What started as a backdoor pilot shoved into The Vampire Diaries season 4 quickly became one of the hottest shows on The CW's lineup this year, finding its footing during a spectacular freshman season.
Oh yes, my friends, we're talking about The Originals Season 1.
The countdown to its return has begun, but in the meantime, let's take a stroll through the season that made the Mikaelsons lead characters with our TV Fanatic report card.
Warning: This report card contains spoilers. If you haven't seen every episode yet, watch The Originals online to get yourself caught up or proceed with caution.
BEST EPISODE: While there were a few episodes that left something to be desired, most of them were consistently fantastic, making narrowing this down to a single episode impossible. "Fruit of the Poisoned Tree" (The Originals Season 1 Episode 6) gave us our first glimpse of Klaus as a father and the lengths to which he would go to protect his unborn daughter. "The Casket Girls" thrust the female characters into the limelight showing that The Originals was more than just a boy's club.
During "Farewell to Storyville" (The Originals Season 1 Episode 16) we watched our beloved Rebekah Mikaelson leave her lover, her brothers and her home on a quest for happiness. And then that finale, "From a Cradle to a Grave," gave us Hayley as a hybrid and set us up for what is sure to be an amazing ride for The Originals season 2: Mikael is back and in the flesh!
WORST EPISODE: This award goes to "Après Moi, Le Déluge," The Originals Season 1 Episode 11. Why? Because it shifted the focus of the series from the vampires to the witches and things took a turn for the weird when Celeste/Sabine resurrected Genevieve, Papa Tunde, and Bastianna instead of the Harvest girls. And when the Harvest girls did return, we got Creepy Monique. Shudder!
BEST CHARACTER: It seems too easy to give this one to Elijah. He's the best at everything from wearing a suit to being dead sexy. Klaus with his single man tear is just the right amount of brooding vampire mixed with tortured soul. But the Best Character award this year is going to....MARCEL GERARD. As a newcomer to the franchise, Marcel Gerard gave us a formidable opponent for Klaus, someone who wouldn't back down. Marcel is a character who understands what it means to lead people, not just be in charge. For that, he was an excellent foil to Klaus and Elijah.
WORST CHARACTER: Monique! Someone get that teen some therapy! She spent a little too much time with Esther on the Other Side and came back totally willing to kill a baby! Never have I ever been so glad to see a witch die. Ever.
BEST TWIST: Hayley is a Hybrid! Tyler's appearance in New Orleans and revelation that Hayley's unborn baby would create hybrids made us groan in agony. Hybrids? Again? And then, with one gasp for air on an altar in the middle of a church it all made sense. Hayley was in transition and the only way to keep her alive would be to save the baby from the witches who would see them all dead. Epic. Awesome. Amazing. Best twist of the season.
SADDEST LOSS: While we'd like to give this one to Claire Holt's exit, we know she's not gone for good, as evidenced by her return to become baby Hope's caregiver. Losing Sophie Deveraux was shocking, especially considering everything Sophie had done to secure Monique's return. But the saddest loss was that of Father Kieran. A friend, an uncle, and the representative of the human faction, he wasn't afraid to go toe to toe with the supernaturals in New Orleans. He'll be missed.
BEST COUPLE: Haylijah fans spent the season on the edges of their seats waiting for the moment when these two would finally get together. They weren't disappointed as proclamations were made (sort of) and kisses were shared. We swooned! We squealed! We sighed! But the real best couple of The Originals season 1 isn't a romantic couple at all. We're giving this one to Josh and Davina.
He's the one person who has been consistently on her side, and all because she erased Klaus' ability to compel him, however painful that may have been. These best friends are good for each other, and Josh is funny, so we want to keep him around as long as possible.
And now it's YOUR turn, TV Fanatics! What grade do YOU give The Originals Season 1?
Miranda Wicker is a Staff Writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.