After years of being a sillier, stranger cousin to its predecessors, Legacies finally feels like The Vampire Diaries and The Originals in season 4 and the tonal switch will be enough to save the ailing series. Legacies debuted in 2018, and The Originals spinoff soon divided fans of the earlier series. Both The Originals and its predecessor The Vampire Diaries were darker, more self-serious supernatural soaps than Legacies, which used its high-schools setting to take a lighter look at the world of vampires, werewolves, and witches.
Within its first season, Legacies had brought golems, Krampus, zombies, and phoenixes into The Vampire Diaries universe and there was no faulting the spinoff for ambition. However, the campy humor of Legacies was not found in The Vampire Diaries or The Originals and not every fan of the earlier shows was fond of the sillier side of the new series. Compounding this issue was the fact that Legacies suffered from a myopic focus on its central couple, Hope Mikaelson and Landon Kirby.Despite Legacies boasting an impressive, diverse cast, every major plotline eventually led back to Hope and Landon and their “will they won’t they” romance, earning the ire of The Vampire Diaries franchise fans. However, in recent episodes, the spinoff has gone from being a repetitive, messy show to suddenly fitting in with the rest of The Vampire Diaries universe tonally. Legacies season 4 remembered what made The Vampire Diaries vampires interesting then built from there, turning the previously harmless Hope into a murderous anti heroine and finally killing off Landon for good seemingly. In contrast, by trying so hard to differentiate the second spinoff from The Vampire Diaries and The Originals, earlier seasons of Legacies ironically ended up getting too far away from the world of the earlier shows and losing their identity.
Hope Legacies Klaus The originals Damon Vampire Diaries
By early season 4, Legacies was a goofy, self-aware fantasy soap with few serious plot lines and almost no stakes. While characters did die on occasion, they were always liable to come back via some form of resurrection, and while relationships began and ended, their stakes were never as tragic or dramatic as those found in The Vampire Diaries and The Originals. However, after Landon’s many Legacies fake-out deaths, the show’s choice to finally kill off the character for good and immediately follow this death with Hope’s villainous turn signified a meaningful tonal transition into a darker sort of series, closer to both The Vampire Diaries and The Originals.As a spinoff of a spinoff, it is understandable that earlier installments of Legacies were eager to develop an identity that was not reliant on fan nostalgia for the other shows in the franchise. That said, Legacies is still a continuation of The Vampire Diaries universe, and by late season 3, the series seemed to have lost that thread when it came to tone. Outings like Legacies’ playful Midsommar spoof were fun but had none of the tension, tragedy, and character drama that made The Vampire Diaries and The Originals compelling. This, however, is something that Legacies has brought back in spades since season 4 began. Thus, returning to the tone of The Vampire Diaries and The Originals could save Legacies and let the spinoff win over fans of both earlier hits.