TV Report Card | 'The Originals' Season 1A Review

Overview: Klaus (Joseph Morgan) moved to New Orleans to reclaim his throne from ex-acolyte, Marcel (Charles Michael Davis). His siblings, Elijah (Daniel Gillies) and Rebekah (Claire Holt) followed suit and all had to deal with threats from the local coven of witches who tried to kill, Hayley (Phoebe Tonkin), the mother of Klaus’ baby.

Storyline Direction Pros: The season has improved as it continues; a good sign for any freshman series. Elijah has become a more prominent character and his particular brand of restrained ferocity is a refreshing presence to have. The nascent romance between him and Hayley has developed nicely, throughout the season.

The writers are giving it enough room to develop in a natural fashion. Devina (Danielle Campbell), the teenage witch and secret weapon of Marcel, offers a compelling mix of innocent heroine and precocious urchin, remaining likable for the most part. 

The battle between Marcel and Klaus has had its moments of taut intrigue. Bartender/waitress Cammy (Leah Pipes) has been a more wholesome and purely likable character, than most of these genre series allow. Her struggles with nurture vs. nature and her fear that she might be suffering from the mental illness, believed to be the cause of her brother’s violent outburst, has brought something tangibly human to the series.

Storyline Direction Cons: The family element that composes the central nucleus of the series is still, off kilter. The bond between the Mikaelsons; feels forced and lacks organic fuel. Marcel and Klaus’ relationship is another relationship that lacks cohesion. Klaus, the cruel nihilist that we are (not?) supposed to be rooting for went from all out, hating his former protégé to desiring a rekindling of their lost affection.

For a character that cannot demonstrate a mustard seed of forgiveness or caring for anyone else, the reasoning behind his love for Marcel seems, out of character. Their bromance has reached epic proportions and while, Klaus self-loathingly adores Marcel, he isn’t so inclined. How can viewers feel any differently? The character is beyond irredeemable and yet, most of the characters feel a resistant affection for this misanthrope.

Rebekah and Elijah were both tongue lashed because of their “cruel” treatment of Klaus, a sentiment the show uses as its crux to justify the continued turning of heads, when he misbehaves. The big reveal was that ages ago, Klaus had been tied to a tree by Elijah, to prevent him from killing more people in the onslaught of his werewolf awakening.

Mustering that as their motivation behind always cutting Klaus a break, was weak. He has done much worse since and this event seemed a trivial reason as to why, he is so evil.

Klaus is a villain, the series presenting him as a misunderstood anti-hero is pushing even the generously, lackadaisical black hole of morality that is “The Vampire Diaries” standard op. Speaking of TVD, Tyler is the character, who is the least threatening presence that could have converged on the series with his agenda. After watching him fail to do anything for three seasons, it seems impossible that he would succeed on Klaus’ home turf.

Production Caliber: New Orleans comes across lively and with an air of jazzy cool. The sets are warm and inviting, offering an interesting juxtaposition to the often cold exploits of its characters.

Performance Quality: David Gillies (Elijah) continues to be the linchpin that holds the ensemble together. Phoebe Tonkin (Hayley) has developed her spark further on the series. Leah Pipes has had highly impressive, emotive moments as the besieged, Camille “Cammy”. Claire Holt (Rebekah), Charles Michael Davis (Marcel) and Danielle Campbell (Davina) adequately round out the cast.

Musical Score: The series had quite a few robust, musical moments. One that especially stood out was “Promises” by The Boxer Rebellion. 

Overall Grade: B, the series is finding its footing as more than a spin-off to predecessor, “The Vampire Diaries”, by carving out a dynamic mythos for itself.

[Image by The CW]