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Van Helsing: Another Syfy Channel Hit Series
Old Story, Different Twist
I’ve always had a love/ hate relationship with the SyFy, but every once in a while the network produces some truly fantastic Dark fantasy Series. As a foil to their already dystopian hit, Aftermath, Van Heling centers on the mysterious Vanessa. A seemingly immortal woman who was just a normal struggling mother before the world fell into a vampire apocalypse. After being bitten by a vampire she develops the ability to heal from any wound and even more importantly, her blood and bite can revert vampires back into their human form. As a result, the vampires, who are terrified of her power to cure them, are hunting her. The series takes place five years after a massive volcanic eruption covered the sky in ash giving the vampires an opportunity to finally step out of the shadows. By the time Vanessa is woken from her five year undead slumber, humans have been completely dominated. Most people are kept in work camps pumping the sky with carbon to keep the atmosphere dark when they aren’t donating blood to their slave masters. What little remains of humanity is constantly on the run, scavenging for food and supplies as they go. Fans of The Strain, Buffy The Vampire Slayer or The Walking Dead might notice the fusion of these three series’ plots, but it doesn’t make Van Helsing any less entertaining and seemingly fresh.
Meet The Vamps
Any good vampire show, or dark fantasy series for that matter, comes with a rich and detailed mythology. While the series hasn’t revealed the mysterious origins of its blood suckers, it does provide some interesting zombie blends to its Vampire myth. In the world of Van Helsing, there are three types of fangers; ferals, feeders and ancients. Ferals are the lowest class of vampires. They feed almost exclusively on animal blood and develop animalistic characteristics as time passes, such as claws and additional fangs. They seem to be incapable of human communication and function with a pack mentality as they carry out the orders of the feeders and ancients. Eventually, as they continue to deform, they becomes totally uncontrollable and are then discarded to live in the sewers hunting and feeding on each other and other vampires who enter their territory. Feeders are far more intelligent. They remember their human lives and walk upright but are driven by their bloodlust in a way that is more reminiscent of the 30 Days of Night vamps. They comprise the majority of the vampire population serving as foot soldiers for the ancients. The Ancients are the most mysterious of the bunch. They appear and act almost completely human, with the exception of their sociopathic lack of empathy. They are the oldest and cruelest of the vampires, hunting for pleasure rather than sustenance. The only thing about them that lends the viewer to believe the world can come back from this apocalypse is that the Ancients belong to different rival factions, each grasping for domination over the other and adding a degree of political intrigue to the series.
A Murderer Among Them
While vampire shows are always fun, what makes or breaks them is the human characters. Those expecting a happy ragtag group of descent people who pull their resources to keep each other alive, such as on The Walking Dead, will be pleasantly surprised to discover none of the survivors trust each other. The human group is composed of deeply flawed people who were damaged before the apocalypse and have only gotten worse. The cast features a Marine who’s zealous devotion to accomplishing his mission has turned him into an uncaring super soldier who harbors delusions about a human government still existing, which just adds fuel to the fire of Vanessa’s anger issues. Add to the mix a deaf man who seems to be too creepy for his own good and a pair of former vampires dealing with serious PTSD, one of which slaughtered his entire human family, and you have the most dysfunctional group of people trying to survive together. Adding tension to the situation is that there is a murderer in their mists. A member of the group is an unknown amateur serial killer, which means none of them trust each other, at all. That alone makes the series worth watching and I personally can’t wait to see who gets killed off next.