First Kill, a story about a young queer romance in the world of vampires and vampire-hunters, is a culmination of what showrunner Felica D. Henderson has hoped to put out in the world.
“And as a person who has a goddaughter who went through a process that was painful in her coming out, I thought, ‘Boy, this was on when she was 16, how would her life have been different?'” she said. “And I wanted to be part of a world that represented her experience as normal.”
The personal nature of First Kill is the undercurrent of what is a fun, exciting, and heartfelt fantasy story about the Fairmonts, a vampire family and the Burns, a vampire hunter family, unwittingly brought together by their daughters (played by Sarah Catherine Hook and Imani Lewis), who have fallen in love. As shown in the exclusive trailer below, the families resist accepting the relationship, but the couple resolve to fight the world together, regardless of what their families or others think.
Henderson said that she was drawn to the story, based on the short story, "First Kill," written by Victoria Schwab and published in the anthology, "Vampires Never Get Old," because she is a true "blerd" at heart.
“You know, I come from a comic book background. I love genre. I love sci-fi. I love fantasy. So that was obviously there. And then in that world to bring…representation…to be able to be in a genre space with such significant, three-dimensional black representation and significant, three-dimensional, queer representation that wasn’t about coming out,” she said.
“There’ve been lots of amazing stories about coming out, amazing in all kinds of ways, you know, from pain to joy, to what it means to those you love,” she continued. “But in a world where we are all just treated like whoever we love is our normal and that’s fine, I love that about it because then we could go on and just explore the relationship and I thought that was important.”
She also said that the series gives much-needed racial representation when it comes to vampires and vampire hunters. Wesley Snipes’ Blade might be the most popular Black vampire-hunter (who is also a half-vampire or dhampir himself), but that doesn’t mean he should be the only character representing Blackness in the occult.
“It’s so funny, ’cause every time we think about or talk about it, we go, ‘Well there’s Blade.'”
She said that the Burns family (played by Aubin Wise, Dominic Goodman, Philip Mullings, Jr. and Jason R. Moore) bring a fresh perspective to Black characters in genre television.
“What I love about it is because…they are this incredibly quote-unquote normal family where the baby sister is spoiled, but at the same time just wants to be like her big brothers wants to be treated as an equal. It’s a family with a lot of love,” she said. “The parents love each other and they love their children and they’re super tight-knit. They have dinner around the table. They have to be respectful and…oh yeah, we hunt vampires at night.”
“And so there’s this wonderful way of introducing this loving Black family into [the show],” she continued. “And then within that loving Black family, they have a 16-year-old lesbian daughter, yet that’s not what the show is about because everyone in that family has love for who they are.”
Overall, Henderson hopes that fans will be able to connect to the show as a piece of media that represents them. When talking about her resume, which includes Sister Sister, Moesha, The Quad, The Punisher and Fringe, Henderson said she feels First Kill artfully combines her love for genre television and television that showcases multifaceted Blackness.
“What [First Kill] does is it brings it all into one. Like, if you would have said to me, like, what do you care about most? I would say what I care about, what I love to do is [tell stories about] relationships,” she said. “And I would love to write those relationships in a genre space, in a sci-fi space, in a fantasy space. I love fantasy. Um, you know, and I love, um, magical reality. So I’m like, I’d love to put people who look like me in that space. Sci-fi, fantasy, magical realism, those are my sweet spot.”
“This show represents the sweet spot of what I love doing and what I do best. No matter if I was writing a show that took place on the moon or took place in hell. Family would still be somewhere in there,” she continued. “Somewhere in there would be how people treat each other. There would always probably be a father-daughter relationship because I love writing father-daughter relationships. So whether it is about monsters and monster-hunters, what’s at the center [and] makes all of that kind of stuff work are the relationships.”
First Kill drops on Netflix June 10.