First Kill, Netflix’s new teen vampire drama, proved to be divisive with critics.
The Netflix show premiered on Friday (June 10) with all eight episodes of its first season coming out on the same day, as has become Netflix tradition.
Based on the short story of the same name by VE Schwab, First Kill is a retelling of William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. It follows Juliette Fairmont, a vampire from a long dynasty of vampires who are able to live in plain sight in Savannah, Georgia.
Approaching her 16th birthday, Juliette, who has spent her life until now living on blood pills, discovers that the pills are losing their effectiveness and she must face the prospect that it is time to make her first kill – something that she doesn’t want to.
Things get even more complicated with the arrival of a new girl in town, Calliope Burns, with whom Juliette quickly falls in love. The problem is, Calliope’s family history is just as complicated as Juliette’s. She is a monster hunter raised by a family of monster hunters. Oh gosh…
Modern versions of Shakespeare’s plays have proven to be rich source material for teen dramas, with 10 Things I Hate About You, she’s the man and she overcomes it all earning a place in the hearts of teen movie-goers with her clever interpretations. Tamed Shrew, Twelfth Night and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. So how does First Kill stack up against critics? Not very well, as you can see.
Do critics hate it?
They don’t hate it, but they’re not exactly in love either. The show has a Rotten Tomatoes rating of 55%, which is not a guess, but not enough to earn it a new certified rating.
Some critics don’t like him either. Variety’s Caroline Framke (opens in new tab)wrote that the show was “sunken by a noxious combination of flat writing and flat direction”, while Decider’s Joel Keller (opens in new tab) said that “the show’s narrative is so clunky that it’s very difficult to watch”.
Some critics were more impressed with the show, however, with Anna Govert from Paste Magazine (opens in new tab) writing the show was “…a lot of fun. It’s campy, it’s playful, and it’s melodramatic; everything you could want from a modern, teenage, Shakespearean vampire story.” About that, Randy Myers of the San Jose Mercury News (opens in new tab) said, “If you surrender to their delicious cheese, you will have a great time.”
Analysis: Will this “kill” the first kill?
Some spoilers for First Kill follow, so if you want to watch the show, stop reading here, please.
It seems obvious, but it will depend on how many people watch the show. As we’ve learned in 2022 so far, Netflix has no problem canceling shows if it’s not bringing in the necessary numbers.
First Kill is a tale from a collection of vampire tales, not a giant young adult book franchise, so it didn’t have a fan base ready to go. The show, however, ends on a cliffhanger with Juliette and Calliope alive and kicking, which is quite different from Shakespeare’s tragic ending for poor old Romeo and Juliet. The showrunners must like their chances, but let’s wait and see the ratings.
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