Thursday, May 28, 2015

6 Reasons you should watch CARMILLA

A few weeks back, I was recommended a video on youtube called "Carmilla Episode 1". I knew this sounded familiar to me as a friend of mine on twitter had RT'd the lead actress on this show a few times and mentioned the show as well. So I decided that I would watch the first episode to see how it was.

Well one episode became two, which became four then six and eight to nine in one day. I was hooked. For the reasons I will list down below, I fell in love with this show. Based off a 1871 book, this was adapted to the web by Jordan Hall and Ellen Simpson. The web series stars Elise Bauman as Laura Hollis, a plucky young student at Silas University and Natasha Negovanlis as Carmilla, the title character with a secret. As I explain in the next paragraphs, why you should be watching the web series, all season 1 episodes are on youtube and their is a ton of bonus content. So here we go and (SPOILERS of course.)


1. Strong Female characters and growth

The first thing that will interest you is the amount of talented performers on here and how well that perform their roles, starting with Elise as Laura. When you first meet Laura she is a slightly naive , cheerful college student who is on her vlog about her class. In the 1st episode you meet her roommate Becky who suddenly goes missing. This leads Laura to find out what happened. Laura is cheerful, friendly , a bit of a nerd (She has a Doctor Who TARDIS mug) but also independent , strong, loyal and does not quit. A early example of this is in episode 6 when Carmilla tries to get her to give up her investigation. Laura thinks about it for a second but then in a strong voice says "No."  As the series goes on, Laura finds out things that shake her up but never change who she is in the core of herself - "A person who cares and sees the best in everyone even when they don't"

Carmilla first appears at the end of episode 2. When you first meet her, she is... basically the most awful person you could meet. Messy, sarcastic and her and Laura do not get along for a while. And she is hiding a big secret that changes everything in the form of being a vampire. That would be enough but there is another thing she is hiding from everyone, especially Laura.  Over time that changes as Carmilla slowly starts liking Laura more which then turns into love over the course of the series. You find out many things about why Carmilla is how she is and what happened to her and the first woman she loved. The episode where Carmilla tells Laura her tragic backstory is one of the best episodes of the series. In Natasha's performance , you see a woman who is the most powerful in the room but is actually the one in the most pain, the most powerless one. Powerless to family and then powerless against love.

Also talking about Laura's friends : Perry, Lafontaine and Danny. They are all good characters in their own right as they are the friends we all have. Perry (Played by Annie Briggs) is the worry-wart friend we have. Perry likes order and normal regular life but she cares about her friends , especially LaFontaine, that she is willing to dive into the abyss but also make sure everything is nice and tidy in your room before however.

Lafontaine is played by Kaitlyn Alexander. Lafontaine is the friend that believes in the unknown and dives head-first into it. Also Lafontaine is non-binary and prefers they/them pronouns. It is first mentioned when they tell Laura and Perry that she doesn't want to be Susan anymore though they have not discussed this with the group yet. Lafontaine is always researching and finding out new facts about the mystery danger even at the risk of them's own neck.  Lafontaine is also the friend that will always have your back in a scrap and always have the bruises and scraps to prove it. Lafontaine and Perry are best friends and I want to see in season 2 how these experiences have changed their friendship.

Danny is a teacher's assistant who is friends with Laura at the beginning. Over the course of the first 10-15 episodes you can see that Danny has a huge crush on Laura but it is not to be. Sharon Belle does a good job of showing how much she is falling for Laura without blatantly showing it and her heartbreak when Laura tells her not to smother her because it reminds her to much of her dad. Sharon does so much with just the simplest of lines and the quickest of glances.

2. Interesting Mystery

When the series starts, you meet Laura's first roommate : Becky. At the end of episode one, after a night of partying, Laura finds a note saying that Becky has left but all her stuff is still there. Then in episode 2 , Carmilla shows up as Laura's new roommate. More students disappear or come back very....not as smart as they were. So Laura, Lafontaine, Perry and Danny go searching to see what's going on. They trace it back to Carmilla and decide to find out what is up with her. Then they are able to figure out Carmilla's secret and what it means for the students of Silas University. Add into this a mysterious Dean and unearthly ceremony and you find out Laura and her friends have stepped into something big. You will enjoy the twists and turns this series takes as when you figure out one thing, another unexpected thing happens!

3. #LadiesSupportingLadies

One of the best things about this show is the support and friendship these ladies have for one another. The only exception is Carmilla but even she eventually supports and helps her fellow students. (To be fair to Carmilla, they did tie her to a chair and wrap garlic around her so you could understand her being a tick upset.) Perry and LaFontaine are first a bit skeptical of Laura when she says Carmilla is a vampire but they support her anyway. When the male sorority wants to help protect the girls of the campus, it ends up being the ladies protecting each other and the guys too.

Also another moment is when Danny and Carmilla run into each other right before the big fight of the series. They do not get along throughout the whole season but as Carmilla goes to fight , she asks Danny if she wants to say her last thoughts to the camera. Danny instead says 'Bleep that" and stands with Carmilla to go fight alongside her and her friends.

4. Lesbian Relationships are treated as normal

One thing I enjoyed throughout the series is that whether it be the flirting between Danny and Laura or Carmilla and Laura it always treated as no big deal. Some shows would be like "Was She flirting with you even though she's a woman? WHOA!" like we are still in the early 80's. Thankfully, this show treats these characters as living , breathing normal people (except Carmilla. She's just a your normal vampire).

I admit I am a hopeless romantic and I love seeing relationships blossom whether they be straight or gay. Also it is great acting and writing on display as you get to see Carmilla and Laura slowly fall for each other on the show. The episode where Carmilla wants to share a glass of champagne with Laura is a good one as it is a great example of both of their personalities and how much they click with one another.

5. Chemistry between the cast

On some shows , you can tell when the cast does not like each other or the leading man or woman. It spills into the show and in some cases it starts to make the show suffer. Thankfully that is not the case. The cast from top to bottom are very friendly with each other. Elise and Natasha are very good friends and you can see it on there through the chemistry they have.

I would also recommend watching the behind-the-scenes videos for the show as well. Very lovely and enjoyable and it's nice to see how much they are like or not like their character and how much fun they have with each other on set and off.

*Also a quick word on the fandom of Carmilla or as they are lovingly referred to as "Creampuffs" , a nickname Carmilla gives Laura during the series. This is a wonderful fandom as they have made videos, fanart and stories about this show. Through all the stuff I have seen, the best thing is that I have seen no negatively at all in their interactions. It refreshing to see fans love a show and the show love them right back.


Also some of the major scenes on here are not shown only described by Laura usually. Truthfully, you will not care. A fun part of the show is listening to Laura tell the story of what happened when they have their meeting with the dean or during a crucial battle. They are a low-budget show so it's impossible to do these scenes. It's good though because you can envision them in your head. You can see Laura standing up to the Dean or Carmilla's arrival in the final battle. It lets you use your mind to envision this just like it was during radio plays in the early 20th century. As narration has become a lost art in the medium, it's nice that the show lets you imagine the sights and sounds in your head as they are being described to you.

 So I have listed some of the many reasons you should watch the first season of Carmilla before season 2 premieres on June 2nd. It is quick , enjoyable and easy as heck to watch all the way through. Also right now on Twitter, the characters are tweeting a adventure they are having right now with a Kobold. It is honestly better than some stories that were on tv this season.  Down below is a link to the first episode if you want to start as soon as possible. Thank you for reading and hope to you have become a Creampuff!!

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