A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this short-form TV/online vampire series from MTV is sponsored by Verizon Wireless and prominently incorporates the company’s mobile technology into its storyline. The main character resorts to some sneaky ways of investigating her brother's murder -- given the subject matter, you can expect to see some violent/scary images of a mutilated corpse, bloody writing, and frighteningly distorted masked figures. Characters are occasionally shown in their underwear, and words like “ass” and “hell” are sometimes used.
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What's the story?
Sophie Gracen (Kristen Hager) is a streetwise former foster child who wants to discover the truth behind her long-lost older brother Eric's (Eric Balfour) death. After identifying this mutilated remains, she steals his cell phone from his personal effects to look for clues about his final moments. What she finds leads to her Valemont University, the prestigious East Coast college that her brother had been attending when he disappeared. After enrolling in the institution as Sophie Fields, she starts meeting some of the school’s odder characters -- including her enthusiastic roommate, Poppy Baker (Nikki Blonsky); broodingly popular Sebastian Van Cleer (Dillon Casey); and rush chair “Queen Bea" (Jessica Parker Kennedy). As Sophie follows the hints left on Eric’s mobile, she begins to uncover the school’s terrifying connection to the vampire world.
Is it any good?
VALEMONT uses a combination of multiplatform delivery (viewers can watch episodes on TV, online, and via mobile technology), creative product placement, and well-designed interactive materials to appeal to today’s generation of vampire-loving, tech-savvy teens.The fact that it also has a young, hip cast and enough dark, ominous characters to keep it interesting doesn't hurt, either.
Still, while the overall show is pretty trendy, the plot is pretty predictable. The two-and-a-half minute short-form episodes are too brief to support a sophisticated storyline, making it hard to compete with the variety of vampire-oriented books, films, and TV shows currently available to "fang" fans. Bottom line? The narrative isn’t particularly unique, but the way it's being told is.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the way the show is tied to mobile technology -- both as a means to view it and, via Eric's cell phone, as a plot device. Does any of it feel forced, or is it a realistic reflection of the prevalance of mobile devices in today's world?
How realistic is the characters' behavior? What do you think the consequences of their actions might be in real life?
Why do you think so many vampire-themed books, TV shows, and movies have emerged in the past few years? Why are vampires so popular? Do you think the trend will eventually fade?
Did you know that vampires were also popular in the United States in the 1920s and '30s? Why do you think some trends/fads tend to repeat themselves?