Review: Dracula Series Premiere

Posted: October 25, 2013 in Review, Scary Stuff
Tags: , , , , , , ,

He and Lestat can bite my neck any time.

Yes, another review. Don’t worry, I plan to do the new Anne Rice book and then just leave it at that till the Doctor Who 50th anniversary special. On with the review!

From the beginning, promoters for the new Dracula series have been saying this won’t be your usual look at the Dracula story, and they certainly didn’t lie. In this incarnation, the Prince of Vampires is played by the darkly sexy Jonathan Rhys Meyers (I cannot believe I just wrote that, but it’s true). And guess what? Dracula’s playing roles too, this time as Alexander Grayson, an American industrialist who plans to bring free power to England using fantastic technology. Why the disguise? Because apparently he’s hunting the Order of the Dragon, a secret society that Dracula has a history with (quite literally actually: the Order of the Dragon was a real order during Vlad Tepes’ time that fought to keep Christendom in Europe safe from Turkish and Moorish invasion. Here though it’s every myth about the power of the Illuminati/Freemasons/Jews rolled into one tight British package). When not hunting members of the Order though, Dracula seems rather taken with a certain young medical student named Mina Murray, who looks a lot like Dracula’s deceased wife from 500 years ago.

While the whole my-love-has-been-reincarnated trope has been used before with the Dracula legend, it’s been done sparingly enough that there’s room for breaking new ground here, and it looks like they intend to break a lot of new ground with this Dracula story. Here Dracula’s portrayed as an antihero seeking to use a combination of traditional vampiric war and deft political maneuvers to take out his enemies, who so far are portrayed as elitists wishing to retain their power with oil and their money and influence (gosh, why does that sound familiar?). And Mina Murray and Jonathan Harker have also been updated in this version, given the roles of a sweet medical student and an aspiring reporter respectively, and Renfield’s been portrayed so far as an intelligent black gentlemen who acts as Dracula’s link to the world rather than a crazy bug eater in Bethlehem Hospital (progress in the media!).

I have returned with a sexy beard. And thank the producers I don’t glow!

The acting is very solid as well. Meyers switches accents very well, as he also does with his personality, going from charming Victorian to ruthless, tormented killer in seconds. The character of Lady Jane, played by Victoria Smurfit, is also an interesting character, because she seems to be holding more secrets than other characters. It’ll be interesting to see where her character goes in the series…if she survives! And I can’t wait to see the interplay of the Dracula-Mina-Harker love triangle that will inevitably occur (we’ve known it would happen before we even saw the previews). If it’s done as well as the first episode has been done, even things we can see coming can have quite the impact.

And for those of you who are wondering if it’s too scary to watch, it’s not that bad. And coming from a guy who doesn’t get too terrified watching Evil Dead or Carrie, that’s saying something. There’s minimal blood and the scenes where blood does show up are tolerable. Indeed, you find yourself more interested in the action, the character interaction, and wondering how this battle will play out.

I’m looking forward to seeing where this miniseries goes. The first episode sets the bar high, but if they can keep meeting the challenge…who knows? Emmys and a second season might be in the mix.

I’m giving the first episode a 4.2 out of 5. I look forward to next week’s episode. I hope it’ll be terrifying.

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