The Arrival of Vampires on TV
When Charlaine Harris started her Southern Vampire books series in 2001, the shift began to take place of creating a creature that was sexy in a more traditional mode for a romance tale. The horror aspects were still there, but the sexual nature of the vampire began to really emerge. These popular vampire books were tales that gripped young girls hearts, with vampires that made you swoon. It was only natural that someone realized that vampires, at least the kind that Sookie hung out with, were the perfect creature for television. We began to see that these vampires on TV could work. There was plenty of soap opera drama, a bit of horror but not too much and with the violence never feeling real, and plenty of titillation. With these vampires on TV, young women flocked to the show in droves, filled websites with discussions everything from plot twists to who looks best without a shirt and introduced a whole new kind of television show. Then we knew that vampires on TV, these new kinds of vampires, would work and successfully.
With the success of the show came more vampires and other supernatural beings until it feels as if today’s television shows are either reality shows or stories with some kind of supernatural or paranormal element in them. For a fantasy fan like me, all the better! Then with the fourth season of True Blood, witches began to appear. Of course, they were in the book the season is based on, Dead to the World, and the author does say that to her the witches represent life as opposed to the vampires who are dead. But it is uncanny how witches show up on True Blood and now we see them everywhere!
Welcome to Witches on TV
Of course, we have had witches on TV before, but there is something different about these witches. In True Blood the witches are there to do battle with the vampires. Well, we are of course going to want our favorite vampires to succeed, so the witches become the evil ones who must be killed. Of course, it is a lot more complicated than that, but let’s leave that for another blog. Suffice to say that the witches in True Blood are not like the ones in say, Charmed. These are witches on TV of a different sort.
Enter The Secret Circle, a new show that is based on a set of novels by Vampire Diaries creator L.J. Smith. When teen Cassie Blake is orphaned and sent to a strange new town, she discovers she is a witch, descended from witches, and that the town is filled with other witches. Some of whom become her friends, because otherwise how could they form a coven err I mean the secret circle? Well, that last part is from me, but the idea is pretty basic, and I can see why teenage girls would love the idea of it. Much like with Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the teen queens are here to fight evil, and of course to command power because what teenage girl doesn’t wish she had that? But there is plenty of mystery and dark happenings and the show is intense but never over the top. In fact, in many ways it is just a continuation of the wish fulfillment fantasy type show that started with True Blood: Teens with power hanging out with dangerous folks.
Of course, there are more witches in the wings – the Evil Queen in Once Upon A Time could be called a wicked witch. But she isn’t you know, she is the Evil Queen we all know from Snow White. But she is so close to a witch, and she does wield some wicked power when she gets all evil and mad. So it would be fair to put her in the camp of witches on TV at this point. She is deliciously evil, the way an Evil Queen should be, and I hope we get to see plenty of her in the show.
And then there is Grimm, a detective show that also plays in the world of fairy tales, but with a far darker viewpoint. So far I have not seen anything about TV witches on this show, but with the retelling of many of the tales from the Brothers Grimm, we are bound to run into one sooner or later. It will be interesting to see how they would portray, let’s say Hansel and Gretel’s witch in this show. It takes a far more imaginative spin on the concept of good and evil than they do with Once Upon A Time, and a far darker one.
More Supernatural Witches and Vampires to Come?
It does seem safe to say that instead of thinking of witches as being the new vampires, I would say that witches, vampires, werewolves and all manner of paranormal characters may be here on television and in our books for a good while to come. We will continue to have popular vampire books and plenty of tales about witches.
There has always been a place in the literary world for both witches and vampires; they are mythical creatures that stand in for the unattainable power we yearn for in our lives. For many, there will always be a pull towards these characters, demons of the night that are drawn to our light but can never be a part of it.
True- some of what is bringing the supernatural along with similar elements such as the flood of comic book based stories, science fiction shows and others like this is that we finally have the technology to show on film what we can imagine in our minds. Because we will always be able to imagine having the elemental power of a witch or can dream of a lover who is so dangerous that one bite would damn us forever, we will probably always have some kind of paranormal storyline in our entertainment. Whether we connect with our vampires and witches in books, on film or at home watching our television, it is still ultimately our own dreams that bring them to life.