‘Vampire Academy’: Could the new show redeem the franchise?
Julie Plec really, really, really likes vampires. You’d think the woman behind The Vampire Diaries and its spinoffs The Originals & Legacies would be done with blood-suckers for the rest of her life, but you’d be wrong. When given the chance, Julie Plec decided to go back to the world of the undead, but with a different fan-favorite franchise this time. Get ready for Vampire Academy . . . the TV show.
Plec’s new vampiric project comes courtesy of her new deal with Universal Television, and will be one of Peacock’s upcoming new offerings. Marguerite MacIntyre will share writing, showrunning, and executive-producing duties with Plec – a perfect arrangement, since the duo has collaborated frequently in the past. Plec & MacIntyre previously joined forces in The Originals, Containment, and Legacies.
So far, so good, right? But will this team-up be enough to overcome the Vampire Academy movie’s legacy? Oh yeah, we haven’t forgotten about that. And if you watched that 2014 adaptation of Richelle Mead’s first book, you probably haven’t either.
Some book series hit a homerun when they make the transition to film. But for every Harry Potter, Twilight, or Hunger Games, you get plenty of truncated attempts at a franchise. We’re talking about would-be film series that didn’t even make it past the first installment. Movies like Eragon, The Dark Tower, and The Mortal Instruments. And yes, also the 2014 Vampire Academy adaptation.
Nobody sets out to make a bad movie, but intentions matter very little when it comes to a film’s reception. And the Vampire Academy movie, written by Daniel Waters & and directed by Mark Waters, bombed hard upon its release. It was actually a surprising failure from two brothers who’d been behind some pretty successful films. Daniel wrote Heathers, for crying out loud. And Mark directed Mean Girls!
Just taking those two titles into consideration, you’d think the Waters Brothers would’ve been at home in the Vampire Academy adaptation. A fantasy comedy horror movie set in a supernatural institute for higher learning? That sounded like a match made in heaven for the Waters Bros. And yet it turned out to be the exact opposite, with the film barely grossing half its budget, and being almost universally panned by critics.
If we learned anything from watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer is that vampires deserve second chances too. Thus, seven years later, Vampire Academy is getting a new opportunity to impress audiences – this time via television. Julie Plec seems to be a huge fan of the source material, so that’s a good starting point for this new adaptation of the popular fantasy novels.
“When I signed my deal with Universal Television, they asked what project I had always been dying to make and my immediate answer was Vampire Academy,” said Plec in a statement. The book series follows the adventures of a half-vampire teenager, as she trains to become the guardian of her undead best friend at St. Vladimir’s Academy. Definitely sounds like it’s up in Plec’s wheelhouse, doesn’t it?
The president of scripted content for NBCUniversal Television and Streaming, Lisa Katz, certainly thinks so: “Julie Plec created one of the biggest fan-favorite universes with The Vampire Diaries and its spinoff series The Originals and Legacies, and we are excited to deliver this passionate audience a brand new story on Peacock.” Katz also praised Plec for being “known for binge-able, enthralling dramas.”
The Vampire Academy book series is made up of six novels, as well as the spinoff series Bloodlines, which also includes six books. If the new Vampire Academy TV show turns out to be a success, there’ll be no shortage of material to inform future seasons. Of course, at this time we don’t know what Julie Plec’s adaptation will cover, book-wise. Could it go beyond the first instalment?
For reference: the failed Vampire Academy movie focused only on the first book, and even after bombing, there were plans to go ahead with a sequel. There was an Indie Go-Go campaign trying to secure financing for a follow-up film that would adapt the second Vampire Academy novel, Frostbite. When the crowd-sourcing attempt didn’t meet its goal, the sequel plans were scrapped.
Let’s see what Julie Plec & Marguerite MacIntyre do with the property. Odds are it can’t be received as badly as the 2014 adaptation.
Are you one of the few people that enjoyed the Vampire Academy movie? Are you excited about the upcoming TV adaptation? Let us know in the comments!