ORBzine - Dracula (2013) TV Review

Dracula (2013)

Season 1

Dracula (2013) Dracula (2013) [Season 1, Episode 1] The Blood is the Life
Shown 25/Oct/13

In the 1880s, Drac’s tomb is raided and he is raised from the dead. Almost a decade later, US Industrialist Alexander Grayson (Jonathan Rhys Myers - Ghormenghast ) holds a huge party in London to display his new investment – Tesla’s wireless electricity. His guests include Lucy Westerna (a bleach-blonde Katie McGrath ), Lady Jayne Wetherby (a naturally blonde Victoria Smurfitt ) and Mina soon-to-be Harker.

Mina is a 21st-Century career-woman trapped in the Victorian era. She is studying for a doctorate in medicine under Professor Van Helsing (Thomas Kretschmann – Stendahl Effect ). By incredible coincidence, she is also the spitting image of Drac’s lost love.

Dracula (2013) Dracula (2013) [Season 1, Episode 2] A Whiff of Sulfur
Shown 01/Nov/13

It turns out that Drac (Jonathan Rhys Myers - Ghormenghast ) is not the villainous Son of the Dragon from other versions of this story. Instead he is an anti-hero, seeking revenge on a conspiracy known as The Order of the Dragon. The Order are the ones who hunt vamps – so by that logic, ALL vamps must be good. And Van Helsing (Thomas Kretschmann – Stendahl Effect ) is meant to be the moral core of the story. Well, from his first appearance onwards he is shown to be a vicious manipulative backstabber with his own agenda towards the Order and Dracula.

Drac seduces and bites a number of young women he encounters. But this is okay, because he is not presented like an evil predator (like the villain in The Fall).

When she is not romancing Drac, Lady Jayne Wetherby ( Victoria Smurfitt ) is hunting the mysterious vamp. She borrows the Victorian girl’s costume from Primeval S5 - skin-tight leather and a pair of Gurkha heavy-bladed kukri fighting knives. How long will it take for the star-crossed lovers to realise that they are hunting each other?

Drac wants to seduce Mina, but she is engaged to Harker. The obvious step is to cajole Harker into taking a job as Drac’s publicist, a reminder of the original storyline. Luckily for Drac, Mina gatecrashes Harker’s batchelor party where he is keeping in tone with his friends’ Victorian attitude to career women.

Dracula (2013) Dracula (2013) [Season 1, Episode 3] Goblin Merchant Men
Shown 08/Nov/13

Drac's planning has come to fruition. He has purchased a controlling stock in British Imperial Coolant, the company that the Order of the Dragon has invested all their funds in. It was silly of them to resist for so long. The smart thing to do would have been to let Drac (Jonathan Rhys Myers - Ghormenghast ) push up the price, then cash in all their stock and make a vast profit which could then be invested in a newer, safer form of investment. But Drac had to blackmail or extort the weak-willed ones. So not only are the Order a group of second-rate investors, they are also weak-willed and vulnerable to blackmail and extortion.

Drac's other goal is also in sight. After Harker humiliated himself in front of Mina in the previous episode, she is now free and single for Drac's attentions. Harker is distracted, potentially a liability to his new boss. Mina interests herself in a Renfield-like case of psychosis. Her best friend Lucy Westerna ( Katie McGrath ) tries to distract her with the promise of a relatively scandalous (PG-rated) night of flirtation with some army officers.

Mina samples the delights of absinthe, courtesy of Andrew Lee Potts ( Red Mist ).

Even though Van Helsing (Thomas Kretschmann – Stendahl Syndrome ) has a murderous grudge against the Order of the Dragon, they still approach him (albeit through an intermediary) for a drug for their Trackers. Yes, they indirectly give him access to their most valuable resource – the psychics who have the ability to locate the vamp. Of course, even though she mistrusts the Yank (and the gay Order member is murdered for selling shares to him) Lady Jayne Wetherby ( Victoria Smurfitt ) still gives him access to her bedroom (and thus, everything else in the house).

Dracula (2013) Dracula (2013) [Season 1, Episode 4] From Darkness to Light
Shown 15/Nov/13

Drac (Jonathan Rhys Myers - Ghormenghast ) has defeated his enemies, even if they do not know it yet. Lady Jayne Wetherby ( Victoria Smurfitt ) spends her time wiping out random small-time vamps, rather than chasing the master-Vamp. And she is not thinking with her upper brain when it comes to Mr Grayson!

Drac’s old buddy (Alec Newman – Dune (2000) ) comes to town. He swears his loyalty to Drac, but his lack of subtlety may draw unwanted attention. For example, he eats Renfield’s favourite pastry chef – and he wants revenge on Ms Smurfitt for wiping out his pack.

Dracula (2013) Dracula (2013) [Season 1, Episode 5] The Devil's Waltz
Shown 29/Nov/13

Drac (Jonathan Rhys Myers - Ghormenghast ) is worried when Renfield does not return from his errand. Harker gets sent out to investigate. Drac has a flashback to the first time he met Renfield. The big man is no use in a fight, but is an expert lawyer. Yes, this is the kind of show where women are surgeons and vampire slayers, and African-Americans are Victorian lawyers.

The big man is being interrogated by the Order’s freelance interrogator, Neve McIntosh – yes, yet another career woman. If she seems familiar it is because her other Victorian monster-fighting persona is the scaly one from the Lesbian Bestiality Detectives in Dr Who .

Drac hosts Harker’s engagement party to Mina. This turns into a bit of a soap opera. Lady Jayne Wetherby ( Victoria Smurfitt ) wants Drac – even though her brother has begun to suspect that he is a vamp. Why he waited until AFTER a likely suspect was killed is not apparent. Drac and Lucy Westerna ( Katie McGrath ) both want Mina ... and nobody except Mina is interested in Harker!

Dracula (2013) Dracula (2013) [Season 1, Episode 6] Of Monsters and Men
Shown 06/Dec/13

Drac (Jonathan Rhys Myers - Ghormenghast ) and Lucy Westerna ( Katie McGrath ) both want Mina ... and nobody except Mina is interested in Harker! Vamp-hunter Lady Jayne Wetherby ( Victoria Smurfitt ) wants Drac – she even tries to manipulate Lucy into seducing Mina.

The Vamp-hunter’s brother has begun to suspect that Drac is a vamp. The new plan is to hold the shareholders’ meeting at High Noon. Drac puts pressure on Van Helsing (Thomas Kretschmann – Stendahl Effect ) to perfect the daywalking cure. It turns out the problem was mechanical, not chemical. The vamp’s heart does not beat, so there is no blood pressure to force the formula in his bloodstream into the skin capillaries.

Mina is still Van Helsing’s Intern, even though she could not legally graduate and take a man’s job in the medical profession. While going through his stuff, she finds a bottle of vamp blood and decides to investigate. How far is Van Helsing willing to go to keep his secret? Does he know that Mina is Drac’s beloved?

Dracula (2013) Dracula (2013) [Season 1, Episode 7] Servant to Two Masters
Shown 03/Jan/14

Lady Jayne Wetherby ( Victoria Smurfitt ) keeps up her campaign to capture Drac’s attention. Having manoeuvred Lucy Westerna ( Katie McGrath ) against Mina, she now provides her proxy with a new target – Harker. Her plan is convoluted but elegant and simple at heart. If Lucy takes Harker, Mina is distracted and Drac (Jonathan Rhys Myers - Ghormenghast ) is available.

The Order of the Dragon consider inducting Harker as a member. He already has suspicions, both about Drac and the Order.

Drac publicly tests his electricity machine. Naturally, the Order have plans to sabotage it so they can maintain their oil monoploy.

Drac sends Renfield abroad to bid for an auctioned masterpiece that used to belong to his father. It is called The Dresden Triptych, and he will pay any price to get it. Naturally, his enemies seek to deprive him of that pleasure.

Dracula (2013) Dracula (2013) [Season 1, Episode 8] Come to Die
Shown 10/Jan/14

Lady Jayne Wetherby ( Victoria Smurfitt ) finally works out what the Elder Vamp's name is. It turns out that Drac (Jonathan Rhys Myers - Ghormenghast ) was once leader of the Order, and they made him into the world's first vamp as a punishment. So what was their purpose before they invented their own arch-enemy? And why do they not have a picture of him?

Drac's machievellian scheming comes to a head. He successfully dupes a couple of pawns into taking on TWO of the Order's most powerful members. This is an incredible coup, which required a lot of setup. He manages to keep his hands clean the whole time. So why did he not do this earlier?

Dracula (2013) Dracula (2013) [Season 1, Episode 9] Four Roses
Shown 17/Jan/14

Drac (Jonathan Rhys Myers - Ghormenghast ) blames the Order for the attack on Mina. His next step is to have his minions kill a few junior members.

The Order recruits Harker. Nobody has really worked out who Drac is or what he is up to, but they know what a ruthless villain he is.

Dracula (2013) Dracula (2013) [Season 1, Episode 10] Let There Be Light
Shown 24/Jan/14

Van Helsing (Thomas Kretschmann – Stendahl Effect ) settles a couple of old scores. He is so good at it this makes you wonder why he ever bothered with such a dangerous partner in the first place.

Drac (Jonathan Rhys Myers - Ghormenghast ) holds the great exhibition of his new technology. Of course the Order has sabotageed it. Can Harker get Mina to safety before it all blows up?





Dracula (2013)

Dracula (2013) Dracula (2013) [Season 2, Episode 1 ]
Shown th October 2014 [Wednesday]

Reviewed in our special supplement Dracula (2013)

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