The early renewal of The Vampire Diaries and The Originals on the CW has proven one important fact: the vampire genre is still alive, even though the vampire brands out there in the media suggest the genre is buried 6 feet deep in failed shows and movies.
For a short while it was believed that The Vampire Diaries wouldn’t be renewed and that we were watching the last season of the show. Nina Dobrev’s exit from the show caused a backlash from fans. Dobrev’s decision to leave was also laced with rumors connecting her departure with the off-screen breakup with cast mate Ian Somerhalder.
The actress's camp denies rumors that Nina was so upset with Somerhalder's decision to marry Nikki Reed (Sleepy Hollow) that she couldn’t stand being on the set with her ex. CW's Julie Plec told EW that she left the door wide open for Nina Dobrev to return if this were the last season of the show.
“Nina has always said that if there’s something for her to do in the series finale that she will be there to do it. When she left, she said, ‘I want to see this character to its end at the end of the show, so I can’t wait to come back and put her to bed again.’”
Dobrev’s character, Elena Gilbert, is still alive in the show, but in a coma-like state as she shares her life-force with best friend and witch Bonnie Bennett (Kat Graham).
Dobrev’s departure, however, did not hamper the fans' desire to keep tuning in as Stefan and Damon Salvatore’s love/hate relationship as brothers took center stage. The brothers enjoy a chemistry that encompasses two sides of the same coin. Stefan (Paul Wesley), the good natured soul who would rather spend eternity embraced in the loving arms of girlfriend Caroline (Candice Accola) and Damon, who is more of a blood-sucking rock star who enjoys walking on the dark side every now and then with the witch Bonnie Bennett. It is important to note that Damon suffered personally from the loss of his love Elena, who gave him the blessing of moving on with his life rather than waiting for her resurrection when Bonnie Bennett meets her natural death (hopefully).
Family means everything in The Vampire Diaries, but it has an even deeper meaning for The Originals. The first family of immortals has enjoyed a roller coaster of a ride, with constant deaths, resurrections, and twists and turns with allies and foes alike. The surviving Mikaelsons — Niklaus, Elijah, Rebecca, Freya, and the recently returned from the dead Kol — have endured a cauldron flavored with death as they combat powerful witchcraft, ancient enemies, restless allies, and the politics that come with running the French Quarter.
It is also important to mention that the show is beautifully crafted with an air of Anne Rice’s style. The scenes of Mardi Gras-like celebrations, the wilds of the bayou, the old cemeteries, and the small Gothic boutiques that line the French Quarter play out against a soundtrack of good ol' New Orleans jazz.
The Originals, a spin-off of The Vampire Diaries, also incorporates a type of supernatural being often frowned upon by true vampire enthusiasts as main story characters: Niklaus (Joseph Morgan) and Haylie (Phoebe Tonkin) are both hybrid vampire and werewolf supernaturals. Although the movie franchise The Underworld has played with this concept, using a more beastly and horror-inspired design, The Originals chose to maintain the elegance of the vampire with a slight whiff of savage. We sometimes see this side when Niklaus and Haylie tap into their werewolf side. It’s this concept that make these characters truly formidable against whatever is thrown at them.
The gem of these shows has to be Elijah Mikaelson. Played flawlessly by Daniel Gillies, Elijah incorporates the class, gravity, and feel that truly represents what a successful vampire should be. Wearing finely tailored suits, shoes with a proper shine, and always groomed to the nines, Elijah steals the scene whenever he makes an entrance. The writers of the show also graced us with storylines delivered through beautiful language spoken gracefully by the cast. Where The Vampire Diaries is more geared toward a fan base that’s more “young adult,” The Originals caters to a sophisticated viewership, allowing fans to fully immerse themselves in the universe. Both are well done, and both are worth watching.
So, bravo to the CW for renewing The Vampire Diaries and The Originals. They're keeping the vampire genre cup filled with eager fans ready for the next story. Until next time my friends!