In 2009, Supernatural teen drama, The Vampire Diaries aired in the US via television network, The CW. The show, set in the fictional town of Mystic Falls, followed the story of teenager, Elena Gilbert, as she develops a relationship with 162-year-old vampire, Stefan Salvatore.

Due to popularity of the first season of The Vampire Diaries, the show was recommissioned for further seasons. In turn, the show also spawned a number of spin-off series, which expanded plotlines, and explored different characters, creating a wider Vampire Diaries universe in the process.

Not familiar with all of the shows set within the Vampire Diaries universe? Not to worry – in this post I am breaking down the universe to provide you with a run through of all the different shows.



Understanding The Vampire Diaries, The Originals, and Legacies

Image: ©Warner Bros. Television

As noted above, the Vampire Diaries universe began in 2009 with The Vampire Diaries. The show centred around Elena Gilbert and Stefan Salvatore, as well as Stefan’s mysterious older brother, Damon.

The Vampire Diaries was an instant hit with viewers and in 2010 a second season followed. A third began airing in 2011, with a fourth in 2012.

For those first few years, The Vampire Diaries existed as a solo show, however, during the fourth season work began on testing the waters for a potential spin-off show. This ‘tester’ took the shape of a backdoor pilot episode, titled ‘The Originals’, which aired as the 20th episode of Season Four.

With this backdoor pilot proving popular with audiences, The CW gave the green light for a sister show to go ahead. This show – also titled The Originals – centred around the Mikaelson family, who were introduced in The Vampire Diaries.

The first season of The Originals aired in 2013, alongside the fifth season of The Vampire Diaries. Due to the success of the show, it continued for further seasons, which aired concurrently with new seasons of its predecessor.

Image: ©Warner Bros. Television

In 2017, after eight seasons on air, The Vampire Diaries came to and end, concluding with the episode ‘I Was Feeling Epic’. However, while this was the end of the road for The Vampire Diaries, the wider universe continued as The Originals remained on air for another year.

A year later, in August 2018, The Originals concluded after five seasons with the episode ‘When the Saints Go Marching In’. But once again, this wasn’t the end of the road for the Vampire Diaries universe, as another show soon followed.

Beginning in October 2019, Legacies hit television screens. Set two years after the events of The Originals, Legacies followed the story of Hope Mikaelson, as she attended the Salvatore School for the Young and Gifted.

Image: ©Warner Bros. Television

As with its predecessors, Legacies quickly built up a loyal fan base, and this kept the show on air for the next few years. It eventually came to an end in June 2022, with the Season Four episode ‘Just Don’t Be A Stanger, Okay?’

In total, between 2009 and 2022, the Vampire Diaries universe clocked up three different shows, 17 seasons of television, and over 330 episodes. This broke down as follows:

  • The Vampire Diaries: 171 episodes (eight seasons)
  • The Originals: 92 episodes (five seasons)
  • Legacies: 68 episodes (four seasons)


Watching The Vampire Diaries in order

If you have never watched any of the Vampire Diaries shows, and you are only now just finding your way into this little universe, hopefully the following show/season list will ease you in nicely.

  • The Vampire Diaries – Season One (2009 – 2010)
  • The Vampire Diaries – Season Two (2010 – 2011)
  • The Vampire Diaries – Season Three (2011 – 2012)
  • The Vampire Diaries – Season Four (2012 – 2013)
  • The Vampire Diaries – Season Five (2013 – 2014)
  • The Originals – Season One (2013 – 2014)
  • The Vampire Diaries – Season Six (2014 – 2015)
  • The Originals – Season Two (2014 – 2015)
  • The Vampire Diaries – Season Seven (2015 – 2016)
  • The Originals – Season Three (2015 – 2016)
  • The Vampire Diaries – Season Eight (2016 – 2017)
  • The Originals – Season Four (2017)
  • The Originals – Season Five (2018)
  • Legacies – Season One (2018 – 2019)
  • Legacies – Season Two (2019 – 2020)
  • Legacies – Season Three (2021)
  • Legacies – Season Four (2021 – 2022)

Please note: The above viewing order is presented as close to chronological order as possible. As both The Vampire Diaries and The Originals aired at the same time, there might be some slight discrepancies during any crossovers, but this list should see you right.