Television Man | Aidan Morgan
“I am loath to change the channel. We are not subscribers, but audiences. We must not be subscribers. Though our attention may have strained, it must not break our bonds of viewership.” —Abraham Lincoln on the threat of streaming services
Spoilers for Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire and Let The Right One In below.
Every fall, I think this will be the year I put my imagination to use and make a killer Halloween costume. Every year, I wake up on Oct. 31 completely unprepared. I suppose I could go around repeating everyone’s phrases under the pretence I’m an echo, but I doubt that would be charming.*
Every year I blank on Halloween. Even my Halloween television column is coming out in mid-November.
LET ME INTERVIEW THE RIGHT ONE
Good news everyone! The two most terrifying things in this world — vampires and movie-to-TV adaptations — have been combined into not one, but two television series. Both come from novels that spawned movies. Both take sizable liberties with the source material. Only one is any good. Let’s compare Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire (AMC) with Let The Right One In (Showtime/Crave) and see which is worth your time.
Are the vampires hot?
IWTV: Lord, yes. Jacob Anderson (Game of Thrones)as the virgin Louis Pont du Lac and Sam Reid (The Newsreader) as the chad Lestat de Lioncourt are smoking hot as vampire lovers. Wait, did I say lovers? Is that a thing heavily implied in Neil Jordan’s 1994 movie but not actually shown? Why yes. The series is just as overcooked and sensual as its predecessors, but creator Rolin Jones makes sweaty text out of subtext.
LTROI: The main vampire is a 12-year-old child, so no, she is not “hot”. The role of Hottiest Hottie goes to Demián Bichir (The Hateful Eight, Alien: Covenant), who plays the devoted father to a darling child who needs warm human blood.
Winner: Interview with the Vampire.
Will fans of the originals enjoy these adaptations?
IWTV: Based on angry comments on imdb.com, hardcore fans of Tom Cruise in a blonde wig squeezing cherry soda from rubber rats into crystal goblets are not happy with the series. Aside from the explicitly gay love story, the series transplants Louis from 1791 Spanish Louisiana to 1910s New Orleans, where he runs several Black-owned businesses. Wait, did I mention Louis is Black? That his supernatural powers grant him immortality but not immunity from systemic racism? That the tension between him and Lestat stems, in part, from Lestat’s inability to appreciate the ways in which race can cross the barrier of humanity? Because all that is true, and it’s fascinating to watch unfold, and I have a feeling that’s what’s incensed imdb.com’s Interview purists.
LTROI: One of the most compelling things about Tomas Alfredson’s 2008 movie and John Ajvide Lindqvist’s 2004 novel is their bone-dry cynicism for Swedish society and the rot that underpins human relationships. The series instead focuses on Matt Kane (Bichir) as he searches for a cure to his daughter Eleanor’s (Madison Taylor Baez) vampirism, even as he goes out at night to harvest blood. Meanwhile, Eleanor befriends a lonely neighbour boy (Ian Foreman). There’s an uninteresting storyline about a scientist (Grace Gummer) trying to cure her brother, and a police procedural is thrown in too because American television can’t tell stories without a sympathetic cop in the mix.
Winner: Interview with the Vampire.
What’s up with both series featuring 12-year-old girls turned into immortal, ageless beings who must deal with the blunt existential horror of being trapped in youthful bodies forever?
I don’t know, but Claudia turns into a serial killer while Eleanor just lies in a bathtub and texts her friend.
Winner: Interview with the Vampire. ■
* I pulled this off as a nine-year-old when my mummy costume unwound midway through my candy rounds. Thanks for the quick save, Owl Magazine!