Dracula (mini series)

There are sooo many adaptations of the Dracula story, different takes on vampires in general. Can the duo behind BBC’s excellent Sherlock reimagining do similar with this old myth? Auntie Beeb was more than willing to let them try, giving them a 3-part mini series over New Year’s.

So, can they do something different? Yes, and then again, not so much.

To be honest, the opening episode – and by that I mean 90 mins of viewing – didn’t wholly grab me. The aging makeup was almost as bad as the accent. It felt very like a poor rip-off of Gary Oldman in Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992). Sarcastic nun, Agatha, was a welcome addition, but still…

I persevered, and glad I did: episode 2 was excellent. In the claustrophobic setting of the Demeter, sailing for England, a newly youthful Dracula plays games worthy of a Poirot novel, and I thought it worked brilliantly. Claes Bang as Dracula – now free of the wrinkles and awful accent – was a joy. He’s smouldering without being pretty-sexy, and devious and obviously enjoying it. Put me a little in mind of the swagger of Lucifer. And then – omg, the ‘twist’ right at the end of ep 2! We are three hours, and two thirds, into this, and NOW you do that to us?!

Alas, I can’t really discuss the third ep for spoilery reasons. Suffice to say, there are a few familiar names and the story disappointingly goes back to some well-worn plotlines. It’s a real shame, as there are glimmers of doing something ‘different’ and interesting, especially in this ep, but overall it felt a bit wasted. The ending is rather abrupt, too, which is always a shame when then story has been more carefully paced previously.

Do I recommend? Hmm. Overall and in general not hugely. However, if like me you’re rather fond of the vampire myths, and seeing what novelties people keep trying to come up with (nothing has ever matched the whole Judas thing in the awful Dracula 2000, right enough!), then there is a lot to enjoy here. Just, lower expectations for the last ep. And warning for gore, too – I’m not sure I really should have watched small child corpses trying to play peekaboo just before bed o.O

First broadcast: January 2020
Series: 1
Episodes: 3 @ ~90 mins each

My rating: 6/10 – for each ep I’d say 7/8/6, but marks lost overall for the ending

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