It’s Wednesday and this week’s awesome thing from the internet is Carmilla the webseries. A modern adaptation of one of the first examples of vampire fiction written by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu, the webseries started its second season a few weeks ago. If you haven’t been watching it, it only takes you a couple of hours to catch up and join in the awesomeness, which I wholeheartedly recommend you do. Reasons why, and spoilers for Season 1 of the webseries, are below.
The webseries is set in a fictional Silas university where strange supernatural happenings are par for the course. Freshman Laura’s roommate disappears under strange circumstances and her place is immediately taken by a mysterious girl named Carmilla. Laura starts looking into her roommate’s disappearance with the help of her friends Perry and LaFontaine, along with her English TA, Danny. Their investigation uncovers a number of other disappearances, supernatural phenomena, and finally, a mystical vampire cult serving a malevolent god-like being.
The first thing that jumps out at me is the fact that almost the whole main cast is female (although I should note that all of them are white). They’re passionate and strong in different ways. Laura “I’ve seen all of Veronica Mars” Hollis (Elise Bauman) is your typical bubbly and excitable nerdy girl at the first glance, but she is the one who pursues her investigation, refusing to be stopped by any obstacles. Perry (Annie Briggs) is a little tightly-wound and likes cleaning and would much rather deal with girl or boy problems, but she also works to help figure out the mystery of the missing girls. Danny (Sharon Belle) is athletic and an English TA who organizes night marches. And then there’s Carmilla, who’s basically a girl version of the “tall, dark and handsome” and “jerk with a heart of gold” tropes, acted to swoon-worthy perfection by Natasha Negonvalis. It is the sort of subversion of gendered tropes that I live for. Finally, last but not least, there is also a non-binary character on the main cast—LaFontaine, who is the scientific mind in the group.
Also, because no supernatural teen vampire saga would be complete without it, there’s a love triangle. But unlike most other love triangles, I actually like this one because all the involved people are girls and they’re really adorable in their crushes. Laura has a crush on Danny, and once they start working together on the case, it becomes apparent that Danny likes Laura too. Carmilla and Laura, on the other hand, just fight a lot in the beginning and little by little, it becomes apparent that Carmilla has feelings for Laura and she, probably surprising herself, returns them. And then there’s kissing. You’ve got to see the kiss. It’s amazing. It’s especially cool because it’s two queer girls whose story, despite the bleakness and creepiness surrounding them, is neither a sad coming out story nor a tragic queer love story. We need more stories like that.
The budget and format of a webseries dictates that you can’t really have many cool effects or show all the main battles on screen. Despite that, Carmilla creates a wonderfully creepy, yet cozy, well-built supernatural atmosphere which reminds me a lot of Welcome to Night Vale. It does so through well-executed hints and retellings of what happens outside Laura and Carmilla’s room which is a safe sanctuary, only invaded by supernatural enemies a couple of times.
Finally, Carmilla is a celebration of girl awesomeness. It’s a story about girls working to save other girls, about girls sticking together and looking out for each other, about a girl reluctantly saving the world probably just because of how passionate another girl is about it. And there’s also LaFontaine, who provides scientific insight and the best biology-themed one-liners ever.
To sum up, Carmilla is populated with awesome girls who subvert and go beyond gendered character tropes, girls who save the day and girls who like other girls. They live in a beautifully constructed world, and even the love triangle is adorable. If you like girls (in a feminist way and/or in a gay way) and light-hearted creepiness, you should definitely watch Carmilla the webseries. Then check them out on Facebook, Tumblr, and Twitter!