The Originals is really upping its game as its thoroughly delightful inaugural season rolls on. It may even be, dare we say it, better than it source material. The Vampire Diaries was, at its height, one of the best and most unpredictable shows on television, but it is in danger of becoming narratively stale. Good thing The Originals is here to whip its old source show into shape! Here are five things The Vampire Diaries could learn from its successful spin-off.
Make the villainy personal
We’ll admit that, when The Originals started, there was some villain confusion. Marcel was introduced as a foil to Klaus’s plan to take back the French Quarter, but the show quickly flipped the idea of Marcel as enemy on its head. Now, we have Celeste: a witch Elijah fell in love with more than a century ago who everyone thought long dead at Klaus’s hand. It is all very Katherine Pierce. And that is something TVD used to do extraordinary well: make its villains personally important to its heroes. Katherine and Klaus? They were both people who, at some point, at least one of our protagonists loved. Silas and Tessa? Not so much. Hopefully, now that Katherine is back in the villainy saddle, she’ll bring the personal attack back.
Keep the setting relevant
The Originals is a show much more grounded in setting than TVD, as it has as its central conceit the battle for control over the French Quarter. However, there was a time when Mystic Falls was important to TVD, too — and not just as an excuse to throw another Founders’ Day party. The show had a context in the school community, The Founders’ Council, and in the town’s rich mythology. Recently, much of that has been ignored, and the show has been the poorer for it. Most of the time, it feels like these characters are the only ones who live in Mystic Falls and/or go attend Whitmore College. We don’t need entire storylines that revolve around Elena’s Freshman Comp class, but a little grounding might not go amiss in this show populated by supernatural creatures.
Juggle the storylines with grace
One thing The Originals has done really well is juggle a number of storylines without neglecting any of them for too long. This is well evidenced by the fact that, not so long ago, we were lamenting the lameness of the witch storyline, worried at how the show could make it interesting, only for them to whip out this stellar Celeste storyline. And though that has now taken center stage, there are still about a million other subplots going on in the background waiting to be brought to the forefront. We wish the same could be said for TVD. We know that Dr. Wes, the Travelers, and Whitmore College life will probably all come back into play, but they seem strangely disjointed from the narrative now. These threads don’t feel woven together, but distinct and disconnected. TVD could stand to take a page from The Originals and work at keeping all of these stories relevant to one another, even when they are not the “A” plot.
Utilize the supernatural spectrum
We haven’t heard from the werewolves for ages on TVD. And, though the Travelers are some sort of witchy subsect and are lingering on the edge of the storyline, they haven’t really had much to do besides collect buckets of doppelganger blood. They haven’t been given character or complexity. They are plot devices. TVD has always been a show that concentrates on vampires, but it is at its best when it makes room for witches and werewolves, too. We wouldn’t say no to a few more humans, either. The Originals currently has this down pat, and it is all the more interesting for it.
Kill characters off
Who’s to say if any of The Originals’ character deaths will actually stick (for Davina, we’re thinking no), but in the last few episodes, the show has killed off not one, but two main characters. Even if they do eventually come back, that’s still pretty ballsy. Meanwhile, on TVD, we spent a whole episode mourning Katherine’s impending doom only for her to be saved by the end of the episode. Don’t get us wrong: we’re glad Katherine is still alive, but it’s been awhile since TVD let a death stick for longer than a few episodes. Might be time to kill someone off. (But not Katherine.)
Do you think there’s anything TVD could learn from The Originals? Or vice versa? Sound off in the comments below!
Catch the next episode of The Vampire Diaries on Thursday, February 6 at 8 p.m. and The Originals on Tuesday, February 25 at 8 p.m. ET on the CW.