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'Legacies' Arrives on the CW
October 25, 2018  | By David Hinckley

Apparently, it isn’t only in the shadowy darkness that vampires live forever.

They also live forever on the CW, where the latest descendant of The Vampire Diaries, Legacies, premieres Thursday at 8 p.m. ET.

Before you assume this is just another nod to the seemingly endless fascination of teenage girls with lethal dreamboats, you should know that Legacies is also a wonderfully warped homage to Harry Potter.

With Legacies being a spin-off and all, we’ve met several of the central characters before.

That notably includes Hope Mikaelson (Danielle Rose Russell, top), who was featured in the first-generation Vampire Diaries spin-off, The Originals.

Also Alaric Saltzman (Matthew Davis, top), who was a regular on the original Vampire Diaries.

Alaric runs the Salvatore School for the Young and Gifted, which has a unique mission in the elite world of private schools. All its students are witches, werewolves or vampires, and Salvatore aims to teach them how to control their powers and channel them for good.

That’s a behavior mod challenge most public schools are not equipped to handle because, as Alaric succinctly puts it, “Everyone here is a predator.”

As you can imagine, this opens up all kinds of possibilities for both the curriculum and leisure-time activities. Regular sports would be pretty boring if everyone had superpowers, so the school thought up its own field game. It’s incomprehensible to us civilians and seems to lack anything resembling rules, but it gives the director a chance to show off a lot of special effects.

Less extended but perhaps more impactful are the possibilities that supernatural powers create for, say, mean girls. Imagine if instead of simply trashing someone’s locker or sending a fake text to her boyfriend, you could mumble a few words and set her on fire.

Which is, of course, just the sort of impulse Salvatore is urging its students not to activate.

In the larger picture, as you might also imagine, the Salvatore School is hard not to compare to Hogwarts, alma mater of Harry Potter and his young wizard friends.

Alaric himself makes reference to Harry Potter early in the first episode, lest anyone miss it.

Vampire series have always kept their tongues a bit in their cheeks, and Legacies gets to take some of the fantastical material of Harry Potter and carry it a few amusing steps further. Hope, for instance, calls herself a tribrid – part werewolf, part vampire, part witch.

For Salvatore, you could say she’s the complete package, and sure enough, she plunges right into the heart of the drama when she shows a bit of kindness to a human, Landon Kirby (Aria Shahghasemi, left).

He is, of course, darkly handsome, making it wholly natural that a 17-year-old girl would sigh wistfully after they meet.

Landon has come to Salvatore purely by chance. His best friend, Rafael (Peyton Alex Smith), has experienced a troubling life event that can’t be remedied simply by going to Confession, though that is Rafael’s first move. When instead, Rafael must be spirited off to Salvatore, Landon comes along to make sure he’s okay.

Then Landon meets Hope, whom it turns out he had tried to date several years earlier before Hope disappeared to what Landon assumed was a private school for troubled rich girls.

He was partly right. And Hope is partly wrong. And that sets up the first major drama of Legacies.

After years of The Vampire Diaries, on top of the Twilight series and other supernatural tales of tragic romance, producers know how to do them. Legacies checks the right boxes and gives us an appealing cast of young folks who take a calm approach to their weird world. They have teenage crushes. They smoke weed.

They would definitely shake up the classroom dynamic at Hogwarts.

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