Sunday, March 30, 2014

NBC's Dracula Review

When this show first came out, I wasn't exactly sure how I felt about it. 10 episodes later and a few weeks to sit and think about it, I think can finally offer an opinion on this new series.

For myself, there was a bit of anticipation going into the premier for NBC's Dracula. The story of Dracula itself is something that fits into the realm of the Victorian gothic and is one of the more well-known pieces of classic literature, originally written by Bram Stoker. The fact that Jonathon Rhys Meyers (King Henry VIII from The Tudors) was cast in the lead drew me in even more.

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When I finally got around to watching the first episode though, I was more than a little disappointed. To start, the story does not follow its literary counterpart (although I have not read the book, I'm still familiar with the plot), and many of the characters have been expanded upon to the point that they're almost unrecognizable in some cases. One example, Van Helsing is now working with Dracula.

Now if I had gone off this single episode, I would have left an overall scathing review of this series. Instead, I opted to keep going and keep watching - and I'm glad I did. Several other plot points were introduced, including Mina Murray (Jessica De Gouw) studying to be a medical student and the mysterious Order of the Dragon. There are still remnants of the original piece of literature, but the changes have definitely made things more intriguing. As of the final episode for this season, I'm now looking forward to a second season to see how things turn out.

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Two things I must nit pick at though. The one thing I can't get over is Dracula's impersonation of an American industrialist. Believable from the story standpoint, but not with Rhys Meyers in the role. As a British actor, I'm used to seeing him in British roles with a British accent. When a very distinctly American accent issues forth from him though, it's very offsetting. In some cases, it doesn't even sound like Rhys Meyers and I'm almost wondering if they had another actor dub these sections of the series (have yet to find any proof).

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The largest bone I have to pick though is with the costume designer of the series. Dracula takes place during the 1890s of the Victorian era, but I have yet to see a dress from this decade on any of the main characters. A lot of modern-looking bustier type dresses, a few wannabe 1910s outfits, some weird Edwardian/pin-up mashups, but that's about it. Usually the extras are dressed more period accurate.

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I know that things can be subject to interpretation, but this has gone far beyond that point. After a while I was just watching the costumes to see what kind of ludicrous outfit they came up with next.

It's very hard to go into too much detail about the series simply because there is so much. A good summary of it is that although it departs from the original story, the changes help to make the story more interesting. The new elements add a different dimension and a new level to the relationships amongst all the characters. Still can't get over Rhys Meyers changing accent and the costumes, but the story is what ultimately pulls me along to keep watching.

Overall rating - 4 out of 5
Costumes - 1.5 out of 5

Update 5/28/14 - Unfortunately it was recently announced the show was canceled after only one season. Bummer!

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