NBC’s Dracula

This is a weird show.  It starts off with a mysterious dude freeing Dracula from some kind of prison, of course resurrecting him with the blood of the hapless son of a bitch he brought with him.  From there, we go to London 1896 where Dracula pretends to be an American industrialist and shows off his wireless power machine that seems to run off an Iron Man style steampunk arc reactor.  Then he seduces a sexy vampire hunter and pines for his dead wife.  The show has no idea what its actually about so it tries to blend everything.  It doesn’t work.  But despite hitting blend on a number of other vampire properties, it has much more in common with the Count of Monte Cristo.  Dracula is taking some kind of revenge on a group called the Order of the Dragon.  The Order is very much like your Standard Issue Illuminati from Assassin’s Creed or something.  They were a standard issue evil religious group, now they’re a standard issue evil political/big business group.  But they’re also vampire hunters.  They make explicit reference to Jack the Ripper being a vampire, who they stopped.  I laughed that they felt the need to beat the American audience over the head with this.

“Oh dear, we haven’t had a vampire in London for eight years, since the Whitechapel killings.”

“Yes we had to mutilate the victims to cover up the truth.”

“And the public called him Jack the Ripper.”

“Yes, we stopped Jack the Ripper.  His name was Jack the Ripper and he was a vampire we stopped.”

So, Dracula’s plan isn’t just to murder all these Order of the Dragon people.  His explicit plan is to build steampunk arc reactors to prevent them from benefiting from oil wealth.  I am not kidding.  That is the plan.  Again, this isn’t Dracula.  This is the count of Monte Cristo with a dash of Tony Stark.  With Dracula drinking whiskey.  He said it was whiskey, it sure as hell doesn’t look like blood.  And he’s in league with Van Helsing.  That’s right.  Dracula is working with Van Helsing.  They both want to take down the Order of the Dragon.

Then there are some odds and ends.  Jonathan Harker is a journalist who doesn’t need to be here.  In the original, he’s Dracula’s real estate lawyer in London.  He does the paperwork so Dracula can move there.  In this show, he’s here because they wanted to include Jonathan Harker.  They could’ve called him Steve McCoy or Joe Smith.  They just called him Jonathan Harker.  I guess he’s dating medical student Mina Murray, that’s a reason to include him I suppose.  Mina by the way seems to have some kind of literal connection to Dracula’s murdered wife.  And not like, they’re both played by the same actress like the Coppola version, like she literally has a dream about being Dracula’s wife and dying.  At the end of the episode, Dracula is watching the Order’s safehouse when he’s attacked by a vampire hunter.  They have this slow motion greenscreen fight with the night sky in the background very similar to Underworld.  Then they show one of the Order people practicing on sandbags with a Katana and a Kukri while she intimidates a captive vampire.  This last scene is straight out of Elektra.

When you take those odds and ends, and combine them with the premise that has a steampunk undead Tony Stark combined with the Count of Monte Cristo, you’re left with a weird show with no point or clear story.  It’s really stupid.  Even the name of the show.  The name of the show is Dracula.  Dracula refers to Order of the Dragon.  So should people be calling the main character Vlad or Lord Tepes?  The main character, Dracula, is not even fucking Dracula.  It’s a weird combination of vampire story tropes and recent successful intellectual properties put in a blender, thrown at a wall with the prayer that it sticks.

But I don’t want to be entirely negative.  Let’s pretend NBC doesn’t cancel this after the third episode.  How do we salvage this given the facts already in evidence?  We can’t burn it to the ground and start over.  When you have something this stupid, the only thing to do is embrace the madness.  This is a universe where Dracula has been explicitly run out of America by Thomas Edison.  Have him start working with Tesla to build steampunk Rube Goldberg devices to take down corrupt aristocrats in the Order of the Dragon.  They’re basically one step from the League of Extraordinary Gentleman.  MAKE THEM THAT.  Dracula.  Helsing.  Tesla.  They are the monsters of their era and they have joined forces because there are greater threats that go bump in the night and they bump the fuck back.  Fuck it, throw Sherlock Holmes in there.  Go over the top or go home.