‘Vampire Diaries’: Legacies of the original teen vampires


Image Courtesy of Alloy Entertainment

“The Originals” follows three of the original vampire family, including Elijah Mikaelson, pictured here. The show is incredibly well-written, and has brilliant plot and cliff hangers.

Grace Sharma, Staff Writer

At a total of 3 shows, 13 years, and 328 episodes, the universe of the “Vampire Diaries” will come to an end on June 16, 2022. “Legacies,” the third spin-off of the hit show “Vampire Diaries,” was canceled midway through the airing of its fourth season on the CW Television Network.

This television universe was based on a book series written by L.J. Smith, first published in 1991. Season one of “Vampire Diaries” was released in 2013, during the midst of the paranormal romance spike in Young Adult (YA) marketing. 

“Vampire Diaries” follows Elena Gilbert, a teenager who recently experienced the loss of her parents and has to return to school the following year. There, she meets Stefan Salvatore, an ancient vampire living the life of a teenager. Mysterious, kind, and smart, Elena quickly falls for Stefan and the two develop a relationship, not before Damon Salvatore, Stefan’s brother, enters the scene. As Stefan’s exact opposite, Damon is cruel, snarky, and violent. The two compete for Elena’s affection as paranormal dangers of all kinds are introduced throughout the series. 

With a love triangle, comically innocent protagonist, and ancient love interests, “Vampire Diaries” is not unlike its popular vampire counterparts, including “Twilight” (2008), “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” (1997), and “Vampire Academy” (2014). What sets this universe of series apart, however, is its well-developed plot, characters, and ever-expanding universe. Yes, the first show focuses on the relationships between Elena and the two Salvatore brothers, but the plot and world-building don’t fall second. 

Throughout all eight seasons of “Vampire Diaries,” we see new layers of characters revealed, and while Elena’s love life is the center of the story, the plot doesn’t solely consist of a love triangle and miscommunication tropes. The show deals with themes of survival, family, and persistence in the face of life-or-death struggles. 

But it doesn’t end there. 

The universe that is the “Vampire Diaries” expands even further with its sequel, “The Originals,” following the Original vampire family—Elijah, Klaus, and Rebekah Mikaelson—as they try to take over their stolen city, New Orleans, and protect the miracle of a child that Klaus had with a werewolf named Haley. 

“The Originals” expands beyond everything expected of a YA novel adaptation. It delves into themes of familial bond, trust, and finding hope in a world without any. We follow characters with many facets and an intricate plot with details, twists, and enough cliffhangers that will leave you binging the show for an unhealthy number of hours at a time. “The Originals” remains my favorite show of the “Vampire Diaries” universe because it picked up from the start of season one with realistic motivation—despite being a show about vampires and witches—and loveable characters every viewer roots for. 

Lastly, the third sequel is “Legacies,” which follows Hope Mikaelson, Klaus and Hayley’s miracle child who is the first tribrid (a werewolf, vampire, and witch) with immense power. While this series started off with much potential, it fell into the trap of focusing her entire life on a single boy, Landon, and immensely disappointed me. However, the first half of the fourth season picks up and shifts the focus of “Legacies” to Hope’s powers, not the teenage boy she got rejected by.

Overall, “Vampire Diaries” and “The Originals” are perfect examples of well-made television adaptations, and are proof that it is possible to create an adaptation of a novel that not only lives up to expectations, but greatly exceeds them.