Destiny awaits: New and old faces square off in ‘Lega­cies’

Richmond Times-Dispatch Weekend - - CHANNELS - BY FRAN­CIS BABIN

Spinoffs are a tough nut to crack. For ev­ery “Frasier,” “An­gel” and “The Jef­fer­sons,” there’s a plethora of aw­ful ones (“The Tortel­lis,” any­one?). In re­cent years, how­ever, CW has seem­ingly found the magic for­mula to cre­at­ing suc­cess­ful spinoffs, with two of its ma­jor uni­verses pro­duc­ing qual­ity com­pan­ion se­ries. The very pop­u­lar “Ar­row” launched “The Flash,” which in turn launched “Le­gends of To­mor­row,” and more re­cently, “The Vam­pire Diaries” saw new life with “Lega­cies,” an­other spinoff of a spinoff. Catch a new episode of the fresh­man drama when it airs Thurs­day, Nov. 15, on CW.

For nearly a decade, Julie Plec’s “The Vam­pire Diaries” has been a CW sta­ple. Launch­ing in 2009, the su­per­nat­u­ral drama based on L. J. Smith’s crowd­pleas­ing book se­ries of the same name was an im­me­di­ate hit. Char­ac­ters such as Ste­fan Sal­va­tore (Paul Wes­ley) and Bon­nie Ben­nett (Kat Gra­ham) be­came fan fa­vorites overnight, while se­ries leads Ian Somer­halder and Nina Do­brev were pro­pelled into star­dom.

Af­ter such im­mense suc­cess, it was only nat­u­ral that a spinoff should fol­low. “The Orig­i­nals” launched four years later in 2013, shift­ing the ac­tion from Mys­tic Falls to New Or­leans and fo­cus­ing on vam­pire-were­wolf hy­brid Klaus Mikael­son (Joseph Mor­gan) and his fam­ily. In the fifth and fi­nal sea­son, we were rein­tro­duced to Klaus’ daugh­ter, Hope (Danielle Rose Rus­sell “Won­der,” 2017), now a 17-yearold young woman.

Like its pre­de­ces­sor, it was just a mat­ter of time be­fore “The Orig­i­nals” pro­duced a spinoff of its own. In “Lega­cies,” CW’s new­est smash hit, the ac­tion re­turns to Mys­tic Falls. Set two years af­ter the shock­ing events of “The Orig­i­nals,” the se­ries fol­lows Hope Mikael­son, a de­scen­dent of vam­pire, were­wolf and witch blood­lines, as she tries to make it in this con­fus­ing world.

As Hope says in the first trailer for “Lega­cies,” which de­buted at this year’s Comic Con, “This is a story of magic, of se­crets and be­tray­als, first loves and first heart­breaks. It’s a story of friend­ship and fam­ily, of bat­tling our own demons so we can face the mon­sters around us.”

In the se­ries, we fol­low Hope, the pow­er­ful trib­rid as she at­tends the Sal­va­tore School for the Young and Gifted. There, she and her fel­low stu­dents learn to con­trol their su­per­nat­u­ral abil­i­ties and im­pulses. The school is a haven for in­di­vid­u­als like Hope and other col­or­ful char­ac­ters, in­clud­ing the in­cred­i­bly charis­matic and charm­ing Rafael Waithe (Pey­ton Alex Smith, “The Quad”), a newly trig­gered were­wolf.

If the Sal­va­tore School for the Young and Gifted re­minds you of the Xavier In­sti­tute for Higher Learn­ing from the X-Men uni­verse, you’re not alone. Act­ing as the Charles Xavier of Mys­tic Falls is Alaric Saltz­man (Matt Davis, “The Vam­pire Diaries”), the school’s head­mas­ter. Un­der his tute­lage, and that of guid­ance coun­selor and head witch Emma Tig’s (Karen David, “Once Upon a Time”), gifted stu­dents such as Alaric’s twin daugh­ters, Josie (Kaylee Bryant, “Santa Clarita Diet”) and Lizzie (Jenny Boyd, “Hex,” 2018), not only learn how to har­ness their pow­ers, but also fig­ure out their place in the world. Will they be­come heroes or em­brace their rage and be­come vil­lains?

Mak­ing this in­ner con­flict that much more dif­fi­cult are the res­i­dents of Mys­tic Falls, who be­lieve that the Sal­va­tore School is a board­ing school for trou­bled rich kids. The town­ies rel­ish any and ev­ery op­por­tu­nity to bully the stu­dents, though, for­tu­nately, not all of the lo­cals are heart­less. In­tro­duced in “The Orig­i­nals” episode “The Tale of Two Wolves,” Lan­don Kirby (Aria Shahghasemi), a self-aware, shy teen from the wrong side of the tracks, is not at all like the oth­ers, and he im­me­di­ately catches Hope’s eye. It’s all but guar­an­teed that many stu­dents and towns­folk will stop at noth­ing to de­stroy this re­la­tion­ship.

Tune in to find out and watch as witches, were­wolves and vam­pires come of age and choose their des­tinies in a new episode of “Lega­cies,” air­ing Thurs­day, Nov. 15, on CW.

Pey­ton Alex Smith, Danielle Rose Rus­sell and Aria Shahghasemi star in “Lega­cies”

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