Heather/Point: Dracula has a great deal of potential but suffers from a lack of proper pacing and unnecessary/oversexed distractions.
So, we’ve had a couple of weeks to experience NBC’s Dracula, give or take a few episodes. We’ve encountered familiar faces, some familiar plot threads, and experienced a few standard vampire tropes. Obviously, as this is a modern retelling, we’re going to have some divergence; how are we enjoying what we’ve seen? Some spoilers ahead!
Pros: There’s no denying that Rhys Meyers has a powerful presence. His physicality and look are perfect for a modern Dracula. Katherine and I go back and forth on his accent, but mostly it works and he comes off as less of a lord interested in new digs and more of a Victorian Tony Stark, with his entrepreneurial interest in electricity/wireless technology. Mina is also fairly interesting, being a medical student (I still have to do research to see if women could have been medical assistants or students back then) and having more independent sensibilities. The actor who plays Harker is very convincing, Renfield is a powerful (and currently sane) presence, and the relationship between Van Helsing and Dracula is a fascinating twist that I’m not sure has been attempted before. I also really loved the twist they put in with Lucy in the last episode (i.e., hinting that she harbors unrequited feelings for her BFF). More often than not, Lucy is painted as some kind of glorious whore, made for the adoration of all the lovers and warriors around her. I feel happier about this development for her character in a feminist sense. I do enjoy the interactions between all these characters and see great potential for the future.
Cons: Katherine went on vacation for a couple of weeks and we missed a few episodes because frankly, I wasn’t going to do them without her. Be that as it may, we picked back up on the fourth episode….and hardly anything had changed. Now, I’m all about a character-driven series; I’m personally content with a show that spends time focusing on personalities and individual growth and not forcing major plot events every episode. That being said, a brand-new series needs to show progress, should drive the show forward to get us wondering about character motivation, and excite us for events to come. I have concerns when I can pick up the show so easily after missing several episodes, with nothing gained from missing them: let’s call it the “So What” factor. So, we found out that Dracula is working against some powerful, Fat Cat Order who controls and has infiltrated most of society. How is he going to do that? Manipulating tech and stock markets? Through inventions? Sexing up the powerful old crones? I still haven’t figured that out and I think that might be a problem. Make your ideas and major plot more clear, NBC; otherwise, how are we supposed to invest our time? There’s also a buxom blonde who appears to be a Buffy analog who has some investment in both Dracula and this order? Really, she just seems like gratuitous T&A, which is why we’ve dubbed her Boobarella.
Some of the best moments are when they get back to the main narrative; Dracula’s existence and his relationship (past and present) with Mina or with the other important original characters. There was a moment in last week’s episode where Dracula shields Mina from an explosion; they focused on him holding her in his arms, eyes closed, as a traditional Hollywood explosion burst all around them. It was absolutely breathtaking. More of that, please, and less of Boobarella and the random Victorian Mud Wrestling that you featured as a backdrop to a random sex scene.
Katherine/Counterpoint: Boobarella is a deep, well-developed character who is essential to the show’s plot-line.
Heather, I must strongly disagree. How could you be so short-sighted as to disparage Boobarella? She plays a pivotal role in this series, as I will explain in the next several sentences. First, without Boobarella, there would be no crazy, violent vampire sex, and a vampire story without crazy, violent vampire sex is…that’s right, it’s TWILIGHT.
Second, Boobarella has many well-developed character traits: 1. She’s blonde. 2. She has big, push-uppy boobs. 3. She kills vampires in slow-mo action sequences. As a matter of fact, I can’t wait to see what the writers have in store for her in the rest of the season. What will her boobs look like NEXT week? It keeps me up at night in anticipation!
Hmm…what else? Ok, third, she’s clearly a feminist character counter-balancing the show’s otherwise patriarchal hegemony. She does all kinds of empowered things like, 1. She clearly states in Episode 2 that her breast augmentation surgery was for her, not for any man. 2. She chooses to let Dracula grope her nether-regions at the opera, 3. She allows herself to be totally turned on by the Victorian women’s mud-wrestling match. In conclusion, Boobarella is not just gratuitous T&A as you argue, Heather! She’s only T.
And there you have it, folks: Dracula has tons of potential, some mildly inconsistent plots, magnetic characters, and a LOT of T.