Why you should care
We get it: The supernatural world is entertaining. But can we simmer down on the vampires and focus on some magical ladies, please?
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Let’s admit it: We, the pop culture enthusiasts of America, have a bloodlust for supernatural creatures. Be it an obsession with vampires, zombies, werewolves or witches, it’s almost as if we, as a culture, have become enchanted. Possessed. Glamoured.
Alongside zombies from sleeper hit TV series The Walking Dead and ghosts and witches from American Horror Story, the HBO series True Blood paired up with the Twilight movie series to drench us in vampires. Sometimes the creatures in these stories are just there for the no-holds-barred, plot-twisting thrills, but, as they have since the earliest fairy tales, more often they are pressed into symbolic duty — or, as in the case of True Blood, contorted so often that they resemble symbolism soup.
Which is why I’m hoping for some supernatural heroes with untapped story potential to take center stage: witches.
True Blood returns with its seventh and final season this Sunday, June 22, and my wish is that when it’s done, we will be given a break from vampires. It’s not that I don’t like True Blood — I’m actually a fan — but I just think it’s high time the series met the true death.
True Blood’s ratings dropped from Season 5 to Season 6, losing 700,000 viewers. The most recent season averaged 4.24 million viewers per episode, down from 4.67 the year prior. However, HBO says it is still one of its most popular shows and that it actually reached 10 million viewers on average last season, when you calculate viewers across all platforms.
Why? Well, for starters, there is just way too much going on. The show has not only vampires, but also werewolves, shapeshifters, fairies, witches and kidnapping ghosts, each with a string of rules and murky symbolic meaning. Unlike fellow HBO series Game of Thrones, which simplifies the complex books by consolidating characters and toning down roles, True Blood makes things more complicated than its source material by adding a string of LGBT rights allegories. I enjoyed the “coming out of the coffin” metaphor in the show’s early seasons, and the recent season starring Lilith almost made sense with its fundamentalist religion critique, but the show’s lack of focus kept making it hard to keep everything straight.
The series juggled so many plotlines and species when it could have made vampires its primary characters, with the other creatures serving supporting roles. Or True Blood could have simply introduced a new evil every season. Instead, the writers kept all the previous seasons’ baddies around, too. Also, I’m all for a good love triangle, but True Blood made it a love pentagon, and I have just given up on caring about who Sookie Stackhouse is dating at the moment. (Actually, that’s a lie. She should be with Eric, played by Alexander Skarsgård. Yum. Bite me off a piece of that.)
The show itself lost interest in vampires, which is why it not only gave them a suite of new characteristics, but also spun off on several other parallel tracks. With the possible exception of the CW show Vampire Diaries, vampires have simply lost their cultural mojo. It all started when the latest crop of bloodsucker stories had to adjust the traditional vampire rules in order to seem less clichéd. Twilight’s vampires didn’t die in the sun — they sparkled. They also didn’t even have fangs. True Blood’s vamps lived off of synthetic blood drinks and could walk in the sun if they drank fairy blood. Some can also fly — but none can turn into bats.
Now that I’m over vampires, can I request a show focused on a less overplayed creature? American Horror Story has brought about a taste for witches with Coven, and quite frankly, I’m ready for more. I know there have been TV shows like Sabrina, the Teenage Witch, Charmed and The Secret Circle, and don’t think I’m forgetting about movies like The Craft, Hocus Pocus and Practical Magic. However, I’m not asking for a sitcom witch — nothing light or boring. We need something truly frightening that can thrill viewers and build a breakout, mainstream following.
Let’s give it some edge and make them feminist witches. A friend of mine suggested the title Rhymes With Witch and said the first episode could show witches righting wrongs against womankind, everything from defending ostracized little girls on the playground to hunting down and punishing the people who shot Malala. Personally, I think Amy Schumer should star in it. Who is with me?