This is an important post, peoples! I HAVE A NEW OBSESSION.
I recently discovered the YouTube webseries Carmilla and if you’re friends with me on Facebook, you’ve probably noticed me posting about it a lot. BECAUSE IT IS AMAZING AND I LOVE IT SOOOO MUCH.
And you should watch it too! Like, right this very minute. Or at least right after reading this post? I’ll accept that too. Basically, just watch it and then come fangirl with me on various forms of social media! (And come cry with me because the first season ended this Tuesday and no one is sure if/when a second one will be announced.)
Anyway, that’s enough blathering. Time for a LIST. Here are some (hopefully slightly more coherent) reasons you need to watch Carmilla!
This post is spoiler-free!
1. The show is told in the form of a vlog.
Laura, the main character, is a journalism student at the fictional (and supernatural!) Silas University – and when her roommate mysteriously disappears, she decides to do a little investigative reporting! The show consists of her vlog (video blog) updates, in which she discusses snooping around campus, meeting her creepy new roommate Carmilla, and… finding out that Carmilla is a vampire?
I love, love, love how the writers/filmmakers decided to tell this story. (I watch quite a few vlogs!) And I think others will appreciate it too – remember the Lizzie Bennet Diaries? I never got into those (probably because I’m not a huge Jane Austen fan) but they were HUGE a few years ago.
This show is kind of like its descendant. Only better, probably, because Pride and Prejudice doesn’t have vampires. (What a shame!)
2. The show is actually an adaptation of a classic novella and just may convince you to read the original – it certainly convinced me!
Dracula was the first modern vampire story, right? Wrong. Bram Stoker was actually inspired by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu’s novella Carmilla, published some twenty-six years previously. (That’s 1871, for you history nerds – modern vampire stories have been around for a lot longer than most people think!)
I’d been meaning to read the story for aaaaaages (because CANONICALLY LESBIAN VAMPIRES YAY – more on that in just a second) but kept putting it off because… well, A) I didn’t realize it was less than one hundred pages and B) a lot of classics are INTIMIDATING.
I almost always end up watching the movie / reading an annotated edition / using a Cliff Notes guide – not instead of reading a classic book, but in addition to it! It really helps me to know the plot before diving into all that complicated, old-fashioned language… otherwise I usually just get confused and worry too much about what certain words mean, and I don’t get to enjoy the actual story!
Anyway, I finally read Carmilla on Monday and was quite happy to see that the webseries is a very faithful adaptation of the original. I mean, yeah, they’ve taken certain creative liberties, but I was surprised by the show’s accuracy.
3. Did I mention vampires? Because VAMPIRES.
VAMPIRES! This is a vampire story for those who love them, and also for those who think they don’t like vampire tales. (Don’t worry, Carmilla doesn’t sparkle.)
I really think this show has the best of both worlds – old-fashioned creepiness AND a delightfully modern vampires. I giggled so much when Carmilla hid her blood (don’t look in the soy milk carton!) and blamed her nocturnal habits on being your typical lazy college student rather than on being, well, undead.
I am SO not used to this! When even extremely famous shows such as Doctor Who and Sherlock fail to pass the Bechdel Test, what’s a young feminist to do? Well, first she’ll have a sad, and then she’ll find other, better shows.
…such as Carmilla. I’m not used to watching shows (or movies) with lady protagonists. Lady protagonists whose lives don’t revolve around men! Lady protagonists who don’t put down other ladies! Lady protagonists AND lady secondary characters who are well-written!
(P.S. This show is so lady-centric that it fails the tongue-in-cheek Reverse Bechdel Test – i.e., its two male characters never have a conversation that isn’t about the ladies… usually, Carmilla!)
5. Carmilla has better LGBTQ+ representation than, well, any other TV show (or movie!) that I’ve ever seen.
Speaking of things I’m not used to… I’m used to shows (and stories in general!) having no LGBTQ+ representation, or poorly written/stereotypical/offensive representation, or a bunch of gay guys but no queer women.
I’m not used to shows that have all-female love triangles.
I’m used to the best-case scenario being a girl/girl couple – I’m not used to being able to say, “This couple is my OTP,” because what’s the point in saying a pairing is my favorite when it’s the only pairing? So I love being able to discuss the relative merits of Laura/Carmilla, Laura/Danny, and LaFontaine/Perry. I love fangirlishly flailing over their COMPLETE AND UTTER CUTENESS.
How does such awesome representation come into existence? Well, about half the cast and crew are queer in real life, too. HEY! There’s another thing I’m sooo not used to: Queer lady characters created by ladies who thought, “I’d really like to see more people like me in stories,” not characters written by pervy straight dudes who think, “LOL, two girls together? HOT.”
I’m on a roll now, so here’s another thing I’m not used to: Genderqueer characters. LaFontaine is genderqueer! How cool is that?!
What I am used to is finding such stories in books. OF COURSE I want good representation in movies/TV shows, but do I usually find it there? Um. NO. (Hello, Doctor Who. And hi, Sherlock.) I read a lot of books by semi-obscure YA authors because so far, they’ve been the best place to find the sort of characters I’d like to see more of. So it’s really fun to be able to watch something with good representation for a change.
You can see that I am just the teensiest bit excited about all the lovely representation in this show.
6. The mood of the show goes up and down, from hilarity to grief.
Sometimes it makes me giggle. Other times, it makes me cry. THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT I WANT FROM A STORY. (Among other things, of course!) I love the ridiculously weird Silas University and the humorous modern take on the classic vampire story.
And the Zeta Omega Mu frat boys. THE FRAT BOYS. They may not show up very often, but they make every second count with their clueless-yet-hilarious quips. “What are you doing?!” “Choking you, bro.”
7. It is so easy to catch up on this show.
Yes, the first (and currently only) season of Carmilla IS thirty-six episodes long but installments average around five minutes in length, so… it should take you about two hours, tops, to finish season one.
I used the recent long weekend to start/catch up on a bunch of books, movies, and TV shows, so I spent Thanksgiving morning watching Carmilla. Trust me, you’ll finish the episodes in no time. I meant to pace myself so that I would still have new episodes to look forward to, but I just couldn’t stop myself and ended up watching the entire show in one sitting!
I think I am in love with this show. Actually, scratch that – I KNOW I’m in love with this show. It’s everything I could ever want in a story, and then some. When I started watching it I just hoped it would be good. I had no idea that it would become one of my new favorite things. I. LOVE. CARMILLA!
So! Fangirling time! If you’ve already seen the show, tell me your thoughts! What scene made you laugh the most? Who do you ship? ARE YOU SECRETLY A VAMPIRE?
P.S. To start watching Carmilla, click here. (Because you are going to watch it, right? Right?!)