Vampires, vampires, vampires. Heard this story before? Mysterious things start happening, an equally enigmatic stranger appears and soon our beleaguered protagonist finds themselves fending off the forces of darkness and villainy.
The rundown of the plot is thus: Silas University student Laura (played with spunky brilliance by Elise Bauman) begins investigating when her roommate vanishes on a drunken night out at a frat house, only to find her room occupied by her new roomie, sullen and apathetic Carmilla (an equally impressive Natasha Negonvalis). Soon, Laura’s friends aid her in her investigation, and Laura begins to unravel the mysteries at the goings-on at her absolutely bonkers college, and just exactly what the nocturnal Carmilla has to do with them.
To a lot of people, the show will seem old hat — we know right off the bat that Carmilla isn’t going to be an innocent person, but the web series allows a fresh and truly intriguing take on this little-known, or rather little-explored vampiric forebear to classics such as Dracula. Easily among the show’s assets are its female-heavy cast, and imaginative, thoughtful way of viewing gender and sexuality in the 21st century. Supporting characters such as the tomboyish science student LaFontaine (Kaitlyn Alexander), type-A busybody Perry (Annie Briggs) and Sharon Belle as the athletic love interest, Danny, for Laura, are all well-drawn and valid examples of gender in the modern day.
Carmilla itself is a wonderful example of fluid sexuality. Laura is implied, strongly, to have a romantic interest in Danny and/or Carmilla, while Carmilla herself is a shifting entity on the sexuality spectrum, and other characters appear to be as fluid. The show considers all sexualities and genders valid, and while the representations of men have so far been limited to either Goofus and Gallant-style lummoxes who want to save the day, the portrayal of women is an excellent, wholly worthwhile part of a growing trend amongst avenues of social media. Plus, the show has a thriving selection of spin-off shows, that both feature the characters and actors, and which help create a feeling of engaging inclusiveness for its viewers.
The modern web series allows people to tell both and new stories in interesting,, engaging ways, and Carmilla is one of the best examples out there. Dark, scary, funny, and endlessly watchable, it’s a bloodier cousin to the adventures of Lizzie Bennet, but, to excuse the terrible pun, this series has got some serious bite.
Watch the series here.