Dracula is, of course, the most famous vampire to ever fictionally walk this earth. His story is one that has been done countless times (get it Count- less) and will be done some more. But for some uncanny reason, we will always watch it with virgin eyes. His story much like himself is an enigma. I suppose it is because it has a little bit of everything. Whether it is romance, horror or action the Count’s story has something for everyone. Over the years many have tried to put their own unique stamp on the tale. Some to much success, while others not so much.
The new mini-series fresh of England on Netflix tries to serve up a very different take. It gives us a much more personal approach. Rather than play on the old villain in the dark, it humanizes the Count. It is like a slow-brewed pot of tea. You need to sit back and enjoy it. Drink to fast and you will burn your tongue.
Count to 3
The series is split into 3 episodes, each approximately an hour and a half long. In a way, it is geared to emulate a trilogy. Each episode features a different perspective.
Episode 1 is the origin so to speak, as we meat Jonathan Harker (John Heffernan) a lawyer who is summoned to the Counts Castle. Slowly we uncover the true nature of Dracula (Claes Bang) and the secrets of his castle.
Episode 2 gives us a tiny leap forward with the Count en-route to his new hunting grounds in wet England. Confined to a ship amongst a vast array of dishes.. I mean people. He tries to blend in but with his insatiable hunger. Well, let’s say it leads to some fun encounters.
Episode 3 gives us another time jump; however, this one is years ahead. 123 years to be exact. This brings the famous vampire right into our modern times. This makes for some very interesting and fun scenes. Using Tinder as his Uber Eats has got to be the cleverest play I have seen in a while. However, beneath the surface, it all starts heading to its conclusion which will, of course, put our fanged friend against his greatest enemy Van Helsing (Dolly Wells)
Another One Bites the Dust
Each episode has something unique to offer and gently pushes you into the next. The first is a get to know you arc. The focus is on both Dracula as well as Helsing. I like that Van Helsing is a woman this time around. With women often depicted as the victims in vampire flicks, having her be the one who brings about Dracula’s inevitable demise is very fitting.
The show has some stunning sets which really sucks (yes I did) you into the world of old Count Dracula. This works extremely well in the first episode. It makes you feel as if you are in Romania. Even the second installment, while on a ship still imbues certain characteristics. But then in the thirds episode, you left feeling completely disorientated. The time jump 123 years into our time is exactly what the show needed but it was poorly executed. There are too many subplots happening and new elements being brought it. Either some should have been dropped or a 4th episode added.
For another great review check out this YouTube Video:
The show is a great watch; it does have its poorer moments but nothing worth dwelling about. The show uses vampirism as a catalyst to address more philosophical ideas which I thought was very clever. It does stumble in the third act due to cluttering. I think the lowest point was the ending which feels very anti-climactic. I am sure there will be those who say it is in fact very fitting with the theme of the show. To each his own, I suppose. The show just needs an additional episode and maybe an alternate ending.