Written by Laura Dengrove
Dracula’s debut was welcomed with a big bite and no suck. The show was marked with buzz at the small screen return of Jonathan Rhys Meyers. His past performances in period dramas have always been welcomed with critical praise, and this show is no different.
The premise of NBC’s Dracula is shown differently than in other movie productions of the famous novel. We are introduced to Alexander Grayson, aka Dracula, in late ninetieth century London. We first see robbers breaking into his tomb and awakening him from his deep slumber. The show then leads us to how his vengeance for those who had turned him into a monster drives him.
After this, we are quickly introduced to the main cast in a convenient ballroom scene. The show was striving for dramatic tension, but it landed on a cheesier note than intended. The relative unknowns, that play the supporting cast, hold their own against Meyers. In particular, the performances of Jessica De Gouw and Oliver Jackson-Cohen who play Mina and Jonathan Harker respectively. They both bring a refreshing take on the characters and play well with Meyers. The chemistry between Meyers and Gouw is also a nice touch to the beginning show.
The show is emphasizing more on Dracula’s role with science and revenge on those who made him immortal decades prior. The science aspect is less appealing than imagined, but the vengeance plot line has some potential. The love story between Dracula (Meyers) and Mina (De Gouw) is also more center stage than in previous works, in exception to the 1992 film of the same name. The chemistry is plausible, but when it comes to creativity it feels like it has been done before and has been done better. Though the story does lack originality, it is still a fun show to watch.
Every role he is in, Meyers appears to steal the show with his brilliant presence and commanding voice as he conveys true emotion to all the characters he embraces. He presents effortless skill that makes any show lucky enough to have him, want to keep him. He brings a deeper, darker layer to the Count in this adaption, and it does not disappoint. He roams the screen with ease as the famous Count Dracula. Even his smallest facial expressions and movements make his performance even better. His different accents, one as Alex and the other as the Count, make the role impressive. It adds more depth to the character and shows just how easy he can adapt to the changing society around him. It also shows off how easy Meyers can sound like an American and still pull of his devilish charms.
Some scenes in the show, however, call for improvement. Some of the camera work needs to be changed. In one of the fight scenes in particular, they used slow motion to capture all movements but it looked cheesy and overdone. Some of the CGI was not used to full potential either, providing more of an eye sore than anything.
The writing needs to expand on further explanation for the characters, and not focus so much on the science aspect of the show. It is obvious the writers thought this would be an original expansion on the story, but it does nothing more than provide a distraction from the main vengeance storyline.
With small changes to the slight imperfections, the show could be great. Meyer’s performance in the show already makes it good on its own, but without him the show would be lost. Only time will tell where the show will go from here, but it does have a great bite and great promise.