Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The neverending rise and fall of the vampire nation

While many of us are in mourning for such blood drinker friendly shows such as the recently CBS cancelled Moonlight,Lifetime's Blood Ties and Spike TV's Blade:The Series,all hope for a weekly vampire fix is not lost yet.

HBO is pumping fresh money and publicity into their upcoming fall series,True Blood,based on Charlaine Harris' Sookie Stackhouse vampire novels. Anna Paquin plays Sookie,a mind reading waitress who lives in a world where vampires are a reluctantly recognized part of human society and who can truly find peace of mind dating Bill(Stephen Moyer),who became a vampire during the Civil War.

For the PR push,HBO seems to be focusing on the "vampires as minorities" metaphor and the brand of artifical blood commerically sold for vamps which allows them to be somewhat tolerated by humans. The ads have a subtle satire quality that reminds me of a similar campaign for the late lamented The 4400,with such topics as pro and con views on a Vampire Rights Amendment,interspecies dating and of course,TV ads for the "beverage" itself:

This isn't the only growing merger of media and literature involving vampires lately;in a few days,the final book in the Twilight series,Breaking Dawn,will be handed out at midnight gatherings by booksellers still recovering from Harry Potter mania and reviving up for more goth girl intensity this fall when the Twilight movie hits a theater near you.

Now,I know that some of the die hard Twilight fans are not happy with the Entertainment Weekly cover featuring the film versions of Edward and Bella for a number of reasons,but you guys are literally not seeing the big picture here. It's a great sign that the books you love and the movies being made from them are being taken seriously,with such coverage as this. Mellow out and just enjoy the party,people. Watch the new trailer a few dozen times,you'll feel so much better:

The horror genre has seen it's share of high points and low ones as well with many of the key fear figures(werewolves,zombies,Frankenstein's monster)over the decades and yet somehow,someway a new version is reborn from the ashes of old,changing with the times more fluidly than Madonna's career has been able to lately.

Vampires seem to almost be tailor made for cultural transition,with their eternal lure of forbidden desires of the flesh to indulge in,combined with fears about aging,death and tainted blood. As the world around them changes,they never really do at their core,despite the new twists and takes on the legend. They are those creatures of the night that resemble us the most,which is why we love to hate and fear them,and even make love matches with a chosen few.

One of their best survival features is to blend in and adapt,and the new spikes of interest in vamps over the past couple of decades comes from genre mixing.

While Laurell K. Hamilton may have dropped the ball with her vampire hunteress series,gals such as Jennifer Rardin have grabbed it up and given it some real play in the Mr. and Mrs. Smith arena with her Jaz Parks novels. Bitten To Death will be out this August and while it's book #4,unlike Twilight,this is not the end of Jaz Parks and Vayl by a long shot. We will get One More Bite of this paranormal pairing by January of 2009(another reason to look forward to next year).

So,with such a bounty of bloodsucking goodness due to arrive soon,I say to my fellow disappointed vampire lovers out there regarding Moonlight's departure,don't despair. As they say,when one door closes,a window opens. Or,as Buffy said to Dracula just after dusting him for the second time"You think I don't see your movies? You always come back!"

It's also good to keep in mind that all this vampire lore is meant to be entertaining fun and to not get too carried away there with this detail and that not being our ideal vision of what vampires are supposed to be(I do this myself,guys,so I speak from knowledge). After all,in your own personal fantasy world,one doesn't want to play Dwight to someone else's Jim,however funny that can be:

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