Another fan favorite TV show bites the dust, and this time it’s Julie Plec and Marguerite MacIntyre’s vampire series, Vampire Academy, based on the popular novels by Richelle Mead. Don’t despair yet; fans are rallying online to help save the show, which is seemingly being shopped around.
Here’s why it’s worth fighting for a second season:
An incredibly diverse and talented cast
Few genre shows get representation right, and it was wonderful to see two women of color leading Vampire Academy with Dhampir Rose Hathaway played by Sisi Stringer, and her best friend Moroi princess Lissa Dragomir played by Daniela Nieves. The show, unlike the novel released in 2007 (the first of a long series), and the 2014 film adaptation, featured many characters usually under-represented in media, and not just in supporting roles, such as Asian actor André Dae Kim as a romantic lead and Lissa’s mysterious partner Christian Ozera. Queer love was represented in the relationship between politician Victor Dashkov (J. August Richards) and Robert Karp (Cornelius Macarthy) and in the romance between Mia Karp (Mia McKenna-Bruce) and Meredith Beckham (Rhian Blundell).
Representation matters, and after the brutal onslaught of cancellations of shows led by women of color and/or featuring queer characters, such as Batwoman, Charmed, First Kill, Warrior Nun, and Paper Girls among others, it was a much-needed surprise to see non-white and non-straight protagonists, especially in a genre that seldom offers alternatives. The ensemble cast’s chemistry and talent were undeniable, standing out in a sea of content. The actors were also 100% invested, engaging with fans on Twitter after each episode aired.
The chemistry between Stringer’s Rose and Kieron Moore as guardian Dimitri Belikov was out of this world, and I have done my fair share of shipping. “Romitri” takes the cake in 2022. This was lightning in a bottle, the kind of pairing casting directors only dream of, that can sustain a show’s longevity, fan engagement, and social media frenzy. In fact, the entire cast had the kind of chemistry that streamers looking for a hit would kill for. Their kissing scenes’ video edits racked up millions of views on YouTube in the last three months alone.
True friendship between badass women
This obviously stems from the books, but I love the depth given to the friendship between Rose and Lissa. The actresses’ chemistry was palpable. Even in today’s media landscape, it is uncommon to see authentic female friendship represented and especially as the core plot of a story. In the same way that Vampire Diaries‘ central love story was between brothers Damon and Stefan Salvatore, the relationship laying the foundation for Vampire Academy is the one between best friends Rose and Lissa. Not only that, they are strong, vulnerable, funny, nuanced women — and who doesn’t love a good fight? Ever since I discovered Buffy as a teen, I have been hungry for imperfect heroines who kick ass on screen. Rose’s gritty fighting sequences, courage, and determination despite her flaws reminded me of my favorite female protagonists.
Magic, intrigue, and romance
Genre shows abound, but few actually pull off the balance between magic, lore, romance, and character development. I kept waiting to be disappointed, but much like Vampire Diaries‘ first season’s addictive qualities, the show’s writing kept viewers on their toes, enhanced by a phenomenal cast. Pushing past the first episode’s confusion relating to the lore — I then read the first book to compare — I found the political intrigue equally as fascinating as the supernatural and the romance, and for the first time in a while, I did not want to fast forward to the love scenes. I got hooked because of the plot and at the same time, fell in love with the well-developed protagonists. I watch a lot of YA shows, and the actors truly embodied their characters, which is not easy to do when a beloved novel with a loyal fan base hits the screen.
Fans love it!
Despite the fact that the reasoning for cancellation appeared to be lack of an audience — fans have been very vocal on social media about their love for the show, which was trending on Twitter almost every week after airing, with fans making gifs and video edits, and following the cancellation, #RenewVampireAcademy and #SaveVampireAcademy. The fandom’s uproar was immediately visible after the cancellation news. Analysis of the show’s poor global release and marketing have shed light on today’s broken model in which streamers look for an instant hit despite making it difficult for audiences to discover a show beyond its first season. Yet fans around the world are showing their love and support for a show that only had a few months to find its legs.
Let’s hope it will be enough to find Vampire Academy a new home.