Created by Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss (Sherlock, Doctor Who) this newest adaptation of Bram Stoker’s Dracula stars danish actor Claes Bang in the titular role.
Premise: In 1987 Transylvania, the blood-drinking Count draws his plans against Victorian London.
Review: The beginning of the show is intriguing, finding Mr. Harker in the state that he is in, having written the story the pilot is depicting, shrouds the episode and the show in mystery.
The subtlety of the pilot episode is one of the striking things about the show. From Dracula’s swift reaction to the mirror, he has no mirrors in his castle but what’s happening to him and Mr. Harker mirror each other or I should say counter balance each other? To the way his accent as well as his physical appearance changes. What he learns and how he learns it is subtle, you get it before you’re told. Same goes for the way vampires are killed, it is shown and very much implied without being explained.
Members of the cast are introduced in the same fashion, with subtlety, their importance or reason to be there is not always apparent from the get go. That does not exclude Count Dracula himself, who we first meet in a particular state. Mina Murray’s introduction was brilliantly done, the tone of her letter made her immediately lovable, and the Easter eggs were a nice touch. Sister Agatha is not what you’d expect but the mystery surrounding her makes for an even more interesting character. The same could be said for most of the main characters in each episode, they serve a purpose to a character or the story itself.
There is a timeless feel to the show that is reflected in the casting and the aesthetic of the show that is reminiscent of previous versions of the Bram Stoker’s Dracula adaptations. That remains true throughout the series.
Faith and sexuality permeates the show while not over-saturating it, like most things in the show it’s mostly subtle at first. Both of these elements are source of great comedy and commentary. The idea that a woman cannot be trusted alone with a man, they need to be chaperoned reflects the time period and is also mocked. Or the fact that the presence of the devil could restaure one’s faith is a great comedic moment but also a great commentary on the characters involved. Nudity and sexual attractions is shown or alluded freely throughout the show, there’s nothing shocking about it, it makes sense.
Dracula is mysterious, intriguing, gory but does not take itself as seriously as I thought it would. It is a funny show with so many quotable lines, amazing double entendras, a touch creepy, but as good as the show gets, the last part is quite a curve ball that can destabilize the viewer. It comes as a new beginning that is not particularly welcomed and might sour the experience for some.
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