The Originals: The Complete First Season (Blu-ray Review)

The Originals Season 1 Blu-ray ReviewWhen the CW first started as a network it had the reputation of having nothing but teen dramas that had very little critical merit, i.e. One Tree Hill, 90210 reboot (Which I watched, I love me some Jenny Garth) and some other random shows. Yet, in the past couple of years, the CW is slowing turning that around by producing some quality shows like Arrow, and the debut season of Gotham for this Fall TV Season (I’m hoping it’s good anyway).  Last year, they debuted a new show which was a spin-off of their big hit, The Vampire Diaries, called The Originals.  Upon first glance for me it certainly wasn’t a show I was interested in personally or even very much aware of (I.E. Not at all).  But I don’t think I am really the demographic they are looking for.  Luckily, I got the chance to review the first season on Blu-ray and I was pleasantly surprised.

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Since the series is a spin -off of another series that I have no frame of reference ever watching, I was worried I was going to be lost from the beginning.  Luckily, the pilot lays down enough of a strong and cohesive narrative that I had ZERO problems following along.  The show made almost no reference, or noticeable reference to me, regarding The Vampire Diaries.  From what I gather it’s the same universe, different storylines.

The show is about the original three vampires that exist in their universe, it chronicles how they’re were transformed to the immortal beasts that they are.  Then how they moved to New Orleans and their struggle to make it their city again.  On paper it sounds like a cash in on True Blood or any of the other number of vampire related shows that are on right now. But, vampires in New Orleans always has a been sweet spot for me since Anne Rice’s Interview with a Vampire.  So getting a chance to just try and get a little bit of that aura and atmosphere from a show was a chance I was willing to take.

Oh boy!  Was I happy that I was afforded the opportunity to watch it.  This was a surprisingly good show.  Like… honestly, it was really well done.  Better than True Blood in it’s prime.  It finds a way to be violent and sexy without seeming cheap and gratuitous.  The three actors playing the originals are a well-rounded bunch of thespians.  Joseph Morgan, who plays the rebellious, necessary violent, wild card Klaus Mikaelson.  Daniel Gillies (Mr. Rachel Leigh Cook), portrays the elder brother  who holds family above all Elijah Mikaelson, and Claire Holt who is the sister Rebekah Mikaelson, who can have a hint of blood lust (and jungle fever).  Those three are the anchor of the show, they drive most of the plot forward and are collectively our protagonist.

But hands down, the major highlight of the show is the kinda sorta antagonist Marcel Gerard (played charmingly by Charles Michael Davis).   Marcel is a character that has his own agenda, at the beginning of the show he is the pseudo king of New Orleans and the big hurdle for Klaus and the rest of the Mikaelson clan.  But they put Marcel into situations where you can’t help but understand and sometimes even cheer for him.  There are other notable characters and actors that help support the show.  But it’s really about those four and their history together.  The show has witches, werewolves, and other fun mythical monsters running around.  I don’t want to give too much away but there are some twists and turns I really didn’t forsee, and the season finale cliffhanger is pretty startling.


The Blu-ray  set contains the following episodes:


Disc 1

1. Always and Forever (42:26)

2. House of the Rising Son (42:21)

3. Tangled Up in Blue (42:25)

4. Girl in New Orleans (42:23)

5. Sinners and Saints (42:24

6. Fruit of the Poisoned Tree (42:19)


Disc 2

7. Bloodletting (42:18)

8. The River in Reverse (42:25)

9. Reigning Pain in New Orleans (42:24)

10. The Casket Girls (42:24)

11. Après Moi, le Déluge (42:10)

12. Dance Back from the Grave (42:22)


Disc 3

13. Crescent City (42:24)

14. Long Way Back from Hell (42:22)

15. Le Grand Guignol (42:26)

16. Farewell to Storyville (42:27)

17. Moon Over Bourbon Street (42:27)

18. The Big Uneasy (42:22)


Disc 4

19. An Unblinking Death (42:25)

20. A Closer Walk with Thee (42:25)

21. The Battle of New Orleans (42:22)

22. From a Cradle to a Grave (42:27)

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  • Encoding:
  • Resolution: 1080p
  • Aspect Ratio: Widescreen 1.78:1
  • Clarity/Detail:  Like most Warner Brothers Blu Ray releases this look magnificent.  Hard to find anything that wasn’t clear.
  • Depth:  Clear and impressive.
  • Black Levels: The black levels for the majority of the show are deep and inky.  There are moments here and there that are slightly grainy but nothing too bad.
  • Color Reproduction: The colors are beautiful, especially filming in LA, those vibrant reds and greens from the background really standout.
  • Flesh Tones: Flesh tones look smooth and natural.
  • Noise/Artifacts:  Nothing noticeable.

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  • Audio Format(s): English DTS- HD Master Audio 5.1
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French, English SDH, Castilian, Dutch, Portuguese, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, Swedish
  • Dynamics:  Thumbs Up!  The audio switches from quiet conversational mix to fast and tv friendly violence with ease.
  • Low Frequency Extension: The moments when the vampires swoosh through the scene and it sounds fantastic.
  • Surround Sound Presentation:  It’s pretty impressive.  The sound mix helps you feel immersed in the shows universe.
  • Dialogue Reproduction:  Top notch!

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The Blu-ray has a pretty great selection of extras.

  • PILOT COMMENTARY  A fun and informative commentary with the creator Julie Plec and director Chris Gremer.  Worth a listen.  Would have been nice to have a commentary for the rest of the series.
  • 2013 COMIC-CON PANEL   (29:21) TV Guide’s Debra Birnbaum runs a Q and A with creator Julie Plec, and actors Phoebe Tonkin, Joseph Morgan, Daniel Gillies, Charles Michael Davis, Claire Holt.  Nothing incredibly exciting, but I always get excited when I see Comic Con panels show up on Blu Ray releases.
  • 2014 PALEY FEST PANEL (29:49) (HD)  This one was a lot of fun.   The cast was enthusiastic and fielded the questions with grace.  They come off really likeable. The panel includes executive producer Michael Narducci, and actors Charles Michael Davis, Phoebe Tonkin, Daniel Gillies, Joseph Morgan, Claire Holt, Leah Pipes, and Danielle Campbell.
  • “The Originals: Origins” (13:24) (HD) It’s like a EPK, but with a bit more substance.  The audition tapes were a nice touch.
  • “The Original Vampires: A Bite-sized Backstory” (5:33) (HD) Helps give the audience an idea of where the originals came from.    Helped me out a great deal.
  • “The Originals: Re-mixing History” (9:32) (HD) A focus on the location and setting of filming in New Orleans.
  • Deleted Scenes – Nothing incredibly special and you can see why they were deleted.  But there is  a GANG of deleted footage to bask in.
  • Gag Reel – It’s a gag reel, not much more I can say.  You might laugh, I gathered maybe a light chuckle.

Also, the Blu-ray set contains the entire series on DVD and Digital Copy as well.

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I wasn’t expecting to enjoy the series as much as I did.  It was pretty riveting for me from the onset.  It’s relatively well acted, once the rules are set in the universe the show runners and writers play by those guidelines, which is always nice, I am ready to buy into a shows mythology, if they stick to it.  So, I am a 29 year old bachelor who loves Metal, Comics, History, and Wrestling.  I may not be the exact demographic they were aiming for… but they hooked me and I will be watching season 2 week to week now.

The Originals Season 1 Blu-ray


1 Response to “The Originals: The Complete First Season (Blu-ray Review)”

  1. Brian White

    I watched up until Season 3 of Vampire Diaries once upon a time, but when Klaus came into it I kind of lost interest. I heard this spinoff series was pretty good though.