See It or Free It: 'Dracula'

NBC’s daring re-telling of pop culture’s most enduring vampire legend, Bram Stoker's Dracula, is a huge gamble. The show takes place in historical England and tackling period pieces can be tricky, especially when done on network TV. As the CW has learned with “Reign”, the cable success of “The Tudors” and “Game of Thrones” cannot be duplicated by simply having actors don period clothing and masquerading around in grand sets.

There have to be characters that can transport the audience through time and “Dracula” nails that crucial feat. The tweaks done to the narrative are well executed and the show presents itself with a lavish quality.

The cast is sturdy. Leading the show is Jonathon Rhys Meyers (“The Tudors”) in the titular role of Dracula. Personally going in, there was some trepidation with Meyers being cast. However, he manages to surprise in a dynamic turn that yields the right amount of dignified class and peculiar menace. The supporting cast is effective.

Future episodes will hopefully offer more, in terms of story for them to explore. Special interest for future story, lies with cast member Katie McGrath (Lucy) whose memorable performance as Morgana on BBC’s “Merlin” cemented her as a rising star. Her characterization on “Dracula” has shown equal promise so far. 

What this reimagining of “Dracula” succeeds so well in, is its approach to the gothic and romantic aspects of the story. It’s performed with a precise eeriness and dark romantic foreboding. It manages to straddle the fine line of horror’s titillating elements, while also blending the genuine essence of a historical drama.

The feel is reminiscent of the 2001 film “From Hell” and Christopher Nolan’s 2006 magic opus “The Prestige”, blurring the lines of historical authenticity with the fantastical aspects of vampire lore.

What makes the show all the more alluring is that they have struck that balance in the early stages of the show’s development. Something that typically takes most series, until the back 9 to correct, puts “Dracula” ahead of the game. Overcoming that hurdle early on; indicates that things are only going to get better.

Episodes Aired: 4

See It or Free It: See It, believe it or not NBC actually has two great new shows ("The Blacklist" being the other). No doubt about it, this is a must-see.

A special thank you to Claudia (@ClaudsViaTweets) on Twitter, it is because of her suggestion that I watched in the first place.

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