The Originals is not the first television spinoff, nor will it be the last; however, this new series developed and produced by Julie Plec (The Vampire Diaries) could be one of the much better ones ever made. The New Orleans based drama brings together a diverse array of new characters, as well as some old favorites that will keep veterans, and newcomers alike thoroughly entertained.
With The Vampire Diaries being one of The CW's most watched programs, it seems like an obvious choice to expand the brand that some have called superior to HBO's hit show, True Blood. Like its sister series, The Originals delivers the same quality performances, laced with an abundance of new mythology and drama to keep us guessing. The only question left concerns longevity. Will Plec's new show be able to stand the test of time as its predecessor has done?
'Always and Forever' opens with the melodic voice of Elijah (Daniel Gillies) describing the importance of family, and how it can be the most positive, or destructive force in one's life. The original vampires are over 1,000 years-old, so it seems fitting to give the cast a Dracula-esque entrance as we see their boat drift ashore near the Louisiana coastline 300 years ago.
The writers do an excellent job of introducing the three leads for those who are unfamiliar with the franchise. Elijah is always the gentleman, while Klaus (Joseph Morgan) remains the petulant child who never felt like he fit in. Rebekah, who is played by the gorgeous Claire Holt, is sort of a mixture of each brother. There are moments when she can be kind and gentle, yet her emotions can change to wrath and hatred at any given time. More than Klaus, she is the most unpredictable of the siblings.
One of the core strengths of The Vampire Diaries is the importance it places on family. Stefan (Paul Wesley) and Damon (Ian Somerhalder) are brothers that share an unbreakable bond, even when both men are at their worst. The Originals brings that theme to the premiere, with Elijah having a complicated relationship with his half-brother, just like Thor and Loki from The Avengers movie. It doesn't matter how many times Klaus betrays him, Elijah's love and hope for his family is unwavering. Will Klaus' betrayal at the end of this episode be forgiven if Elijah ever wakes up?
A show linked to The Vampire Diaries would be nothing without a heightened sense of mystery to keep the story moving. Klaus' one-night-stand with the stunningly attractive werewolf, Hayley (Phoebe Tonkin), has produced the first pregnancy between a vampire and a mortal. Well, Klaus is technically a hybrid (half vampire, half werewolf), but it's still pretty significant. Having a new child should be a relatively easy task, but a charismatic vampire named Marcel (Charles Michael Davis) has control of the witches in New Orleans. These witches need Klaus to kill Marcel, but we're still not sure why.
Towards the end of the episode we are introduced to Devina (Danielle Campbell), who appears to be behind Marcel's power over the witches, but how? Davis brings a great deal of charm to The Originals as Marcel, which is needed to balance out Klaus' constant brooding and pouting. Klaus created Marcel, yet his creation has bettered him and possesses everything Klaus lacks. How will their relationship develop as the season progresses?
'Always and Forever' ends much like it began, with Elijah speaking about the powerful bond between families. While he and his brother Klaus share different opinions on the subject, where does that leave Rebekah? Will she help Klaus kill Marcel, or allow him to become the lone wolf he's always desired to be? Stay tuned to find out.
The Originals continues with 'House of the Rising Sun' next Tuesday @8pm on The CW.