We have ridden the wave of Vampire stories from top to bottom (looking at you, Twilight) and back again. We’ve also seen some really great modern interpretations, like True Blood. But NBC may have stumbled onto something great with their version of Dracula.
The show’s theme of industrial intrigue is re-invigorated by turning SciFi’s fetish-level obsession with Nikola Tesla into something far more polished than its predecessors. Of course, throwing in a mystical secret society and a century-old vendetta only strengthens what amounts to a richly textured setting.
More than all of its component parts, the casting of Jonathon Rhys Meyers as Dracula was brilliant. It is clear early on that Myers was meant for the role of the infamous Dracula. His talents were made evident in Showtime’s exceptional Tudors series, but I suspect it is with Dracula that Meyers will garner even higher praise. From his amusing American accent, to his talent for staring right through someone’s soul, it is going to be great fun watching him make the character his own.
Dracula has much more to offer than just superb acting across the board, it has taken classic vampire lore and made it attractive again. While modern vampire stories do have their merits, vampires are so ubiquitously Gothic that it’s a shame the genre had to move into the contemporary setting to stay relevant. Here I think we have a traditional vampire setting that has been made to feel brand new.
Even while playing the role of visionary industrialist, Dracula is still a vampire at heart, a predator driven by his appetites. He skulks from shadow to shadow, and perches on rooftops while hunting his prey. Transforming an old-world Gothic figure into a debonair industrialist breaths live into a tired stereotype. But his classic traits remain and blend well with the changes. Here is a Dracula more threatening than he’s ever been, moving out into the world rather than taking refuge in his lonely dark castle.
The playing around with traditional characters from vampire lore, while introducing new and intriguing characters unique to this show, comes together to build a fantasy world that feels like it has always existed, but that you’re seeing a brand new part of it for the first time!