on 12 November 2013
I was trepidatious about this, to say the very least. And the trailers didn't tell me squat of what to expect. So I watched.
And I found the story of Dracula teaming up with Van Helsing to take down the rich and powerful Order of the Dragon (who have caused them both so much heart ache in their personal lives) so refreshing!
Jonathan Rhys Meyers manages to portray the dark intensity of Dracula very well, without being completely cheesy. You can't help but feel for the centuries old vampire as he tries to do the right thing by the woman he so deeply loves, even if it hurts him. (Besides, I was always on Dracula's side in all the movies. Why can't the mortals just let him have his love?)
If you were looking for a carbon copy of the source material, this isn't for you.
But if you're willing to open your mind and take things with a pinch of salt and a side of cheese, then you will enjoy this show. I am loving every single second of it. It's officially my "must see" of the week.
on 22 February 2014
If you enjoy beautiful period dramas then this is for you. Everything about this is just glorious from the costumes, soundtrack, love story and the cinematograph (for which is has been nominated for an award). I have not read the original so cannot compare but stumbled on an episode on sky tv and it caught my attention. There are some shocking vampire scenes but they are not overdone and they are short in duration,each episode is so much more. I am not a fan of horror or gory scenes and I still enjoyed this, again the special effects are splendid. The main actors all sparkle and it is hard not to be captivated by Jonathan Rhys Meyers who is quite brilliant as Dracula. I've been an amazon customer a long time and this is the first time I have written a review. We'll worth the money and I've watched it twice over since it was delivered-addictive!
on 1 September 2015
'Dracula' is a bold and modern reinvention of Bram Stoker's classic gothic masterpiece, and although it may not boast the strongest scripts or the most interesting dialogue by today's standards, this is nonetheless a very vivid and watchable new take on a legend retold time and time again. 'Dracula: Season One' effectively reignites the spark of forbidden lust and desire that was at the heart of the original novel, but turns up the eroticism a few notches more. Yes, this is a very sexy show, and just as new Dracula Jonathan Rhys Meyers turned Henry VIII into a sex symbol in the outstanding series 'The Tudors', this time he's giving the Prince of Darkness himself the same treatment.
Vampires have always been metaphors for forbidden lust ever since Stoker first conceived the idea back in the 19th Century, and this has been prevalent during the recent vampire renaissance of the modern era. Vampires will always been inextricably linked to sex, and if you're looking for something that is steamy, dark, romantic and tasteful all at the same time, then 'Dracula' should fulfil your wish.
As you might expect, a few changes have been made to the original legend, and most of them work quite well, bar a few exceptions. In this version of the story, Dracula has travelled to London in the guise of wealthy and charismatic American Alexander Grayson, who has come to London to promote a new form of safe and renewable energy that will make Thomas Edison look like an amateur arts dealer. Yes, it's every bit as absurd as it sounds, but in reality Dracula's entire scheme is nothing more than a smokescreen to avoid being detected and to cover up his latest scheme. What better way to avoid detection and suspicion than hiding in plain sight? There's also an ironic poetry about a creature of the night endorsing new forms of light energy. Of course, Dracula's real plan is far more nefarious than merely being a poster boy for efficient energy sources, as he
plots to annihilate a mysterious cult known as 'The Order of the Dragon' from the shadows (an organisation based on a real historical order of the same name.) But after meeting Mina Murray, whom he is convinced is a reincarnation of his dead wife, Ilona, can Dracula's heart's desire lead him to uncover the humanity still left within him, or will it only complicate his plans further? Naturally, I'm not going to spoil anything, but Mina's presence certainly has a profound effective on the old Count.
As you might expect, Rhys Meyers is as intense and brooding as you'd expect his version of Dracula to be, and when he's actually playing Dracula he's definitely at his best. His performance does falter slightly as his Alexander Grayson persona due to his dodgy attempt at an American accent, but considering Dracula isn't American either, maybe this could be interpreted as adding authenticity to the performance. His relationship with his loyal servant, Renfield (Nonso Anozie) is definitely one of the most intriguing aspects of the whole affair, as Renfield's character is both complicated and fascinating to observe, despite his often one-note dialogue and characteristics.
Professor Van Helsing, who is almost as famous as Dracula himself these days, also plays an antagonistic role, but I felt very disappointed by this depiction of Van Helsing, as he lacked the presence and menace necessary to face-off against Rhys Meyer's formidable prowess. Jonathan Harker is also present, but frankly his character is far too dull and bares very little relevance to the plot beyond being a tool to keep Mina in Dracula's orbit. Oliver Jackson-Cohen's performance is also very poor, as he only ever seems capable of being mildly aloof or really pissed off, with no further spectrum to his emotional range.
Perhaps the biggest surprise was the relationship between Mina Murray and Lucy Westenra, and while I won't spoil any secrets, the show certainly takes their friendship into unpredictable territory, and it was always with great expectation I waited to see how it would unfold. Jessica De Gouw does a very commendable job as Mina, but really it's Katie McGrath (also Morgana in 'Merlin') who really steals the show, giving an outstanding performance as Lucy throughout the 10 episode run.
While the visuals are a delicious contrast of gas lamps, shadows and dark alleyways, at the end of the day it's the unremarkable writing that really let's this show down. Under the right guidance, and with more experienced writers, 'Dracula' could have been a masterpiece, but the plotting feels far too slow and strangely unsure of itself, and the dialogue is plain and completely charisma-free, and it was always awkward watching Rhys Meyers struggling with material that is clearly below his belt.
On the whole, there is still a lot to recommend here for both fans of Dracula and gothic horror in general, but beware a general feeling of unfulfilled potential that seems to linger throughout this series. It's a shame NBC never renewed this for a second season, but I'd still advice people to watch this gripping on-off, assuming it's to your tastes.
on 30 November 2013
While this version of 'Dracula' strays far from your standard take on Bram Stoker's classic novel, that is the very thing that makes it so refreshing. Normally, I would consider such drastic deviations from the original work to be detrimental, off-putting, even. Still, I cannot count that as a fault in this instance, as the writers work the changes into something that revitalizes an old story while preserving the bare bones of its plot and maintaining some semblance of recognizability. There are little nods to scenes in the book, and certainly an outstanding job was done with the dark, gothic atmosphere. Some elements are anachronistic, although this seems to have been done purposely, and to negligible effect - I enjoyed a few of these modernistic facets, while not being so thrilled about others. The male costumes are quite good, but the female leads mostly sport ensembles that are an odd amalgamation of neo-Victorian and 1940s fashion. I could have done without that, though it's probably one of my worst complaints.
The original lineup of characters have also undergone some interesting changes. Jonathan Harker starts out as a journalist for The Inquisitor, then becomes an attache of sorts to Dracula, who presents himself to polite society as an American named Alexander Greyson. He has been revived by none other than Van Helsing, who appears to be an ally of of his in this version, while Renfield has been promoted to the role of loyal valet. Shockingly enough, Jonathan Rhys Meyers pulls off the American aspect so flawlessly, with such subtlety to his performance, it becomes an asset in this series, giving Dracula a deportment of arrogance that works perfectly here. Mina Murray is a rising medical student, and Lucy... well, she is still pretty much the same.
I did think the pilot started off weakly, but as the series progresses, it seems to be gaining more depth and improves greatly with each new episode. The writing is in a league of its own compared to practically everything else on television, and despite the slightly modern adjustments we are occasionally subjected to (for the purpose of adding in minor steampunk elements, I suspect) there is something indefinable here that conveyed the neo-Victorian goth mood so strongly. I was definitely not expecting to see this much attention to detail from a tv series, and discovering it was a very pleasant surprise.
Jonathan Rhys Myers brings a refreshing twist to the legend of the sanguinary count that breathes a bit of new life into a somewhat tiring tale which has literally otherwise been done to death! This isn't an adaptation but a variant in which Dracula, assisted by an unusual ally, is set on destroying the ancient but evil Hungarian chivalric Order of the Dragon of which he and his father were once members!
Nowadays (well, 'thenadays') the order is clothed in the costume of Nineteenth Century Victorian industrial enterprise in the form of a corporate competitor standing in the way of Dracula's inventive scientific and technological progress and the action, as well as being of the traditional kind, is played out in boardrooms and the inner sanctum of the very freemason-like evil order. Purists will probably scoff and gnash their teeth but it looks sumptuous, the sets are superb with acting to match. Its fun, appropriately erotic, and it's set in a kind of fairytale Gothic steampunk version of Victorian London!
Victorian England abounds with corrupt powerful figures. Unable to take them out on his own, Van Helsing revives old enemy Dracula. Together they will make a formidable team. Dracula is only too keen to oblige, especially as targets include descendants of former foes. Masquerading as rich American Alexander Gray, he sets to work....
Bought after enthusiastic reviews, the series sadly disappoints from the start. Again here is proof of the need to build on firm foundations. Van Helsing, of all people, to revive Dracula? The whole concept is ridiculous. There follows a show full of contrivances - much gloss, little substance.
Ben Miles impresses as ruthless Head of "The Order of the Dragon". Making particular impact is Nonso Anozie as Dracula's trusted aide R.M. Renfield. Jonathan Rhys Meyers wasted here? Opinions may be divided, but fans no doubt thrilled he is often without a shirt.
The series looks good. Scripts and acting are uneven. Too often music intrudes, there relief when it stops. Modest extras, all those concerned pleased with what they achieved.
For gory escapism, the show just about gets by. Some may find claims of greater worth exaggerated.
on 26 December 2013
This is by far the best of Dracula I've every seen and yes I have seen the other films. JRM is a fantastic Dracula the best there is, imo anyway. I loved his work on the The Tudors and really found him entertaining in this. I was a little shocked at first the hear him talking in an American accent, just like Alucard/Dracula from Hellsing (anime). But that's only when he's playing Grayson. He's now teamed up with Van Helsing too, both of which were wronged by the same people. The only thing that bugs me is the fact Dracula cannot go outside in the day light, but I was told that was something to do with his reawakening. All in all its is very good, I really can't wait to own this on Blu-Ray. Will also be hoping for more and no more about this getting cancelled either. I will be very upset if there is no more of this.