There have always been occult youths sucking blood and the faces of children. It becomes simple in the post-Twilight world to attribute everything to Edward and Bella, yet there was Buffy, Sabrina, and so much more before Twilight. Despite all of these obvious influences, First Kill nonetheless manages to feel almost uncannily similar to The CW’s The Vampire Diaries.
It’s obvious that the writing process for every episode of the show consisted of a round-table brainstorming session where ideas all started with the line “but then…” and that’s what makes it so entertaining. A lot of those same emotions are present in First Kill.
First of all, it’s obvious that the foundation of each of them is their central romances and the dramas that come with vampire/human relationships. The gloomy, monster-filled history of their respective little villages fascinate them both greatly. To give the vampire world more drama and politics, they both introduce some kind of unique kind of vampire. I could go on and on, but the way the shows genuinely “feel” to watch is more significant than any plot similarities.
Even while they seem frivolous or ridiculous at times, they both have a similar enigmatic addicting aspect that makes it impossible to stop watching.
One of the first things First Kill does, is that it lets the vampires be the same age as their non-vampire love interests. It may frequently go unnoticed by the pre-teen audience for these kind of shows, but for an adult viewing them, processing the age gap is always so awkward. Elena (Nina Dobrev) meets Stefan (Paul Wesley) and Damon (Ian Somerhalder) when she is 16 years old, while the two brothers are almost a century old in The Vampire Diaries.
“Well, they look the same age,” is a defense that is frequently used. This statement has the disturbing implication that age is only significant in relationships because of appearance and not because of potential power dynamics that call into question the validity of the relationship and consent within it. The fact that pre-teens and young teenagers, who might not fully comprehend that yet, are frequently the intended audience for these shows simply heightens the ick factor.
But in First Kill, we at last witness a core vampire interaction between two individuals who are on an equal level. This issue can be solved so easily by adding the ability for vampires to become pregnant, therefore I’m delighted First Kill chose to implement it. In contrast to Damon and Stefan’s love for Elena, this gives the romance between Juliette (Sarah Catherine Hook) and Calliope (Imani Lewis) a far more innocent, sincere, and endearing vibe. It makes supporting them more simpler, which ultimately increases the melodrama’s impact.
The majority of parents are portrayed in The Vampire Diaries as being practically nonexistent. Bonnie’s parents are unimportant, Elena’s parents are deceased, and Caroline’s mother appears to be more significant as Damon’s friend than anything else for the most of the series (apart from the fact that Damon and Stefan don’t have parents because they are both over 100 years old). This makes the high school aspect of the series seem pointless and fetishizing, especially when combined with how hilariously elderly the actors appear in comparison to the characters they’re supposed to be playing.
On the other hand, First Kill features parents that behave something like real parents. In order to heighten the drama, give us more reasons to love the characters, and help them act their age, Juliette, Calliope, and even Ben all have genuine relationships with their parents.
See, melodramatic teen romances like this one only succeed if we root for the protagonists or at the very least comprehend their motivations. Any adult would find the characters’ actions foolish and stupid, therefore it can be challenging to identify with them. It makes sense if you think of them as teenagers, who are in fact young and inexperienced, though, since we can all remember being a touch melodramatic at that age. It gives the impression that supporting the characters will be enjoyable and rational and that there is something fresh and exciting about their bizarre otherworldly life.
But more than anything, First Kill’s removal of the fundamental love triangle is the most significant change to The Vampire Diaries formula. The Vampire Diaries frequently needed to spend a lot of time introducing annoyingly stupid drama between the three of them and having them constantly go back and forth to try and make them seem like equal potential partners because it was centered around the Elena-Stefan-Damon love triangle for eight seasons.
In the teen bloodsucking genre, which frequently heavily relies on love triangles, First Kill makes the brave decision to adhere to just one fundamental romance. The outcome is, once again, a more sympathetic and charming romance. Additionally, this provides them more time to focus on building the main connection, supporting characters, and being more succinct.
Every confrontation just seemed to drag out much too long on The Vampire Diaries, which was a terrible tendency that the show had in the middle of the season. This is partly a problem of being on traditional television and having to make a certain number of episodes at a certain length, but it’s also related to how they arranged the relationships between their core cast members.
In the end, First Kill merely does a far better job of handling its major characters, structuring itself, and completing the required tasks, allowing us to spend more time doing what we enjoy — marveling at the ludicrous melodrama that is produced by teenage-vampire-love.