After forty years & a slew of books and movies, acclaimed author Anne Rice wants to bring her characters to the small screen.
According to her Facebook account, she has acquired the rights to her Vampire Chronicles books and wants to create a TV show that will be true to her characters.
While this may be very exciting to not only Anne Rice fans but vampire fans as well, I may be one of those in the minority not overly excited about the prospects of Anne Rice’s characters coming to TV.
My first exposure to her work came in the 80s, when her first novels were hitting store shelves. I eagerly awaited the release of Queen of the Damned, as (at the time) I thought that the Lestat books would end with a trilogy. One of the many things I really enjoyed about her work was that it was one of the first vampire stories I was exposed to where there was a societal hierarchy of vampires. Many of the old myths of crosses and coffins were being left behind in favor of a complex society that seemed more realistic for late 20th century norms. With her stories, we were also leaving the age-old story of the vampire’s lost love and fleeing from vampire hunters in favor of characters coming to grips with their newfound life in the Savage Garden.
As Anne Rice’s books released, fans were also treated to 2 movies – which did well, but many of us could agree that they could have been better. Queen of the Damned, while a breakout film for Aaliyah, was also a commercial failure. By that time, several more books shaping Rice’s vampire mythos had been released, and even now we have been graced with 2 new ones (Prince Lestat released in 2014, and The Realms of Atlantis drops this week)
However, nearly 15 years since Queen of the Damned released, I feel like Anne Rice has missed the boat with getting her characters more exposed to audiences. Yes, a lot of that has been due to licensing and theatrical rights, but since that time we have had so many modern TV shows and movies that have in some ways not only emulated what Rice penned but surpassed them. First and foremost, you have True Blood, of which the first books released in the early 2000s. Those are based on The Southern Vampire Mysteries books. The critically-acclaimed show aired from 2008 to 2014 on HBO. In a sense, True Blood stole the thunder from whatever Anne Rice would put out.
Beyond that, there is a list for fans to choose from including:
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997)
- Being Human (2008)
- True Blood (2008)
- The Vampire Diaries (2009)
- Dracula (2013)
- The Originals (2013)
- Penny Dreadful (2014)
- The Strain (2014)
At this point in time, with the glut of shows on TV, what can Rice’s stories do that will set them apart from what’s already been on? What will make her show so compelling that fans will want to invest in it? Will her series remain largely faithful to the book (because truth be told, Queen of the Damned was a mess, even as a movie)? The most important question is, if her material gets greenlit for a TV project, what network will broadcast it? Is this something that will be broadcast on regular TV, or could we see a streaming service like Netflix or Amazon make a play and give us something binge worthy? Where and how it is broadcast will be one of the biggest factors in whether or not audiences will be willing to hang around for yet another vampire series.
I honestly feel that, if her works had gone to the small screen earlier, maybe they would have set the standard for what we are getting now. However, at the same time, with audiences accessing TV shows through multiple outlets these days, this may be the best time for it to air. To be fair, if her work is anything as graphic as True Blood, the options for where her show goes are a lot better than what True Blood had nearly a decade ago. At this point, only time will tell if her show will see the light of day (or night as it were) and one can only hope that her work can sustain itself in a landscape filled with other vampire offerings.