The Vampire Diaries, The Originals and Legacies in Order: The Complete Guide

Everything started with the release of the pilot episode for The Vampire Diaries, an American supernatural teen drama TV show that went on for eight seasons. The popularity of the show grew as time went on and that consequently brought us two different spin-off shows. You’re probably wondering where and how to start. Look no further as we present to you the complete order of watching for The Vampire Diaries, The Originals, and Legacies.

The original series, as we mentioned earlier has eight seasons (171 episodes), then chronologically what follows is the first spin-off show The Originals (92 episodes), and finally, we have Legacies (68 episodes). If you would rather watch one of the spin-off shows and not the original series with The Originals, you would need seasons three and four for deeper context and character background. In order to understand Legacies better you would need to watch seasons four and five of The Originals.

In the next couple of paragraphs we are going to take a look at these three series and see how they correlate with each other and the exact episode where the spin-offs pick up, so keep reading for more.

The Vampire Diaries, The Originals, and Legacies release order at a glance

The Vampire Diaries was written and developed by Kevin Williamson, who is best known for his work on the movie Scream and the teen show Dawson’s Creek. The pilot episode quickly gained traction and soon after that, it became the most-watched series that the network CW had since its start.

  1. The Vampire Diaries: Seasons 1 – 4
  2. The Originals: Seasons 1 – 3
  3. The Vampire Diaries: Season 5 – 8
  4. The Originals: Seasons 4 – 5
  5. Legacies: Seasons 1 – 4

The Vampire Diaries, The Originals, and Legacies watch order by release date

The following is a detailed watch order for The Vampire Diaries, The Originals, and Legacies. By following this order you won’t have any trouble connecting the story, characters, and timelines.

The Vampire Diaries (2009 – 2017): 8 seasons, 171 episodes

The Vampire Diaries

The main story is set in a small town called Mystic Falls and we follow the main character Elena Gilbert who recently lost her parents to a car crash accident. The series starts off with Elena’s first day back at her high school after the heartfelt tragedy. She meets a mysterious new student called Stefan Salvatore and instantly feels drawn to him. Simultaneously, there are some weird occurrences happening, people mysteriously disappearing or being found dead with extreme blood loss.

The Originals (2013 – 2018): 5 seasons, 92 episodes

The Originals

The first spin-off show follows the three siblings, Klaus, Rebekah, and Elijah who were the very first vampires ever created in the Vampire Diaries universe. We follow a more detailed look into their lives since they’ve left Mystic Falls.

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Legacies (2018 – 2022): 4 seasons, 68 episodes

Legacies

This spin-off starts off two years after The Originals and it follows the daughter of Klaus, Hope, who is the descendent of one of the most powerful bloodlines in the universe. She attends a private school called Salvatore School for the Young and Gifted that fosters and teaches different kinds of supernatural beings.

The Vampire Diaries, The Originals, and Legacies in chronological order

This is a list for when you want to follow the series chronologically. We would not recommend you do this if you are just starting to watch the show, instead, you should just follow the release date order we’ve listed in the previous chapter.

  • The Vampire Diaries: Seasons 1 – 4
  • The Originals: Seasons 1 – 3
  • The Vampire Diaries: Season 5 – 8
  • The Originals: Seasons 4 – 5
  • Legacies: Seasons 1 – 4

If you follow the episodes in this order, the part where it gets tricky is when The Originals pick up and the timeline is going back-to-back with The Vampire Diaries season 5, to see the detailed list of episodes to follow, you can click on this link.

After watching three seasons intertwined with each other the rest of the list is easier to go through. What we have left are the two seasons of The Originals and after that Legacies pick up two years after season five of The Originals.

Do you need to watch it in order?

If you were wondering if you can watch the spin-off shows without the context of former seasons. Some would say that you can but since the show hosts different characters from the original seasons you would be missing out on the moment of reuniting.

This gap would be easier to bridge when it comes to Legacies because even though it hosts some of the characters from the original show, like Alaric Saltzman, it mostly focuses on the younger generations who hadn’t known the characters before them. With that said, you will miss out on some crucial information on the individual motivations of each character and how their families played a role in them.

When it comes to The Originals, our recommendation is, if you are not connecting that well with the original show, you should at least watch the third season which was appropriately nicknamed „The season of the Originals“. If you are just impatient to see how this spin-off looks and ultimately how different the characters develop through their own path after they leave the initial timeline. Then we would recommend you watch from season one to the last episode of season four of The Vampire Diaries and then start season one of The Originals.

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The news surrounding a new season of Legacies is still very unclear. It seems as though there’s still interest for more seasons and the fans of the show are looking out for a potential switch in the show’s status. The reason why Legacies were initially canceled wasn’t because of the show’s rating it was because the network that hosted all three series, CW, was being sold to a different company.

Which in the end resulted in other shows like Dynasty, Batwoman, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, Roswell, and New Mexico being canceled as well. Something might change in the upcoming future, maybe another network picks the show up. This was the first time in thirteen years that the show was off the network. Interestingly enough, the co-creator of the Vampire Diaries, Julie Plec, said something very hopeful in regard to the project when interviewed by the EW.

There might be a different format to conclude the show, potentially a movie, Julie said: “We’re a little sad, we’re going to take a beat, but yeah, there’s more ideas. There’s more to do.” and “We had the plan to keep the franchise on the air until the next installment, which exists in our brains, but not on the page yet”. Fans are still hoping for the return of their beloved show but for now, we can only have a nostalgic re-watch marathon party.

  • Petra enjoys watching everything from reality TV shows to fourteen-hour-long independent films with a non-conventional structure. Through studying at the Academy of Dramatic Arts in Zagreb she found her passion for writing and she's excited to learn more about it as time goes on.