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Fall TV: Dracula

Emily and Mandy C. continue their Fall TV series with a look at the pilot episode of Dracula. SPOILER ALERT: This Dracula kinda sucks. (And not entirely in the typical vampire way.)

Fall TV: Dracula

Welcome back to our series on fall’s best new shows. We’re here to discuss what’s worthy of space on your DVR, what can be watched later On Demand, or what you should just skip, for your own good. We hope you’ll join us!

(Warning! Possible spoilers ahead.)

Dracula

Premiered: Oct. 25 on NBC (Watch it online.)

Elevator Pitch

In a weekly idea meeting, three network studio executives sit around a conference room table.

Executive 1: We need a new idea. But not too new. We don’t want to try anything too out there, like
mermaids or something.

Executive 2, who has been putting notes with “mermaids” written on them into the Suggestion Box for months, whimpers under his breath.

Executive 3: Vampires are still totally cool, right?

Executive 1: Of course they are.

Executive 2 reaches for a cruller.

Executive 3: Well, we could do something totally unique and take our main characters from literature. I’ve heard good things about that Dracula story. It’s only been adapted, what, ten times? It’s totally ripe for another go.

Executive 1: You’re so right! Dracula’s perfect. New, but old—literally, ha ha!

Executive 3 laughs, a little too eagerly.

Executive 2: Can we throw a little steampunk into the opening credits? That’s still cool too, right?

Familiar Faces

Jonathan Rhys Meyers as Dracula/Alexander Grayson

Nonso Anozie as R.M. Renfield

Jessica de Gouw as Mina Murray

Katie McGrath as Lucy Westenra

Robert Bathurst as Lord Davenport

Victoria Smurfit as Lady Jayne Weatherby

Ben Miles as Browning

Thomas Kretschmann as Abraham Van Helsing

Faces That Will Become Familiar (If You Keep Watching)

Oliver Jackson-Cohen as Jonathan Harker

Jack Fox as Alistair Harvey

Charlotte Asprey as Lady Mary Laurent

Redeeming Qualities

Emily: It's about Dracula. I personally do not think we can run out of good vampire stories, they are a timeless breed … literally. Unfortunately, that may be all I got as far as redeeming qualities go.

Mandy: The fact that Van Helsing and Dracula are working together piqued my interest. I would have thought the two men would have been (as usual) sworn enemies. And the Order of the Dragon business is new (to me at least); I can pretty much always count myself in for being interested by a good mix of secret societies and conspiracies. Also: Oliver Jackson-Cohen is not hard to look at.

It's Not Me, It's You

Emily: If you're going to do close to turn of the century England, maybe do some research ... or just watch Downton Abbey. Yes, I realize these shows take place about 30 years apart, but I still feel like Downton set the bar. There is nothing remotely authentic feeling about the setting of Dracula. It also doesn't help that this might be one of the worst versions of him I've ever seen. He's supposed to be dark and dangerous and commanding. I know Jonathan Rhys Meyers can play dirty sexy, which I think would make a great King of the Vamps. This was not it. Also, is there a plot? Dracula posed as a wealthy "visionary" and a group of secret society people are out to cover up the fact that vampires exist and extinguish them therefore becoming enemy number 1. It's just not enough.

Mandy: It pains me to say this, but Jonathan Rhys Meyers didn’t pull off the sexy Dracula this show was angling for. Perhaps it’s the American accent, something about which totally grated on my ears, or it might be the cakey makeup. Regardless, there was something missing in his portrayal. There was also something missing in the story; I found myself getting distracted halfway through and focusing less on the show and more on what was going on around me. The plot needs to be as sexy and intriguing as the titular character. Both fell flat.

Let's Do This Again

Emily: Never. Besides the fact that I care about none of the characters, I can't handle a show where they talk you through all the exposition without letting you experience any of it. The accents make me cringe. And I never once felt a sexy danger from our leading man … which is all I want to be feeling. I'm actually a little offended. Dracula should be one of the best characters on TV, it's not acceptable that at best he's blah.

Mandy: I’m as big of a fan of vampires as the next paranormal-loving girl, and the original Dracula really is where it all began. I would have thought it hard to mess up a story that’s been done as many times as this one has, and to dull down a story that can be as cheesy as heck and still be entertaining, but this latest Dracula does little for me. I might give this show one more chance, but if it’s still as boring during the second episode, I’ll call it quits.

What did you think? Let us know in the comments!

Mandy Curtis's photo About the Author: Mandy is a small town girl living in a nerdy world, or—if you want to get literal—an editor/writer living in Austin, TX. In addition to yearning for YA books—the more dystopian or fantastical, the better—she can also be found swooning over superheroes, dreaming of The Doctor and grinning at GIFs.
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