I'm not usually into vampire stories, mostly because they're either too gooey with high school nonsense, or they are all action packed and full of gore. I am into none of those things. (Side note: The witches out-gross the vampires in this show. Just an FYI.)
But lucky for me, that is not the case with The Originals. Even though some of these elements are present, they are in reduced form, and are not as overt as in other vampire stories. Yes, it can get a bit bloody, but it is manageable in that you can look away for a few seconds here and there if you so choose and NOT miss the entire episode in doing so.
I find the characters to be psychologically interesting and compelling (no pun intended), and especially those of Niklaus and Elijah and their relationship as brothers. It's an interesting concept to me to explore a being who is over 1,000 years old and has done a lot of living, and the effects that would/could have on the choices that they make (and why), their psyche, and their emotional well being. This concept is what usually causes me to give vampire stories a chance. Not any of the blood stuff. Yes, the Originals are powerful, but it's what they choose to do (or not to do) with that power that interests me.
Visually, the show is good, the colors, the sets, the costumes, and indeed most of the people. I found the casting to have been done really well in this department. As mentioned above, I dislike the high school vibe, and visually, The Originals avoided that and because of this I feel like I am watching adults, and not children. It lends a maturity to the show which I do appreciate.
I must also mention that I think that the soundtrack/music is REALLY well done. I have even purchased two or so tracks used in season 1. No regrets. I feel that the music is definitely fitting with it's backdrop of New Orleans. And no, I do not mean straight up jazz (among other things), but it has a warmth to it and is full of soul. Music brings all of the other (really good) elements alive.
And, to add to that thought, and also a reference back to casting, I found a lot of the characters voices to be very interesting to listen to, those of the three "Originals" siblings in particular. Perhaps that's partially because they all have accents that I enjoy listening to, but it's more than that, it's also their rhythm/meter of speech, as well as tone. They also use words one doesn't normally hear out of your average Joe in conversation (from Elijah especially). After all, you'd expect someone who is that old to have a very large vocabulary, and perhaps even a different manner of speaking. Lends itself to bring more depth, realism, and believability to their characters.
Plot. Not without its flaws but it's good! But okay, let's be honest here. Most everyone appreciates a good romance story. But this show focuses more on the family bond and what that really means, and let's face it, it's a straight up story about the concept of forgiveness and redemption (Niklaus is the best example of this, but it is certainly not limited to him). Which is another concept I find extremely interesting. All of the various romances are a little off center focus, but highly present. And most importantly, NOT the usual gooey high school form of romance. Thank God.
All in all, worth the watch. I await season 2. Let's hope they keep the quality going.