Editor’s Note: This Interview with the Vampire the review only covers the first episode of the show.
AMC’s playful look at the gory, gothic world of infamous vampire Lestat hits a healthy artery that feels like it can hold its pulse for years.
“There’s a simple answer to that, but I don’t think I want to give simple answers. I want to tell the real story.
It’s only in a few minutes Interview with the Vampire that a character calls another to real story. Vampires are a supernatural creature that have fueled stories for centuries, but many modern examinations of the undead attempt to present the real story and finally discover a level of truth and realism that was previously absent from the genre. In most cases, this “realism” comes across as hackneyed, or even worse, increasingly derived from past ideas until it becomes a Russian doll of diminishing returns.
From the beginning, Interview with the Vampire feels fresh and unpredictable, which already gives it a distinct edge over contemporary vampire programs like VAmpire Academy, Reginald the Vampire, First Killor even What we do in the shadows. Of course, this is largely a testimony to Anne Ricerich world that’s had decades to ruminate and improve, but “In Throes of Greater Wonder…” understands it has a lot to prove here and it makes sure this update on Interview with the Vampire isn’t just generic vampire material that relies on comfortable themes and iconography. This first episode is just over 65 minutes long and it doesn’t abuse that extra time, nor does it seem laborious in its construction. It has to do the heavy lifting of managing copious intros, between two timelines no less, but it doesn’t feel like a pilot mired in exposition and can’t show its true colors.
Otherwise, Interview with the Vampire also has a lot to prove now that AMC has lost You better call Saul and The Walking Dead could, finally, approach a certain state of final decomposition. One cannot underestimate how much they need this show to be a success and the early renewal of the program for two seasons is a good deal as much as it is a leap of faith in the series. That being said, Interview with the Vampire actually feels like a quality program that could wear the mantle of The Walking Dead. It’s even a show that could last well over a decade of seasons, or multiple spinoffs, as it has hundreds of years to go in its fascinating exploration of Louis and Lestat’s growth.
So many vampire series focus on the visceral nature and overflowing sexuality that consumes vampires, which are always on display here, but what is often overlooked in these vampire projects is the sense of eternity that constricts these creatures. . This infinity is the whole point of Interview with the Vampire and so it’s satisfying to see that it’s a palpable element that kicks in from the start of the series. “In Throes of Croissant Wonder…” carries the pomp and circumstance of what a story of this grand nature requires. Purple storytelling that’s pulled straight from Rice’s books accompanies beautiful, bird’s-eye shots of horizons across the world, across time, that are powerful and inspiring, rather than condescending. by Alan Taylor clever staging tricks often help the viewer feel as invincible and fragile as Louis de Pointe du Lac (Jacob Anderson) and Lestat de Lioncourt (sam reid) do at the various points in their long lives in which “In Throes of Growing Wonder…” is recorded.
Lestat and Louis are squarely at the center of this first, but Daniel Molloy (Eric Bogosian) is forced to reckon with his own mortality after his declining health triggers his reunion with this undead speaker. Building on this level of vulnerability, “In Throes of Crescent Wonder…” also delves into health issues across the pandemic, but it actually integrates this real-life modern disaster in a natural way that is often lacking in recent series that attempt to do the same. What makes it effective in Interview with the Vampire is that he contextualizes this pandemic as business as usual for Louis. This is just one of many disasters he has experienced and will continue to experience. A series of vampires of this nature have the opportunity to flex a weird, nihilistic perspective when COVID-19 is just a blip these eternal creatures have seen alongside the Black Death, Spanish Flu or any other thing.
The beginning of the series covers several chunks of history, but it uses early 1900s New Orleans to explore some incendiary turns for Louis. The series uses these recurring parables to condemn, but also celebrate, humanity and reflect the repetitive cycle in which it finds its way, which renders it unnecessary in the process. All of these observations and societal critiques are present in Rice’s original writings, but Interview with the Vampire effectively expands on these themes through intuitive shifts in race, gender, and sexuality in this version of the text. Much of the discussion with this series will inevitably boil down to Sam Reid’s performance as Lestat and compare him to previous actors who have portrayed the timeless vampire. Reid makes sure his take on Lestat is austere enough, but there’s a festering anger in the character who’s still struggling to get out of his cautious pack.
“In Throes of Greater Wonder…” lives up to its title and it’s a series premiere that sounds epic, but doesn’t bite more than it can chew. It shows enough of this world and its characters to feel substantial, but also creates anticipation for what’s to come and the rest of Lestat’s long life. Interview with the Vampire covers a lot of ground, but it’s important to address a central accusation Daniel makes to Louis at the start of the episode – “Maybe your story wasn’t worth telling.” Despite Louis’ confidence, he still spends most of his time in “In Throes of Croissant Wonder…” trying to prove otherwise. Interview with the Vampire is finally imposed with the same defiance.
In an overcrowded genre, vampire series need to justify themselves rather than exist solely by reputation. It’s still too early to predict the quality of its distant future, but if the series premiere is any indication, Interview with the Vampire absolutely proves that it is, in fact, a story worth telling.
“Interview with the Vampire” debuts Oct. 2 at 10 p.m. ET on AMC.