By Jen P
As a fan of The Vampire Diaries, even I realize the series fizzled out at the end. The final season was frustrating to watch, and I only stuck with it to see how they tied things up after 8 seasons (albeit, it sat in the DVR for about a year before I could make myself sit through it). I was already becoming disenchanted with the series by the time the first spinoff, The Originals, premiered, so I never even bothered with that one. I’ve heard good things, but I’ve been “vampired-out” for a while. So needless to say, when Legacies premiered, I rolled my eyes and moved on. But the beauty of having a streaming service like Netflix is that you get a second chance to catch some shows even before the second season debuts. I found myself bored and alone one afternoon and unable to watch any of my usual shows without causing a rift in my marriage, and here we are…
So what’s it about?
You don’t have to be a fan of The Originals or The Vampire Diaries to start Legacies, and it picks up some years after the finales of both. It follows the teenaged children of the main characters from both shows, focusing on the Vampire-Witch-Werewolf “tribrid” daughter of Klaus Mikaelson. Hope Mikaelson (Danielle Rose Russel) constantly battles her base nature in order to live a normal life amongst her schoolmates at The Salvatore School. But her classmates are no innocent darlings either. The school is like a Hogwarts or X-Mansion, but for the three main types of supernatural beings in the Vampire Diaries’ universe: vampires, werewolves, and witches. Two of those witches are the twin daughters of Alaric, Caroline, and Jo (yes, they have two mothers), who run the school like the typical mean girls you’d expect; especially considering their father is the headmaster. But the comfortable world they’ve all created becomes unbalanced with the introduction of Landon (Aria Shahghasemi), a human boy with an unnatural resistance to the vampire compulsion that would have wiped his memory of the place. Fearing exposure and the safety of his students at risk, Alaric keeps Landon at the school until they can find out if he’s supernatural or just on the vampire-resistant herb, vervain. But when Landon touches an ancient knife in the school’s library, he unleashes a host of supernatural beings that aren’t supposed to exist, starting with a fire-breathing dragon.
Why you’ll like it:
If you watched The Vampire Diaries, you’ll remember how annoyingly angsty it was. A friend of mine came over to drink and watch one night, and we decided to take a shot of Captain Morgan every time there was angst. We almost died. True story. But despite Legacies taking place at a school full of horny teenagers, the angst and romance is surprisingly low-key. The partnerships are healthier and stronger, and the characters are so much less mopey!
As you can see, The Vampire Diaries was all: Angst, Angst, Drama, Drama, Angst
Legacies is more lighthearted than its predecessors, and a lot more fun. The writers apply a campy, monster-of-the-week formula to their storytelling, and it’s a better show for it. The sense of humor sets this show apart from other supernatural shows on the air.
Remember those basic mean girls I mentioned earlier? Well, that’s where the cliches end. As with all good storytelling, there’s more than meets the eye with these and all characters in Legacies, and everyone grows through season one.
Speaking of the cast, the primary characters are admittedly white-ish, but they’re not all cisgender, and each of their inner circles is massively diverse– enough so that no one character can be considered a “token”, and everyone is fleshed out with an intriguing backstory.
Keeping up with their predecessors, the music is current and interesting, introducing the viewer to bands they may never have heard of before and a few off-album tracks from artists they’ve probably heard too many times.
And for the fans of The Originals and The Vampire Diaries, you’ll see some familiar faces in cameo appearances.
Why Legacies may not be your cup of tea:
Admittedly, Legacies is a little cheesy. Some of the lines are overdramatic and overacted. But intentional or not, it adds to the humor of the show.
Just like in The Vampire Diaries, there are too many got-damn parties at this school. Every other week they’re throwing a kegger or hosting a track meet or somebody’s having a birthday or somebody woke up and said, “Let’s throw a damn party”. Who knows the reasons, but it seems to me, a bunch of supernatural teenagers should have more important things to do than party every freaking weekend. Even normal teenagers don’t have that much time on their hands– I mean, some of them make the time, but not every freaking kid in the school! And the money that goes into these things? I don’t even want to think about it!!!
Now, I know I complained about the angst in the Vampire Diaries, but I have to admit, the romance was better if that’s what you’re here for. Legacies’ OTP is precious, but they don’t have that same fire that Damon/Elena/Stephan had.
Why the hell didn’t we see Caroline this season? As the twins’ surrogate mother/adoptive mother and co-founder of the school, we should have seen her at least once; but though the story gives reason for her absence, I was disappointed Candice King didn’t appear for a quick cameo.
All in all, I give the show a solid 3 shields.
I finished season 1 over a week ago, and though I’m aware of its flaws, I keep thinking about the finale and what’s in store for next season. If you have Netflix, give Legacies a shot and let me know what you think of it in the comments below.