What is the new “Vampire Academy” TV show?

Lily Daher, Scarlet Staff

The book series Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead has taken to television yet again. The Vampire Academy first premiered in 2014, yet a sequel was never produced; the original did so poorly at the box office, that filming a sequel probably wouldn’t have done much for the franchise.

There are a few other book-to-television adaptations that have gone so far downhill that they were either completely unrelated to the novels, or the adaptation did so poorly that any future productions were canceled. Examples include the two Percy Jackson movies, both The Mortal Instruments movie and television series, and the Divergent film series. That being said, it is understandable that there is a difference between books and their film counterparts. If an eight-hundred-page novel had a film adaptation, the movie would have to be at least eight hours to include every subplot present in the book. (Not that I would complain if I could sit through an eight-hour Harry Potter film, others who have not read the books may beg to differ). 

After a lot of promotion for the new Vampire Academy, it seemed as if the Peacock series would stray a bit away from the books. However, many fans, myself included, were hoping that the new adaptation would include some of the iconic lines and events from the first novel. I turned it off before the first five minutes were over; the show was garbage and I needed to process before continuing. About half an hour later, I pushed through and watched so I could compare it to the books. 

If you haven’t read Vampire Academy or seen the film or series adaptations, there are a few terms that would be helpful to know before reading. The term “Moroi” is used to define vampires with a mortal lifespan. This means they have souls and are connected to the earth through elemental magic. These vampires drink blood to survive but do not kill. Additionally, they can withstand the sun, but it tires them. The term “Dhampir” is used to describe half-moroi, half-human beings who have both human and Moroi qualities. They have the endurance and build of a human, but get their enhanced sense, fast metabolisms, and ability to heal from the Moroi. Dhampirs who choose to protect Moroi are referred to as “guardians”. Guardians do not drink blood and can withstand being in sun without consequences, unlike Moroi. Finally, “Strigoi” are vampires who kill for immortality. In the process of becoming Strigoi, they lose access to the magic that connects them to the earth, and they cannot withstand the sun at all or it will kill them. 

The novel follows the protagonist, Rose Hathaway, and her best friend, Vasilisa “Lissa” Dragomir, the last of the royal Dragomir family, who are found by St. Vladimir’s Academy’s guardians and brought back to Montana in order to protect Lissa. This remains true both in the novel and in the TV show, as Lissa’s family had been killed in a car crash. Following the accident, the novel’s Rose and Lissa run away from the school after being compelled by their former teacher Sonya Karp. They are in the human world for two years before they are found by guardians from their school. In the book, Sonya Karp turns Strigoi after not specializing in a type of magic. In the show, however, she is the step-daughter of Victor Dashkov alongside her sister Mia Karp. In the book, Mia exists, however, she is not the daughter of Victor Dashkov, nor is she a sister to Sonya Karp. Her last name is Rinaldi and her character is more prominent than the show gives her credit for. 

Now that I am a couple of episodes in, I have noticed that the show has been picking apart different plotlines from across the six novels. At the end of the second novel, the Moroi world begins to realize that Strigoi are likely working together, which is then confirmed in the third novel. However, the show confirms these theories within only a few episodes.  

That being said, the show is not only picking apart from different parts of the novels, they are also introducing entirely new concepts. In the novels, it is not unheard of for Moroi to live to be over the age of a hundred. Although, they usually do not make it to age 200 like Marina, the Moroi queen. In the novels, the Moroi queen is Tatiana Ivashkov, who the show seems like it has completely forgotten about the Ivashkov family in general. Instead, Tatiana Ivashkov is remade into a character named Tatiana Vogel, who is supposed to be a distant relative of the well-respected royal family the Vogels. 

The name for the Moroi population is “Dominion”, which is unique to the series. The Moroi are mainly isolated from the human world, however, this is usually only practiced amongst those who do not live at the Moroi Royal Court and students. It is common for some Moroi, and even Dhampirs, to live amongst humans. However, in the show, they are entirely isolated with the rare exception, while in the books, most of the series takes place in the United States in isolated Moroi communities, namely the Royal Court and St. Vladimir’s Academy. Additionally, they have platforms for social media and news broadcasts. This was absent in the novels, namely because the Moroi community was small enough that any time anything would happen, everyone would find out in a heartbeat. 

For the most part, movie and television show adaptations do not line up exactly with what the book offers. However, there are some parts of the series that were actually somewhat decent.

The show offers a lot of perspective on how much influence Royal Moroi has over every little thing that occurs in the Dominion. Additionally, the show does a good job of showing how little control the Dhampirs have in their own lives. The Dhampir are their own race, and yet they yield to every rule that the Moroi set. The show provides a significant amount of insight into how much controversy there is within the Dominion that is akin to the series it is based on. Similarly, the queens in both the show and the novels want Lissa to be queen following the death of her family because they both believe that she has the potential to bring not just the Moroi and Dhampirs together, but also Royal and non-royal Moroi. 

What do the next few episodes have in store? We’ll find out soon.