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Reginald the Vampire Subverts Its Own Genres


The following contains spoilers for Reginald the Vampire Season 1, currently airing on Syfy.

Horror comedy. NO drama. Supernatural romantic comedy. Violent vampire show. Another entry into the weird underpinnings of horror. Reginald the Vampire it’s all of these things, hitting all the tropes in a way that nods to self-awareness, that subverts the very genres it encapsulates. However, it is not a parody. It’s light to a dark show and while an assortment of silliness runs through the show, it takes its characters and situations seriously.


Reginald the Vampire it’s got humor, pathos, and some pretty gory vampire stuff, the last of which reminds viewers they’re watching something different from buffy the vampire slayer, but closer to the channel companion of a season and voila, Astrid and Lily save the world. Still, the tone and style is much more CW than True Blood. The ratings suggest that audiences haven’t discovered the show en masse, but it’s certainly something that people who enjoy shows that subvert their own genres, like DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, alien residentY chucky. Reginald the Vampire it’s had a mixed response from critics and audiences alike, but much of that may contribute to the series not being a perfect fit in a specific box.

RELATED: Syfy’s Reginald the Vampire Looks to Tease Vampire Tropes


Reginald the Vampire embraces multiple genders while avoiding them

The show revolves around Reginald. He’s a 20-something loser who gets teased about his weight and takes that blow to his confidence internally. Like all the lovable losers in movies and TV, he’s smitten with the sweetly pretty and attainable friend and co-worker for everyone but him. One night, a vampire intends to drink Reginald’s blood, but befriends him instead. If this vampire friend, Maurice, looks a bit like Mario Van Peebles, it’s because he’s played by Mario’s son, Mandela. Maurice’s enemy vampires attack Reginald, leaving him near death. That’s when Reginald’s real world problems become secondary and Maurice saves him by turning him. He doesn’t want to say that Reginald’s real world problems go away, since he still has problems with girls and work.

Horror comedies are notoriously hard to get right. They are rarely funny or scary enough to succeed as a genre mix. Although there are tropes and horror elements in Reginald the Vampire, it is not a direct horror. There are certainly dangerous and violent vampires out there, but the show takes the most vicious villain and makes her adorable. The show has a comedic tone, but it’s more of a “funny sentiment” than actually funny. Although it would be easy to categorize the series as a horror comedy, that would set the viewer up for a different experience than the one presented. Occasionally there’s horror-style gore, but it’s rarely really intended to be scary. Many of the characters and situations have humorous undertones, but are interpreted more like the humor found in hour-long dramas than intentional comedies.

RELATED: Reginald the Vampire Cast Bites Vampire Workplace Comedy

Reginald is the rare plus-size bloodsucker

The show shares a tonal quality with many CW-style YA dramas, not the least of which is its emphasis on beauty. Vampires are incredibly shallow. They want to kill Reginald because he’s fat, which brings a visceral element to about 42 percent of the American audience. It’s also a supernatural rom-com that finds Reginald, once dateless, juggling a human and a vampire girlfriend. And like all good cheat stories, they catch up and it doesn’t go so well for Reginald. The show also does what most vampire horrors and now most shows in general do, and has main characters in gay relationships without turning on a light. There has always been an element of horror that encompasses queerness, but instead of making it the subtext like in the movie version of Interview with the Vampire, reginaldoThe storytellers put it in front like the ones on AMC. Anne Rice interview with the vampire.

Despite all the wild elements, the show achieves an emotional depth that should seem a long way off. Much of that can be provided by its lead actor, Jacob Batalon, best known for the most recent Spiderman film series Although there is something amateurish in his performances, there is an honest innocence about him that draws the audience in. Although the show’s characters make fun of Reginald and the size of him, the show itself doesn’t, which is an important distinction. The indefinability of the show’s genre is both a help and a hindrance. It’s helpful because the show can be many things. It’s a hindrance because when things aren’t simple, most people don’t show up.

Reginald the Vampire premieres new episodes every Wednesday at 10pm on Syfy.



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