Last year when The Vampire Diaries debuted the planted pilot for The Originals spin off, I got really excited: the show felt more mature, more adult, more sophisticated than it’s parent show. This to me was good news because True Blood will be leaving us soon, and being on at Fridays at 10 on NBC, the prospects for Dracula lasting even a half-season seem on the slim side at the moment. We need another more adult-oriented show and this should be it.
So now we have the official pilot. Does it live up to my expectations? Sorta.
Plec and her team were given the unenviable of having to make a new pilot by the network. It also felt that those orders included making sure to give viewers who might be new to the Vampire Diaries universe a primer so they aren’t completely lost. They accomplished this by retooling the planted pilot and telling it from Elijah’s perspective. All told we maybe got a 60/40 mix of recycled (from the planted pilot and from flashbacks first shown on TVD) and new material.
Did it work? Sorta.
There were some fantastic new scenes here – the opening flashback really evoked Interview with the Vampire from its set decorations to Klaus’s dress and mannerisms (he was completely and totally rocking a Tom Cruise Lestat in that scene) and there was a fight between Elijah and Klaus towards the end that was great fun to watch. We also got some expanded insight into the events that occurred in the planted pilot which was interesting.
Unfortunately the new scenes came at the expense of the flow of the entire episode. The pacing seemed off. Scenes felt less like natural transitions from each other and more almost like some kind of recap/clip show because they were never quite smooth enough. In a sense the audience member who had seen the planted pilot could see the seems. Obvious dubbing where the volume of the narration was also jarring which pulled me out.
I think Plec did a good job with what she had to work with (and mind everyone, due to Daniel Gillies other commitments, his availability to film at the beginning was limited) and the end scene was a great ending. I’m excited to see what the show will be able to do now that it’s taken care of business so to speak.
I still prefer the original pilot (even if it did have TVD material shoe-horned in to fit in with the series) but this was a very solid effort none-the-less.