Sneak Peek At AMC’s New Walking Dead
I watched a sneak peek of Walking Dead: Darryl Dixon and Walking Dead:Dead City at San Diego Comic Con International. Darryl is my favorite character from the Walking Dead Series. There’s no spoilers here, just a few tasty tidbits. It’s shot like an epic movie, it’s darker and eerier (if that’s a word) than the original.
The Walking Dead: Dead City’s six-episode first season follows the popular Maggie (Cohan) and Negan (Morgan) characters traveling into a post-apocalyptic Manhattan, long ago cut off from the mainland. The crumbling city is filled with the dead and denizens who have made New York City their own world full of anarchy, danger, beauty, and terror.
In The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon, Daryl (Reedus) washes ashore in France and struggles to piece together how he got there and why. The series tracks his journey across a broken but resilient France as he hopes to find a way back home. As he makes the journey, though, the connections he forms along the way complicate his ultimate plan.
Also in the Walking Dead Universe, the second half of the eighth and final season of Fear the Walking Dead returns this Fall, and the Untitled Rick and Michonne series starring Andrew Lincoln and Danai Gurira, is set to premiere in 2024.
AMC presents Anne Rice’s ‘Interview with the Vampire’: Bloody beautiful, dear heart
Set as a sequel series of sorts to the original film, the vampire Louis du Pointe du Lac approaches reporter Daniel Molloy decades later to do an actual, honest exclusive of his life as a vampire.
As we all know, Rice’s original movie Interview with the Vampire is a classic and features some of the most gorgeous male performances around. Brad Pitt as Louis, Tom Cruise as a flippant blonde-haired Lestat, Antonio Banderas as the ravishing Armand, Christian Slater as the reporter, and even a quite young Kirsten Dunst as the tiny terror Claudia. Rice has a whole world of her making about vampires, witches, mummies, and other world-ending supernatural creatures, and they are all achingly beautiful, and usually quite melancholy about their beleaguered existence.
Before her passing, Anne Rice was directly involved with the new show, wrote the updated scripts herself, and was often on hand for consulting during filming. A whole bunch of revamps (sorry) were made to the original story, including but not limited to – Louis du Pointe du Lac (Jacob Anderson) is now a black man in early 20th century New Orleans, no longer a slave plantation man but now the proud owner of several brothels on a certain street, with a very much still-alive family who presents Louis with lots of troubles, and oh yeah, he’s in the closet too.
At this point, I want to note something important about the gay elements of the show. Rice originally published her novel Interview way back in 1976, and every single last gay tendency, male or non-binary or whatever, got her a good deal of flack. Rice has long been known for characters, vampire or other, who transcend the notion of physical sexuality into more of a divine lust of the spirit. Sure, there are plenty of physical love scenes still, but homosexuality was never something Rice just threw in to be provocative, she made no defining lines on the way her supernatural creatures could love each other, and personally I think that’s stellar.
So all of Louis’ own issues aside, things are about to get remarkably more troubling, with the advent of a blonde-haired Adonis with ice-blue eyes and a razor-sharp jawline, and an even sharper set of fangs, Lestat de Lioncourt (Sam Reid). Initially, Lestat professes to admire Louis and his capability in running his various enterprises, seemingly satisfied with going along on brothel adventures (Lestat has long been known to bang anything that’ll hold still long enough) and verbally poking Louis to see where his “do not cross” lines are.
Not a single person who knows Anne Rice and her original novel, or even the first film, can deny the insane connection Louis and Lestat happen to have. Love and lust and envy and hatred are all tangled up in the relationship of these two vampires, made more complicated by the fact that Lestat is Louis’ Sire, or Maker if you prefer. This particular portrayal of the love story between two compelling characters, one inherently kind and desirous to do good (or at least not be bad) in an unfeeling world, the other an arrogant prince of the immortal kind with seemingly little regard for the pain he causes others (other than in an amusement capacity), how they push and pull at each other and cause each-other so much damage but simply find themselves both unable to give up the other entirely, can be an allegory for all the bad-for-you relationships, regardless of sexual orientation. And things are made so much more wretched when a third vampire is introduced to their little damned family.
The portrayal of Claudia (Bailey Bass) in this version of the story, a teenage black female with a sickeningly sweet Southern accent, has some rather different origin scenes too. Most of Claudia’s arc, while moving the story right along at a healthy clip, is full of complaints at the odd restraints of her existence – Louis cautions for temperance, while Lestat gives that wicked grin and encourages Claudia to revel in her bloody existence as a vampire. Jealousy rears its inevitable head, whether its Lestat’s envy of the brother-sister father-daughter relationship Louis has with Claudia, or Claudia’s own jealousy of the rather obvious romantic relationship between Louis and Lestat, or even the jealousy of seasoned vampires watching a fledgling getting to experience many supernatural firsts – vampires are immortal and unchanging, after all, so anything new and surprising is zealously sought after and treasured almost as much as blood. So when Claudia inevitably starts acting out, things are made so much worse with the realization that she’s actually far more terrible than Lestat when it comes to restraint, as in, she has none.
Then there’s what’s happening with the present – a ridiculously expensive high-rise and high-res environmentally-controlled apartment in Dubai, an accent-less and increasingly begrudging Louis, insistent on following a proper timeline to his stories but still attempting to conceal things from Molloy, even after he swore he wouldn’t, his assistant Rashid (Assad Zaman) is also getting more and more protective of his Master, and Molloy himself, who never had a bullsh*t tolerance in the first place, getting more strident as the interview rages on in his search for the raw, honest truth. Because redemption can come from honesty in this interview, even for the reporter conducting it, if only Molloy would allow it.
Full of gorgeous scenery, familial ties that bind and gag, revelations about the nature of love and how it can twist when used as a weapon, and absolutely stellar performances from every single actor involved, Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire can be devoured on AMC now!
House of the Dragon Is Everything You’d Expect A GoT Spinoff To Be
The highly anticipated Game of Thrones prequel, House of the Dragon, is everything you’d expect a GoT spinoff to be. A fantasy world of high production value, detailed costume design, great casting, violence, betrayal, and of course, sex. So much sex.
Not to mention the introduction of characters you know you’ll love instantly (and will throw the remote the second they die horribly), as well as the characters who can’t die soon enough. Even with the terribly bad taste the final season of GoT left, fans like myself were clamoring for more. Enter House Targaryen.
The tone is set almost as high as our expectations with an ensemble cast who absolutely own their parts. But that’s also my issue with this series. With several significant time jumps over 10 episodes, this series (so far) doesn’t allow you to really connect or attach to certain characters.
Perhaps it’s for the best? After all, you can’t cry over a character who died 30 minutes in. But I feel like part of the “magic” of Game of Thrones, was being able to connect with characters and choosing a favorite. Like a wrestler entering the Royal Rumble and cheering them on until they’re tragically eliminated. But this is a new series and a new adventure. Should I be so quick to judge the storytelling after just ONE season? The showrunners know what they’re doing right? RIGHT??
All in all, it was a great start to a new series. It succeeded in breathing new life into my medieval politics, dungeons, and dragons fandom. I found myself rewatching new episodes and counting down the days until the next one.
Binge it if you have the time, and be thankful you don’t have to wait a week between episodes!