Here's a show (and a teen star) for the Halloween season


Sometimes, the universe works things out conveniently. Danielle Rose Russell was born on Halloween ... savors the holiday and all things creepy ... and now stars in "Legacies," which arrives six days before Halloween, full of creepy types. Here's the story I sent to papers:

By Mike Hughes

To most of us,
Halloween offers a brief diversion – a once-a-year encounter with
bad costumes and good candy.

For Danielle Rose
Russell, it's much more. In various forms, it's an obsession, a
career and a birthday.

This Halloween, on
her 19th birthday, she plans to trick-or-treat, as usual.
It will be “the last Halloween when you can do that without having
to be in a mask,” TV producer Julie Plec told her.

That's because
“Legacies” could quickly make her famous. The show debuts Oct.
25, with Russell starring as the world's only witch/werewolf/vampire
tribred; it's the ideal role for someone obsessed with the holiday
that's on her birthday.

“My family and my
mom and I geek out over Halloween,” Russell said. “Every year, we
start decorating in September. We love it; I still go
trick-or-treating.”

And she's savored
all the eerie things connected to the holiday.

“I've always been
so entranced with the supernatural,” she said. “It's a world that
I actually fell in love with (via) 'The Vampire Diaries' when I was
like 13 or 14 .... I was like, 'One day I want to be a part of a
supernatural show like that' .... I've always wanted to be a vampire
in a show.”

Now she is one (plus
a witch and a werewolf) ... inside the universe of Plec's three
shows.

“Vampire Diaries”
began in 2009, showing mortal teens and immortal vampires in Mystic
Falls, Va. It added a New Orleans spin-off, “The Originals,” in
2013.

Both are gone now –
the “Originals” finale was last season, with “Diaries” ending
a year earlier – but the story goes on. In its final season,
“Originals” set up “Legacies” -- with Russell and other
teens.

“You have this
whole new cast of characters and all these young kids and it's super
fresh and super angsty and super new-millennial-wave,” Matt Davis
said.

He plays Alaric
Saltzman, who's been through a lot. At various times in “Diaries,”
he was a history teacher, vampire, a vampire-hunter and ... well,
dead. None of those things are permanent in this universe, so he was
resurrected as a mortal.

As “Vampire
Diaries” was ending, Plec said, he “decided to start a boarding
school for his young twin daughters, who were born from a very dark
and psychopathic-laden witch coven.”

That was the last we
heard of him for a few years ... until “Originals” began wrapping
up. Then we learned that Hope – the daughter of Niklaus (who was
“the nastiest, oldest and fiercest vampire in the world,” Plec
says) and Hayley – was tucked away in Alaric's school.

For Davis, what
started as a four-episode role on “Vampire Diaries” has become
eternal. It “has just blossomed into this 10-year journey that I
would have never, never imagined,” he said.

Viewers won't need
to memorize the details, Plec promised. They'll merely need to “have
a love for teen soap and/or creatures of the night.”

On the one hand,
Russell said, Hope has the same problems as other teens. She's a
“kind of a messy and emotional and, you know, bad-decision-making
girl.”

On the other, she
has those monsters. “In our second episode, we have a very exciting
new creature.”

That episode falls
on Nov. 1, which is variously known as All Saints' Day, All Hallows'
Day or the middle of the three-day Day of the Dead ... and is the day
after Danielle Russell's maybe-final chance to trick-or-treat while
only semi-famous.

“Legacies,” 9
p.m. Thursdays, CW, beginning Oct. 25