Thursday, November 21, 2013

Dracula (2013 TV Series): Review

Three shows in and Dracula continues to both surprise and stupefying. Even though this is a “limited series” I’m not sure how this show ever got made. It’s a gothic period piece set in England and with a reimagining of a classic monster villain. It’s artistically rendered with lush set pieces, hundreds of extras, period clothing and cars, gratuitous sex, vicious gore, and it’s all strangely absorbing.

In this version, Van Helsing reanimates and enlists Dracula to aid him in destroying a secret Order of the Dragons who are hellbent on controlling the world through capital, energy and oil. Dracula’s plan is to develop a new energy using electromagnetic science (!) to satiate the world’s energy needs (which gives the show a cool steampunk leaning). Jonathan Harker, Mina Murray, Lucy Westenra, and Reinfield are all sort of thrown in subplots, triangles, yada yada. With such a departure from the source material, using the character names from Bram Stoker’s classic is simply a means to get this show on the air. I can accept that to a degree. However, the reimagining of Dracula as a younger, kinder, and less menacing American entrepreneur is harder to swallow. I’m not convinced that Jonathan Rhys Meyer was the right choice for Dracula since he’s neither charismatic nor menacing and is drawn as a meticulously manicured dandy. (Vlad the Impaler is rolling in his grave.) But I suppose the draw here is a younger demographic that many not care about things like gravitas or presence.

Even with these gripes, the show is fun, occasionally bloody gory for a network show, and an entertaining diversion for a Friday night. And if nothing else, you must see the outstanding opening credits.

The NBC site features an animated web series called Dracula Rising which gives an origin story to this particular version of Dracula: See it below and tune in Fridays at 10/9C for the series.





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