Hi everybody, and welcome to a new Something Different Sunday, on which I talk about… well something different from books.
Today I wanted to talk about First Kill, a show that was released on Netflix earlier this month. As it was based on a short story by one of my favorite authors and seemed like a nice campy paranormal romance, I had high expectations for it. So I sped through the first season in about 2 days and unfortunately… it did not meet my expectations. So let’s just dive into my review!
What it’s about:
First Kill is an 8-episode series based on a short story by V.E. Schwab. It’s a lesbian vampire story with major Romeo and Juliet vibes: teens Juliette and Calliope meet and fall hard for each other. The problem? Juliette’s a vampire and Calliope’s a hunter. And both of them are ready to make their first kill.
What I loved:
The chemistry between the two main leads
First of all, I was so happy to see a lesbian show getting this much spotlight. While it’s true that there have been more LGBTQIA+ stories out there lately, it’s also a little sad to see so very little sapphic stories between them. While everybody seems to love gay romances, lesbian romances are still quite underrepresented. So while this vampire story may seem a bit ‘been there done that’ for some, bear in mind that all or most of those stories have been very straight. So it was very refreshing to see this story with lesbian representation.
And the chemistry between Juliette and Cal? It’s undeniable. From the very first scene, these two play off each other so well. Even though the romance happens quite quickly and it’s of course quite dramatic given the Romeo and Juliet vibes, it’s still believable and very easy to get swept up in their romance. Though I do wish we had more scenes of them just hanging out and talking about normal things, the actors made the most of the time we had in these 8 episodes and really sold their feelings for each other, as well as their struggles combining this love for each other with the loyalty to their families.
The two opposing families and all their potential
While Juliette and Cal are definitely at the center of all the attention, there is a big cast surrounding them, and there is so much potential there for interesting storylines. We have Juliette’s family, born legacy vampires hiding in plain sight. They are rich and privileged but there also seems to be a lot of love there. As well as drama, with Juliette’s older brother who has been banished because of things that happened earlier, and her older sister, who revels in being a vampire and loves power so much she will do anything to get it. And then there’s Cal’s family, a family of hunters. I was especially intrigued by her two brothers, Apollo and Theo, and thought they had a lot of potential for interesting storylines. Though all the potential was unfortunately a bit stumped by the execution, which I’ll get to next.
What I didn’t love:
The messy plot and unclear characterisations
I think this show mostly suffered from its desire to do TOO MUCH at once. In my view, it would have been better had they slowed it down and tried to focus on one or two major plotlines this season, and maybe one clear villain. Instead, they tried to throw everything at us all at once and no plotline seemed properly wrapped up. There was a buried body that was found and cops trying to find the killer and then that stopped. There was someone having visions about the murder of their mother and it was never explained why or how and then dropped. There was a group of mothers becoming this sort of anti-monster vigilante group and then that stopped. Cal’s best friend had her parents murdered and we never even see her talk about this with Cal, never even see Cal reacting to the news. The same with Juliet when something bad happens to someone her best friend cared about: we never see them discussing it for even one minute. You can’t just tell me these characters are best friends and then not having any of these crucial scenes between them. All these characters did all these things and I was constantly wondering WHY they were doing them as often it made no sense to me. Sure, to some extent you need to just go with the flow and expect some drama in this kind of show, but I also still require it to make sense for the characters and the story. And that wasn’t the case in First Kill.
The confusing worldbuilding
I’m still confused. One the one hand, it’s nice that we are thrown directly into the story and don’t get to much explanations first. But 8 episodes later and I’m still wondering what’s going on and what the difference is between all these types of vampires and how they well… work. Again, there is ‘go with the flow and there is crappy execution and unfortunately this seemed to fall under the latter.
First Kill is a fresh new take on the vampire romance genre with a sizzling sapphic romance. It’s a fun nod to the cheesy genre and its predecessors like Twilight, Buffy and Vampire Diaries and it doesn’t take itself too seriously. But while the show has so much potential, both with the main romance and the secondary characters, it unfortunately lacks in execution. It tries to do too much at once and as a result became a confusing, chaotic and unbelievable mess. I still hope it’ll get a second season and that it’ll slow down a lot and focus on the characters and their relationships.