Hemlock Grove, The Vampire Diaries, The Originals, Being Human, and True Blood. These are current shows where the main character is a vampire, and one of them is a spin-off of another on the list. However you feel about any of them you’d have to admit that five is a big number when it comes to a specific genre across all networks. That number grows to fourteen if you’ve got a subscription to Netflix and feel like getting your fang fix with greats like Buffy the Vampire slayer and The Dresden Files. This is interesting because unless you’re Seth McFarlane, or anyone else with a Faustian pact, it’s hard to get even one show in a specific category to air, much less five. If you doubt it consider this, everyone’s other favorite undead genus, zombies, only has one network show airing, The Walking Dead. Don’t believe me? Go ahead, I dare you to find another show, on t.v. or netflix, that has zombies. And we’re not counting Death Valley. Those zombies have personality and that kind of defeats the purpose. My point is that there are quite a few vampire shows out there, and with the addition of NBC’s Dracula there’s one more. So you might be wondering what makes this show different and worth watching. Well if you have a minute I’ll be glad to divulge.
Johnathan Rhys Meyers. If you don’t who this guy is, stop reading right now and go stream The Tudors from somewhere. Seriously. I’ll wait. Seen it? Good, you know what kind of awesomeness I’m talking about. This dude has got some serious acting chops, and he flexes them in quite a few roles. From big budget Hollywood flops like From Paris With Love and 6 Souls, to not so well known greats like Michael Collins and I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead, this dude puts the fucking work in and Dracula is no exception. For example one of the major plot points is that he’s incognito as an American industrialist thus having to switch from an American to a British accent, and to see him do that is truly impressive.
But if the affable Mr. Meyers is putting it down, then both Jessica De Gouw and Thomas Kretschmann are most definitely picking it up. If you’re half the dork I am you’ll know Jessica from her appearances on Arrow as The Huntress or as the extremely tenacious Constable Edie McElroy on the Australian hit show Underbelly. While mostly sticking to television for now, she does a good job of actually sticking it to television. What I mean is while most leading ladies on network t.v. are there as the love interests/damsels in distress, Ms. De Gouw breaks from the rest as an actual strong female lead. She plays a smart sophisticated Englishwoman who’s at the top of her class in med school and thus the assistant to her Professor, Abraham Van Hellsing. Oh did I forget to mention Van Hellsing? Yea. Shit just got real. Played by Thomas Kretschmann who you’ve seen in The Pianist, Valkyrie, King Kong, or pretty much anything else containing bad-ass Germans, he brings more than just an impressive accent to the table. With his barely contained rage being visible throughout the show he serves to move the plot well while acting as both foil and comrade to Dracula in his endeavor to bring free wireless energy to late 19th century London.
If that last part is a bit confusing don’t worry, you’re not alone. This is one time that being a history buff might hinder your suspension of disbelief. Vampires are one thing, but cutting edge technology in 1896 will make a few people scoff. However as much some might bemoan the appearance of flashlights and other tech that had yet to be invented, the overall theme speaks to the dynamic nature of Victorian era London. Let’s not forget this is the generation that brought us Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein and the early version of the vibrator. It also gave us electroshock therapy and lobotomies, but what’s the sweet without the sour right? Basically even while being somewhat steam-punkish it still adds the frosting to an already deliciously sci-fi cake.
Of course if you couldn’t care less about turn of the century contraptions, there are a few things that make this show refreshing and somewhat unique. For starters there’s not a single character in high school. I might be alone on this, but I could never make sense of the whole brooding vampire in love with the adolescent moron thing. Are all vampires pedophiles? Is there something about teen angst that makes blood tastier? Have they all seen dazed and confused and only took what Matthew Mcconoughey said to heart? Yes? No? I don’t know. What I do know is that I won’t have to see a vampire awkwardly trying to hide his powers in gym class. Another thing that always bugged me about newer dramas concerning our fanged friends was their ability to walk around in the daylight without any explanation. I blame a certain sparkle loving no talent hack for this, but she wasn’t the first. While there are attempts at such things in the series they have roots in scientific method, (or science fiction method), and most of all they do not fucking sparkle.
So there you have it. If you rolled your eyes like I did at yet another drama involving vampires you’d do well to give this one a shot. I think you’ll find it a nice change of pace from the uber gory or incredibly immature shows you’re used to.
When not training bears to play tekken, Jason Fantroy can be found stuffing his face at the myriad of food places on Coventry.