Halloween special coming up later in the week (plus more Halloween goodness in store from Den of Geek and Billie Doux), but I'm getting in the mood early...
Yes, I have found a new vampire show, just in time for Halloween. It has a boring, broody vampire, a sexy, snarky vampire, a slightly dull, holier-than-thou heroine, some cheerleaders, a witch, a werewolf or two and some laboured metaphorical representations of real-world issues. BUT - the boring vampire is the blond and the sexy vampire is the brunette. It's a totally different world.
'Ordinary People' amused me because it hits so many of classic elements of pop cultural representations of archaeologists and archaeology. We have:
a high school history teacher who's an expert in Viking script and language*
...and who is able expertly to analyse an archaeological site just by wandering around with a torch for a day or two.
The cave paintings reveal a secret that's been kept for a thousand years
...but that, for some reason, the perpetrator decided to immortalise in a cave painting...
(in a cave vampires can't get into, but I'm not even going to worry about that)
...which everyone accepts as absolute truth without questioning it...
...because in pop culture, if someone says it, it might be a lie - but if they paint it on a wall it's true.
*this is because Alaric is Giles, but sexier and with more alcohol.
As well as these interesting misconceptions about how archaeology works, there were some historical howlers in here:
On the subject of 'Rebecca,' 'Esther,' 'Elijah' and 'Rebecca' are ancient Biblical names, i.e. Hebrew/Semitic names. No Viking would have those names. 'Mikael' and 'Niklaus' might sound more Germanic, but 'Micheal' and 'Nicholas' are anglicised versions of Greek names, so Vikings shouldn't be called that either. I've no idea what 'Kol' is meant to be. 'Finn' could actually be a Viking. Possibly. (They should have just called them all Eric and had done with it).
I don't think the Vikings went in for cave paintings.
I'm not even going near the Vikings-in-America thing - though Virginia seems a bit far south for that particular theory.
Why would Vikings have English accents?!
(The Salvatores can't pronounce their own name either. It's Italian, it should be Sal-va-tor-AY!).
None of this really matters, as it's not that sort of show. This is a teen soap opera in which, oddly, the love interests do even more morally reprehensible things than anyone in True Blood and it's not here to be historically analysed. (I was chatting with Crazy Cris from over at Here, There and Everywhere the other day, and we were discussing whether or not this show kills off more main characters than Game of Thrones - but we had to stop because I'm still only at the beginning of A Dance with Dragons. We can pick it up again when I've finished A Song of Ice and Fire!).
The trouble is, I think Charlaine Harris has given me unreasonable expectations when it comes to historical accuracy in vampire fiction. Harris' Sookie Stackhouse series may be faintly ridiculous in many ways, but she always does her research and she writes her vampires with a real sense of the period they come from and of making them feel like genuinely old characters. She even had a quick guide to Latin pronunciation in one of her books. So I suppose I've come to expect a bit too much from my historical vampires.
Of course, I'm mostly just frustrated that, if the original vampires were Vikings, that means the show's never going to feature a Roman vampire and I won't get any more blog posts out of it!
No prizes for guessing why I decided to give this show a second chance.
The Vampire Diaries is cheesy and occasionally nonsensical but I'm enjoying it enormously, largely for the usual, obvious reasons. I also appreciate Damon and Alaric's love of whiskey - Damon Salvatore must be the only vampire on television who drinks more whiskey than he does blood. Which just makes him even more awesome. (By the way, the show is on Monday evenings over here at the moment, so please don't mention the latest episode in the comments until Tuesday!)