Moderation is a fatal thing. Nothing succeeds like excess.
It looks like for once, Mr. Wilde was wrong. NBC’s Dracula starring Jonathan Rhys Myers certainly had its share of excess – excess cleavage, excess slo-mo action sequences, excess fake accents – but not even all that excess could save it. Dracula has not been picked up for a second season. So Heather, what are we live-blogging this fall? Sleepy Hollow?
As an early heads up, Katherine and I are planning on another fun Friday of late-night Dracula liveblogging! More Boobarella! More Tesla name drops! More random ladies mud wrestling! Same Bat Time; same Bat Channel!
UPDATE: HAHA just kidding. Apparently, the 50th Anniversary of the assassination of President Kennedy is a little more important than Drac. Katherine and I will save the next episode for post-Turkey Day shenanigans!
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.
So, it’s been a couple of weeks since our last Dracula liveblog and some stuff has happened since then. Ummmm…..since we last saw him, Drac went to go get a mani-pedi, because centuries of grave dust can destroy your cuticles…
and Boobarella had to get breast reduction surgery due to back problems.
K: Thank goodness for the “previously.” I’m sure they can tell me everything important that happened in 1 minute.
H: Booberella seems pretty bad at her job. Also, that is a seriously swank house.
K: At least the action sequence was normal speed.
K: Hmm, guess I was wrong about the breast reduction.
H: THE HUNTER WAS A WOMAN. OF ALL THINGS! Oh the huge manatee!
H: Also, Dracula got one extra guy to help him with…what exactly? What’s his master plan?
K: Financially ruining this Order of the Dragon? It seems kind of lame for Dracula.
H: He doesn’t like how they’ve diversified their profiles.
K: He’s probably going to sell them a bunch of sub-prime mortgages.
H: Oh snap! Is he the one responsible for the mortgage crisis and collapse of 2008?? CONSPIRACY!!
H: I still think his American accent is highly suspect.
K: I think it’s ok. So Drac and Harker are buddies now? Interesting.
H: It goes between good and extremely nasal. He’s still got a great look and I really love that opening credit sequence.
K: You were right last time- he does have a Tony Stark vibe.
K: Crap, now we have to change the “X days without an accident” sign!
H: OSHA VIOLATION!!!
H: Also, I have to admit I LOVED that shot of him holding her. Gave me a chill.
K: Yeah…this show has really good elements and overall a good concept I think.
H: I definitely think it has potential. It’s kind of a shame that the ratings are in the stinker at the moment…
H: I think one of the problems is that it doesn’t seem to have progressed from the pilot. Dracula Stark is still playing with Tesla wireless and he has some plan to bring down the Fat Cats? Maybe?
K: They seem to be working to develop his relationship with Mina a bit, which is good. But yeah…I’m not sure we missed anything over the past couple of weeks.
H: Which is a huge problem when you’re starting a new series. What’s his deal with Boobarella? He playing with her? I mean, seriously, just kill her already if you think she’s a threat.
K: I think he was planning to meet her and charm her but changed his mind because of his feelings for Mina?
H: I think they should do more with Harker as his friend. That could be a fascinating dynamic to play on.
H: Also, do NOT get me started on how much I hate the idea of Carrie Underwood as Maria von Trapp.
K: I KNOW! Please don’t destroy one of my favorite things, NBC.
H: Wait, you’re an ages-old vampire and you’re talking smack about WITCHCRAFT??
K: Hmm…how to make Dracula’s heart function again? <clip to Mina> METAPHOR! sort of.
H: The attempt at some kind of dodgy vampire-science intrigues me. How do you make a corpse live?
H: And we have our exact date: 1896.
K: And I LOVE Lucy’s orange outfit.
H: Great clothes. And did we just get an unrequited lesbian love vibe from Lucy??
K: YES! Was just going to say that.
H: Aaaaand random Victorian Women’s MMA? In mud?
K: (sigh) I think Boobarella is just here to get sex scenes out there early in the series.
H: Yeah, are we getting a pretty obvious/boring vamp whore vs. pure virgin dichotomy with the ladies here. Boobarella likes SEX, VIOLENCE, SEX DURING VIOLENCE. ROCK AND ROLLLLLLLLLLLL. Mina, on the other hand, likes pretty frocks and SCIENCE.
H: Hey, look! People are actually *dying*. Surprisingly rare for a show called DRACULA.
K: I can’t unsee Edith’s schmucky old guy with this actor.
H: Nor can I. And what just happened? Are these dudes supernatural too?
K: Would be kind of cool if that were Irene Adler.
H: The time period is definitely right. Renfield is still a cool dude. I wouldn’t mind seeing his character develop beyond one season, to see if it delves into madness. Could be a GREAT arc.
K: Yeah, I agree. He’s so level-headed here. What makes him go crazy?
H: Bugs? Torn draperies? Having to deal with Drac’s stupid friends coming over all the time?
H: And what is this ridiculous scene. “Terminate” this relationship? Is she firing his sexual services?
K: Wait…did Drac’s plan with Boobs not work? So he’s giving up and just letting Klaus or whoever take her out?
K: And who is Harker investigating? Edith’s old man?
H: Yeah, I mean, that was such a poorly written scene. Something about emotions and power and something else stupid. I could write a better breakup scene than that.
H: I think he is? But maybe it’s this woman?
K OH! I get it now. This is how Drac earns her trust! Wow, he sacrificed his “brother” for this?
H: Yeah, that’s pretty good. But yeah, I mean. How long is she going to be swayed by that? And what’s with her special sword? Is she the Bride now from Kill Bill?
H: Gratuitous tub scene!!
K: I wonder if Drac is going to turn on Renfield at some point. Ren should be sweating.
K: HA! He just did one for his homies.
H: HA! Yes, I was just about to say, Pour one out for my homie.
H: Also, that “knight” bit was a bit overdone. That dude didn’t show that he was any better than a pawn.
K: That was a good tease for next week, though.
H: Yeah, it looks like you might get your wish about Renfield being driven to madness. Also, more Mina/Drac development.
Alright, that’s it for tonight, folks. Did you watch Dracula tonight? What were your thoughts? Now that Katherine is back from vacation, we’re hoping to do this more regularly. See you next week!
H: Nope, THERE’s Van Helsing. So, who is the blonde chick and the dude that looks like Christoph Waltz?
K: Mmm…I love professors with German accents. I think they are the “Order of the Dragon,” right?
H: Yeah, guess so. Still think she’s somewhat supernatural. Also LOVE the steam that came off of Drac’s hand when he had it in the light. Fantastic bit there.
H: I also get the sense that he’s trying to be a bit Tony Stark in his nonchalance.
K: We haven’t seen a single bat yet.
K: How realistic is Mina as med student in 18-whatever?
H: Also, let’s do the math on the time period. Ripper killers stopped 7 years past, so we’re in what year?
K: Yeah, that’s a question for you.
H: 1895 it seems. Might Sherlock Holmes show up as well????
K: I’m nick-naming the blonde Boobarella.
H: I’ll go with that. I also waver between being a fan of his accent and thinking that it’s awfully nasal at times.
K: Yeah, I’m not sure how I feel about it either.
H: Also, was he fingerblasting her at the opera?! I’m so confused as to their relationship. Do they know of each other? Not know?
K: Not clear to me, either. She looked a little frightened by him for a minute there. Does she not yet know that he is the vampire she was talking to Christoph Waltz about?
H: This plot might be clearer without Boobarella. Also, we need more backstory on the Order of the Dragon. It’s familiar to me, but not fresh in my mind.
K: I’m kind of over slow-mo action moves.
H: I was just about to say, I was cracking up a bit at the action scenes jumping the shark there. What is this, The Matrix, 1895? Also, the scene with Boobarella mimicked Elecktra’s training scene in DD a little bit too much for my taste. It just lacks the Evanescence soundtrack.
K: Twist! Van Helsing and Draco are working together!!
H: Secret Motivations!!! (I admit guiltily that I like this teamup.)
K: I agree about Rhys Meyers wooden-ness. And that’s not a sexy pun. I don’t think Dracula seems particularly “charismatic.”
H: He has moments of magnetism with Mina (holla alliteration) but in other moments, it’s very transparent that the people around him are out-acting him (see: Harker, van Helsing, Christoph Waltz).
H: Huh, that was it? Went by fairly quickly! The preview moments for the upcoming season look simultaneously ridiculous and good. I suspect that most of the great moments with Drac will be between him and Renfield and him and Mina. I also want to see how they show van Helsing doing his reverse face-heel turn and teaming up with his mortal enemy.
K: Yeah, the season preview is enticing. I think it’s worth another couple of weeks. There’s always gotta be the “exposition” episode.
H: Agreed. What I’m really interested in is this mentor/student relationship between VH and Drac. Is it going to be like, Pinky and the Brain? Are they more equals? One the brains one the brawn? How will that pan out? Will we get to see him be able to be more human thanks to SCIENCE!!!?
Alright, folks. We’re signing off! Thanks for sticking with us! If you watched, what grade do you give the Dracula Pilot?
Ok, Folks: Katherine and I are going to attempt to liveblog the Dracula premiere tonight at 10pm on NBC. Watch this space for our immediate (or as immediate as we can make it!) thoughts, impressions, reactions, etc. We’ll likely create the post and update it as we go, so keep refreshing!
It holds three bottles of their perfume (sold separately) and is utterly charming. I mean, come on: it’s Poe, Lovecraft, and Gaiman! They also sell perfumes based on all three of their works (I have several of the Poes, limited editions long since discontinued but you can buy Lovecraftian and Gaimanian perfumes here and here respectively and can buy perfume based on Gris Grimly’s illustrations of Poe’s stories here), which would look stunning displayed in front of their graves. Speaking of literary perfumes, here are two inspired by Mary Shelley and Bram Stoker! (I do warn you: the site is an incredible time and money-suck, both for the perfumes and their incredible art and descriptions. I’ll talk about my BPAL obsession and collection in another post.)
Happy Dracula Friday, lovelies! We’ll see you on the blog tonight!
Ok, folks. Lots of crazy stuff is happening in the “19th Century Literature Makes for Good/Popular TV” world. First off, we have my absolute favorite new TV series, Sleepy Hollow (Mondays at 9pm on Fox). I’ll dedicate an entire post to my new obsession here, but suffice to say, it started out as a hate-watch because I was curious and turned into a true love match. It’s a perfect blend of humor, camp, procedural, horror, mythology/demonology, history, and buddy cop story. Even better, it has a hugely diverse cast and a super strong WOC as the lead. Also, Orlando Jones. For all the reasons (including that he’s a huge supporter of the fandom, even down to providing fic suggestions and reblogging fanworks).
Meet Ichabod Crane and Lieutenant Abbie Mills. They’re here to save the world.
Also, period clothing. I mean, come on, we can all get down with that, right? Some of you might recognize Tom Mison as the ridiculous Potty Perowne from Parade’s End. You can seriously forget all about that foppish git and get down with the rest of us Craniacs (yes, that’s what we’re called; the rest of the fandom are called SleepyHeads) with his version of Ichabod Crane. I’ll save the rest of my gushing for another post since we also have to deal with this:
In addition to this modern retelling of Irving’s “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”, we have YET ANOTHER Dracula to preview, this one on NBC starting this Friday. Jonathan Rhys Meyers is the titular Count and it certainly looks promising.
Thoughts? After the glitterbomb of Twilight the past few years, I’m desperately hoping for a return to old-school vampire lore to cleanse the pop cultural palate. Here’s hoping this new Dracula doesn’t….suck? (Ahem.)
Aaaanyway, how do you all feel about these new imaginings, dear Readers? Hit the polls and the comments!
Haven’t had enough of vampires yet? Well, NBC is ready to quench that blood-lust! This fall they are premiering a series called “Dracula.” That’s right, it’s a whole primetime series (judging from the trailer, very loosely) based on the great Victorian horror novel by Bram Stoker, and it stars Jonathan Rhys Meyers as the titular vampire. I am skeptical of turning a complete story with a definite ending into a potentially interminable series, but I love the costumes and scenery in this trailer. Another redeeming quality is that it is actually set in Victorian London and not somewhere silly like, oh, modern day NYC (looking at you, Elementary). What do you all think? I’ll at least watch the first episode.