A few weeks ago, Fearless Leader Jen sent me an email. “Hey Amanda, would you be interested in doing a post comparing The Originals to The Vampire Diaries?” I said yes, because you don’t say “No” to the Fearless Leader, but the truth is, these shows are as different as Stefan and Damon.

 

The Vampire Diaries started out as a show about a bunch of human teenagers whose lives are upended by the arrival of two very handsome brothers prone to bloodlust. Even though most of the cast is now undead, the constant through the show has been that the main characters have (almost always) tried to do the right thing.

Even that time when Damon made Elena lose her humanity and she burned down her house. Hey, I said they  tried.

 

The Originals has skipped all that boring morality business and is instead about a bunch of pretty terrible people. Or terrible pretty people. If Reign is the CW’s attempt at a Showtime series, The Originals might be their attempt at tackling AMC-style antiheroes. Because after binge-watching the first few episodes, I can definitively state: it’s really, really hard to find someone to root for on this show.

Unless I’m rooting for them to take off their shirt. Or put on a suit. The men on this show wear suits really, really well.

 

Here’s what the two shows have in common: 1) Really pretty supernatural creatures, 2) a Good Brother and a Bad Brother, 3) No one batting an eye at a love triangle featuring these brothers, and 4) Enough gratuitous male shirtlessness to make YKYLF feel like every day is Chestmas.

 

So who are these people, what do they want, and what do they wear?

1) Klaus, the big bad Original Vampire from seasons 2 and 3 of Vampire Diaries, is trying to take New Orleans back from his protégé Marcel. He does this with his usual mix of scheming, charm, leather jackets and temper tantrums.

 

He’s going up against 2) Marcel, the self-appointed Vampire King of New Orleans. He runs that town, and he does it in style. And in tight shirts. So many tight shirts.

I’m like 80% sure this is just body paint.

 

Joining Klaus are 3) Good Brother Elijah and 4) Petulant Sister/My Imaginary BFF Rebekah. Rebekah has two jobs on this show: looking fabulous at all times and saying things that are hilarious and bitchy because she just doesn’t care.

Naturally, she does both of these tasks with aplomb.

 

As Good Brother, Elijah spends most of his time trying to keep Klaus from going too far off the moral deep end. He does this while wearing dapper suits, making him vastly superior to Vampire Diaries Good Brother Stefan.

 

There are a few non-vamps as well. Rounding out the merry bunch are witch Sophie-Anne, pregnant werewolf Hayley, and the spawn of Klaus she’s carrying. Yeah, I don’t know how that works either, and I’m trying not to dwell on it too much, given that this is a show about Vampires, Werewolves, Witches – and, apparently, the only human in all of New Orleans (ugh, Cami).

This is Cami. Don’t call her Camille, she hates that. That’s her one character trait. Klaus and Marcel both want her. Because she’s innocent and pure. Do you get it? Hold on, maybe this ANGEL COSTUME she wore to a masquerade will help.

 

If Bonnie’s witch wardrobe was entirely composed of Free People’s best hippie options, Sophie-Anne wears all the cool rocker-chick pieces that allow her to go from the coven to Coachella.

She even has a cool tattoo on her bicep, because Sophie-Anne’s a rebel witch.

 

Hayley is mostly housebound, given that pretty much everyone else wants to kill her and her magical vampwolf baby, but she doesn’t let that stop her from being sassy and having fabulous hair. She had a rocker vibe when she was on Vampire Diaries, but it’s been softened with pregnancy. Now she’s wearing a lot of drapey tops, possibly because the show isn’t even bothering to recreate Blair’s terrible pregnancy pads.

 

There’s also teen witch Davina. Like any super-powerful, somewhat psychic teen witch in hiding, she spends most episodes with Pretty Little Liars-worthy hair, wearing dresses that could double as adorable nightgowns.

 

I won’t lie: the show is soapy and ridiculous. There are so many love triangles in the first six episodes that I’ve lost track and now am hoping they all choose a life of celibacy, purely because I’m afraid of what crazy vampire STDs they’re spreading around New Orleans. But this show’s soapy and ridiculous is a little darker, a little more sinister than Vampire Diaries. It’s the CW, and it doesn’t have the deranged mind of Ryan Murphy, so it’ll never be American Horror Story dark. But it’s trying to be edgy. And it’s trying with a whole lot of hot dude.

Merry Chestmas, everyone!