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Which Mythical Monsters Are Left?

Posted on Thursday May 26, 2011, 16:56 by Helen O'Hara in Empire States
Which Mythical Monsters Are Left?

I don't know if you've noticed, but True Blood season 3 comes out on DVD this week. That's good news if you're as keen on the adventures of the vampire Eric (and some other people) as we are, because Alan Ball's show is smart, well-written, terrifically sexy (but enough about Eric) and a great blend of horror, social commentary and comedy. But as season 3 introduces yet more supernatural creatures to the cast's ranks, I'm wondering what's next for the fast-burgeoning genre of the paranormal soap opera. And in particular, which supernatural beasties still have not had their virtue assaulted.

Let me establish a little background. In book stores, you'll find the Sookie Stackhouse novels on which True Blood is based in a section marked "Paranormal Romance", which nowadays rates its own dedicated wing of the shop. Since the books are, invariably, a fast read with an easy mix of suspense, near-death experience and wildly implausible romance, they're selling like gangbusters. As we grow more and more dissatisfied with the romantic prospects of our fellow human beings (apparently), we're turning in droves to vampires, werewolves, warlocks, witches, shapeshifters and weirdos of all sorts. Whatever happened to the days when a simple Mills & Boon romance was enough, eh? Nowadays if he doesn't have fangs, well (to coin another TV phrase), that's a dealbreaker, ladies!

As our Kim Newman discussed earlier this week, it's probably Dracula's fault, running around seducing wimmen in gauzy nightgowns* throughout the 19th century and endless film adaptations, and there was something strangely attractive about Frankenstein's monster** even before Johnny Lee Miller and Benedict Cumberbatch tackled him. But now we have shelves groaning with fallen angels and dark elves and night stalkers and old gods and fairies (no longer small and twinkly; now they're dark and moody and closer to the Sidhe of Irish legend. In fact, they're usually exactly the Sidhe of Irish legend). Maybe it all springs from Neil Gaiman's habit of appropriating old legends and reinventing them, maybe we should blame Buffy or Supernatural or Twilight or those late-comers to the party, The Vampire Diaries and True Blood itself. The growth of the genre has been building for decades, but it's only in the last five years that it's gone mental.

Mental being, of course, the operative word. But amid this glut, writers are reaching ever-further for inspiration and freshness - and whither goeth the writers, their screen adaptors must eventually follow. So - returning at last to the point - season three of True Blood adds, to the vampires and shapeshifters and ancient deities that we already knew about, proper full-on werewolves and one other that is arguably a spoiler so we won't name them. But will this last be a step too far for the gritty, growly, giggity-giggity world that Ball has created around Charlene Harris' characters?

And if we don't draw the line here (and we shouldn't, because the series is still immense fun and Eric's still really pretty) how far is too far? There are already zombie romances out there (yuck), so it's probably only a matter of time before some girl is cozying up to the Mummy, or digging up another obscure pantheon of deities to fling herself at. Because seriously, what's left? Here's a challenge for all of you: find me a mythical monster who is in any way bangable which hasn't already been written about.

Or just join me in wondering how True Blood is going to deal with those new, end-of-season-3 additions who we won't name, and watch-and-marvel at this rather tasty season 4 trailer.

*The women, not Dracula, were in the nightgowns. Just for the sake of clarity. Although Christopher Lee's Dracula, in particular, could probably have pulled that look off.
**See number 111 here.

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1 Juliette
Posted on Thursday May 26, 2011, 21:42
We've had romance between men and mermaids, are women and fauns or satyrs next?

By the way, any chance of an Empire feature on True Blood? I got sucked in because of the maenad and because I blog about Greek and Roman stuff in film and TV, and now I'm hooked (because of you-know-who)...

2 beebs_
Posted on Friday May 27, 2011, 00:16
I think the new additions to the supernaturald on True Blood are a bit too far. Hell even the specialised set of supernaturals that Jason is dealing with is too much, but they seem grimy enough for the show.

3 Beg
Posted on Friday May 27, 2011, 10:53
Pretty teen mountaineer falls for dark, brooding Yeti with stupid hair. Trust me, it'll be huge.

4 Louis Cypher
Posted on Saturday May 28, 2011, 09:24
How bout the Big bad Himself, obviously not Spike from Buffy, the Prince of Darkness Himself, Lord of the flies, Little Horn, Lucifer, Old Nick, The Devil, Satan, the ultimate Christian Monster to add to all the mythical ones.... And if they write him up and have him played out like the Devil in I, Lucifer (the Glenn Duncan novel) he will be a genius addition!

Tbh this all does get my (sacrificed) goat this though, this supernatural romance twaddle is just so watered down and copied and re copied, its no longer Vampire/Werewolf stories with a romance element but romantic drama's dressed in Vampire clothing.... I blame Buffy and Angel, though I don't blame Hex coz that was great! Maybe its Anne Rice's fault for her books making Vampires especially more like Mr Darcy than Vlad the Impaler, but at least they still did what vampires do best.... go in to book stores now and there is acres of theses books and now just one shelf of so of real horror! Some one really needs to bring Werewolves/Vampires/Demons back out of the realm of romantic daydreams and in to our nightmares to stop us all having a good nights sleep!

5 11 past 3
Posted on Saturday May 28, 2011, 20:54
How about unicorns? They're mythical, but probably not too sexy...

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