3:30 pm EDT, October 17, 2018

‘Legacies’ breathes new life into a familiar, beloved world (Spoiler free review)

Bottom line: You should watch Legacies. It’s different from its predecessors, but that’s exactly why you should give the newest TVD-universe spinoff a chance.

I’m not gonna lie, I had my reservations about Legacies. I was equal parts hopeful and skeptical about how this show was going to honor the legacy of the series that came before it. The Vampire Diaries and The Originals laid a rich history for this show to build on, and it seemed like a huge pair of shoes to fill… but Legacies is up for the challenge.

Let’s start with the bedrock of this show: Hope Mikaelson. While we may not have all loved the way The Originals ended, we can pretty much all agree that Hope was the one who lost the most. She lost both her parents and a beloved uncle just as she entered her teen years, not to mention losing any hope of growing up in a close, loving family. She may still have some uncles, aunts, and pack members in her life (which have yet to be seen on Legacies), but that just doesn’t compare to having her parents by her side. Now, Hope has to find a way to go on with her life alone.

When Legacies begins, we quickly learn that Alaric Saltzman is Hope’s closest “friend” and that is only because he forces her to do more than attend her classes and lock herself in her room. She doesn’t trust easily and has isolated herself from as many people as possible, including Alaric’s teen daughters, Lizzie and Josie. She firmly believes that people who get close to her die, so she’s not taking any chances.

Her parents’ sacrifices may have been noble, but it has had a lasting effect on Hope. As the series progresses, hopefully we will see her start to understand that those sacrifices do not define how she should relate to the world, and she goes on to live a life full of connection and love.

We should also take a second to be thankful that Matt Davis, our beloved Alaric Saltzman, was ready to take on this role full time again. This pilot wouldn’t be what it is without Alaric. His presence lends gravitas to the whole idea, and it’s necessary to keep it from becoming just another teen drama.

Most teen dramas have adults around, but rarely do they have an adult that the viewers have bonded with so thoroughly. Alaric is respected. He is the most tangible connection we have to all the stories and events of the past, so his presence reminds us that this new show isn’t going to forget where it came from. Instead, Legacies wants to build on a firm foundation, honoring the legacy of incredible characters like Klaus Mikaelson, Damon Salvatore, Katherine Pierce, and so, SO many more.

I love how Legacies is handling its teenagers. They are real people, not caricatures of what teens might be like. We’ve got a mean girl who really isn’t all that mean. The quiet, soft spoken girl who definitely has a lot to say. There are no populars, nerds, jocks, and band geeks here. As the Saltzman twins told the school’s newest recruit in this episode, the Salvatore Boarding School for the Young and Gifted preaches acceptance, tolerance, and self-control.

Everyone is responsible for learning how to control their gifts, powers, curses, etc., and there are oodles of people eager to help them on their way. While some groups may bond because of their similarities (e.g. werewolves tend to think like packs), it really does seem that everyone is open to making friends across supernatural lines, which is awesome.

Equally awesome is the casual way in which the sexualities of these teenagers are introduced. There is no flashing neon sign labeling one character bisexual, another gay, another straight. Instead, we learn that these teens have grown up in a world where sexuality is more than binary. Some characters may feel like they have a more permanent label that they feel applies to them, which is wonderful, while others may find themselves attracted in more fluid ways, which is equally amazing. It isn’t the focus of the premiere, but as we are entering a world full of teenage characters just beginning their romantic lives, it is undoubtedly an important component of this world, and more importantly, this show.

The pilot episode sets up an intriguing mystery for the first season. I have a feeling that Legacies is going to keep us on our toes for a while. We think we know everything about this world, but as has been proven time and time again on The Vampire Diaries and The Originals, there are always new threats, new challenges, and new opportunities for supernatural beings to prove how dedicated they are to holding on to their humanity.

I can’t wait to see what Julie Plec and company have in store for us this season, and hopefully for many to come. Not to mention I want to see how many references I can catch in every episode.

Legacies premieres Thursday, October 25 at 9 PM ET on The CW.

Our Score

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