HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: The Originals : Season 2
HTS Overall Score:79
Oh dear, where did we leave off last time? Oh yes. The werewolves had thrown the vampires out of the French Quarter, Davina (Danielle Campbell) had resurrected the Mikaelson father, Mikael (played fantastically by Sebastian Roche), and Esther, the psychopathic witch mother of the family, is once again loose in another body. Then, to top it all off, Klaus (Joseph Morgan) has the 12 rings of power draining his power every full moon, which leaves him exceptionally vulnerable to the witches AND the werewolves out there who want the hybrid vampire/werewolf dead. Well, you can’t say that the Mikaelson family doesn’t lead an interesting life.
In slight recap, “The Originals” focuses on the Mikaelson family, the ORIGINAL vampires in “The Vampire Diaries” universe. They were created through magic, and being the sires of every single vampire on planet earth, they are invincible to all but each other, and even then, it takes some specialty items to seal the deal permanently. Over the course of 1000 years they have lived, they have killed, they have drained the blood of the innocent, and now it’s all coming to a desperate family fight for supremacy. With Esther and Mikael back in the picture things get nasty real quick. Last season Rebeckah Mikaelson fled with Klause’s newborn daughter, hope, in an effort to protect her from the ravenous werewolves armed with Esther’s moonlight rings. Now everyone, including Esther and Mikael believe that Klause’s offspring is truly dead. However that barely slows the monsters down as they each wish the seeming destruction of their offspring. Mikael is fueled by rage, wishing only to destroy the monsters he calls sons and daughters, pulling on that same power that he hates to accomplish the deed. Esther is more complex as she seems more focused on trying to “redeem” her children. Even if the trio of originals sees no need in redemption. Along for the ride are Elijah’s and Klause’ long lost dead siblings, now resurrected and put into the body of male witches. Finn and Kol both serve their mother, with Finny being the most devoted, but like always, the Mikaelson family is torn apart by backstabbing and selfish ambitions.
Hayley (Phoebe Tonkin) is shattered, turned into a wolf/vampire hybrid like Klause at the end of last season. Missing her daughter terribly, her only solace is in the violence and depravity of her new found blood sucking nature, even though her inner soul longs for the peacefulness of a cohesive wolf pack. Cami (Leah Pipes), is trying her best to stay out of the supernatural circles, and failing miserably. No matter how hard she tries, the pull of the Mikaelson family is too strong to resist, and circumstances driver her back into the fold once more. While all this infighting seems pointless, and beyond stupid, there lurks something deeper, something darker than even Klause’s depraved moral compass. A witch who makes Esther seem like the good witch of the North in comparison. Dahlia (Claudia Black), the ancestor who started this snowball of destruction so many centuries ago.
“The Originals” is not the most original show on the face of the earth. It pulls from the wildly popular (and increasingly more unwatchable) show “The Vampire Diaries”, but somehow manages to be actually FUN. There is a lot to like about the second season, as it polishes many of the rough edges that plagued the 1st season. There is much less filler, and much more of a straight dash to the finish line, and the characters get a substantial upgrade in backstory. At the same time there is enough new problems and old to keep the show from rising above the quality of the first season, and merely leaves it at the same level (which is both good AND bad). It follows the same 3 act arc. The 1st being the Mikaelson brothers taking control of the quarter once more and dethroning the werewolves. The 2nd focusing on Esther and her desire to “save” her family, and the third being the longest and most visceral. The coming of Dahlia and the ensuing chaos. Along for the ride is the classic CW angst and soap opera nature of the series. No matter how much you take “The Originals” away from “The Vampire Diaries” you just can’t get “The Vampire Diaries” out of the series. The angsty elements tend to be a bit dull and tax your patience. Especially the endless shifting of romantic allegiances amongst the main characters.
Flaws and all, the series still has quite a bit to offer. No matter the faults, I still had a bloody (I made another pun) good time watching the chaos and carnage unfold up to the horrific and tragic end. I have to say this, even though I can’t spoil the actual ending. OHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH what an ending! I know the series can’t exactly end on a happy not for our main characters, but this was a dark path that really made me raise my eyebrows. It was both frustrating and exhilarating as you watch Klause do what Klause does best. It was viciously entertaining and horrific to watch, but it also left me feeling a little bit frustrating as we watch him backtrack on some of his moral issues that seemed to be slowly unravelling. We’ve seen such progress from the hybrid that his blatant betrayal and cruelty seems almost a bit too much, even though his actions set up what is to follow in the 3rd season.
The episode list:
2. Alive and Kicking
3. Every Mother’s Son
4. Live and Let Die
5. Red Door
6. Wheel Inside the Wheel
7. Chasing the Devil’s Tail
8. The Brothers That Care Forgot
9. The Map of Moments
10. Gonna Set Your Flag on Fire
11. Brotherhood of the Damned
13. The Devil is Damned
14. I Love You, Goodbye
15. They All Asked For You
16. Save My Soul
17. Exquisite Corpse
18. Night Has a Thousand Eyes
19. When the Levee Breaks
20. City Beneath the Sea
21. Fire with Fire
22. Ashes to Ashes
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=52834[/img]Can I say that “The Originals” is a dark show? Well, it most certainly is, as the series is bathed in the brooding darkness that fits so many vampire tales, with some mild crush and some wonky contrast. Other than those small issues, the 1.78:1 TV framed series looks quite fantastic. Detail is strong, even in the dark, and you can see every fiber of the pretty little vampires, and the scraggly hairs of those nasty little werewolves during the copious fights. The colors look like a baroque fright fest, with dark blues, dark greens, dark blacks, dark greys….well… you get the picture. Colors tend to be rather desaturated, but primary splashes of crimson blood come through with startling clarity and the occasional fleck of other strong primaries make an appearance here or there. Long shots sometimes look mildly soft, but close ups are vampire teeth sharp with very natural skin tones. I didn’t see any issues pertaining to the famous “banding curse” that warner used to have a problem with, and even with 8 episodes per disc (6 on the last one), the series doesn’t show any signs of over compression.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=52842[/img]Just like the 1st season, "The Originals: Season 2" sports a dynamic 5.1 DTS-HD MA track that is vibrant and full of power, with a bass line that gives some serious intensity to the mix. Dialogue is clean and clear, and very well dispersed amount the three mains, something not a lot of TV shows can do well. Dynamic range is fluid, fluxing from one end of the spectrum to another, which gives the show a more cinematic feel. With the amount of action oriented sound effects the series has the surround channels are always in full geear. The sound of a vampire moving at hyper speed,, the rush and roar of New Orleans on a party night, the explosions of wood and glass during full out war between the Witches and the Vampires make very impressive use of all 6 channels. Warner once again hits it out of the park with a well nuanced track that surpasses most of the other shows in the same genre and immerses the viewer in the cajun world of underground vamps, wolves and other nasties. Solid A+ in my book
• The Originals: Always and Forever
• The Awakening Web Series
• The Originals: 2014 Comic-Con Panel
• Come Visit Georgia PSA
• Deleted Scenes
• Gag Reel
I almost hate to say that I enjoy “The Originals” as much as I do, considering my rabid hatred of “The Vampire Diaries”. The show has some of those elements that make me really loathe the show’s predecessor, but in the end, the darker nature and more bloody machinations of the torture original vamps give me more glee than it does sorrow. The second season expounds upon many of the intimations of the 1st season, as well as some well-deserved background on certain characters, with my only complaint being that Klause has almost become too unlikeable for his own good. The setup for season 3 is almost perfect and promises to bring even more surprises to the table and enough blood to sink an entire ship. Audio and video are excellent, and the extras are solid, if not a bit sparse. If you enjoyed season 1, then I see no reason why the 2nd season will not be enjoyed as well. Recommended for a watch.
Starring: Joseph Morgan, Daniel Gillies, Phoebe Tonkin
Created by: Julie Plec
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 5.1, French, Spanish DD 2.0
Studio: Warner Brothers
Runtime: 930 minutes
Own Season 2 on Blu-ray™ Combo, DVD & Digital HD September 1st
Buy The Originals : Season 2 Blu-ray on Amazon
Recommendation: Watch It
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