By Kendra James
San Diego Comic Con was overwhelming and not for the faint hearted, but also one of the most unique experiences of geekdom I’ve ever had. After taking a week to recover I wanted share a few highs and lows, insights and lessons learned from a first time SDCC attendee.
Promo shot for The Originals. Via the CW.
Last week The Vampire Diaries (TVD) aired Episode 20, “The Originals,” a “backdoor pilot” for a spin-off series coming this Fall of the same name, which will (finally) remove the Original Family of Klaus, Rebekkah, and Elijah from Mystic Falls, VA, and send them even further south to New Orleans. I know, I know–at this point we need more Southern vampires on television like we need another summer superhero movie. But here’s the surprising thing: If TVD showrunner Julie Plec weren’t also in charge of this show? It could be very, very good.
There hasn’t been much to be excited about this season, so this was a game-changer and it was more than just a change of scenery (TVD has had a lot of that this year). Admittedly, you can’t go wrong in erasing the ridiculous part of the plot where the 1000+-year-old vampires have to pretend to be teenagers, fitting in with small-town Virginia life. The new chosen city for the show isn’t overly inspired; New Orleans is hardly original when it comes to vampire storytelling, but with it comes an instant change to the mood and tone of the show.
“The Originals” steps back from the teenage shenanigans of TVD, and thank goodness for that. This is show about family–the family you’re born into vs. the family you make for yourself. With that, plus the introduced cast members, there’s some serious potential here.
The problem is it is Plec’s show–and a lot of the potential it has won’t ever see the light of day.
By Guest Contributors Kendra James and Jordan St. John
It was a rough few days last month for The Vampire Diaries executive producer Julie Plec and actor Matt Davis, and probably rougher still for actress Kat Graham, who plays Bonnie Bennett. Starting with Davis’ dismissive response concerning a recently deceased fan after her battle with cancer, the day only got worse when Plec got into it with a fan after being asked why the writers can’t give Bonnie a love interest who isn’t her step-brother.
Adressing her comments to “certain Bonnie fans,” Plec responded on Twitter:
Fandom never takes well to being talked down to by creators and, while this was bad enough, Davis insisted on having the last word, via his own Twitter. Picture Plec as Elena, and Davis as, well, Alaric … or any of the other men who consistently come rushing to her aid short of reason and with half a plan. The result was just about as successful as anything that would have played out on the show.
And then when it was speculated that Bonnie’s treatment on the show might stem from her status as a POC, Davis–once again half cocked–fired back:
Kat Graham is of Black and Jewish descent, as Davis so kindly reminded fans while completely missing the point of the argument. His wild insensitivity and ignorant–if not blatantly racist–comments prompted some fans to call for a boycott of watching the show’s March 22 episode live or through DVR recordings. Not to have the show cancelled, mind you, but to show through a dip in the ratings that the fans would not tolerate this sort of treatment from the show’s writers and actors.
With that in mind, your resident Racialicious TVD obsessees, Jordan and Kendra, sat down for a short chat on how this exchange colored our view of the episode and Bonnie Bennett.