There's a new kind of vampire series coming to Syfy this fall with Reginald the Vampire, which stars Jacob Batalon as the titular character, but he's not a centuries-old being ruling the world. Instead, he's brand new to the supernatural, having only been recently turned, which is not something that the other vampires in his area aren't thrilled about because he challenges the image they have been cultivating.
"I think we all have preconceived notions of what it's like to be a vampire in movies and TV," Batalon said at a Television Critics Association press tour panel for the series. "We put those tropes on its head. We make sure that we base it mostly in reality and not in the vain ideal that vampires are beautiful and vapid and don't really do anything with their lives. ... We don't have shiny skin; I don't have long flowing hair; I'm not really tall, but here we are."
Based on the Fat Vampire book series by Johnny B. Truant, in which "vampires are really vapid, vain runway models [that] seek a perfect perfection of beauty," as showrunner Harley Peyton put it, Reginald the Vampire will be able to comment on such issues as body-shaming and body positivity through its cast of characters.
"Reginald just doesn't fit the mold," he noted, and because of that, there is "conflict between what we think of as beauty and what we think of as inner truth."
While the show is out to play with what viewers think they know about vampires from pop culture so far, including infusing more humor into characters and the situations they (namely Reginald) get into, there are certain elements of the genre it won't be ignoring.
"There was a lot of blood. It got in some bad crevices," Batalon said with a laugh.
They also have the requisite fangs, which actors wore a version of practically on set. "My first day I was definitely trying my hardest not to lisp," Batalon shared, adding that if you listen closely in the premiere episode you "may or may not" be able to tell which scenes were shot on that first day.
Although those who work on the show are setting out to do something different, Peyton couldn't help but acknowledge an important series that came before them that inspired them: Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Along those lines, there are humans that come into important play in Peyton's series, namely Sarah, played by Em Haine.
Sarah is "the love of" Reginald's life, Batalon noted, but he has been too timid to share his feelings with her. Perhaps that will change when he gets his new abilities, though, because, as Batalon teased, "He didn't really ask for it, it just happened to him, but he did something with that change."