Pro and Con: ‘The Vampire Diaries’ spinoff
News broke on Friday afternoon about a backdoor pilot for a possible spinoff for ‘The Vampire Diaries’. It would center around Klaus and his Original brethren. Initially I was excited about the prospect of an Originals-based spinoff. Hell, I’d been clamouring for one last season, but after some thorough thinking and something that may or may not resemble Rory Gilmore’s pro and con list, I’ve decided that it might not be the right time for such an endeavor.
In theory, a spinoff is a genuinely smart idea. ‘The Vampire Diaries’ is the most watched show on The CW. The show’s fans are loyal to the point of possible clinical insanity (myself included). And the Originals are compelling and interesting characters. But where this idea might fall apart is in execution.
Klaus is a great character, and if you need reminding of how great Joseph Morgan is on the show, re-watch the Christmas episode in which he slaughters the hybrids while Christmas music plays. And don’t forget that final scene with Mayor Lockwood. Klaus is the kind of character that demands your attention. When he’s on screen your eyes go to him and what he’s doing, so I can understand why the powers that be would think he’d be a great character to spin off. Personally, I enjoy the heck out of Klaus and enjoy the heck out of him menacing Mystic Falls, I’m just not sure how well Klaus and the Originals would work outside of the Mystic Falls town lines.
So much about what makes the Originals so interesting is their interactions with our heroine and the Salvatore brothers and their agenda. Transplanting the Originals to New Orleans would take away those struggles and arguments and constant battling of good versus evil and misunderstood. It would make the show unbalanced.
If this idea had been brought forth last season, before Elena had transitioned and before the vampire hunter storylines, I think I’d have been more enthusiastic. As it stands, the Originals have become part of Mystic Falls and part of the show’s history. Is Klaus’ time as the big bad coming to an end? Perhaps. With the show constantly hinting at Silas and his inevitable appearance, I think it’s safe to say Klaus isn’t the going to be the scariest thing in Mystic Falls pretty soon. But I don’t think that necessarily means he needs a spinoff or that he can anchor one. What would be the hook? What would make viewers want to tune in week after week? Is there enough meat to him to make him a lead character? How would viewers empathize with a villainous lead character? And most importantly, would it air on the same night as ‘The Vampire Diaries’? (And if Klaus leaves, how will my dream of Klaus and Stefan opening up a cafe ever be realized?)
Inevitably I have to compare this to ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ and ‘Angel’. This is an example of a spinoff that worked. And it worked for several reasons, the first being that Angel’s presence on the show was obviously becoming harder and harder to rationalize. Buffy and Angel’s epic love story was doomed and the writers had written themselves into a very tight corner.
In the second season, Buffy and Angel sleep together and Angel experiences a moment of true happiness at which point he loses his soul and once again becomes the monster Angelus. In the season two finale Buffy runs Angel through with a sword and sends him to hell right as Willow returns his soul. He returns from hell in the third season, but it’s rather obvious that his time on the show is limited. After you send your true love to hell, I think there’s only so much you can do. And the entire third season seemed to be a farewell as Buffy and Angel realized no matter what they did they’d never be able to be truly happy together. The third season was Angel’s swan song and when he left for Los Angeles after the battle with the Mayor, it made complete sense. And it helped that Cordelia (and eventually Wesley Wyndam-Pryce, rogue demon hunter) went along for the ride.
As it stands, I don’t think Klaus as a character is at the same crossroads that Angel was. The writers have made no indication that Klaus isn’t able to sustain a natural existence in Mystic Falls. It looked as if he was going soft there for a bit with his crush on Caroline, but the Christmas episode reaffirmed what we already knew: Klaus is an evil son of a bitch who should not be messed with. If anything, that episode made me love him more and made me more attached to his character and how he interacts with the inhabitants of Mystic Falls. Now, this doesn’t mean that I don’t see him taking off and leaving the town behind for a bit (it must be noted that if he does leave, this opens the door for Katherine’s return, as it’s been stated she won’t come back as long as Klaus is around), just that I don’t see him leaving for his own show.
And there also seems to be a lot of unanswered questions surrounding the spinoff. Aside from Phoebe Tonkin, who plays werewolf Hayley, there is no mention of whom else might be following Klaus to New Orleans. The show is tentatively called ‘The Originals’ (and that would have to change if the show was picked up because that is just terrible) but there’s no mention of whether or not Rebekah would follow her brother across the country. And I’m inclined to believe she wouldn’t, not after the way he’s treated her this season and last. And what about Elijah? Would he take his fabulous hair and perfect everything to New Orleans? And what the hell is Kol doing these days? All of these are questions that I need answered before I can sign off on the show. There are just too many things left in the air right now.
Note: Photo courtesy of The CW.