Review of "Dracula" on NBC From The TV MegaSite
 

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"Dracula" review by Sundi 10/30/13
Fridays at 10pm on NBC

God knows I love a supernatural drama, and an English accent, and scandalous sex scenes, and NBCís Dracula has all those things. But there is something about the sum of the parts that is causing the sudsy vampire soap to miss its mark by just a smidge. Even though I really wanted it to work, and I am going to continue to watch it until Iím  convinced it wonít correct itself, something is not gelling in this show and I canít exactly put my finger on it. Perhaps it is Jonathon Rhys Meyersí intermittent American accent that sounds like heís parodying how white people talk; or maybe itís his creaky transition between smarmy, lothario and ruthless predator; or possibly itís the oversell of the Dracula-as-Gatsby gimmick, but the pilot episode left a bit to be desired, which is particularly disappointing since this show is predicated mainly upon the premise of desire and its perilous consequences.

Dracula, in this case, is Alexander Grayson who is posing as an American business man/inventor living in 1886 London.  Having been awakened from years of undead slumber, he is trying to reintegrate into English society in order to exact revenge on a secret society, The Order of the Dragon, which is responsible for burning his wife at the stake during the Crusade, but is currently monopolizing the worldís wealth Ė a 19th century version of the one percent. He hosts a party to unveil his new invention, magnetic illumination, which is meant to upend the Order and infiltrate their corporate brotherhood. It is here where h sees Mina Murray, played by Jessica De Gouw, whom he immediately recognizes as his wifeís exact look like. Mina is an aspiring doctor (under the tutelage of famed vampire-hunter Van Helsing), the love interest of a young reporter, Jonathan Harker, played by Oliver Jackson-Cohen, and Graysonís latest obsession.  This party also serves to introduce us to the main characters in the show, including Lady Jayne Wetherby, who, we later learn, is a vampire-hunter-slash-over-sexed-socialite.

While this scene, and most of the others involving Meyers, play into the Gatsby stunt,  the costuming and staging of the show is gorgeous. It is beautifully shot, and has a lot of interesting visual texture, and that almost made it interesting enough to overcome the slow pacing and some of the more extraneous subplots. Also, I find the mythology very clever. Calling on the more traditional vampire lore, the added elements of the Order of the Dragon and his alliance with fabled Van Helsing, played by Thomas Kretschmann, intrigue me, and I have decided to give this show a chance. Besides, Meyers is more interesting playing a caricature of an American vampire than some folks are playing it strait. I think the pilot may have been an a little rickety, but Iím no quitter and I see some potential here, not the least of which is the Arthur-esque Renfield character played by Nonso Anonzie.


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