Legacy: six reasons why the spin-off failed to match the success of its predecessors

After four seasons, 68 episodes and many 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 dive deep into what went wrong.

Mythology was everywhere

The Vampire Diaries and The Originals ran with a tightly woven mythology that allowed the drama to continue.

Hope's Final Plan - Legacies Season 4 Episode 19

Legacies initially opted for a monster-of-the-week format, as the creatives committed to differentiating Legacies from its predecessors.

While this format worked initially, the creativity surrounding the monsters crumbled pretty quickly.

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

If the show had employed at least one general villain per season, it would have been easier to get on board with the monsters.

It was more like the writers had no idea what they wanted the show to look like in the long run, instead of changing things up on an episodic basis that didn’t translate very well to the screen.

Alaric on a grave?  - Legacy Season 4 Episode 19

He forgot too much about what made Vampire Diaries and The Originals Success Stories.

It’s rare for a spin-off to eclipse its predecessor, but sometimes The Originals was better than The Vampire Diaries.

Both shows had their strengths and weaknesses, but there was so much potential for Legacies to mix together what we loved from previous shows in the franchise and add new stuff to accommodate new viewers.

One of the things that was completely and utterly bizarre was how the show handled the merger.

Lizzie wants answers on MG - Legacies Season 3 Episode 4

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

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

Admittedly, the departure of Kaylee Bryant at the start of season 4 of Legacies probably forced the writers to deviate from the initial plan.

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

Hope is looking for her lover - Legacies Season 3 Episode 4

Too many characters and not enough storylines

Taking place in a school of magic brought a lot of characters into the mix, but the show just couldn’t serve them all.

There was so much wasted potential because the show chose to focus on characters it felt were worthy of bigger storylines.

This was somewhat rectified with the introduction of Cleo, who became one of the better characters.

On the Docks - Legacies Season 3 Episode 5

However, the glaring issue of characters disappearing for multiple episodes simultaneously without explanation.

Poor Finch had been out for cake for HOW many episodes?

Jed should have had a much bigger presence earlier. He was absent for the first three and a half seasons.

Hope’s strength has been suppressed for too long

Hope's Magic Intensifies - Legacies Season 3 Episode 6

Hope was conceived in The Vampire Diaries, and her powers began 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 back burner.

I don’t know if it was a budgetary decision or if there was some other reason for it, but it meant that fans who had watched the rise of this almighty being on The Originals n had been useless.

Hope is one of the best characters in The Vampire Diaries universe, but it was hard to see her powers go untapped.

Lizzie's Fake Smile - Legacies Season 3 Episode 6

Once she became the Tribrid, she should have shown her powers more. The writers deliberately smothered her abilities, which was one of the show’s biggest problems.

Hope was struggling with a love interest

It wouldn’t be a Julie Plec show without a love interest in the lead role, but damn it, they sure did a terrible job with that relationship.

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

Hope is Impressed - Legacies Season 3 Episode 7

If the creatives hadn’t been so 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 had kept Hope and Landon together, but hadn’t done every storyline about Hope saving him.

The series only embraced darkness in its final season

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

New Rules - Legacies Season 3 Episode 6

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

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

The story of Hope’s No Humanity could have been great, but it lasted far too long to be memorable.

The lack of Monsters of the Week has really helped the show stay on the same note, and it’s a shame the show was canceled just when it struck the right balance.

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

Josie sees the light - Legacies Season 3 Episode 7

What do you think of Legacies and how it compares to the larger Vampire Diaries universe?

Do you think the changes were necessary to make the show worthwhile, or would you have preferred it to use a darker tone from the start?

Click on the comments below.


Paul Dailly is the associate editor of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.

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