The Vampire Diaries
spin-off The Originals
has never quite achieved the popularity of its predecessor. But with the departure of Delena and company, The Originals
has a chance to lure viewers who are craving a supernatural fix to New Orleans, a city teeming with sexy vampires, powerful witches and displaced werewolves, all munching on the occasional plate of beignets, bead-wearing tourists and swilling a glass of bourbon to wash it all down. There may not be a Damon or Stefan Salvatore, but there are two hot brothers: one with an impish grin and another with impeccably-coiffed hair. While there's tons of dysfunctional family drama and all sorts of creepy big bads, we have a few suggestions on how The Originals
could become as addictive as the series that sired it and help diehard Vampire Diaries
fans stave off withdrawal.
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Create Some Epic Romances
Central to The Vampire Diaries' success was the love triangle between Damon, Stefan and Elena which evolved into one of TV's most memorable couples -- Delena. But a ton of other great romances occurred over the series' eight seasons: Caroline and Tyler, Bonnie and Jeremy, Caroline and Stefan, Bonnie and Enzo and Alaric and Jo, not to mention tons of steamy hook-ups. It's in the love and lust department where The Originals continues to come up short.
Hayley always had eyes for Elijah but being his brother's baby mama made the whole possibility of an immediate coupling kind of incestuous and icky. It took until season 2 to distance Hayley and Klaus definitively enough for Elijah and Hayley to consummate their relationship. But the love affair was short-lived, and Elijah stood by as Hayley married the loyal-as-a-Labrador, earnest, bayou-born-and-bred werewolf, Jackson.
As far as love triangles go, this one was a dud that didn't exactly inspire viewers to don T-shirts emblazoned with "Team Jackson" or "Team Elijah." After a brief marriage, Jackson's heart was literally ripped from his chest, clearing the way for Hayley and Elijah. But guilt and "grief" prolonged an immediate reunion, until the two had one final tryst before Elijah's five-year nap.
After this excruciatingly-long build up, Elijah and Hayley are finally free to be together, but concerns for a new threat looming over little Hope has pushed their happily ever after to the back burner once again. Fans have waited for this ship to sail, and it would suck if it hits some rocks and sinks.
Rebekah and Marcel have failed to make a go of it (thanks in large part to her prolonged absences), and Kol and Davina were an engaging twosome when Kol was inhabiting the body of a much cuter, much more charismatic witch named Kaleb played by Teen Wolf's Daniel Sharman (don't body swap your characters into more appealing alternatives.) And in spite of finally being free from their uber bitch of an aunt, Freya has failed to do more than dance on a few bars and drag home one frat boy who her younger brother scared off before she could get to second base.
The biggest challenge has been finding Klaus a love interest that surpasses the yumminess of Klaroline. It's hard to ignore the physical resemblance between Caroline and Cami, but the pseudo psychotherapist turned vamp never had Caroline's Type-A perkiness or the feisty rapport with Niklaus. Other attempts to hook up the Original bachelor have been lackluster (Aurora, Genevieve) and short-lived. Holding out for a reunion between Stefan's widow and the Original single dad is probably fruitless, but in a perfect world, his prophecy that he'd be Caroline's last love would come true.
Give Klaus Back His Bite
Klaus Mikaelson has spent centuries murdering and torturing others indiscriminately (including members of his own family.) His reasons have been revenge, self-preservation or a response to some perceived slight or betrayal. But at the end of season 3, Klaus made the ultimate sacrifice by offering himself up in exchange for the safety of his siblings, Hayley and his daughter.
Now that Klaus is free again and has returned to the bosom of his family, he is committed to being a loving parent, and the result, so far, has been a neutered version of the homicidal-hybrid tyrant he used to be. It's hard not to miss the cheeky, vicious and unapologetic Klaus who resembles another vamp whose journey from bad boy to anti-hero was a long road full of speed bumps, Damon Salvatore.
There's a reason Damon didn't become mortal until The Vampire Diaries series finale. Fans may have liked the idea of a human Damon growing old with his dream girl, but actually watching him living out his mortal life in presumably humdrum fashion would have been a snooze because good Damon was okay, but bad Damon was even better.
Until Klaus dials back the Mr. Mom routine, Elijah is willing to torture, kill and maim, as is big sister Freya, who has shown she inherited the Mikaelson mean streak. Rebekah and Kol were a bit down after returning to the land of the (un)living and scampered off to parts unknown to wreak some Original havoc (no humanity switches on this lot, darling) but they will be back, which should shake up the family dynamic once again. The only thing better than watching the Mikaelsons battle outside forces is to witness them fighting their own demons (sound familiar?)
But we want the Klaus who buried his enemies behind brick walls, banished them to eternal drowning at the bottom of the ocean, killed a beloved doppelganger and her aunt and suppressed his foes through various methods (invoking an age-old curse, ripping out their hearts, snapping their necks.) We long for the tantrum-throwing sociopath, unburdened by a conscience, who staked his own father, cock-blocked his siblings or daggered them for being insubordinate and whose most endearing quality has to be his ability to rationalize and defend his most deplorable deeds. (That and a sense of humor so dry that viewers are parched after each episode.) Being a good parent and a diabolical vamp shouldn't have to be mutually exclusive.
Find the Fun
The Originals has always been intense with hefty dialogue, and the depth and scope of the storylines have, at times, resembled a Shakespearean tragedy. It's possible to fight evil or even be evil (Katherine, Kai, Silas) and still maintain a wicked sense of humor, but the Mikaelsons have become quite dour of late. It's time to throw back a few Hurricanes, crack a few jokes. After all, they don't call it The Big Easy for nothing.
The Originals is a good show, but if it takes a few cues from The Vampire Diaries, it could be great.
How do you like the reformed Klaus? Do you buy him as the doting dad? Could Freya become the meanest Mikaelson? Does The Originals need to lighten up? Should the show aspire to be more like The Vampire Diaries? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.
(Image Courtesy of The CW)