Sunday, October 27, 2013
Jonathan Rhys Meyers as Dracula
I long ago gave up on network television. Reality shows with their convoluted reality, and overdone sitcom plots, were competing with formula dramas. I had never been much of a TV watcher anyway. If I wanted a drama I would turn to the cable channels and sink into True Blood or Breaking Bad. But rumblings of the new Dracula caught my eye. It has Jonathan Rhys Meyers. I loved him in the Tudors, how bad could it be. I had high hopes.
Well... I wasn't disappointed.
NBC gave us, in my humble opinion, a great hour of television that I wasn't expecting. The plot was sophisticated and not dumbed down. It promises twists and turns, and a lot of heat. I was happy to see they didn't shy away from the sexual aspect of vampire's. All to easy to do with network TV. There was just the right amount of gore. And the setting of Victorian England and it's wealth and pretention was very spot on. (And the little details like Tesla's coil free energy added to the plot sophistication.)
Stroker's original characters were there. If a bit re structured. Dracula himself was disguised as American industrialist Alexander Grayson. Skillfully and eerily played my Meyers. Dr. Van Helsing is there. And in a great plot twist, seems to be working with Dracula to achieve their shared vendetta. Jonathan Harker is there as a news reporter instead of a lawyer, but he seems to have the same role. Mina Murry, the symbol of Dracula's dear departed wife, is there. She is a medical student instead of a school teacher and is close with Van Helsing. A great addition if you see where the plot is headed. Even witless Lucy Westena is there, can't wait to see her fate.
This restructuring allows for the plot twists of the Order of The Dragon, and the vendetta against the money hungry inhabitants of upper class London. And the pairing up of Dracula and Van Helsing? It fells like it's setting up the stage for Dracula to be the classic anti hero. I found myself rooting for him, falling for him, and having to remind myself we should be weary of his game. Whether that is by Meyer's portrayal, or the writing, I will have to see.
I know there will be some people who are against the restructuring of Stroker's characters and theme. It's a more sexual feel of Victorian London, not the shying away of it that fueled the original novel. The original novel left us terrified of Dracula. It was a lesson against depravity and pleasure. Here they are showcased.
But I like it. I find myself looking forward to it next week. How many film adaptations have strayed from Stroker's theme? Dracula has been done many ways and times. Some will argue the popularity of the vampire in recent years fueled this latest venture. Maybe. But to me, the lure of the vampire and the dark sexuality it promises is timeless.
I'll keep watching until it disappoints me. And I'm hoping real hard it doesn't. With Meyers being an executive producer, and the quality that came from him in the Tudors, I'm thinking we might have a winner. Thank you NBC. Please don't disappoint me.