Posts Tagged ‘Anita Blake’

MTV’s Teen Wolf: Well, Of Course I’m Watching It

Of late, those of us who follow the Paranormal/Fantasy genre are being catered to pretty extensively.  Writers and TV and movie producers are slapping together more fodder for our obsession with the lives and loves of various creatures of the night than we can shake a stake at (pun embarrassingly intended).  The fact that much of it is shamefully predictable—the obvious work of copycats trying to jump on an apparently lucrative bandwagon—doesn’t temper this insatiable greed for sharp-toothed diamonds amid all this rough.

The genre flooding does take some of the fun out of it, of course; there isn’t much I’m reading/seeing that I haven’t read/seen before.  Most of the time I’m saying to myself “wow, what an Anita Blake wannabe” or “okay, clearly that guy’s the Edward and the other one’s the Jacob”, possibly even “oh, no, he’s being so rude to her, they’re arguing constantly, wonder if they’ll end up being soul mates?”  Sigh.  If only that stopped me, but it doesn’t.

Which brings me to Teen Wolf.  I told myself very firmly that I wasn’t interested, and proceeded to watch both the pilot and the following episode.  In my defense, there is good stuff here!  Tortured main character Scott is a little too pretty to be believable as a dork, but he does have good chemistry with best friend Stiles and that helps.  Slight nods (including that name Stiles) to the show’s fun 80’s movie predecessor in cliche Mean Boy Jackson, who bullies and threatens Scott, and beautiful, bitchy Lydia, with her intense dedication to the line that divides “winners” and “losers” (two words she repeats way too much).  Honestly, her superficiality would’ve felt more real if it was conveyed through actions and attitude instead of blatant dialogue.  However, in fairness, she is created from the character Pamela from the original film, and all the winners/losers talk was the way Queen Bees expressed themselves back then.  As the TV series is only loosely based on the movie, I assume that Lydia’s character will develop more subtlety as the show progresses.

MTV leaves the movie behind in order to add some comfortable metaphysical staples and give the show the currently required edge.  Such as dark and lovely Allison, a somewhat mysterious yet likable new girl.   Smart move—I don’t know how many ‘shippers would be inspired by a female romantic lead named “Boof”.  Tucked into place for conflict are the local werewolf hunters (Vampire Diaries’ “Founders Council”, anyone?), one of whom is Allison’s father; and sexy-scary werewolf sire Derek, who lurks around smoldering at everyone and is possibly a murderer.

Clearly, MTV is sticking with the formula that the world now knows we like, and that probably means I”ll keep watching.  At least until June 26th when True Blood returns, because naturally basic cable cannot compete with HBO.

Oh, who am I kidding?  I’ll watch both.

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The Untimely Demise of Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter

Let me begin by saying that the Anita Blake Vampire Hunter Series by Laurell K. Hamilton was once my ultimate, all-time favorite.  So much, that when the Southern Vampire Series was optioned for an HBO series (hello, True Blood), I remember feeling that Anita Blake had been overlooked.  I didn’t blame HBO, I blamed the author.

If you aren’t familiar with this series but you love vampire fiction, you really should try them and start at the beginning with Guilty Pleasures.  For the first 9 books, you’ll find truly exceptional plots starring a tough, wry heroine who raises zombies for a living and works for the police on the side, putting her firmly in between humanity and the monsters.  These books have everything; mystery, romance, drama, and of course, blood, guts, and all the scary beasts you can imagine.  Each book is better than the one before.

At least, until book 10, Narcissus in Chains.  Then it becomes porn.

Of course, if that’s what you’re into then that’s fine.  But these are very light on plot, with a quick turn for the heroine from a woman with a strict Christian background and sexual hangups to someone who has sex with almost every stranger who crosses her path.  Practically every scene is a sex scene, and that’s only part of the problem.  The first 9 books show Anita struggling with unwelcome feelings for the local vampire Master of the City and, after book 3 (Circus of the Damned, fantastic story), a powerful but troubled werewolf.  Don’t worry, nothing Twilight about it.  The sexual tension builds between them slowly, with a lot of feelings and inner turmoil involved.

Then in Narcissus in Chains, Anita is suddenly bestowed with a “power” that forces her to “feed off of sex”, whatever that means.  Off the bat, she has sex with a stranger and a previously abused, much younger, former male-prostitute named Nathaniel that she’d rescued in a previous novel, Burnt Offerings.  Beyond this novel she starts having sex with almost all the other powerful men that she knows and/or meets.  I know that characters in long-term series need room to grow and change, yet this new Anita is IMO completely incomparable with her previous self.

Even if you could look beyond the drastic character change, the plots have gone down the tubes.  The  police don’t trust the new Anita and her harem so there are no more crimes for her to solve, which had always been a big part of the original 9 stories.  Her regular job as a zombie raiser is forgotten  for the most part, for no real reason that I can see.  Most of the books deal with long distance “psychic attacks” from European monsters or Anita fighting off animals in her head, and the solution to and/or result of both problems usually involves Anita having sex with more friends and strangers.

So why do I keep reading them?  Because the first 9 books were so fantastic that I guess part of me is still waiting for the old Anita, the old Laurell K. Hamilton in fact, to resurface.  But you can bet I’ve stopped buying them; library or nothing for me.

All and all, I will always recommend this series, despite the eventual flatline. The replacements that I’ve found since can only pale in comparison with this series’ original potential.