[Sophie Joaman | Contributing Writer]
When the American supernatural drama The Vampire Diaries first hit our screens way back in 2009, it was competing against an influx of dark romance films and television shows. As a loyal fan from the outset, I adamantly defended the series when people suggested that it was a mere copy of Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight. Sure, there are universal themes in both; yes, there are love triangles between human and monster. Indeed, the human female is enticed by the mysterious blood-sucking creature. However, The Vampire Diaries feels refreshingly grown-up, unique and most importantly, gripping.
Many nights have been spent catching up on the latest musings at Mystic Falls until unsociable hours; enthralled by the nail biting story-lines and the broken promise that ‘one more episode’ really meant ‘at least three more episodes before sunrise’. And with the success of The Vampire Diaries, one show was not enough for the writers at CW.
Enter Klaus, the ‘Original’ vampire/werewolf hybrid who found himself leaving the familiar realm of Mystic Falls in 2013 for a spin off series, The Originals. With the drama between the protagonists, the Salvatore brothers and Elena Gilbert wearing thin by season 6 of The Vampire Diaries, The Originals added extra zest to the popular supernatural genre of today.
In both shows, creator Julie Plec’s explicit yet fantastical use of the dark violence, that constantly lurks behind each twist and turn, gives the shows their gritty allure. These dark undertones show that they are more than just a love story between human and the Other. In many ways, the writers explore the darkness of life; from the loss of loved ones and accepting fate, to the blurring between good and evil. Characters constantly tread between the two states and therefore both shows question what it means to be truly good and truly evil. The diversity of the characters is also a significant thread between the two series. Not only do the wonderfully disturbing supernatural worlds belong to human and vampire alike, (in fact it gets harder to spot the humans as the show progresses), witches, doppelgängers, ghosts, hunters, werewolves and hybrids all find themselves living amongst each other in the modern world.
The intertwining of story-line crossovers is handled so subtly that these shows don’t have to be watched side-by-side. The clever writing almost makes The Originals a stand alone show. As The Vampire Diaries tires of its stories and character development, The Originals only seems to be escalating into a worthy series in its own right.
That being said, as The Vampire Diaries travels further into its seventh series, there is still the occasional 3am night, sat up on the edge of my seat, eyes glued to the TV. I’m left wondering what more this tiny town could possibly have going on. It just seems that finally, we have been offered a spin-off series that doesn’t need to constantly remind us that it is a product of another show. And one that may soon over-take its predecessor in the stakes for best supernatural drama.
Have you watched The Vampire Diaries or The Originals? What do you think? Tweet us @TridentMediaUK.