TV Review : AMC’s ‘Interview With the Vampire’ Remains a Bloody Good Time in Season 2

In a sea of rote, listless IP, the first season of AMC’s “Interview With the Vampire” felt like manna from heaven — or blood to a thirsty nightwalker

Published Time: 12.05.2024 - 18:31:29 Modified Time: 12.05.2024 - 18:31:29

In a sea of rote, listless IP, the first season of AMC’s “Interview With the Vampire” felt like manna from heaven — or blood to a thirsty nightwalker. Yes, the show was part of a reverse-engineered attempt at an Anne Rice cinematic universe. But in the hands of showrunner Rolin Jones, “Interview With the Vampire” set itself apart from both Rice’s original and the 1994 film adaptation, all while maintaining the story’s Gothic romanticism.

Despite an extended break and a major recasting, Season 2 is as fresh as a newly opened vein. In the flashbacks that form the primary timeline, Louis de Pointe du Lac (Jacob Anderson) has left New Orleans for World War II Europe, taking the ghost of his maker and ex-lover Lestat (Sam Reid) along with him. The transatlantic voyage brings Louis to the Théâtre des Vampires, a Parisian troupe that’s actually a cover for a nocturnal coven led by the 500-year-old Armand (Assad Zaman). In scenes set in the present, a framing device with events entirely new to the series, Louis and Armand share a luxury apartment in Dubai, where they host cynical journalist Daniel Molloy (Eric Bogosian). The relationship was treated as a reveal in last season’s finale; in the new episodes, the show starts to fill in the gaps of their decades-long partnership.

“Interview With the Vampire” made its (fang) mark by turning the homoerotic charge of Louis and Lestat’s supernatural bond from subtext to text. Armand spent Season 1 disguised as a servant. With his newly active role, the show’s emphasis on queer sexuality extends past Louis’ tumultuous time with Lestat. After killing his longtime paramour (or so he thinks — he couldn’t bring himself to burn the body), Louis is faced with the question of what vampirism and gay life can look like beyond the man who introduced him to both. In Dubai, Louis and Armand present themselves to Molloy as a happily ever after — a healthy alternative to a folie à deux. But opening up to an outsider reveals fissures in this facade, a subtle exploration of cyclical trauma that “Interview With the Vampire&r -

dquo; balances with goofy excess.

In the show’s other major innovation, both Louis and his surrogate “daughter” Claudia (Delainey Hayles), converted by Lestat at 14 to complete their pseudo-family, are Black. This choice lends new resonance to vampires as proxy for the demonized other. When the duo arrive in France, Louis has the same awakening as many mortal Americans, like James Baldwin, who thrilled to a society without legal segregation. Claudia was initially played by Bailey Bass, who imbued the newly superpowered teenager with a manic, impulsive glee. Hayles’ rendition is different, though apart from some bumpy accent work, mostly for the better. With a few decades of afterlife behind her, the Claudia of Season 2 is more re- signed to the tragedy of eternal childhood. Hayles channels the melancholy and loneliness of her character’s plight, as well as the physical comedy of an enraged Claudia forced to wear a frilly, infantile costume onstage.

Like “True Blood” before it, “Interview With the Vampire” understands that a great vampire story combines genuine eroticism with campy flair. As the specter of Lestat, Reid is more alluring and more unhinged than he’s ever been. Molloy began the series as an arch commentator who punctured the vampires’ self-importance, and still plays that part in Season 2. (“You both fucked Lestat!” he crows after Armand discloses some romantic history.) But the writer is also given more vulnerability and agency as the series goes on. Seizing the chance to expand Rice’s canvas, “Interview With the Vampire” keeps adding layers of paint. It’s the best kind of bloody mess.

Season 2 of “Interview With the Vampire” premieres on AMC and AMC+ on May 12, with new episodes airing weekly on Sundays.

Most Popular

Must Read

Sign Up for Variety Newsletters

A Variety and iHeartRadio Podcast

More From Our Brands

ad To help keep your account secure, please log-in again. You are no longer onsite at your organization. Please log in. For assistance, contact your corporate administrator.