‘The Vampire Diaries’ ending could be what saves ‘The Originals’

‘The Vampire Diaries’ ending could be what saves ‘The Originals’
‘Vampire Diaries’ actress Candice King Annette Brown/CW
‘Vampire Diaries’ actress Candice King Annette Brown/CW
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The Originals, like many characters that have appeared on the show, was on the brink of death. The CW series, a spinoff of the network’s successful supernatural drama The Vampire Diaries, made it four seasons before it looked to be on the verge of cancelation back in May. A future for the Mikaelson family looked grim — but then, miraculously enough, the show was renewed for a fifth season in May. Now, it’s been announced that Vampire Diaries alum Candice King will be reprising her role as Caroline Forbes-Salvatore for the season-five premiere of The Originals.

Will King become a series regular on the show? That remains to be seen, but her move to The Originals was somewhat hinted at in the March series finale of The Vampire Diaries. At that point, the spinoff series had yet to be renewed, but a moment in that last episode gave hope to fans that they wouldn’t be saying goodbye to Mystic Falls forever. Caroline, after opening up the Salvatore School for the Young and Gifted with her ex Alaric, received a letter from former love and original hybrid-vampire Klaus:

“I have often imagined the paths your life might take, but your chosen future is more noble than I ever fathomed. Please accept this contribution to your virtuous cause. I do look forward to thanking you in person, someday ...”

The scene featuring Klaus’ letter was short and tucked in at the end of the finale, but it may have saved The Originals. With a time jump coming in the upcoming premiere, the Klaus and Caroline moment opens up a door for the series to explore more of Mystic Falls.

Damon says goodbye in ‘The Vampire Diaries’ series finale. Bob Mahoney/CW

The Vampire Diaries was at one point a ratings goldmine for the CW. The pilot episode in 2009 raked in 4.91 million live viewers, the highest series premiere ratings for the network at the time. But the series couldn’t maintain those numbers. By the time lead actress Nina Dobrev exited at the end of season six, the show was averaging 1.54 million viewers. Season seven continued to dip, and the show ultimately traded its coveted Thursday night time slot for Friday night. The eighth and final season concluded with 1.148 million viewers tuning in for the finale, which was the most viewers they had all season.

While the numbers at the end may not have been impressive compared to their earlier episodes, the final season was arguably one of the best, even securing a 100% score on Rotten Tomatoes. And it’s that final season that may have breathed new life into The Originals.

Klaus Mikaelson in ‘The Originals’ series premiere Annette Brown/CW

The spinoff premiered in 2013 to 2.2 million viewers and introduced a deeper, darker side of vampirism. Set in New Orleans, the show explored the inner workings of the Mikaelson family — the first vampires — as they faced new enemies and welcomed a magical daughter to their brood. But the storylines got confusing, and while the series did develop a dedicated fanbase, they didn’t have the same number of viewers tuning in every week as their sister series. The network ordered fewer episodes for the fourth season, which averaged 0.940 million viewers.

While The Originals didn’t end this most recent season on a strong note, the time jump gives the upcoming series a chance to reconnect with The Vampire Diaries and the Mystic Falls fandom. Hope, the daughter of Klaus and Hayley, will be portrayed by 17-year-old actress Danielle Rose Russell in the fifth season, and be enrolled at the Salvatore School for the Young and Gifted.

It’s not clear if other Vampire Diaries stars Matthew Davis or Steven R. McQueen, whose characters were working at the school in the finale, will be reprising their roles, but The Originals has the opportunity to throw in Easter eggs and references to past storylines and characters. There’s also a chance for the show to incorporate the offspring of other supernatural beings — like Alaric and Caroline’s magical twin daughters.

The Originals needed to take their own path at the beginning, but with The Vampire Diaries off the air, the show has a rare opportunity to hit the reset button and further explore the supernatural history of Mystic Falls.

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