The Vampire Diaries may have some new competition in the vampire department... from its own spin-off!
The Originals has been The CW's strongest rookie performer, with its latest episode drawing 2 million viewers and a 0.9 in the adults 18-49 demographic, nipping at the heels of its predecessor, which drew 2.6 million and a 1.2 in its latest outing. The Vampire Diaries spin-off, which was picked up for a full season on Monday, also cracked the Top 5 in our Fall TV Popularity Contest, receiving a 57 percent approval rating from TVGuide.com users. (Fox's Sleepy Hollow came in first with 85 percent.)
But it's not just the ratings that prove The Originals has found a following. After only a handful of episodes, The Originals has unraveled a solid story line that may actually be more interesting than the plots on The Vampire Diaries. Below, we list the ways in which The Originals may actually be better than the original series. (The following will contain some gripes about The Vampire Diaries, but that's not to say the flagship is no longer good. In fact, considering the show is nearly 100 episodes in, it's impressive that the narrative hasn't completely waned.) Check out our reasoning:
1. The Originals is more adult: TVD's characters finally graduated from high school last season, but have now moved on to the college years with a new vampire mystery at their university a la Buffy the Vampire Slayer's shaky fourth season. The spin-off, however, doesn't have to deal with forced mentions of going to class or even how centuries-old vampires have to fit in at school.
2. The Originals is not bogged down by doppelgängers: If you blink while watching Diaries, you may miss that Elena's (Nina Dobrev) doppelgänger Katherine is pretending to be Elena. Or that it was actually Stefan (Paul Wesley), not Silas, growing closer to crazytown Tessa (Janina Gavankar). And now there's Amara! Thankfully, on The Originals, what you see is what you get: Klaus (Joseph Morgan) is trying to take down Marcel (Charles Michael Davis) — not a carbon copy.
3. The Originals has a great villain: Sure, Marcel is technically the villain of The Originals, but in actuality, Klaus is the ultimate villain and has been since he first appeared on The Vampire Diaries. But unlike on Diaries — where original villain Damon (Ian Somerhalder) has now become toothless, so to speak — Klaus is actually both the villain and the hero of the story, with viewers slowly coming to the realization that they're rooting for the Original hybrid they once hated so much.
4. The Originals gives us answers: The Originals kicked off its freshman season by weaving a sometimes confusing tale of witches vs. vampires in New Orleans. But within five episodes, the truth about why Klaus was lured to the Big Easy was quickly revealed: The witches never completed the Harvest ritual that would give them incredible power — enough to stand up to the vampires — so they blackmailed Klaus into tracking down young and super powerful Davina (Danielle Campbell) so they can kill her lest they will lose their powers altogether. As for TVD, the new college mystery is dragging on with seemingly no answers in sight.
5. The Originals isn't just about love triangles: Yes, there is at least one love triangle with both Marcel and Klaus showing feelings for Cami (Leah Pipes), but the story's focus is not about who will win the girl — in fact, she doesn't really like either of them. Ultimately, The Originals is about who will reign supreme over New Orleans: Klaus or Marcel. The mental and physical power plays along the way are much more interesting than a doppelgänger choosing between two brothers when it's clear she's destined to end up with the one she's not dating right now.
Do you think The Originals is better than The Vampire Diaries?
The Originals airs Tuesdays at 8/7c and The Vampire Diaries airs Thursdays at 8/7c on The CW.
(Full disclosure: TVGuide.com is owned by CBS, one of The CW's parent companies.)