October 26, 2018

SHOWBUZZDAILY Series Premiere Review: “Legacies”


LEGACIES:  Thursday 9PM on CW

CW’s LEGACIES brings the Vampire Diaries extended universe once again close to its roots, after the older-skewing adventures of The Originals.  We’re not only back in Mystic Falls, Virginia, but in a version of high school, although one that looks a lot like Hogwarts.  (The connection is so blatant that series creator Julie Plec’s pilot script makes a few jokes about it.)  It’s the Salvatore School For the Young and Gifted, run by Alaric Saltzman (Matt Davis, a veteran of the entire Vampire universe), where the star pupil is Hope Mikaelson (Danielle Rose Russell), daughter of the now permanently deceased (as far as we know) Klaus Mikaelson and Hayley Marshall, and the only living vampire/werewolf/witch hybrid.  Also attending Salvatore are Alaric’s own super-witch daughters, Lizzie (Jenny Boyd) and Josie (Kaylee Bryant).

Our entry point to the new saga is Landon Kirby (Aria Shahghasemi), a seeming mortal who accompanies his werewolf foster brother Raphael (Peyton Alex Smith) to Salvatore to fill Alaric in on the new student’s background before having his own memory wiped by friendly vampire MG (Quincy Fouse)–or so Alaric plans.  Landon, coincidentally enough, also had a brief exchange of sparks with Hope in an episode of The Originals, but a pilot needs a Big Twist, and no sooner have Hope and Landon exchanged a kiss, when it becomes clear that there’s more to him than an innocent bystander.  He may even be the season’s Big Bad, although there are likely more twists to come.

Apart from the last minute or so, in which Landon may or may not be responsible for the deaths of an entire busload of civilians, Legacies sets itself up as a breezy, relatively light entry in the Vampire canon, with more attention to crushes and teen betrayals than to ancient curses.  Davis is an old hand at this, and Russell has a season of The Originals under her belt.  It’s too soon to make a call on Shahghasemi, whose Landon was only required to be charming and sensitive in the pilot.  Plec balances the character introductions and exposition with ease, and pilot director Chris Grismer, another longtime franchise hand, makes good use of the CG budget of the pilot (although even pilot CG couldn’t make the episode’s werewolves look more than rudimentary).

Legacies is the most polished and promising of CW’s new fall shows, as All American has already switched showrunners (this week’s episode, the first under the new regime, seemed to be attempting a more gritty feel than the glossier pilot), and Charmed has so far failed to impress.  The question is whether a 9-year old franchise still has drawing power for the youth-oriented CW crowd, although a Vampire Diaries connection seems positively spry compared to the Will & Grace and Murphy Brown reboots that share its timeslot.  Plec has been a reliable spinner of supernatural romance since Vampire began, and Legacies should give her a platform to keep plying her trade.


About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."