Daniel Gillies) and his sister Rebekah (Claire Holt), but they were forced to leave after their father chased them out of town. When the Mikaelson family exited New Orleans, they left it a very different city and they were shocked by what they found after they returned more than 100 year later. Klaus was shocked to find that his former protege Marcel Gerard (Charles Michael Davis) who ruled the city that Klaus built with an iron fist that cast werewolves out and made witches fearful of practicing magic. Marcel’s secret weapon was a young witch named Davina (Danielle Campbell) that had the power to sense when a witch was doing magic or something against Marcel. Klaus was eager to get Davina to join forces with him, but he was also planning to create a legacy for the newest member of the Mikaelson family. He was given the shock of his life when he was told by local witch Sophie Deveraux (Daniella Pineda) that his one time flame Hayley (Phoebe Tonkin) was carrying his unborn child. At first he wasn’t eager about it, Klaus eventually warmed up to the idea and was willing to do anything to protect her. Will Klaus be able to get everything he wanted or will he lose everything in the process?
In terms of questions, the show posed a few big questions that mostly involved whether it could make it on its own without its original show “The Vampire Diaries” to support it. The show demonstrated some potential of being a great supernatural show, but it was having a hard time choosing the right character to anchor the series. Once they choose one, the show should be off and running. Morgan had the potential of being a dynamic leading man if only viewers could find a way to fully accept Klaus’ darker impulses. The series premiere demonstrated the possibility of making Gillies’ Elijah a possible moral compass for Morgan’s Klaus, but the show foolishly sidelined Gillies by having Klaus stab him with a dagger to protect him. Luckily, the next episode’s preview revealed that Elijah was returning with a vengeance, which arrived just in the nick of time. Morgan had a strong rapport with most of his cast members, especially Leah Pipes’ Camille and Tonkin’s Hayley, because they managed to help humanize him for brief periods of time when the character was at his worst. The show’s other possible setback was finding a central story for viewers to focus on, because there were a few too many going on. The show should pay close attention to Klaus’ plot to take over Marcel’s reign and then tied in the story about his impending fatherhood as his true motive. Let’s hope that the show will find a way to balance the stories and make the show into an ensemble piece to draw focus from a single character. Only time will tell if that’s the case.
As for breakout stars, Davis and Gillies led the pack as two very different characters that shared the same common goal of creating a family either out blood or an emotional connection. Davis embodied Marcel with the right balance of swagger and malice as he made viewers entertained and terrified at the same time. He wanted to rule New Orleans, but he always saw the best in people until it was too late. Davis shared a strong rapport with both Pipes and Holt for different reasons. With Pipes, Davis had the opportunity to showcase Marcel’s innocently playful side among all of his grand plans to control New Orleans. With Holt, he designed Marcel to be a unwilling player who still felt a strong pull to Holt’s Rebekah no matter how hard he fought the urge to be near her. Gillies, on the other hand, had the challenging task of making Elijah both a romantic figure and a master manipulator at the same time. He embodied Elijah with an equal amount of innocence and cunning as he often trusted the wrong people, but he always managed to bring Klaus back from the brink. Gillies also had strong chemistry with both Tonkin and Campbell for different reasons. Tonkin’s Hayley was someone that he could protect, while Campbell’s Davina was someone that he could help stay alive. Gillies’ most memorable scene was in the premiere when Elijah worked overtime to persuade Klaus to stay in New Orleans. He played on Klaus’ need for love and acceptance to the hilt without going too far. Hopefully, Gillies will have more opportunities to interact with Morgan and Holt as the season progressed because the Original family was the show’s main driving force. If that was taken away, the show would over before it began. Fingers crossed that it won’t happen anytime soon.
“The Originals” premiered a sneak preview of the first episode on October 3rd and now airs Tuesdays at 8:00 pm on the CW.
Verdict: Morgan made for a compelling anti-hero, but his character’s unpredictably dark antics sometimes made him hard to root for. Hopefully, the show will try to focus on Holt and Gilles to help counteract those occasionally squirm inducing scenes.
TV Score: 3.5 out of 5 stars
1 Star (Mediocre)
2 Stars (Averagely Entertaining)
3 Stars (Decent Enough to Pass Muster)
4 Stars (Near Perfect)
5 Stars (Gold Standard)