The Originals: The Complete Second SeasonOverview -
As Original vampire-werewolf hybrid Klaus Mikaelson returned to the vibrant, supernaturally charged city of New Orleans in season one, he was stunned to learn — along with his siblings Elijah and Rebekah — that Hayley, a werewolf, was pregnant with his child, and his vampire protégé, Marcel, whom the Original siblings had thought long dead, was ruling the French Quarter. Soon, a bloody war escalated between vampires and witches — the stakes raised by powerful teenage witch Davina and by Klaus’s bond with Cami, a student with a painful past — and a ruthless pack of wolves seized the opportunity to stage a violent coup. Now, in season two, a new status quo must be adjusted to, as the newly empowered werewolves control the city. Klaus struggles with weaknesses as Elijah desperately tries to save Hayley — now a hybrid — from a vicious spiral of self-destruction. Meanwhile, with the re-emergence of several Mikaelsons, “family is power” takes on new meaning.
Storyline: Our Reviewer's Take
If you're a fan of the television series 'The Vampire Diaries', then you just might enjoy 'The Originals', which is somewhat un-original. From the success of 'The Vampire Diaries' comes this spinoff television show 'The Originals' that features vampires, werewolves, witches, and all of the CW angst and drama that goes with it. For those of you who are unfamiliar with this television show, the series centers mostly on the Mikaelson family, who are from the tv show 'The Vampire Diaries' and are of course bloodsucking vampires.
The family has been around a long time and now the family members are backstabbing, lying, cheating, and stealing their way to be the head of the household. Then there is the question of a vampire and werewolf romance that creates hybrid creatures. Throw in some witches and you have yourself a soft-core version of HBO's 'True Blood' and 'Underworld'. If you're a fan of this horror-fantasy genre, you'll be pleasantly surprised by how good the show is on certain levels. You can see how the series desperately wants to break out into a rougher territory, but with CW standards, it never will.
Overall, 'The Originals' is popcorn fun, despite most of the story lines and characters being written up before in other shows. This second season showcases the inner struggles of the Mikaelson family completely, which is odd, because the other monster groups are trying to destroy them as well, but this vampire clan can't help themselves but be greedy for power over New Orleans and the French Quarter, which they "rule" over. Throughout the show and especially this season, the writers amped up the carnage and action pieces, but they also upped the melodrama and romantic angles, which tends to stray into the "been there, done that" category for a while.
The best part of this show for me, minus the fairly decent fight scenes and gore is Klaus Mikaelson played by Joseph Morgan. He's thrown himself into this role so well, and was excellent to spend 22 episodes with him and his sick and sadistic ways. This character could have given the former King Joffrey a run for his money. Don't get me wrong, there are a lot of problems and issues with this show, but the creators and writers seemed to have worked out a few of the kinks from the first season, which was nice. If you're missing your fill from the likes of 'True Blood' or any of the 'Underworld' movies, then give this fun popcorn television show a chance. The show will air its third season, starting in October of this year, and judging by the big cliffhanger of this season two, it promises to be quite insane.
'The Originals' Season 2 comes with a very nice 1080p HD transfer presented in 1.78:1 aspect ratio. Like the first season, this show is gloomy, moody, and dark, just as its color scheme is. If you're looking for a vividly bright color scheme with color shades the pop brightly, this isn't the show for you. It's as if someone has tinted the camera lens to make everything look darker, but that's the way the show-runners wanted it to look and Warner Bros. has done a great job in keeping it that way on this release.
Even with all of these darker scenes and color scheme, the detail looks fantastically sharp and vivid throughout. Closeups reveal excellent facial features and fine textures in their costumes, showing individual hairs, blood bubbles, beads of sweat, and even the tiny imperfections in the props. Wider shots looks a tiny bit softer in certain segments, but it's never a stand-out issue. Colors again consist of dark greens and dark blues mostly with a lot of grays in between.
There are some rare occasions with some bright primary colors and some excellent blood red colors that pop out from to time time, but other than those instances, expect a darker and gloomy image. Black levels are deep and inky throughout and the skin tones are natural as well. There were no major issues with any banding or aliasing to speak of, although a small hint of video noise creeped up here and there. This a great video presentation from Warner Bros. and should satisfy fans of the show.
This release comes with a great lossless DTS-HD MA 5.1 mix and will fully immerse you inside this series. The sound effects are loud, full, and robust from the get-go, whether it be the sound when a vampire moves at super speed, or a an action packed fight scene, or even a party in the heart of New Orleans. It all sounds excellent and well rounded with some great directionality. The surround and rear speakers keep the ambient noises flowing nicely, providing a great atmosphere.
Explosions pack a big punch too that should rumble the walls without going into a rocky territory. Dialogue is always crystal clear and easy to follow at all times and is well prioritized against all of the other sound aspects. The score and music is also well-balanced and sweeping when it needs to be. There are no problems with pops, cracks, hiss, or high shrills to speak of. The LFE is excellent and the dynamic range is wide, leaving this audio presentation with great marks.
'The Originals': Always and Forever (HD, 13 Mins.) - A series of interviews with the cast and crew as they discuss their character arcs and themes of this season, spliced with clips from the show. If you're unfamiliar with the show, this is a good backstory extra for you.
'The Originals': The Awakening Web Series (HD, 13 Mins.) - Four shorts that take place way before the events of this series, that give some insight to some of the characters, mainly Kol, and where they came from. In addition to the four two minute shorts, there is a five minute behind the scenes segment on these shorts that have feature interviews with the cast and crew.
'The Originals': Comic Con Panel (HD, 30 Mins.) - The cast and crew at San Diego Comic Con who answer fan questions to screaming people.
Come Visit Georgia PSA (HD, 3 Mins.) - This is actually quite a cool commercial for the state of Georgia that focuses on the production offices and sets of 'The Originals', which is supposed to be in New Orleans, Louisiana. There are some fun gimmicks here and a brief look at some of the sets.
Unaired Scenes (HD, 19 Mins.) - There are ten deleted scenes in total that didn't air on television, none of which add any special element to the series.
Gag Reel (HD, 5 Mins.) - A nice dose of missed cues, flubbed lines, and the cast laughing on set.
'The Originals' isn't a particularly great show. It won't win any awards or stay in your mind for any time after you watch it. That being said, this series is a bit of fun if you're a fan of the melodramatic horror-fantasy drama that seems to be all the rage now. This show goes to some dark places, which is good, but they're limited in what they can do and say, which is unfortunate, because it lacks the impact that other shows of this nature have. Still, it's great to watch the character Klaus create chaos throughout the season, and the finale sets the third season up very nicely. The video and audio presentations are both great, but the extras are just okay at best. Still, this show is definitely worth a look.
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