The Netflix animated series Castlevania, based on the videogames from Konami, is much better than you’d expect. Fantasy author Erin Lindsey was impressed by the show’s strong writing and atmosphere.
“It’s one of the most satisfying things I’ve watched in a couple of years,” Lindsey says in Episode 423 of the Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy podcast. “It’s a great combination of intellectual and visually beautiful, with excellent, rich worldbuilding and good acting.”
Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy host David Barr Kirtley also loved the show, but felt that the season finale took a major misstep. “At the end of Season 3, I felt like it was just hitting you over the head with, ‘This is a dark show. It’s so dark at the end,’” he says. “I don’t mind it being dark, but it just didn’t make sense how it got there.”
Videogame journalist Blake J. Harris was less than enthused with the entire third season, which he felt came as a serious letdown after the climactic events of Season 2.
“At one point, I literally had the thought that high school classes should teach this in addition to Bram Stoker’s Dracula,” he says. “But in my opinion, the show should have ended after the seventh or eighth—which would be the second-to-last and the last—episode of the second season. The story was over at that point.”
So where does Castlevania go in Season 4? Science fiction author Zach Chapman thinks some advanced technology might be just the thing to set the show on a fresh course.
“In Season 3 there’s a brief glimpse of some futuristic stuff, when Saint Germain has a dream sequence,” he says. “To me that just blows this whole series wide open. I have no idea what could happen next, and I love that.”
Listen to the complete interview with Erin Lindsey, Blake J. Harris, and Zach Chapman in Episode 423 of Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy (above). And check out some highlights from the discussion below.
Erin Lindsey on imagination:
“There were so many things that I really appreciated. … A particular delight is Saint Germain. I think that Bill Nighy should be in all the things. I absolutely love that guy in everything he does. I thought the sequence where he goes into the Infinite Corridor was mind-blowingly beautiful. It was so inventive, and I contrast that with some of the disappointments in Hollywood sci-fi movies in the last few years, where they just struck me as failures of imagination. They’re portraying things that are meant to be crossroads in time, or different planets, and you’re just like, ‘This is boring. This is flat.’ The level of imagination that’s brought to bear in this show just far surpasses much of what we’ve seen on the big screen recently.”
David Barr Kirtley on history:
“All the vampire names—Carmilla, Lenore, Striga, Morana—are all references to folklore or literature. And then Saint Germain is an actual historical figure. There’s an episode I watched of In Search Of… with Leonard Nimoy where they talked about him. He was basically this guy around 1700 who was incredibly smart and scientific, and he would just sort of bounce around to different courts of Europe, charming everybody. He would sort of intimate that he was immortal, and he talked about historical events in so much detail that people thought he must have actually been there himself. People claimed, ‘When I was a girl he came to court, and he was the same age he is now.’ I don’t know how much of that is based in actual history—I mean, presumably he wasn’t actually immortal—but it was interesting that the show is really smart and contains all these references to things that reward you digging into it.”
Blake J. Harris on Dracula vs. Carmilla:
“The first episode of the series was basically just giving you reasons to be sympathetic to Dracula. The love of his life was killed, so I knew where he was coming from the whole time. I didn’t agree with his desire to kill humanity, but I knew where he was coming from. But what is Carmilla’s goal? What makes it interesting? What does she actually want? … The coolest, most fascinating thing about political animals is that they think that they’re the good guy in their head, and that they have their reasons. What is Carmilla telling people? Because when Dracula was around, she was telling people that she was saving them from this lunatic. But then after that, I’d like to at least see what she thinks she’s doing that’s so good, and how she justifies it, even if we disagree as viewers. Because all the kernels feel like they’re there.”
Zach Chapman on Forgemasters:
“I really like the idea of Forgemasters, but I have so many questions about the Forgemasters. What’s keeping them—any Forgemaster—from automatically creating an army? What’s the power level? What’s the balance? It’s very confusing. In Season 2, it seemed like they were taking time—or at least, Hector was—where they would take time to create an image of a demon. They’re actually ‘forging’ the demon. But then (in Season 3) Isaac is just stabbing them into existence, and it doesn’t seem to wind him. So how does any vampire have agency over any of the Forgemasters? They seem completely overpowered in this universe. I really like them conceptually. I’m just constantly confused by, ‘How can he just keep doing that?’”
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