Interested in web series? AKA short (4-10 min per episode), fun sized series on YouTube that cram as much story into one episode as an hour-long show would. Looking for suggestions? Seek no more. We’re bringing you Talk Web Series With Us, featuring a new web series every week! Sit back, relax, log onto YouTube, and explore the stories web series have to offer!
First stop: Carmilla.
I started this web series one day and finished it the next, unapologetically binging the first two seasons. How could I not, though? I was addicted. I am addicted. That’s the great thing about these fun-sized shows- the ability to binge an entire series without feeling too bad about it, and isn’t that what everyone really wants out of life!?
Based off a Gothic novella by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu, the plot line has been picked up for books, comics, films, music, television, and now, a web series. Created by Jordan Hall and Ellen Simpson, Carmilla is filling a genre gap in television where sexuality isn’t questioned, and social issues are tinted with progressive stories and strong characters. While the original novella, written in 1872, ended with the beheading of Carmilla due to her sexual attraction to females, this web series “takes that story, turns it on its head, and celebrates female sexuality,” as Natasha Negovanlis, playing Carmilla, describes in an interview airing this morning with CBCradio.
First premiering August 19, 2014, it’s a comedic, fun, and suspenseful show about a modern-day university experiencing the supernatural. When Laura’s (Elise Bauman) roommate mysteriously disappears, Carmilla (Natasha Negovanlis) moves in, stirring up trouble in the dorm. Laura, an avid vlogger, uses her broadcast journalism skills to find answers. Along the way, you’re introduced to the test of friendships and the struggle of undeniable attraction. In the same interview with Negovanlis this morning, Bauman describes it as, “Storytelling in its purest form. A girl and a camera and a bunch of shenanigans happening around her.”
It would be tough to explain the absolute charm of this show without first crediting the outstanding talent and indubitable chemistry between Bauman and Negovanlis. The two truly make the show what it is. Negovanlis explains in a previous interview that while auditioning for the part of Carmilla, reading the script with Bauman was “magical” and if she got cast as Carmilla then “that’s my Laura.”
Laura Hollis, the sheltered, curious, goody two shoes, and Carmilla Karnstein, the fierce, dangerous, and edgy vampire, are both strong willed, stand-alone characters. However, their dueling personalities perfectly complement one another, creating a thrilling relationship to build over time. While the audience realized this all along, it wasn’t until the last episode of the first season that Laura and Carmilla finally gave into their burning desire and made up the ship that became “Hollstein.”
It’s worth mentioning the other fabulous characters on this show. Danny Lawrence (Sharon Belle) is Laura’s English TA but quickly grows into one of her good friends, even expressing some flirtatious feelings. She is overprotective, strong willed and has the drive to protect those around her, which comes in handy when you’re dealing with the supernatural. Next up is S. LaFontaine (Kaitlyn Alexander), timid and attentive, this character is a curious, resourceful biology major. Identifying as non-binary, they are shedding light on a subject rarely touched upon on television. Lola Perry (Annie M. Briggs), motherly and caring, is LaFontaine’s roommate and best friend. As the floor don, she’s committed to keeping everything and everyone in order, including the new vampire.
It’s no doubt Carmilla is female-heavy. In the CBCradio interview this morning, the show’s producer, Steph Ouaknine, said, “the burden of being the female voice doesn’t fall on one or two characters,” noting the importance of varying sexual and gender identities. They’re wasting no time exploring unique plot lines, diverse backgrounds, and making sure every voice has a platform.
The most appreciated plotline of them all being one that other television shows disgraced this year- an LGBTQ+ couple that is still alive by season’s end. In 2016 alone, there have been over twenty lesbian character deaths on television. These characters are being ripped out of this community’s hands, leaving few plotlines peppered throughout media. Carmilla is one of them, as fans pride them on equality and acceptance. A picture is painted so vividly of what it would look like as a world void of judgments, shame or guilt. A glimmer of hope is handed to viewers so precisely that it’s acting as a safe haven, a home. These confident queer characters are revolutionizing storytelling. Bauman and Negovanlis realize that, feeling a responsibility to fans to portray the best story possible. Negovanlis, mentioning on the CBCradio interview, “I think this fandom was just so desperate for representation. I think that’s what makes the show so important to them, and what makes it important to me, as well.” Desperate or not, viewers are faithfully flocking to Carmilla.
Loyal fans titled “creampuffs,” are bracing themselves for its third and final season of the puzzling, the passionate, and the paranormal. Negovanlis, in CBCradio’s interview, teases season three as ”epic” and “conclusive,” while Ouaknine calls it “healing.” It’ll be about “exes in close quarters,” “definitely with a bit of drama” but learning how to “understand each other and trust each other again.”
Sparking quite the stir on Twitter, season three’s trailer left us with Carmilla claiming, “You are flawed, and struggling and uncertain, but it’s so beautiful the way you try,” which is the exact reality behind any great love story. It’s about sacrifice, acceptance, and loyalty. It’s about understanding flaws. It’s about making mistakes. Fans are hailing this show ”inspiring” and “life-saving,” and season three, already, looks nothing short of incredible. So hop on, and as they say, “buckle up creampuff,” because you’re in for a bumpy, emotional, and mysterious ride.