Either the words vampire au ao3 mean nothing to you or you are sick in the head. For the uninitiated, ao3 stands for “Archive of Our Own,” a very large virtual dumpster where people share their fan fiction. As with an actual dumpster, you can occasionally dive in to rummage for goodies, but only if you’re brave and have little self-respect. Au stands for alternate universe, meaning fan fictions that don’t limit themselves to the established facts of fictional worlds and their characters. Search “vampire au ao3,” and you get tens of thousands of “what if?” scenarios about beloved fictional characters and real-life boy-band members struck with vampirism. This automatically raises the stakes of literally any story: Characters have to resist temptation or succumb to it, hide their sexy magical secrets from the world or from one another, and grapple with the ennui of eternal life, all while touring in a K-pop group or fighting Thanos. These can be impossibly cringe (“My Immortal“) or really quite good. After all, what is Only Lovers Left Alive if not a Jim Jarmusch AU of his own body of work? Many, if not most, TV shows would be improved if they were about vampires instead of people. In honor of Vampire Week at Vulture, here are but some of those shows.
This works largely because sexuality on Succession operates in a similar way to sexuality in vampire stories: Its energy is transposed into other signifiers and interactions. Every character is libidinous and horny in everything they do, but there’s little if any kissing and next to no sex. When a character makes romantic overtures to another — think Tom to Shiv or Connor to Willa — it feels wrong; perverse, even. Control is everything to a vampire and to a Roy, and the family’s obscene wealth already allows them to operate with impunity to any mortal law and approach the rest of the world as their prey. Imagine the Roys as a coven of powerful vampires with Logan as their sire, not only leeching off the world in your standard-issue billionaire way but in a bloodsucking way too. The ruthlessness is there. Logan’s grooming Kendall to be a “killer” — and Kendall’s struggles with addiction — fit all too snuggly into this setup. Is Greg a new vampire? A daywalker? Does Roman have an inverted setup in which his familiar Gerri is his domme? Does Tom slowly realize what he married into?
Frasier and Niles are already skulking creatures of the night. Aesthetes unstuck from time and bewildered by their own existence in an era that is wrong for them, the Crane brothers while away their weary nights at the opera or else the theatre, disconnected from real humans in the real world. They inhabit a rainy and overcast city (the better to go out in daylight, my dear), their wealth is vast and unexplained, and Niles lives in what appears to be a Gothic castle. Clearly, they were turned by vampire queens Lilith and Maris, and Frasier uses his centuries of life experience to give psychiatric advice on his radio show. I want to say their father is now a retired vampire hunter instead of an ex-cop, but that doesn’t track with Frasier and Niles being former rococo princes or whatever. We’ll iron that part out. Imagine vampire Niles’s love for the innocent mortal Daphne Moon under these impossible circumstances. Imagine Frasier and Niles wearing 100 percent more capes.
The feats Olivia Pope accomplish are basically only possible if she’s a vampire. She subsists on “red wine” (blood) and has been known to don a cape. Her dynamic with Fitz would be so much hotter. Cyrus can be an ancient, evil vampire trying to maintain Draculean authority in the White House through the puppet presidency of a mere mortal. Mellie, meanwhile, comes from a long and illustrious line of D.C.-area vampire hunters, and she’s onto them. Kerry Washington is already the world’s best mouth actor; let’s get some fangs in there.
Self-explanatory. Much like the way I choose to interpret Julia Ducournau’s Raw as a coming-of-age vampire movie, cannibalism is immediately less ick when it’s vampire-on-human. Besides, Hannibal and Will already have an extremely Dracula–and–Jonathan Harker relationship, by which we mean it’s for sure sexual, baby.
It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia
Hear me out. The draw of the show is already watching this cursed gang devolve over the years, doomed to feed off one another in their private purgatory on Earth, Paddy’s Pub. They never learn, they act solely on id and impulse, they wreak harm on everyone they interact with, and there is not a soul to be found among them. The Reynolds twins are the most overtly monstrous of the group, with Dennis often lapsing into genuinely scary territory. Charlie is somewhat feral and subterranean and half-rat, a self-professed nightcrawler. Rickety Cricket is their Renfield. Plenty of opportunities for new, fun schemes. This is how we keep the show going for fifteen more seasons.
Vampires and hospitals go together like health insurance and fuckery. Of course there’s Carlisle Cullen, who uses his powers to give back to society as a doctor, and Jeffrey Wright as the blood guy in Only Lovers Left Alive. Thus Grey’s Anatomy is a natural fit to be vamp-ified. (Note: I stopped watching after they killed off my boy ****** way back in 2009, so my details may be a little off here.) In the early seasons, so much of the show follows doctors working long night shifts; even when it’s daytime, they hardly go outside. Main characters also die a lot (Seattle Grace/Mercy West must be the most dangerous workplace in America) — chalk that up to the perilous lifestyle of vamps. They could nap in coffins instead of those little bunk bed rooms, and they could do other stuff in coffins too. What if Izzy Stevens turned Denny Duquette before his heart gave out? We would have been spared the ghost-sex plotline. Instead we’d have a far better vampire-sex plotline. (Addison would obviously be the vampire queen — don’t get me started.)
Real Housewives of New York
What made The Real Housewives of New York such a tragicomic masterpiece is how it became a show about women of a certain age behaving in ways we rarely get to see explored on television. They are tangles of contradictions: vicious but pitiable, amoral but amusing, wealthy but utterly lacking in purpose or a role in the world. None of them are even housewives; they live alone in their high-rise tombs with only their familiars — toy dogs, assistants, Sonja Morgan’s unpaid interns — for company. But this past season was downright depressing and not particularly fun or good; it would have benefited greatly from being about a coven of vampiresses. The storylines about substance abuse would be spooky metaphors instead of bummer documentaries; Dorinda could get fangs; Luann’s cabaret would be a vampire-nightlife hot spot. Just imagine how high the stakes would be when they lure unsuspecting men into their vacation homes.
I don’t watch Bridgerton. Few things sound less appealing to me than a Maroon 5 song played on the viola. But if Bridgerton was about vampires boning in the 19th century, I would be its biggest fan.
Jessa turns Shosh and doesn’t see how that was a “total overstep.” Literally nothing else about the show changes.