1. Put Elijah front and center.
Daniel Gillies has been confirmed as one of The Originals’ three leads, which is a huge relief to Elijah fans worried their favorite Original might get the short end of the stake. But Elijah is going to be sharing time with Klaus and Hayley, two characters who are, well, a little more in-your-face. It’s important for the spin-off’s writers to work with Elijah’s more subtle persona — his moral ambiguity and internal conflict could make for great TV.
2. Tread carefully when it comes to the redemption of Klaus.
Will The Originals even concern itself with redeeming Klaus? That remains to be seen. But given The Vampire Diaries repeated attempts to give him a little sympathy, it’s likely he’ll be further humanized as the lead of his own series. That’s fine, to some extent, but take it slow — remember that Klaus killed Tyler’s mom like five minutes ago. If The Originals wants us to care about Klaus, it’s going to need to be a drawn-out rehabilitation process. Or just keep him bad: we like that, too.
3. Don’t be afraid to get silly.
By which I mean, embrace the bad hair, because seriously, it’s the worst. But no, this applies to more than just flashback wigs. If I could offer The CW one major suggestion it would be to lighten up. Too many of these shows are afraid to commit to camp and instead get stuck taking themselves way too seriously. Learn from ABC Family’s example and live a little. If The Originals is going to give us more medieval flashbacks, get a little Army of Darkness with it.
4. Let Rebekah make appearances.
I don’t think The Originals should rely too heavily on big crossover events. At the same time, a show about this dysfunctional vampire family is not going to work if Rebekah can’t pop up from time to time. I’m guessing she’s staying put on The Vampire Diaries — unless of course they kill her off, which they wouldn’t dare. If she has to be limited to the occasional drop-in on The Originals, fine. Just don’t part her from her siblings for good.
5. Showcase New Orleans, both past and present.
When filming in a city like New Orleans, you have to make sure you’re not just using it as a backdrop. The Vampire Diaries episode “We’ll Always Have Bourbon Street” should serve as a template (and I’m assuming it will) for making New Orleans a character. Best of all, The Originals can use flashbacks to give us a sense of the city at a different time, which is what we saw in the TVD episode. Don’t let us down, Julie Plec: we live for your flashbacks.
6. Let Phoebe Tonkin use her natural accent.
Or get her a better dialect coach. She’s a great performer and a valuable addition to the series: I think she can bring something very unique to The Originals. But my God is her accent distracting. This may seem like a minor point, but with an actor as dynamic as Tonkin, you really start to notice the little things. Otherwise, though, kudos on giving her more to do. I could only take so much of that forced Hayley-Tyler-Caroline love triangle.
7. Remember to have fun.
You know what drives me nuts about Stefan and Elena? They’re always so serious. Klaus is fun because he’s a cheeky bastard. I realize Elijah will serve his purpose by bringing things down a bit, but I hope The Originals makes sure to have a good time with its concept. Really old vampires running amok in New Orleans: it doesn’t have to be all fated romance and tears. Instead let’s eat people, drink blood, and be merry. Vampires don’t always have to be downers.