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Saturday, October 26, 2013

PILOT REVIEW: Dracula

DRACULA











Starring: Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Jessica De Gouw, Thomas Kretschmann, Victoria Smurfit, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Nonso Anozie, Katie McGrath

Created by Cole Haddon
Written by Cole Haddon, Directed by Steve Shill

Dracula is a new NBC drama with a fresh take on the Dracula story. In this imagining, Dracula (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) lives in Victorian London in the late 1800s posing as American Alexander Grayson, a wealthy businessman promoting new scientific innovations. In reality, Dracula is seeking revenge on those who have wronged him but he may be sidetracked when he meets a woman, Mina Murray (Jessica De Gouw), who reminds him of his dead wife. Rounding out the main cast is Grayson's butler and confidante Renfield (Nonso Anozie), Mina's fiance, reporter Jonathan Harker (Oliver Jackson-Cohen), a woman entranced by Grayson, Lady Jayne Wetherby (Victoria Smurfit), and the man who revived Dracula from the grave, Abraham Van Helsing (Thomas Kretschmann).

THE GOOD: The thing I liked most about Dracula was the unique setting. It's not every day you see 1800s Victorian England as a setting for a network drama. It was lavish and interesting to watch. I'm not one to nitpick details but it seemed like they did a nice job with committing to the era and style. Jonathan Rhys Meyers is a standout in the lead role. He is mysterious and dark and that works perfectly for the image he is trying to create. He delivers a subtle approach to Grayson and a nearly manic approach to his altar ego and strikes the balance quite well. The supporting cast seems solid too but so far, it seems like it's all about Meyers in the lead role.

THE BAD: There were times where the pilot was slow moving which seems to be a common pratfall of period dramas. I'm all for taking time with stories but there were a few times where it felt like there was no reason that nothing was happening. The show did a good job of its style but then it seemed to switch it up with the fight scene on the top of the roof. All of the sudden, they had a slow motion moment and obviously choreographed fighting. That seemed to clash with the vision and mood of the show up to that point and I hope they stay away from those types of moments in the future.

BOTTOM LINE: I'm not a vampire or Dracula fan so I don't really have any way to compare this with other shows in this family. That being said, I was intrigued enough by the setting and premise to come back for another week. I'm not sure if it will eventually veer into the "too creepy" or "too boring" territory because I could see it heading down either of those paths, but I enjoyed the pilot and specifically Meyers. It's a good dark companion to Grimm on Friday nights.

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