meganbmoore: (emma: turning brains since 1816)
Carmilla is a webseries based on Sheridan le Fanu's lesbian vampire novella. Set in Silas, a fictional college in Austria, Laura Hollis is a very sheltered freshman who has a vlog that no one watches. When her party girl roommate, Betty, disappears, Laura becomes convinced that there's been Foul Play, and starts using her vlog to record her investigations, complete with references to every pop culture fad she can think of, especially after she learns that Betty is not the first girl to diappear in recent months, something that students are apparently forbidden to talk about. She soon gets a new roommate, Carmilla. Carmilla wears black, frequently refers to Laura as kinds of deserts, sleeps all day, and her main nourishment is a protein drink that looks suspiciously like blood.

She's also sarcastic, lazy, incapable of cleaning anything, and frequently steals Laura's things, so we can forgive Laura for landing on "roommate from Hell" and note "Lesbian vampire." Everytihng asbout Carmilla makes sense when you realize she's written and acted like a humanoid cat. Numerous episodes have her spending half the episode lounging and stretching in the background, watching her pet human with amusement.

I watched the entire first season and what's available of the second in one day (which is a little over 60 3-8 minute episodes, plus a Christmas episode) and this thing is amazing.

First of all, Silas university is pretty much Sunnydale, if everyone was maybe trapped there, all the faculty were maybe monsters, and the curriculum was designed to prepare students for vampires, death matches,ancient gods trapped in a pit and whatnot. There are multiple references to epic battles, possessed libraries and otherworldly science experiments that occur off screen. The first season revolves around the Laura/Carmilla romance and Laura and her friends searching for the missing girls and learning about the increasingly high stakes and deep conspiracies at the school. Season 2 is pretty much everyone trying to survive the fallous of season on. The series is homonormative is the extreme-emphasis on the "norm" part-there's only one instance where a character thinks it's something to be drawn attention to, and it's treated as a douche bag moment, and the cast is primarily female, with almost every major character being lesbian, nonbinary, or probably bisexual. Season 1 takes place entirely in Laura and Carmilla's dorm room, and Season 2 takes place in their new, much more spacious campus digs that let more characters comfortably fit in the frame. The series is hilarious (in part because of how Laura and her friend recount the off-screen action) despite Serious Business World Ending Epic stuff happening all the time. Or because of it.

In addition to Carmilla and Laura, the major characters include:

Perry: Laura and Carmilla's floor Don, and the group den mother. She's a control freak and deals with stress by cleaning and cooking. One of Laur'a main co-conspirators and probably in love with LaFontaine, her roommate/BFF-since kindergarten.

LaFontaine: Said roommate and a non-binary biology student who is very, VERY fascinated by all this supernatural stuff and wants to study and and maybe disect and experiment on it. FOR SCIENCE.

Danny: Laura's English TA with huge over-protective instincts. She's a member ofthe "Summer Society" which initially appears to be a sorority, but later seems to be more of a group of school defenders, and is one of the main warring groups on campus. In love with Laura, and the most natural leader ofthe group.

Kirsch: A frat boy who has designated himself as Laura's official protector. The muscle of the group, I guess, but definitely not the brains. He seems to have a bit of a crush on Laura in the first season, but to be over it by the second season. He also thinks the Friend Zone is a GREAT place to be, because if awesome girls don't want to date you, then it's almost as cool if they'll be your friend. His fraternity is also one of the main warring groups on campus, though his leadership position doesn't seem to be as high-up as Danny's is in hers.

J.P.: A silas student from the 19th Century who became a ghost and eventually merged with the library's computer systems. LaFontaine downloads him onto a USB stick so he can help them out. He spends the first season communicating through pictures and typing on the computer screen, but his circumstances change rather drastically in the second season.

The second season also adds Matty, a vampire who is the schoolboard chairman, and Baron Vordenberg, another member of the schoolboard who hateshateshates vampires. There are also a bunch of students in supporting roles, mostly female students, but also 2 of Kirsch's "Bros."

One thing to note is that this, so far, is not an "angsty vampire falls in love with human, has endless existential crisis, gets redeemed" plot. Carmilla is 95% amoral and 100% objects to Laura's viewing her as being "redeemed," or in trying to redeem her. She's very attached to and protective of her human, mostly objects to her human's friends being hurt because she kinda sorta likes some of them a bit, but mostly because then her human will be sad, and is very much not down with labelling all vampires monsters and thinking not-her vampires need to be put down. She will opt to save the world when the world (or at least Europe) actually is in literal danger of being destroyed, but that's mostly the extent of her moral compass. Laura, meanwhile, has very much bought into the idea of "love redeems you" and has difficulty accepting that Carmilla isn't "good" because she's in love. She's just less bad than the other options.

This is the first of the webseries adapting literary works into deconstructive modern-set works that I've watched. I did watch some of Lizzie Bennett Diaries when it was coming out, but bounced off it pretty hard, and the ones since haven't grabbed me.

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