Although both shows were created by Julie Plec, she and her team did do their best to ensure The Vampire Diaries and The Originals were different
When two vampire brothers arrive in Mystic Falls, they uproot the town’s present world of peace for the sake of getting to know Elena Gilbert and freeing Katherine Pierce. The Vampire Diaries did not stay that way for long, as it quickly grew into a more violent and fast-paced supernatural drama, diving into the lore of the world, explaining how vampires came to be and the highs and lows of being involved with the occult.
Its spin-off, The Originals, took a more adult approach to the teen drama it came from. Moving to New Orleans, Klaus and Elijah wish to return the city they once built up and turn it back into their home while also preparing for the birth of Klaus and Hayley’s child. Existing in the same universe, The Vampire Diaries and The Originals share plenty in common, but there are distinct elements to each series.
Similar: Strong Sense Of Familial Bond
Family is a prominent part of both shows. Stefan and Damon’s bond is always put to the test, yet, in the end, their brotherhood came out being the most significant relationship in The Vampire Diaries.
While mostly shown through Klaus and Elijah, the Mikaelson family bond and struggle also deeply includes Rebekah, Kol, and Freya. The Mikaelsons live by a code of doing anything for family. As difficult as they may be toward each other, they are highly likely to support each other over anything else.
Different: Discussing Werewolf Pack Nature And Tradition
The Vampire Diaries does explore werewolves through Tyler Lockwood, and there are elements of breaking sire bonds from the hybrids.
Still, The Originals spends much more time diving into the intricacies of what it means to be a werewolf, what it takes to be a leader and an Alpha, and werewolf marriage ceremonies. Jackson and Hayley lead the way on werewolves in the Bayou, discussing what goes into being in charge of a Pack.
Similar: There Is Always An Opponent
Regardless of being in Mystic Falls or New Orleans, villains are always out for the main characters. On The Vampire Diaries, there was a constant abundance of vampires and witches out for blood, causing mayhem to the town or after a specific person.
In The Originals, Klaus was constantly dealing with a threat in the French Quarter. Even if Klaus was more of an anti-hero, others opposed him and were out to hurt Klaus and his family. It was a continuous occurrence and only became bigger after Klaus’s sire link broke, meaning his enemies sired by him could finally get their revenge without sacrificing themselves in the process.
Different: Teen Drama Elements
The Originals come across as more mature and adult. The Mikaelsons are frozen in time in what is likely their late teens and early to mid-twenties, and have been around for a thousand years. They have no interest in going back to high school in New Orleans.
This is one of the concepts that The Vampire Diaries is partially built on when vampire Stefan Salvatore decides to go back to school to get to know Elena Gilbert. With the setting in high school and nearly all the central characters teenagers, it allows more classic teen drama tropes such as love triangles, sports, and more.
Similar: Miracle Babies
Vampires are not supposed to be able to reproduce. Yet, as a hybrid, Klaus breaks the laws of nature, creating a loophole. Since his werewolf side has been reactivated and triggered, he can have a baby. Hope Mikaelson became the first and only tribrid, born into a family of Original Vampires and werewolves.
Josie and Lizzie Saltzman aren’t as much a loophole as they were a surprising plot twist. Even though Kai had killed Jo while pregnant, the Gemini Coven had stepped in to protect the twins, magically transplanting them into Caroline, as hers was a body that could not die.
Different: Supernatural Community
Mystic Falls may have vampires, werewolves, and witches, along with an extensive history of hosting supernatural creatures, but it doesn’t have a true supernatural community. New Orleans, however, proves itself to be a society of vampires, werewolves, and witches.
Regardless of flashbacks or present-day, New Orleans shows the ways vampires, werewolves, and witches come together to have a working community or fight against each other. There is a clear familial bond between Marcel and his vampires. The werewolf Pack is a family of its own. The witch covens have their own rules and traditions.
Similar: Villains Have History With The Main Characters
Katherine Pierce is the best example of a villain, who has a history with Stefan and Damon. She entered their lives, begun ‘relationships’ with both of them, and was responsible for turning them into vampires. When Katherine reunited with them, she admitted to checking up on Stefan over the years, making sure he never saw her. When Klaus and Rebekah were antagonists, they both had histories with Stefan in the 1920s.
Perhaps the highlight of villains with a history with the Mikaelsons is Lucien, Tristan, and Aurora. The trio had been the first to be sired by Klaus, Elijah, and Rebekah. When it was time for the Mikaelsons to run, Elijah compelled Lucien, Tristan, and Aurora to pose as Klaus, Elijah, and Rebekah to throw Mikael off their scent. When the compulsion broke a century later, Lucien, Tristan, and Aurora remembered their true identities and spent the following centuries hating the Mikaelsons and waiting to take revenge.
The Vampire Diaries had the bigger stakes because those characters were far easier to kill than an Original. They even died throughout the show’s run, some dying multiple times until eventually dying for good or getting to live a normal life. There were also more central human characters at the beginning of the series, so more people were concerned about them as nearly all of them eventually became vampires.
The Originals was harder to find a way to intimidate Klaus, given he was supposed to be nearly impossible to kill as the Original Hybrid. Still, when Lucien created an advanced Original Vampire with a lethal werewolf bite, the stakes were raised. Although Lucien didn’t get to have the benefits of such a creation for long, Marcel succeeded in his new role as an updated Original.
Similar: Humans Become Vampires
Vicky Donovan, Caroline Forbes, and Elena Gilbert were all human at first. But, eventually, each of them became a vampire. Vicky, sadly, didn’t last long as a vampire after losing control and nearly killing Jeremy and Elena. Caroline was by far the most successful vampire, gaining control quickly and claiming that she may have been better off as a vampire than she was as a human. Elena was the only one to eventually revert to her human form after Bonnie brings the cure back from the Prison World.
Camille O’Connell got so involved with vampires it was not so unexpected to believe that she may one day become one. Still, it is a shock when Klaus realized Camille had become one of the undead. It took Camille time to adjust to a vampire’s heightened emotions and traits, but unfortunately, she didn’t have the chance to explore it too much before Lucien’s bite killed her.
Different: Supernatural Creatures
While both shows introduce vampires, werewolves, witches, and hybrids, there are still more different species in The Vampire Diaries. By the finale, there have been Doppelgängers, sirens, Travelers, and hunters.
The Originals mainly stuck to vampires, werewolves, and witches throughout its run. The Hollow was originally a witch responsible for creating the werewolf race.