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Sam Reid and Jacob Anderson in Interview with the Vampire.AMC

Don’t even get me started on the vampires. We go way, way back.

When I was young and foolish, I once went for a job interview. There was a tizzy of confusion about the venue. The place I arrive at, a fine old building, didn’t look convivial. There was a plaque on the wall: “Bram Stoker, 1847-1912, Theatre Manager, Author of Dracula, lived here.” I kept walking and decided to leave Ireland for Canada. Vampire stories, and the blood-and-biting shenanigans contained therein, have followed me since.

Now, in the bewildering way that the popular culture turns, vampires are back on TV, big-time. What does it all mean, you ask, like the curious and intelligent people you are, right? Well, the usual: fear of sex, death, disease and fear of the other, mostly foreigners, sucking the life out of you, and your society, with their foreign, unknowable ways and sexual appetite. Also, COVID-19 plays a role. After all, what have many of us become – lonely, fearful, wary of strangers and of integration back into a teeming world of workplace and crowded entertainment venues. Lonely like vampires, haunting the nights alone, and there’s yet another possible meaning in the elasticity of the vampire metaphor, and we’ll get to that.

Interview With the Vampire (Sundays, AMC, 10 p.m., streaming on AMC+) is the big-ticket item. Lovingly adapted from Anne Rice’s classic novel, it retains the book’s seething sensuality and queer perspective. It is framed literally as an interview – aged journalist Daniel (Eric Bogosian) talks to Louis de Pointe du Lac (Jacob Anderson) about his eternal-youth life as a vampire. The pandemic is key to the background, Louis feeling that humanity is at a turning point of vulnerability. Louis’s “makerstream Lestat de Lioncourt (Sam Reid), is the magnetic central vampire, representing money, class, privilege and exploitation. At its gorgeous, gothic core it might be about the dangers of ecstatic sex, and suggests that eternal youth is overrated. Seven episodes, five available now.

Let the Right One In (Sundays, Crave, 10 p.m., also streams on Crave) draws on the original Swedish film and its American remake, but set in a new arena. That’s the New York of now, as Mark (Demian Bichir, the best element of the series) is trying to care for his daughter Eleanor (Madison Taylor Baez), who is stuck in childhood because her vampiric state is an affliction keeping her there. Mark must constantly find food to feed his vampire daughter and that becomes entangled in a police-procedural storyline. There are moments when the series is delicate, and sensitive, as Mark and Eleanor can be seen as migrants, outsiders trying to survive in an untrusting urban America. But the sum is less than its parts and while breezily watchable as horror, it loses power when it’s a crime-drama. Ten episodes, three available now.

Reginald the Vampire (streams on Amazon Prime Video in Canada) is the least weighty but more charming and inventive of the current batch of vampire entertainment. It is droll comedy-horror meets sly-commentary on how, you know, the sexy, chic undead aren’t all that cool. Our hero Reginald (Jacob Batalon) is twentysomething, overweight and toiling at a Slushy Shack franchise, trying to pay off student-loan debt. The butt of fat-jokes from his jerky manager Todd (Aren Buchholz), he’s got a little crush on co-worker Sarah (Canadian Em Haine, who is wonderful) that’s going nowhere. Next thing you know, a suave, chiselled-handsome customer, Maurice (Mandela Van Peebles) turns Reginald into a vampire, in a moment of pity and a rebellion against his hotness-obsessed fellow vampires. The series has a dopey charm and even poignancy as Reginald continues to be bullied by superficial, callous vampires. What’s the message? Be yourself, because vampire powers don’t necessarily make you a sexy beast at all. Ten episodes, arriving weekly, three available now.

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Reginald the Vampire streams on Amazon Prime Video.Cineflix Studios

The greatest of vampire series, True Blood, on HBO from 2008 to 2014 (all seasons stream on Crave), presented a world in which vampires have come out of their coffins because a company has invented a synthetic form of blood, called Tru Blood, which allows them to survive without biting and feeding on regular folks. The theme is, vampires are an oppressed minority and just want to be accepted by society. Read all you want into that but the emphasis on LGBTQ minorities being accepted is clear but not overdone – in the Louisiana town where the action takes place, they don’t like strangers, let alone vampires. True Blood becomes a love story when chirpy waitress Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin) meets tall, pale Bill (Stephen Moyer) and, because he’s a vampire and sort-of dead, it’s complicated. A wonderful series, at times vivacious comedy-satire and at times a beautiful lovelorn romance. Truly recommended.

Pertinent to the meaning of it all, the key words on that plaque about Bram Stoker, are “Theatre Manager.” It’s plausible Stoker saw his vampire figure as the epitome of the performer – they only come out at night and feed on the applause and adoration of the common, day-dwelling crowd. This premise has emerged often in other works and one of our great songwriters, Kevin Quain, turned a parcel of his songs on that theme into the Dora-winning musical Tequila Vampire Matinee. It really should be revived, given the revival of vampire fiction. I saw it twice and adored it. Me and the vampires, you know, going way back.

Finally, this column will appear weekly into December, and here’s one unrelated gem to seek out – The Patient (streams on Disney+), a top show of this year. Made for FX, it arrived recently here, unheralded. An exquisitely taut thriller, and utterly unpredictable, it’s mainly a two-hander. Middle-aged, troubled therapist Alan (Steve Carell) takes on a new patient, Sam Fortner (Domhnall Gleeson), an enigma who says he was abused by his father. One morning Alan awakes to find he’s chained to a bed in Sam’s basement, where Sam confesses that he’s a serial killer. Like nothing you’ve seen recently, the 10 half-hour episodes are unfailingly gripping, scary and moving.

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