Netflix has recently premiered the young-adult fantasy series First Kill which has been referred to, by fans, as “gay-Twilight“. Directed by V.E. Schwab. the series premiered on Netflix on June 10th, 2022, and is based on his eponymous short story.
Starring Sarah Catherine Hook as Juliette Fairmont and Imani Lewis as Clliope ‘Cal’ Burns, the series is a classic tale of star-crossed sapphic romance between these two teenagers who are separated by their position in the social hierarchy and obligations towards their family.
First Kill does not stray away from its genre and incorporates all the brilliant virtues and flaws of predecessors like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Vampire Diaries among others. However, it infuses within the narrative a full-blown lesbian romance which is a welcome change in the Pride month. The series also has a brilliant narrative of a matriarchal vampire family which, however, remains pretty unexplored.
In a nutshell, the series revolves around Juliette who is a social outcast. While going through the moody upheavals quintessential to a teenager, she struggles with her identity of being a baby vampire who will fit into her family once she gets her titular first kill.
Enter Cal, a confident and proud teenager hailing from a family of vampire slayers with whom Juliette quickly falls in love. The duo soon unlearn their prejudices against one another and must find a way to survive in a world that pits them against each other.
Juliette and Cal pine for each other while constantly thinking about the impending doom. While the star-crossed romance between the leads is uplifted by their brilliant camaraderie, Schwab fails as a director to bring more depth into his work.
While he has plenty of opportunities to expand his story and delve deeper into the historical relevance of the clans and develop the brilliant characters of the girls’ respective mothers, namely Margot and Talia, he simply overlooks them.
Despite all the follies and the muddled narrative, Juliette and Cal’s love is similar to Romeo and Juliet with a sapphic and supernatural twist that triumphs forbidden love in a hostile setting. Netflix has also taken a pretty major risk by adapting a short story into a series when the story does not have a considerably large fanbase amidst a financial meltdown.
Check out V.E. Schwab’s original short story in a collection titled vampires Never Get Old: tales with Fresh Bite featuring stories from various other writers, namely Samira Ahmed, Kayla Whaley and Julie Murphy among others.