Vampire Diaries: The Originals

"Family is power, Niklaus."

I don't consider myself a fan of the Originals (except Elijah). So I was surprised by how much I liked this backdoor pilot.

Ah, New Orleans, the vampire city. (Although now that I think of it, we get a lot more vampires on the west coast than the Gulf coast, don't we?) Using such an amazing city as a setting immediately made 'The Originals' seem bigger and darker than friendly little Mystic Falls. New Orleans has so much character -- the French Quarter, the above ground cemeteries -- but it also has a cheezy, sleazy side. They obviously filmed there. Will they continue to do so? If they do, it would add a lot to the look and feel of the series, much like Highlander filming in Paris.

The writers actually thought seriously about the plot and what would work for our three Originals. They made three attempts (that I counted, anyway) to make Klaus more sympathetic:

(1) Marcel is actually a nastier vampire leader than Klaus, seeing as he's taken over the city, subjugated the humans, made witches into second-class citizens, and exiled the werewolves. Marcel's horribleness and the obvious supernatural struggle waiting in the wings gives us a way to root for Klaus to win, especially since he can't just kill everybody and start over. And I liked Marcel. Well, not Marcel the character, but they chose a talented and energetic actor to play him. He's a worthy opponent for Klaus, and there's the added dimension that Klaus is Marcel's sire. I bet we're going to get Klaus/Marcel buddy flashbacks.

(2) Klaus talked briefly about how he could never settle down anywhere because his daddy would show up and ruin everything. Not that that generated sympathy with me, but when you have a character that can't be hurt or killed, you have to do something to make him appear even marginally powerless. And,

(3) Oddly, I find myself intrigued by the Hayley baby plot. And I'm never intrigued by baby plots; it's usually the reverse, as anyone who has read my Angel reviews might recall. Maybe it's because there is no possibility of sickly sweetness. How Klaus will deal with impending fatherhood is a mystery, but he is so utterly uncuddly and not in any way father material; I don't see him shopping online for teddy bears. I bet that Rebekah will find a baby as a blood relative intriguing, too. It's an interesting plot device to bring the Originals back together as an immortal dysfunctional family.

And who is Camille, the blonde bartender who knows karate? Is she going to be Klaus's Caroline-like love interest, yet a fourth plot device to make him more likeable? I liked her; she has possibilities. And I enjoyed her psyching out the street artist while unintentionally describing Klaus. ("Sorry. Overzealous psych major.")

Elijah seemed to be relegated to the background this time. (Rebekah, even more so.) Elijah's role appeared to be sneaking up on Klaus and talking about his desire to redeem him (because there's no way for us to pick up stuff like that if the actors don't tell us). Elijah was sad about his departure from Katherine (will Nina Dobrev be guesting? Will there be crossovers?), but that was pretty much it. Since I like Elijah about a thousand times more than Klaus, I was hoping for more.

Meanwhile back in Mystic Falls, practically nothing happened. Except Elena isn't going to be a pushover in the emotion switch department. She knows that Damon and Stefan love her, and she's using it against them; tough love isn't gonna work on her.

Bits and pieces:

-- Sophie Devereaux is the power behind the subjugated witches. I thought it was going to be Jane Ann, so it was a surprise when Marcel killed her.

-- Marcel regularly eats vervain. So much for one way to take him down.

-- Klaus appeared to be seriously pissed off about all of the daywalker rings. I bet that's set-up for a future plot.

-- Did they write out the other Original family members because they were boring, or will they be returning with the rest of the VD supernatural dead in the season finale?


Stefan: "Katherine."
Katherine: "The one and only. Sort of."

Marcel: "If your blood relations let you down, make your own."

Klaus: "I want to be king."
Elijah: "And what about Hayley and the baby?"
Klaus: "Every king needs an heir."

It's always good when something is better than you expected. Especially since The Originals just went to series about five minutes ago.

Three out of four not-bad-at-all backdoor pilots,

Billie Doux is the founder of Doux Reviews and has been reviewing her favorite shows for quite some time. More Billie Doux.


Billie Doux said...

BTW, I forgot to mention that me reviewing The Vampire Diaries is a one-time thing. Josie will be back next week!

Morgan India said...

I actually really liked this episode, which is a big deal, seeing as TVD and Julie Plec have been pissing me off a lot lately. I'm on the fence regarding the baby plot, but as long as they don't turn it into Twilight or stuff it up like Angel did, I'm going to be fine with it.

And I'm all for a TV show headlined by JoMo and Daniel Gillies.

I think Joseph Morgan's cheekbones should get their own mention in the credits.

Colin Peabody-Verteuil said...

"It's an interesting plot device to bring the Originals back together as an immortal dysfunctional family."
This very line of your review actually brought to my mind some weird combo of The Originals and Arrested Development. Klaus would make a very good GOB.

Anyway, I'm fairly happy that the show is going to air, and praying that it lives longer than Cult because everybody would win, and crossovers would be fun.
Vampires making babies is always silly but they kinda saved it with the Werewolf ex... I'm not gonna finish that. But I have the same feeling as you, this back-door pilot was actually better than I expected.
So I think I'll add the Originals to my thursday nights with a smile on my face and a hope for Katherine.

Juliette said...

I liked it, mainly because I like Klaus and Elijah a lot (and they've run out of stuff to do in Mystic Falls).

The baby part was the one part I didn't like. Partly because I get that the implication is that Klaus was able to knock Hayley up because she's a werewolf - but if the werewolf part of him is not dead and able to procreate, shouldn't he have knocked up a few human women down the years as well? Maybe he has and just doesn't know it - now there's a thought...

(and it's a good thing Tyler's current girlfriend is a vampire!)

Kelly said...

Well, not that I am trying to completely explain a supernatural pregnancy, but I believe the implication was that he couldn't have fathered a child before because he lost his werewolf side a thousand years ago (remember that whole ritual he was doing back in season 2 was so that he could become a hybrid, regaining his werewolf abilities).

Since that ritual I don't recall seeing him sleeping with any other werewolves besides Hayley, though I suppose that could have happened off-screen...

I'm sure they'll go into it more in the series, as to what makes this pregnancy special. My guess is that something on Hayley's side (her unique clan they mentioned before) also is contributing here. But I think it's clear enough why he doesn't have a trail of several packs worth of werewolf 'pups' behind him through the centuries.

My big question about this series is how they can create suspense or drama when their lead character can't be killed. Kind of takes the danger out of any battles! But I'm willing to see what the creators do here, since they do love to throw wrenches in things with unexpected and exciting developments. Also, I am all for trying something non-formulaic and letting a very dark gray character ahem be the lead and seeing how that changes things up.

lisam said...

Anthony Montgomery, who played the pilot on Enterprise, plays the black guy who Klaus chokes in the club.

What's the point of the "vampires can't go out in the sun" rule if every vampire on the show has either a daywalker ring or is immune because they're a hybrid?

ChrisB said...

Wow! This was so bad, I actually started writing down the lines that made me laugh out loud due to either bad writing or bad delivery. The list go so long, I stopped.

There is always, always a silver lining. This one? I am going to count this as the pilot so that I won't have to sit through another hour for the new shows column in the fall.

Thanks for filling in for me as well as for Josie, Billie! I owe you one.

Panda said...

I sort of liked this! It had serious pilot-itis, but that should pass next year. The New Orleans back drop was great, like you said Billie, and added character. And obviously, the prospect of Phoebe Tonkin getting a series regular role is more than a little exciting. I'm STILL pissed over the Secret Circle, but this helps a lot.

I think I'll be tuning in next season, even though I find it hard to take Klaus, having Rebekah, Elijah, Hayley and all these new characters around to carry the show is enough for me.

Anonymous said...

Vampires in New Orleans..makes me nostalgic for my old Anne Rice books. Pretty good and a cool soundtrack..If they film it on location I'm there. The magical baby plot was not as dire as I'd feared. So a tensy bit optimistic..