Legacies: Six Reasons the Spinoff Failed To Reach the Success of Its Predecessors

TV

After four seasons, 68 episodes, and plenty of twists and turns, Legacies is over.

As a show set in the same universe as The Vampire Diaries and The Originals, it largely failed to live up to its predecessors.

It’s time to take a deep dive into what didn’t work.

The Mythology Was All Over the Place

The Vampire Diaries and The Originals ran with tightly-woven mythology that kept the drama flowing.

Legacies opted for a monster-of-the-week format initially as the creatives vowed to set Legacies apart from its predecessors.

While that format worked initially, the creativity surrounding the monsters fell apart pretty quickly.

Malivore was introduced as this overarching evil on Legacies Season 1 and should have been dealt with much quicker.

Had the show employed at least an overarching villain per season, it would have been easier to get on board with the monsters.

It felt more like the writers had no clue what they wanted the show to look like in the long-term, instead of switching things up on an episodic basis that didn’t translate very well on-screen.

It Forgot too Much About What Made the Vampire Diaries and The Originals Success Stories.

It’s rare for a spinoff to overshadow its predecessor, but at times, The Originals was better than The Vampire Diaries.

Both shows had their strengths and weaknesses, but there was so much potential for Legacies to blend what we loved about the prior shows in the franchise and add some new things to welcome new viewers.

One of the things that was completely and utterly bizarre was the way the series handled the merge.

If you watch The Vampire Diaries online, you know the Gemini Coven arc was a huge storyline that should have had big stakes in the narrative of Legacies.

Lizzie and Josie were a part of the series, so of course, there should have been a much bigger payoff here.

Granted, Kaylee Bryant’s departure early on Legacies Season 4 probably forced the writers to pivot from the original plan.

However, this storyline could have been handled so much better from the jump.

Too Many Characters and Not Enough Storylines

Being set at a magic school brought a lot of characters into the mix, but the series simply couldn’t serve all of them.

There was so much potential squandered because the series opted to focus on the characters it deemed worthy of bigger storylines.

That was remedied somewhat with the introduction of Cleo, who blossomed into one of the best characters.

However, the glaring issue of characters disappearing for several episodes simultaneously with no explanation.

Poor Finch was out getting a cake for HOW many episodes?

Jed should have had a much more significant presence sooner. He was on the sidelines for the first three and a half seasons.

Hope’s Strength Was Stifled for Too Long

Hope was conceived in The Vampire Diaries, and her powers started to manifest on The Originals, so she should have been the most powerful being in the universe on Legacies.

Legacies essentially put the true extent of Hope’s abilities on the backburner.

I don’t know whether that was a budgetary decision or if there was some other reason for it, but it meant fans who watched the build-up to this all-powerful being on The Originals was all for nothing.

Hope is one of the best characters in The Vampire Diaries Universe, but it was hard to watch her powers not being harnessed.

Once she became the Tribrid, there should have been more of her showcasing her powers. The writers purposefully stifled her abilities, which was one of the biggest problems with the show.

Hope Was Saddled With a Love Interest

It wouldn’t be a show from Julie Plec without a love interest for the lead, but damn, they sure did a terrible job with this relationship.

There were so many glaring issues that were glossed over to make this relationship a thing, and in the process, the writing for Hope faltered.

Had the creatives not been so dead-set on Hope and Landon, then maybe Hope could have become the Tribrid sooner, and the show could have reached its full potential.

The show would have been much better if the writers kept Hope and Landon together but didn’t make every storyline about Hope saving him.

The Series Only Embraced Darkness in its Final Season

Legacies was largely devoid of stakes throughout its run. Characters didn’t stay dead, and there always seemed to be a solution to some of the biggest disruptors of the narrative.

The first three seasons were much lighter than any of the seasons of the other shows, effectively alienating a large chunk of the fanbase.

Legacies Season 4 was the first season that felt tethered to the previous shows in terms of tone and storylines.

Hope’s no humanity storyline could have been great, but it lasted far too long to be memorable.

The lack of monsters of the week really helped the series stick to the one tone, and it’s a pity that the series was canceled just as it found the right balance.

We don’t know whether any of these characters will appear in future projects set in the universe, but Legacies Season 4 Episode 20 was a decent series-ender, even if it wasn’t planned.

What are your thoughts on Legacies and how it compares to the wider Vampire Diaries Universe?

Do you think the changes were needed to make the show worthwhile, or would you have preferred if it employed a darker tone from the beginning?

Hit the comments below.

 

Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.

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