It has been forever and a day since I reviewed a TV show.
Writing about TV is hard. If you only watch the pilot, then you are judging a show on… well, just the pilot. And some pilots are bad. Really bad. Some are great, of course, but most of the time they are just there to sort of get you into the characters and the setting. Here is a fun list of bad vs good pilots.… note that doing GREAT as a pilot doesn’t mean the show will actually do well and Double Note that some of these “misses” went on to be AMAZING shows. So… maybe it is ok if the pilot isn’t great?
The pilot is where they are trying out new things and sometimes the swings are big and then the eventual payoff is ho-hum.
Also, you never know if a show is going to get packed up, renewed, or canceled unfairly… so it is a bit of an emotional risk to even watch it in the first place.
And that is especially true with Netflix shows.
So I just gave up doing TV reviews years ago because they weren’t worth it.
Vampire. Monster (Vampire) Hunter. Starcrossed lovers. And… HELLA GAY?
Well ok. I’m in.
Note. I didn’t actually watch this trailer before I watched the show so I wasn’t sure who was who in terms of vampire vs hunter when I started. But just in case you like to have context before you watch…
Oh hey… the show is based on a short story by V.E. Schwab.
“The whole reason that I wrote this is because I grew up on genre, I grew up on Buffy and Supernatural and Charmed, and I grew up loving these spaces that didn’t always love me.V.E. Schwab
Hey! I love all three of those shows and I’m queer and YES PLEASE let’s watch this show!
And so it was that I watched, spellbound and almost unable to take any sort of notes. I needed to pee at around the ten-minute mark. But bladders can wait. This show Could Not.
Here are my top 10 thoughts after the first episode of First Kill titled “First Kiss.”
- The soundtrack is fun. But I’m old. What do I know.
- The trope of a klutzy wallflower girl who is nevertheless special… It is… well, a trope. I guess we have to just accept that. The acting is… ok. We aren’t here for the acting really, more for the story that hopefully has teeth. (har har)
- There is a Twilight reference in the credit song but this show had far more in common with Buffy. Besides that both this and Buffy’s first episode end on a very similar cliffhanger, there is also the high school aspect, the gay best friend (although First Kill handles this so much better), the very “of its time” fashion choices, the fighting of one’s destiny, the dopey looking CGI monsters… However, these teens don’t have the quips but there are some actual human-shaped humans doing human things!
- Not casting any shade at Buffy. It was amazing, it is still amazing even if some of it hasn’t aged all that well, and holds a very special place in my heart. I don’t think this show will have the lasting impact because it seems like a throwback to Buffy and Xena, but it is fun.
- I dig the new mythos. It is a challenge for any show or storyteller to take existing folklore or a supernatural element (like vampires) and then make it your own. Even little tweaks can make a huge difference and add layers. So far, the idea of the DayWalker, the blood pills, the dreams, and the mysterious Monster Fighting Guild that uses magic… all are awesome and I can’t wait to learn more. (Please don’t end up making me regret wanting to know more!)
- I do hope that the mythos isn’t limited to race. What I mean is… so far we have Monster Hunters are Black and Vampires are White and… that’s okay… but I hope the show is more nuanced than that. There is potential for some family drama, (parents and siblings and expectations, Oh My!) I hope the side characters get fleshed out. (har har!)
- Quick touch back to Buffy and race… that show treated Black characters and actors horribly. Like… it was glaringly awful. So hooray for more representation! At the same time… this show is trying to do a LOT of representation. Can it support it without going full X-Men?
- Savannah! Not CA! Not any part of the West Coast! That’s cool. Although the houses look kinda LA to me… esp the high school party house with its weird orbs and blocks of muted pastel lighting… who lives here? Who told them this was a good look?
- They, uh… /gulp/… Y’all… a jar of cherries… during a kissing scene… it fell and broke… cherries everywhere getting… smooshed… it… was not subtle. I think this is a sign that the show knows what it is and isn’t going to take itself super seriously.
- Casting! Holy smokes! Elizabeth Mitchell!!!! I can hardly breathe! I mean… the whole cast is fun to look at, but Be Still My Beating Heart.
So far this show is kicking it out of the park in terms of representation, music, mythos, and interesting story dynamics. I can’t wait to watch more so I think this pilot definitely did what it was supposed to do.
God I hope they don’t F it up!