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When it comes to poor-quality, mind-numbing but ultimately enjoyable TV, everybody has their guilty pleasures. As a girl whose tweenage years were spent in the grips of Stefan Salvatore’s chiselled physique and saviour complex, I’m familiar with supernatural teen dramas and their cult-like followings. Now, as a twenty-year-old lesbian, I may be less enthralled by men who sparkle, but I couldn’t resist falling victim to Netflix’s new queer supernatural teen drama.

A uniquely queer story of forbidden love

First Kill follows the hardships of vampire and monster hunters Jules and Cal as they experience a forbidden love reminiscent of Romeo and Juliet. The 8-episode series follows our protagonists as they face pressure from their families to make their first kill in order to live up to their family name. With their families at each other’s throats, we see the characters juggling love, high school, and enemies as they build up to their first kill.

Where other shows have produced gay characters and plots that feel like queer-baiting, namely Riverdale’s infamous kiss between Betty and Veronica, First Kill successfully creates a uniquely queer story of forbidden love that is outside of this predictable trope. There is no mention of ‘coming out’, or an epiphany about their sexuality. The ‘othering’ felt by our main characters is not because of their sexuality. The disapproval Jules faces from Cal’s monster-hunting family is not because she is gay but because she is a vampire.

Teen supernatural drama is an oversaturated market. Creating anything novel is an arduous, perhaps impossible task. Yet V. E. Schwab’s production takes a stab. First Kill provides a queer spin on the classic love story, diverting from the predictable plots we’ve seen time and time again. Just like its predecessors, this show is overflowing with poor writing, plot-holes and one-dimensional characters. With the same meme-worthy writing and questionable acting, what separates First Kill from shows such as The Vampire Diaries or Riverdale is its focus on queer relationships. This focus is a refreshing change from the often-shallow queer subplots, normally appearing as a tokenistic afterthought.

Overflowing with poor writing, plot-holes and one-dimensional characters

So, why has First Kill been the victim of cancellation whilst other shows have flown high in the face of mediocrity? The LGBTQ+ section on any streaming service is filled to the brim with hyper-sexualised and steamy synopses. Despite the increase in the number and quality of queer TV, there remains the feeling that the male gaze and the sexualisation of queer bodies hold great authority over what content is deemed profitable. Even with the rise of queer directors, it is hard to disregard the dominant heteronormative ideas surrounding what it means to be queer. Thus, it seems that hyper-sexualising women-loving-women stories is the price to pay to gain popularity. In the absence of this hyper-sexualisation, a series must be ground-breaking in order to reach the bounds of success its heteronormative counterparts effortlessly surpass. An impossible task for a supernatural teen drama, riddled with clichés and overused tropes.


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Although this series will not be climbing to critical acclaim, it appears to have been snubbed of its chance to develop something unique to the supernatural genre. Despite the show ending with unanswered questions, fans will have no closure for what happens next between Jules and Cal. In an era of risk aversion by Netflix mixed with the pressure placed on queer TV to meet sky-high standards, First Kill took the hit.