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The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Carmilla is a Canadian series about a teen vampire. It contains some strong innuendo (including showing a woman's back in her bra), and some punching, shoving, biting, and descriptions of kidnapping-related events. There's also some strong language (but no real cursing) and alcohol consumption.
What's the story?
Loosely adapted from a gothic novella written by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu of the same name, CARMILLA is a Canadian series about a first-year college student and her mysterious roommate. Laura Hollis (Elise Bauman) attends Silias University in Styria, Austria, and spends her time vlogging about her experiences. But when her roommate goes missing after a party, a dark and broody young woman named Carmilla (Natasha Negovanlis) is sent to take her place. Upon discovering that more young women have gone missing over the years, Laura is determined to figure out what happened to them. Meanwhile, she has a sneaking suspicion that Carmilla is a vampire up to no good. It doesn't help that there are some spooky events happening all over campus. With the help of friends Danny Lawrence (Sharon Belle), S. LaFontaine (Katlyn Alexander), Lola Perry (Annie M. Briggs), and Zeta Omega Mu frat boy Wilson Kirsch (Matt O'Connor) she looks for definitive proof of Carmilla's real identity to hold her responsible for their coeds' disappearances. But they soon discover that the mystery is much bigger and scarier than they thought.
Is it any good?
This amusing (and a little edgy) web series offers a fun story shrouded in mystery and welcome humor (Twilight, take note). Because it's narrated from the point of view of Laura's vlog, which only uses a single camera, nothing is seen outside of the two women's dorm room. But Laura's recorded anecdotes, along with events that unwittingly take place live in front of her computer, are filled with comic banter. The plot moves along within the room's walls as well, like when romantic interests are being expressed, and when Carmilla and other mysterious forces reveal themselves.
Like most gothic series, the vampire-related secrets and conundrums are never-ending, which keeps it entertaining. But the popularity of the overall series, which spans three seasons (and includes a special short season and a movie), is also due to its strong LGBTQ characters. And despite descriptions of basement hauntings and human sacrifices, very few of these alarming events are ever seen on camera, which makes the premise that much more unique. Even if you're not a vampire fan, it's hard not to find Carmilla engaging.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the way vampires are portrayed in the media. Why are they so attractive? Are female vampires more dangerous than male ones? How are the vampires portrayed in Carmilla?
What things can a web series include that a TV show cannot show on the air? How do the different requirements for each impact their popularity and success among viewers?
Vampire-themed stories first became popular in the 1800s. What inspired the vampire character? How has the media industry retold vampire stories over the years?
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