“The Originals”: The Complete First Season might not be the most refreshing new series or anything but as far as spin-offs go, especially to a series like “The Vampire Diaries” which is (to me) on the decline in quality, it’s a successful launch. The ensemble cast, even outside the holdovers, are all great and the storylines are just interesting enough to keep one’s attention throughout the season.
“The Originals”: The Complete First Season
Genre(s): Drama, Fantasy, Horror
Warner Bros. | NR – 929 min. – $69.97 | September 2, 2014
THE MOVIE – 3.75/5
Season Overview (from back cover): This sexy and spellbinding new series centers on the Original vampire family and the dangerous vampire/werewolf hybrid, Niklaus “Klaus” Mikaelson (JOSEPH MORGAN), who, along with his siblings Elijah (DANIEL GILLIES) and Rebekah (CLAIRE HOLT), helped build New Orleans’ French Quarter, only to be exiled a century ago. But a coven of witches desperate to reclaim its power lures the Mikaelsons back to their ancestral home, where the charismatic and diabolical vampire Marcel (CHARLES MICHAEL DAVIS) – Klaus’ former protégé – rules with his vampire army. The Originals bring along caskets full of revenge, unrequited love and not-so-secret plans to reclaim the heart and soul of this thriving city, and a long-smoldering war between vampires, witches, wolves and humans soon erupts. Blood ties are strong, but the lust for power – and revenge – may prove stronger.
Quick Hit Review: While parent series “The Vampire Diaries” flounders with more and more soapy storylines and the same old back-and-forth character plots, this new spin-off “The Originals” is a well made and, pardon the pun, compelling fantasy-drama has some great characters (new and old) and most of all, the return of our favorite anti-hero, Klaus whose appearance in “TVD” was sorely missed. Alongside Klaus and sister Rebekah (actress Claire Holt would eventually leave after the season), Daniel Gillies as older brother Elijah gets an upgrade after some guest appearances on “Diaries” and actually is more or less the star.
All things considered, the freshman season of “The Originals” is quite successful with not only transitioning established characters but also presenting news ones who have shades of gray to their personalities, no one entirely good or evil. But the strength of the series lies with Joseph Morgan and to some extent Claire Holt, so it will be interesting to see where it goes with her (surprising) absence.
- Always and Forever
- House of the Rising Son
- Tangled Up in Blue
- Girl in New Orleans
- Sinners and Saints
- Fruit of the Poisoned Tree
- The River in Reverse
- Reigning Pain in New Orleans
- The Casket Girls
- Apres Moi, le Deluge
- Dance Back from the Grave
- Crescent City
- Long Way Back from Hell
- Le Grand Guignol
- Farewell to Storyville
- Moon Over Bourbon Street
- The Big Uneasy
- An Unblinking Death
- A Closer Walk with Thee
- The Battle of New Orleans
- 22. From a Cradle to a Grave
SPECIAL FEATURES – 4.0/5
The 9-disc set (4 BDs, 5 DVDs) comes housed in an extra-wide Blu-ray keep case. Inside is not only the redemption code for the Digital Copy but an episode guide as well.
Episode Commentary on ‘Always and Forver’ (Pilot) with Creator Julie Plec and Director Chris Grismer
2013 Comic Con Panel (29:21; HD) is a Q&A session with the cast and crew on the new series with fans cheering in the audience at any little tid-bit.
The Originals: Origins (13:24; HD) – Creator Julie Plec leads the audience on a journey of creating the series and continuing through to the production of the pilot in New Orleans.
The Original Vampires: A Bite-sized Backstory (5:33; HD) – A dynamic and stylized montage featuring key storylines and scenes of the Original family. This includes scenes from “The Vampire Diaries” to recount the history of the Originals.
The Originals: Re-Mixing History (9:32; HD) – The writers of the show describe how they were able to blend fact with fiction, generating strong roots in New Orleans for the Mikaelson family.
“The Originals” Panel at PaleyFest 2014 (29:49; HD) – The cast and producers discuss the creative process with this highlight reel from PaleyFest.
Unaired Scenes (42:27; HD) on ‘Always and Forever,’ ‘House of the Rising Son,’ ‘Girl in New Orleans,’ ‘Fruit of the Poisoned Tree,’ ‘Bloodletting,’ ‘The River in Reverse,’ ‘Dance Back from the Grave,’ ‘Long Way Back from Hell,’ ‘Farewell to Storyville,’ ‘The Big Uneasy,’ ‘A Closer Walk with Thee,’ ‘The Battle of New Orleans,’ ‘From a Cradle to a Grave’
VIDEO – 4.25/5
“The Originals”: The Complete First Season arrives on Blu-ray presented in its original televised 1.78 widescreen aspect ratio and a 1080p high-definition transfer. Colors appear to be vibrant in keeping with the New Orleans setting and the numerous nighttime scenes are stark and show no major signs of artifacts or pixilation. Detail levels are also sharp showing off each pore on the faces in the close-up shots.
AUDIO – 4.0/5
The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track isn’t exactly robust given the show itself is more dialogue-driven than anything action-oriented. Even so, it’s a fine lossless track where dialogue levels are nice and clear while background elements are a bit soft mostly sticking through the rear channels.
OVERALL – 4.0/5
Overall, “The Originals”: The Complete First Season might not be the most refreshing new series or anything but as far as spin-offs go, especially to a series like “The Vampire Diaries” which is (to me) on the decline in quality, it’s a successful launch. The ensemble cast, even outside the holdovers, are all great and the storylines are just interesting enough to keep one’s attention throughout the season. The Blu-ray released by Warner Brothers has some good selection of bonus features and the video and audio transfers are both above average.