When The Vampire Diaries and The Originals executive producer Julie Plec first pitched the concept of Legacies, a spin-off set at a magical boarding school, fans understandably had mixed feelings about it and wondered whether it would live up to the legacy its predecessors left behind. After all, blood, sex, and murder were pretty key components of the Salvatores' and the Mikaelsons' stories, so how would a show focusing on their kids be able to pull that stuff off?

Now that Season 1 has officially come to a close, it's safe to say Legacies not only lived up to its potential, but it also expanded upon and improved the brand of the franchise overall. Seriously, what fantasy universe isn't improved by dragons?

For Plec, the positive reception the show received in its freshman year is a reward in and of itself. "It's been really, really gratifying to see people who weren't even sure if they wanted to tune in be surprised by how delighted they are by the show," Plec told TV Guide. "I've loved seeing feedback from people who have never seen the other two shows, who found the show can be wonderful in its own right without needing the context of 200 and some episodes of two other series. I love this show deeply because it has just been a lot of fun to make, and it is just so nostalgic and emotional and funny in ways that I never thought that it could or would be. I'm thrilled that people love it, because I love, and have been falling in love with it, all season long. I'm excited to do it for a long time and for fans to just want more and more."

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To Plec's point, the show is shiny and new in a lot of ways; it's got a lighter tone, more comedy, and a monster-of-the-week format that broadens the show's mythological horizons and keeps it moving at a practiced pace. However, it also cashes in on the nostalgia for The Vampire Diaries and The Originals whenever the opportunity presents itself, keeping the beloved world of Mystic Falls and the Mikaelsons alive by dropping in fun Easter eggs here and there that new fans won't be confused by and old fans will be able to pick out and fawn over.

"The Ascendant is definitely the top of the list there," Plec said of her favorite Easter eggs in Season 1. "But also, for me, it was the idea that in some alt-universe, Klaus (Joseph Morgan) and Caroline (Candice King) have fled the country and are enemies of the state and responsible for the supernatural revolution ... and the dress of course. I loved being able to tell a story about the dress."

<p>Danielle Rose Russell and Jedidiah Goodacre, <em>Legacies</em> </p>

Danielle Rose Russell and Jedidiah Goodacre, Legacies

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These little callbacks, be it the subtle nods to Klaus and Caroline's ill-fated romance or the return of magical artifacts from the The Vampire Diaries vault, remind us all that while Legacies and its characters stand on their own two feet, those feet are firmly planted on a foundation that was built a decade ago, when The CW was still a fledgling network trying to find its brand.

While cameos from The Vampire Diaries and The Originals characters has been kept light — we have seen Matt Donovan (Zach Roerig), Jeremy Gilbert (Steven R. McQueen), and Roman (Jedidiah Goodacre) so far — the great thing about a show that deals with immortal creatures is there are endless opportunities to loop them in if Legacies' storylines provide open doors. Plec isn't making any promises about who will show up (though she's certainly opened a pretty huge door for Chris Wood in the Season 1 finale), but she seems to be ready and willing as ever to accept guest appearances from a multitude of characters.

"Aside from me totally Secret-ing into existence Kai Parker's appearance on this show," Plec joked, "there's plenty of people I'd love to see. I'd love to see Bonnie (Katerina Graham). I'd love to see Caroline obviously. I'd love to see Freya (Riley Voelkel) and Vincent (Yusuf Gatewood) and Auntie Rebekah (Claire Holt). ... The door is always open, and it's just really a matter of being able to match up interest from these actors and story opportunity at the right time."

Season 1 of Legacies will be streaming on Netflix starting Friday, April 5.

(Disclosure: TV Guide is owned by CBS Interactive, a division of CBS Corporation.)

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