The Vampire Diaries successfully ran for eight seasons and created two spin-offs, The Originals and Legacies. While the first spin-off focused on more adult themes, Legacies has returned to a setting and premise very similar to The Vampire Diaries.
Still, with all those similarities, there are some key differences as well. Read on to discover our list of 5 similarities and 5 differences between the two shows.
10 Similarity: Main Heroine Is An Orphan
Elena was the main heroine of The Vampire Diaries. We meet Elena after she's suffered a big tragedy: the loss of her parents. Both of her parents died in a car crash; Elena was in the backseat and survived. Elena has survivor's guilt, and she tries to cope with the grief--feeling like she is a different person than she was before.
Likewise, Hope, the main heroine of Legacies, has also suffered a big tragedy: the loss of her parents. In addition, she has other losses: the death of her uncle, of her friend, and the knowledge that her family sacrificed their freedom for years in order to keep her safe. Hope tries to cope with grief. Like Elena, she feels like she is a different person than she was before.
9 Difference: Human Friends
The Vampire Diaries featured human friends. Some of the humans changed in the show, becoming supernatural beings (i.e. Caroline), but others actually stayed human throughout the show. For instance, Matt never turned into anything other than a police officer. Being human didn't make him weak, and Matt was often involved in their plans.
Legacies doesn't really feature any human friends to the supernatural teenagers. The only humans are Alaric, the head master, and Dorian, a teacher. While these two are in their world, they are authoritative figures, not friends.
8 Similarity: Main Heroine is Unique Due to Lineage
After the two vampire brothers are attracted to Elena in The Vampire Diaries, we learn that she is a special human: a Petrova doppleganger. As a doppleganger, she is in high demand, partly due to the mysterious qualities of her blood. Her lineage connects her to other Petrova dopplegangers. One of whom had her blood used as the last ingredient the original witch used to create the original vampires.
Additionally, Hope is truly unique, the first of her kind. She's a hybrid of three different supernatural beings: a witch (due to her grandmother), a vampire hybrid (due to her dad), and a werewolf (due to her mom). She's in high demand because of the mysterious qualities of her lineage.
7 Difference: The Phoenix
While The Vampire Diaries presented us with unique supernatural creatures, Legacies takes that one step further. They have introduced a unicorn, a necromancer, a Medusa, and a phoenix.
The phoenix is regarded as rare in Legacies, which makes the fact that an important character has this ability, all the more interesting. This is a being that never showed up or was mentioned in The Vampire Diaries.
6 Similarity: Location
Legacies is in the town of Mystic Falls, the same place where it all began with The Vampire Diaries. Additionally, their actual school is housed in Stefan and Damon's mansion of a house. It is great to see the house re-imagined as The Salvatore Boarding School for the Young and Gifted. It breathes new light and life into the building.
On top of the town and the house, the Legacies students are teenagers in high school, the same as The Vampire Diaries.
5 Difference: Supernatural School
While both shows start by focusing on teenage friends and frenemies in high school, the type of high school attended is different. In The Vampire Diaries, Elena and her friends attend a regular public school where there is little knowledge of the supernatural. Therefore, what they learn about the supernatural largely comes from the Salvatores and their own explorations. While Bonnie may have had a little bit of help from her witch family, she didn't know much about her history and the supernatural world for most of her youth.
The school in Legacies is specifically for children with supernatural talents. So, the students are taught regular subjects, and they are taught about their abilities. By being more informed, they would be safer and able to control their powers.
4 Similarity: Love Triangle
In The Vampire Diaries, there are two important love triangles: Elena and the Salvatore brothers, and Katharine and the Salvatore brothers. The tension resulting from both of these drives a lot of the plot. A good love triangle does keep an audience intrigued, but it can detract from the characters. It was said in an article for The Mary Sue that Elena's fierce personality was in some ways sacrificed or side-lined for the love triangle.
In Legacies, the love triangle that stood out the most was the Hope, Landon, and Rafael love triangle. While technically, Landon and Rafael aren't brothers like Damon and Stefan, they are foster brothers. In some ways, they are closer as brothers than Stefan and Damon originally were. However, their affection for Hope could tear that bond apart. Hope loves Landon, but that could change just like Elena first loved Stefan, then later Damon. We'd rather Landon and Hope stay together for now, but we have a feeling that more love triangle friction is destined.
3 Difference: More Diversity
Already in Legacies we see a greater diversity of characters due to race, gender, sexual orientation, and class. The thing that unites them all is that they are supernatural beings trying to figure out how to live in a world that fears them. The Vampire Diaries did have some diversity, but not to the large extent that we are already seeing in Legacies.
2 Similarity: Sibling Struggles
In The Vampire Diaries, the love and tension between the Salvatore brothers (Stefan and Damon) made the show. Initially, we had a contained good brother: Stefan, and a wild brother: Damon. Of course, they both become more complicated than that. However, their relationship is central to the show. We also have Elena's love for her brother, Jeremy, and Matt's grief over the loss of his sister, Vicki. However, we see the struggles presented most obviously in the Salvatore brothers.
Already in Legacies, we have three sets of siblings that demonstrate similar struggles presented in The Vampire Diaries. We have the biological Gemini twins, Lizzie and Josie. Then we have the foster brothers, Landon and Rafael. Lastly, we have the friends who regard each other as brothers, MG and Kaleb. In each of these sibling pairs, there is one sibling presented as more contained and in control, and one that is presented as the wild one.
1 Difference: Not As Developed Friends Or Friendships
In The Vampire Diaries, we had a very solid group of friends that would have done anything to protect each other. Their friendship was paramount. Stefan somewhat inherited these friends when he dated Elena, and then Damon also inherited them.
By contrast, Legacies hasn't really gotten there yet. Hope, unlike Elena, was a loner. Because she was a loner, she didn't have strong friendships with the other students. However, this was changing in Season 1, and we hope that these friendships continue to grow and develop in Season 2.