Late last year, NBC (and Sky Living in the UK) began airing a new adaptation of Bram Stoker’s vampire classic, Dracula. Now, with the release of the DVD box set, it’s the perfect time to catch up with a series which is sexy, silly, and beautifully shot, but not particularly revolutionary.
Jonathan Rhys Meyers stars as the titular Count, operating in Victorian London under the alias of American entrepreneur Alexander Grayson. While Meyers ably performs the accent, one wonders why he didn’t play a Brit, as in The Tudors, where his accent is much more alluring. That said, Meyers is engaging in the role, although by sticking to the source material, he doesn’t get to explore any new sides to the character. Enjoyable also are Jessica de Gouw and Katie McGrath as Mina and Lucy respectively, especially McGrath’s portrayal of the flirtatious Lucy. The biggest disappointment in characterisation is the erasure of Renfield’s insanity, always one of the most fascinating aspects of the book.
Dracula is not afraid to have fun. From kickboxing-lady-vampire-hunters, rooftop battles and Jonathan Rhys Meyers’ moustache, there’s a lot of potential for full on campy joy. Dracula’s greatest weakness in this first season is playing all these scenes so straight, instead of mining them for dark humour. Still, season one lays the foundations for what could be a great show. But to stand out from the crowd (particularly with Sleepy Hollow holding onto Dracula’s desired fanbase), Dracula needs to go one of two ways if it gets a season two: either improve the writing for the show to work as a drama, or embrace its silliness. Either way, all that is needed to make this decent show great is some originality.
The special features of the box set were not made available in the screeners I’m With Geek received, but the box set contains deleted scenes, and a behind the scenes featurette.