If you’re like me, there are a few things that you crave as the temperatures start to dip and we head into fall: cozy sweaters, seasonal coffee drinks and a binge-watch-worthy drama show to snuggle up on the couch with. This year, the drama series you won’t want to miss is Vampire Academy, which premieres Sunday, September 18 at 9 PM ET/PT on W Network.
Based on Richelle Mead’s best-selling YA book series, Vampire Academy plunges us into the captivating world of St Vladimir’s Academy, a boarding school occupied by magical Moroi vampires and the half-human, half-Moroi vampire Dhampir guardians who are training to protect them. The show’s world is one of unlikely friendships, spine-tingling romance, privilege and Royal infighting, luxe fashion, action and – of course – vampires. Speaking of which, the series is helmed by a duo of executive producers who know how to tell a vampire story — Julie Plec (co-creator of The Vampire Diaries) and Marguerite MacIntyre (who played Liz on The Vampire Diaries).
Whether you’re already a fan of the books or you just lust for some supernatural drama and glamour on your screen this season, we’ve rounded up 10 reasons why Vampire Academy is a must-watch this autumn.
The Bechdel test-passing friendship
From the start, the strong friendship between two young women, Lissa Dragomir (played by Daniela Nieves) and Rose Hathaway (played by Sisi Stringer) is at the beating heart of Vampire Academy. While the show certainly has plenty of romance (more on that later), this Bechdel test-passing friendship explores how two women from different classes can maintain their bond amid high-stakes challenges.
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It stacks up to the books — without being predictable
For readers, there are two things that can go wrong when a show comes out that’s based on a beloved book series: it can stray so far from the characters you love that it feels like it betrays the elements you love, or it can be so close to the story that it feels predictable. Luckily for fans of the books, Vampire Academy does neither.
As Matthea of @mattheasbookshelf describes in the video above, the show balances these elements as expertly as Rose throws punches in a fight. As she explains in her video, while she loves seeing her favourite characters from the books come to life, the show is “a book-lover’s dream. There is so much attention to detail, nothing is left out, but there are so many twists and turns, and if you read the books, you think you know what’s going to happen, but you don’t.”
Related: How ‘The Summer I Turned Pretty’ TV series stacks up to the books.
It’s giving (approachable) fantasy vibes
Elemental magic and vampires, oh my! While Vampire Academy hooks us with romance and drama, it’s also full of magic and fantasy that elevate the story and keep us entertained. As Matthea puts it, “the epic fantasy vibe is giving me Game of Thrones mixed with The Vampire Diaries [and] I am loving it, I am just so obsessed.”
We covet the fashion inspiration
From the cool dark academia casual outfits (think: long coats, chunky boots and moody colour palettes) to the over-the-top glam gowns and formal ensembles that have us dreaming of our holiday party looks, the fashion in Vampire Academy is absolutely a vibe.
See also: Cargo pants are the trend everyone is wearing this autumn.
There’s no shortage of lusty looks — AKA romance
While we won’t spoil the potential love matches we’re shipping quite yet, we will say that there are a lot of longing looks, sweet gestures and even steamy scenes in Vampire Academy. Even better? We see potential for romantic rivalry that we’re betting will fuel plenty of drama.
Related: What is ‘slow burn love’? A relationship expert explains why we want it.
BIPOC representation is the norm here
We love to see BIPOC representation on our screens, and Vampire Academy delivers. While the world of the show is influenced by different class structures (there are clear power dynamics at play between the Moroi of royal and non-royal status, as well as between the Moroi and the Dhampir guardians), the race and skin-tone of the cast do not appear to play into those dynamics. And, as an Asian person myself, I can’t help but be delighted to see something that is still rare in 2022: an Asian leading man — in this case, André Dae Kim’s portrayal of the mysterious and thoughtful Christian Ozera.
See also: People of Colour are ‘significantly underrepresented’ in the Directors Guild of Canada.
Action, adventure and danger abound
Amid the drama and romance, there is an element of underlying danger in Vampire Academy, courtesy of the Strigoi — immortal, undead vampires that pose a serious and constant danger to the Moroi. The sinister Strigoi – who the show’s opening credits tell us are “not born, they’re made” – provide fast-paced action for our heroes, and the threat of their attack raises the stakes.
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There’s a relatable approach to grief and loss
While Vampire Academy may be an epic fantasy, the characters are also people (or vampires, but you know what we mean). With this said, the action and thrills are well-balanced by quieter moments where the characters are able to touch on all-too-human moments of loss, longing and more.
The world is complex – and keeps us guessing
While the plot is easy to follow, it’s certainly not predictable. Twists, turns and hints of mysteries that will unfold deliver breadcrumbs that keep us wanting more.
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There’s a reason why Twilight and The Vampire Diaries are so successful — there’s something innately intriguing about vampires. While Vampire Academy keeps the vampiric themes subtle, a flash of fanged teeth here and a drop of blood in an elegant cocktail there remind us that we’re in a supernatural, special world.
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Vampire Academy premieres Sunday, September 18 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on W Network.