There’s something about vampires that seems to intrigue people. Is it immortality that people are fascinated about, regardless of the cost? Regardless of the why, if you were to ask Vin, our vampire fan extraordinaire, they are some of the coolest supernatural creatures to exist. With the first eight-episode season dropping on Netflix today, is First Kill worth your time? Will it please my buddy Vin and his need for quality vampire programming? Let us sink our teeth into First Kill while the (wooden) stakes are still high!
[Warning: Spoilers for First Kill are below! Read at your own risk!]
Our story begins with a first love
Juliette Fairmont (Sarah Catherine Hook) has a perfect life. She achieves fantastic grades, has wonderful supportive friends, a family that loves her, and a house that is four times the size of mine. From the way she dresses to the car she drives, Juliette oozes an extravagant lifestyle, and yet is shy, quiet, and undeniably a good person. I feel like I’m forgetting something about her… oh yeah! She’s a legacy vampire.
As legacy vampires, Juliette and her family are able to walk around during the daytime, can see their reflection, and grow into vampirism instead of being bitten to change. I suppose there are some perks to having your lineage traced back to the Garden of Eden. When we join Juliette at the beginning of episode one, she’s fighting against her lineage and instincts, wishing to be human as much as possible. However, the desire becomes harder to control, which makes dating difficult.
Of all the people Juliette could develop a crush on, possibly the worst person is Calliope Burns (Imani Lewis). Cal, as she likes to be called, comes from a long line of monster hunters. The Burns aren’t your run-of-the-mill monster hunters though, they are top-tier killing machines. Cal, however, is the baby of the family and needs to get her first kill to be recognized as a monster hunter. Where Juliette is shy and timid, Cal comes off hard and distant. At least at first she. So naturally, the two fall madly in love, possibly starting a war to be with each other.
The show is indeed your typical Romeo and Juliet story. Star-crossed lovers destined for greatness in their respective families, willing to throw it all away for love. It can be an old and tired story and yet I found myself needing more by the end. I want to follow Juliette and Cal deeper into their mythologies. I need to find out if their love is truly strong enough to conquer all the tribulations they are facing. I’m holding out for another season.
I loved that this story took Romeo and Juliet, a classic play, and put a same-sex relationship as the core drive of the show. First Kill handles the relationship in a completely normalized way, which surprised me quite a bit. There wasn’t some big coming-out moment for the characters, however, the discovery of dating a vampire/monster hunter could be seen as a metaphor for such. The sexuality of these two characters is never questioned, which just felt like a huge step forward.
The acting of many of the characters was top-notch. Sarah Catherine Hook and Imani Lewis were fantastic as the two leads in this queer vampire romance. The emotions they conveyed in the struggle between love and family were excellent. However, the stand-out performances of the entire show go to Elizabeth Mitchell as Margot Fairmont and Aubin Wise as Talia Burns.
Wise is relatively new to acting with only a few credits to her name, but the talent that she projected in every scene rivaled that of acting veteran Mitchell. As the matriarchs of each family, these two women struggle to balance the duty to their lineage and to their family. Both women had scenes that were stuck in my head for days, with episodes seven and eight standing as a testament to Mitchell and Wise’s talent.
Parts that left me groaning
The CGI throughout the series left me baffled at times because of the inconsistency. There were some moments when the CGI looked amazing and other times it looked less than stellar. I was unsure if the CGI wasn’t finished in some of the scenes, however without any indication that it wasn’t, I assumed it was. The CGI didn’t take away from the show at all, but it did make me raise an eyebrow here and there.
The character of Elinor (Gracie Dzienny) didn’t work for me. As the older sister to Juliette, Elinor is the exact opposite of the main character in every way. She was confident to the point of cockiness, embracing the vampire lifestyle to the fullest. Dzienny’s acting was superb as Elinor, however, the character itself felt full of tired tropes. She felt like someone who belonged in Pretty Little Liars and in fact, I had to check to make sure multiple times that the actress hadn’t starred in that show as well. It felt like lazy character development but did add some spicy drama to the show.
Overall impressions of First Kill
I didn’t think I was going to like this show as much as I did. I thought it would play out as a silly supernatural romance show, but it was more nuanced than that. First Kill reminded me of a show I would have watched in high school and been obsessed about. This may be why I found myself craving more when it was over.
As soon as I saw Emma Roberts’s name attached as producer, I knew I was in for a wickedly good time. So if you love vampires as much as Vin does, you should check this show out. Or if you want the nostalgic feeling that comes with shows like The Vampire Diaries that you watched in high school, this show is for you. If you want more news on all the upcoming vampire movies and shows, check out Vin’s Future Vampire series of articles for all those blood-suckingly good updates.
First Kill arrives today on Netflix!