“First Kill” Netflix review: Teen lesbian vampires are coming to trash TV

That duskCore Hive is eating well this Pride Month, thanks first kill.

There’s a new supernatural teen vampire romance to sink our teeth into, and it’s more deliciously sapphic than any mainstream teen drama on TV has ever dared. Under a certain cross-section of niches, first kill has quickly become one of the most anticipated summer releases of 2022. From queer trash TV lovers to the cross-generational coalition of TikTokers who meme dusk In an online renaissance, the show’s trailer promised us everything we could ask for.

A Romeo and Juliet-style foe-lover, biracial, high school lesbian relationship caught between their feuding vampire and monster hunter families? Say less and just give us more.

Then the reviews rolled in, with a 57 percent critic rating from Rotten Tomatoes boding ill for this Pride Month event. As we all carefully watched first kill Anyway (since Sapphic trash-lovers almost always watch anything that at least tries to give us what we want, regardless of Tomatometrics), that caution shifted from the show itself to everyone who obviously just doesn’t have understood. If the 92 percent viewership is any indication, LGBTQ YA fiction fans are ready to die on any hill for Calliope “Cal” Burns (Imani Lewis) and Juliette Fairmont (Sarah Catherine Hook).

On twitter, diversityThe rating of has been qualified for a headline first kill a “tired version” of “teen lesbian vampires,” with people rightfully evoking the irony of labeling one of the few TV shows that focuses on a young lesbian love story as “tired.” There is, of course, a rich history of lesbian vampirism in literature, including that of Sheridan Le Fanu Carmilla almost single-handedly launched the vampire gothic genre in 1872. But this fabled Sapphic tradition hasn’t carried over to mainstream TV or film with nearly enough frequency to justify calling the Netflix show’s burgeoning attempt “tired.”

The oversight stings even worse when you consider how many current shows about gay male relationships are liking it heart stopper and Our flag means death receive almost unanimous critical praise for their revolutionary queer representation. I do not say First kill is on par with both (especially a show with an HBO budget by Taika Waititi). But what you can’t take with you first kill is that it’s something we don’t often see on TV, for better or for worse.

Well, to be fair to the critics, Netflix’s queer response to heteronormative CW hits like Vampire Diaries and teenage wolf is far from The Best in Show, even by the relatively low standards set by the supernatural teen TV drama genre.


Our Flag Means Death finally gave queer fandom the love story we deserve

Its production (especially the utterly goofy CGI monsters) fuels a film school final project budget at best. The plot weaves several webs of nonsense while the screenplay ambitiously strides into lofty themes of marginalized persecution, using chilling allegorical terms like “monster phobia” (an accusation made by a queer black character in the name of being an “ally” of a to be white queer character, mind you). Like classic U-Haul lesbians, Cal and Juliette plunge into the passions of eternal love faster than their characters can develop as individuals.

The inescapable truth is that first kill is not perfect. But, you know what? It really is, Yes, really doesn’t have to be perfect to fulfill some of our deepest desires for woman-loving women, the kind we’ve longed for, like Edward Cullen getting his first whiff of Bella Swan in science class.

By the way, first kill contains several references to dusk, with a direct shout-out in the catchy opening song and an almost shot-for-shot recreation of that infamous meme scene. Instead of biology, however, they’re in English class and doing a lesson on Flannery O’Connor (which could very well be a reference to another lesbian love couple that’s often erased from mainstream discourse).

Juliette and Calliope recreate the science class scene from

At least Juliette doesn’t look like she’s furiously hiding a boner in this scene.
Photo credit: netflix

So many TikToks from young LGBTQ people watching first kill we as a community capture “love chaos”. No amount of shoddy CGI, poor scripting, or intentionally melodramatic acting is going to stop us from mindlessly consuming this delightfully sapphic trash like the army of queer trash goblins that we are.

In addition, as TikToker lyinoptimist notes, first kill is blacker and stranger than we could have ever imagined. Much of the promotional material made it seem like Cal, who is black, was only playing the love interest of Juliette’s protagonist in a story that focuses primarily on her white “old vampire” family — but the show quickly dispels that illusion.

Episode 2 makes it clear that they share the protagonist’s title equally when Cal handles the voice-over narration of the internal dialogue. Written in an intimate second-person POV, the “you” that addresses each lover is the other. The remainder of the season shows that Cal’s family of high-level monster hunters not only have equal importance in the plot, but also carry most of the show’s emotional weight outside of the main romance.

Over-the-top, chaotic disorder is exactly what I want and expect from such an unabashedly sapphic teen drama.

if first kill even got half the budget of similar Netflix shows like The Cool Adventures of sabrina (which features queer characters but doesn’t focus on them as protagonists), most of its quality control issues would likely go away. There’s nothing fundamentally wrong with its endearing and colorful foundation – nothing that higher production budgets and values, and perhaps a longer runtime to develop the characters, wouldn’t remedy.

But even if it doesn’t get all that, the underserved audience does first kill reached seems like he couldn’t care less. The high key bearing of its mediocre quality is a bit odd in itself. Over-the-top, chaotic disorder is exactly what I want and expect from such an unabashedly sapphic teen drama. For people who always find themselves on the fringes, you learn to forgive, or even love, the kind of fidgety growing pains that come with finally being in the spotlight.

So shine bright first killwith the glittering skin of a killer who would make even Edward Cullen tremble.

first kill now streaming on Netflix.

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