NBC's Dracula: Fangtastic or Bloody Awful?

Dracula Series Premiere RecapDracula, NBC’s new Friday-night offering, features a familiar story, a supernatural lead-in and a proven, easy-on-the-eyes leading man. But are you planning to sink your teeth into the period drama?

The gothic series, which bowed Friday (10/9c), introduces us to Alexander Grayson (The TudorsJonathan Rhys Meyers), a cocky American industrialist newly arrived in 1890s London. As the hour opens, members of the city’s genteel upper crust flock to Grayson’s palatial home for a gala.

What none of the lords and ladies know is that Grayson is actually Vlad Tepes, a 16th-century warrior cursed into bloodsucking immortality by the ancient Order of the Dragon. “Murder, torture, rape, wholesale slaughter. That is their stock in trade,” Grayson explains, adding that the group’s members now hold powerful positions in politics, business and society.

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Tepes spent centuries moldering in a grave until being revived by Abraham Van Helsing (Thomas Kretschmann, The River), who has his own history with the order. (The monster inside Tepes – the one that impels him to lap blood from his victims’ necks – is the titular Dracula.)

Grayson impresses his gala guests by showing off his revolutionary “wireless power,” which harnesses geomagnetic forces to produce a cleaner form of energy. You know who doesn’t like that? The Order of the Dragon, which derives much of its wealth from its oil holdings.

As the episode progresses, Grayson goes about taking down the order in ways both calculated and rogue, such as when he rips a member’s throat out in a fit of anger. Later, he quickly dispatches one of the order’s hired henchmen, but not before the man realizes exactly whom he’s battling: “Dracula,” he gasps before dying. (For now, however, the rest of the order remains in the dark about the Drac-Grayson connection.)

VIDEO | Dracula Exclusive: “As American as God, Guns and Bourbon”

Grayson’s revenge mission gets sidetracked, though, when he sees young medical student Mina Murray (Arrow‘s Jessica De Gouw) and can’t shake the feeling that she is the reincarnation of his dead wife (also killed by the order). Mina, too, feels a strange connection to the wealthy newcomer – but she’s unaware that he follows her around town, with his trusted confidante Renfield (Game of Thrones‘ Nonso Anozie) in tow. Complicating matters: Mina is engaged to a dashing young reporter, Jonathan Harker (Mr. Selfridge‘s Oliver Jackson-Cohen).

Meanwhile, Grayson engages in a physical relationship with the vampy, though not vampiric, Lady Jayne (Victoria Smurfit, About a Boy). She doesn’t know he’s a powerful creature of the night; he doesn’t know she’s a back-in-the-day Buffy searching for London’s latest fiend.

The series tweaks existing lore in a way that keeps the well-known story fresh. And Rhys Meyers certainly seems to enjoy himself as the impulsive, tortured central character – so does Smurfit as the delightfully aloof Lady Jayne. At the close of the first hour, the series’ weakest points are its sluggish pace and the Mina-Grayson connection. (If you’re intrigued by the latter, hang in; future episodes give De Gouw and Rhys Meyers greater opportunities to sell us on their characters’ infatuation.)

Enough about what we thought: What was your take on Dracula? Grade the episode via the poll below, then hit the comments to back up your choice!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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117 Comments
  1. Christine Wright says:

    Eh…..

  2. Sheldon W. says:

    Talk about dead average…

  3. Alice says:

    It was “ok” didn’t really grab me until around the last 10 minutes but that was enough to bring me back next week.

  4. alistaircrane says:

    Amazing show!!! I loved the opening ballroom scene and combining the Victoria era with today’s clean energy. Excellent show all around, and the best new show of the fall. Absolute “A”!

    • Chuck Finley says:

      This comment brought to you by either a proud NBC employee or employee of the show Dracula lol.

      • canadian ninja returns says:

        So that means you work for ABC or are just a tool. You pick.

        • wrstlgirl says:

          Hahahaha, I held my tougue on that comment so Thank you! Why people have to trash other people who like something that they don’t …. what are you friggin 12!!

          • ajintexas says:

            Are both of you too stupid to know that they pay shills to come to these sites and post comments promoting new shows? Go back to holding your tongues or use your brain.

          • wrstlgirl says:

            Thank You my life’s complete.

      • Jake says:

        If you actually worked for a tv show, you would know that you would have zero time to be posting on websites. I don’t get people like you who can’t understand that there are people who can like a show, I guess you would prefer that people hate everything.

        • courts says:

          Those things aren’t connected. There have been recent ‘scandals’ of people posting on sites like this who work for networks and are hired to do just that.

          • Matt Webb Mitovich says:

            Stay current; that “scandal” was revealed to be the ABC suit’s former roommate who hacked her identity.

      • alistaircrane says:

        I don’t work for NBC, I just enjoyed the show a lot. I am a fan of Dracula in general, and I thought the creative team did an excellent job turning it into a tv series. There’s been a lot of garbage on tv this fall, and this seems to be the one bright spot of quality television (probably due to the British producers!).

  5. Drew says:

    It was okay. Nothing special, but better than a lot of the new shows this year.

  6. Logan says:

    I went into it without any expectations at all and really enjoyed it. I’ll continue watching it

  7. wrstlgirl says:

    I see great potential here. Even though the pilot was a bit lacking I’m sticking around.

    • helikaon says:

      I agree with with you, I watched it and enjoyed it, everyone is entitled to their own opinions and just because you like a show doesn’t mean you work for the network, I can’t believe someone would even go there with that ridiculous statement. It was nicely done and better than a lot of crap on tv. A nice followup after watching GRIMM:)

    • Danielle H. says:

      Yes. But will it be taken advantage of and let the show shine and thrive? The pilot was there to set alot of crap up, so I was a bit disappointed at the pace. The end part of the hour was much better when Drac finally vamped out some.

  8. Tran 2.0 says:

    I give Dracula on NBC a grade of B. Not sure if it’s actually a “limited series” but not much as a “mini series”.

    • JC says:

      They will stick to their original plan of a “limited series” if the ratings stink. See also: Political Animals. But if the ratings are great, then NBC will say, “We have decided to extend this limited series another 10 episodes to air next season.” See also: Under the Dome.

      • Bob says:

        The networks have gotten tired of all the negative publicity when a mediocre show gets pulled off the air, thus torking off the couple of million followers.

  9. s says:

    The beginning reminded me of Silas from TVD.. I hate to compare but it did but overall the pilot was decent. I would hope it gets better :)

  10. TV God says:

    I’m never one to nitpick, but I hate Katie McGrath (Lucy from the show) having blonde hair. Oh how I miss her in Merlin… She looked way better when she had long dark brown almost black hair.

  11. Reign episode 2 was better than the pilot, hoping the same is true for Dracula. It just lacked ‘bite’ for me.

    • LPala says:

      Totally agree re Reign. I was very pleasantly surprised it was so good. Was not expecting to like it at all, purely because of the promotional video. It looked like it was just going to be a fluffy teenage girl romance. Instead there is intrigue, politics, danger – like!

  12. Leondre says:

    C+

    Pretty Boring til the end.

  13. Jodee says:

    Not bad. I gave it a B. Good potential. Will be back next week for sure.

  14. Becky Ann says:

    I hated it so much. It was awful. Just, no. No. The writing was terrible, it lacked cohesion, the pacing was a nightmare, JRM’s accent was part NY, part Southern Hick, part, I’m not even sure what else. The costumes and set was lovely, but other than that. No.

    • elr says:

      I agree with all you wrote and will add that the picture was so dark at times that I couldn’t tell who was on the screen and since its a vampire show and will mostly take place at night I won’t be sticking around. Granted the darkness could be because I need a newer set, but almost all the NBC dramas are dark like this. I dearly love Revolution but I have the same problem with their nighttime scenes and not being able to tell one character from another, so after about 30 minutes I said no way and turned it off.

  15. Kat says:

    So even political propaganda has to creep into a supernatural drama that takes place in the 1890s? Good one, NBC.

    I

    • David4 says:

      What are you talking about?

    • Temperance says:

      It’s so interesting when someone mistakes the truth that anyone with a working brain recognizes for ‘political propaganda’.

    • Sidi Denak says:

      I thought it was horrible. JRM was awesome as usual but I thought the storyline was awful. They are trying to be political correct by toning down Dracular’s character and giving that blond actress a major role. Doesn’t Dracular FLY AS A BAT any more? My dogs “eye teeth” are larger than Dracular’s fang teeth. Give me the Dracular movie with Frank Langella. Also, it should have been on Cable cause there were approx. 30 minutes of Commercials. I went surfing my other Channels during the Commercials and almost forgot that I was supposed to go back to wacthcing Dracular.

      • K says:

        In the original Dracula! Lucy is a major role. Bram Stoker wrote it. The series is honoring that. I thought the show was terrific. It was dark, edgy, steam-punked in all the right places. Kind of like Bram and Jules Verne got together. JRM is so comfortable in period pieces. The sets, and costuming were spot on, and even the CGI was appropriate. Choreography for dance and combat believable. Marketed right, this could be a big hit. I hope it catches on.

  16. Danielle says:

    God, you people are so stuck up. Get over yourselves. It’s just the pilot, you’ve got to give it at least three episodes. I thought it was decent. While yes, it was slow here and there, I will be coming back next week. B+

    • Drew says:

      Yes, and we have to give every movie at least three hours to get interesting. And everyone knows that books aren’t supposed to capture your attention for several chapters. The whole idea that a story should be intriguing from the beginning is so naive. It’s like people expect to be teased at the beginning of every episode. As though a pilot episode’s entire purpose is to make people want to watch more.

      In case it’s not obvious, I’m being incredibly sarcastic in this comment. There was no need for you to insult people in your comment. Especially since you went on to repeat what most of the people in this discussion already said.

    • pete says:

      give it 3 episodes yeah right, when networks cancels stuff after one or 2, that totally makes sense

    • While that is true, there has to be something to at least hold your interest until the story takes shape. I fell asleep. A show doesn’t start boring and then suddenly becomes good four hours later. It has to at least be average.

    • Anne says:

      You seem to be overestimating people’s attentions spans. Especially when you consider how much TV there is these days- if something doesn’t catch their interest by the end of an episode people are likely to move on. I watched the pilot and saw enough to bring me back for at least another week, but I do hope it improves or I’m probably out.

  17. mia says:

    Without a doubt I will continue to watch this, not rush to watch it, but watch it. I’d rush if they picked a hotter accent for Jonathan Rhys Meyers.

  18. uh huh says:

    I stopped paying attention after about 15 minutes, and turned it off after 30.
    Eh.

  19. wrstlgirl says:

    Gotta good watch, eh?

  20. Buggy White says:

    Was that Christian Slater dubbing his voice?

  21. I was very impressed by the look of the episode , BUT , found the Illuminati style story line to be wanting ,

  22. Lulu says:

    Loved it. Then again, I have a thing for Jonathan Rhys Meyers. That is one fine looking man.

  23. valeriel40 says:

    This show is a hot mess….and I loved it! There was a lot going on, too much really, but it’s the pilot and you have to expect that kind of thing.
    The premise seems unnecessarily convoluted, but I guess that’s part of the “fresh take” NBC is going for.
    JRM did well, IMHO. I was bracing for the American “accent” that everyone derided, but I didn’t think it was THAT bad. Especially since it’s supposed to be *the character* affecting a poor accent and not *the actor*.
    My biggest nitpick was the breaks going into commercials. It seemed like the scenes ended too soon, too abruptly & it took me out of the story every time.
    I loved all the old-school, gothic-type stuff: Dracula in an tomb, the layers of clothes, the fog, Dracula lurking in the shadows. The sword fight was ridiculous, but it cracked me up! Magnetophere? Carfax Manor? BRING IT ON! This show is my kinda crazy!

    • DarkDefender says:

      Yuhp.. True blood kinda crazy… I’ll give a few Eps…

    • Anne says:

      Yeah, I attributed the accent to what snotty Victorian aristocrats in England would think an “upstart” American would sound like. Then again maybe that was just my kind interpretation so as not to let it bother me too much.

    • helikaon says:

      I totally agree!!! It doesn’t take itself too seriously and for cripes sakes, it’s TV!!

  24. Tone LG says:

    so… basically, it’s Marvel’s Agents of T.R.A.N.S.Y.L.V.A.N.I.A…..

  25. Joseph A says:

    1st no clue how the show will do but thinking it has so shot if my opting to check it out after Shark Tank is any indicator.

    Pros of the show, Good looking guys, gals, rich looking set, interesting spin on the historic characters, setting up a rivalry with Dracula against a secret society.

    Cons of the show, The Oil vs Magnetic Clean Energy story line.

    Jury is out on, writing Dracula so he comes off as a darker version of Marvels Tony Stark.

    Given who sexual Dracula comes I can only hope he is Bisexual !

  26. Paul says:

    I think you mean Smurfette, lol Michael would freak over that typo :)

    Good tv show, pilot was enjoyable!

  27. Lynnette Watkins says:

    I like this show! I agree they need to work on his accent. I am a huge fan of Jonathan Rhys Meyers. Maybe if they let him use the accent close to the one he used in the Tudors, the show would be a huge hit.

  28. Maryann says:

    I was not grabbed by the first episode. Neither the lead character nor the show as a whole had any emotional resonance for me. However, the previews DID grab me, and I have been a fan of almost every vampire series that has been on tv, so I will continue to watch to see where this is heading, at least for the time being.

  29. AHW says:

    I detest Rhys Meyers, who looks like he ought to be guarding a bridge somewhere and whose over-acting makes me cringe. I refuse to watch anything in which he appears. The whole vampire thing feels so forced and hardly original. Tweens and teens may like it, but that’s about it. I’ll stick to my DVR’d Criminal Minds and Flashpoint episodes.

  30. Definitely a keeper on my watchlist, wonderfully done!

  31. Amy H says:

    I found myself distracted by Jonathan Rhys Meyers accent. At any rate I’ll stick with it to see how it shakes out over the next few episodes. Still undecided as to whether it’s worth watching.

  32. tmz says:

    It sucked! (pun intended) The actress playing mina is horrible and the older blonde actress is annoying and not right for the part, replace those two and the show might have a chance.

  33. Sparky says:

    The pilot didn’t really grab me until the last 10 or 15 mins. But the previews look good…..I’ll be back next week. Do agree with other comments about JRMs American accent….why can’t he just be English and Victoria Smurfit needs to tone down her Irish accent. Otherwise I hope the show does well…..

  34. Karen says:

    Better than I expected. I’ll give it a B.

  35. Apples says:

    Awful.

  36. jm says:

    i found it a bit slow sometimes… but cinematography, set decoration and costumes were really extraordinary. Van Helsin and Dracula twist was interesting… and i was surprised how quick they killed off the last guy Dracula killed in the premier… The only character who doesnt get on my nerves is the black butler, the rest are a bit annoying… but i will watch another episode. Grade B

  37. Autumn says:

    I thought it was fantastic, best premiere of the season in my book but I watch A LOT of period drama. This was on par with that. If people want faster moving plot then this probably wouldn’t be the show for you. The production values were some of the best I’ve seen in an American network production. Finally, great costumes and sets that aren’t laughably bad. The dialogue was well written, the hook compelling, the actors stellar (with some great faces from Downton Abbey, Merlin, and Lark Rise to Candleford for starters), and I loved all the characters (from the vampire hunter woman to the dragon order members to Mina and Harker). I didn’t find the build up between Mina and Dracula to be bad but right where it should be: slow paced but interesting because it feels authentic. I like this story a lot. ALSO, why in the world is everyone going off about Meyers’ accent? LOL. The accent is SUPPOSED to be fake. He had an authentic English accent at first but is pretending to be American as part of the plan. And the music promo in coming weeks looks amazing. Will be tuning in weekly. Glad it did good in the ratings.

    • alistaircrane says:

      Thank you! I am glad someone agrees. I didn’t watch Tomorrow People after the first episode because it moved waaaaay too quickly. I like my shows to have a slow, methodical pace. That’s why I loved Season 2 of The Walking Dead.

    • Sheila says:

      You must’ve seen a better episode than I did…

  38. LPala says:

    I thought it was a bloody awful steampunk show. Someone said the last 10 minutes was good, so I’ll give it another chance, but at this point I don’t see how it can be redeemed.

  39. Cris says:

    L’ha ribloggato su Nuovi Vampiri and moree ha commentato:
    Add your thoughts here… (optional)

  40. Heathers says:

    It was okay. I don’t like Rhys Meyers speaking with the American accent though. I kind of felt like I was watching an 80’s movie for some reason.

  41. PJ Brown says:

    I watched Grimm and stuck around for Dracula. It wasn’t awful. Since I always watch Grimm and there is almost nothing else I like on Friday nights, I will probably continue to watch. Not a ringing endorsement I know but, if it was awful, I would just turn off the TV. It may grow on me; who knows. Anyway, it didn’t s*uck like so many of the new TV shows offered this fall.

  42. Bobby says:

    It stinks!

  43. becky says:

    Enjoyed “Dracula” very much!! It looks very promising and we will tune in next week.

  44. Jake says:

    I watched the entire episode, hoping it would suck me in. I wish I could get that 45 minutes back. It is no Sleepy Hollow! I really did want to like it. JRM over acted. The plot lines rip of of 3 other dramas. Revenge, Revolution the power thing was pathetic and Sleepy Hollow with out Abigail. I and done.
    Bring back Hannibal. NBC should have spent their advertising money on Revolution and put it on after Grim or Wednesday’s at 10pm.

  45. I was so confused by the end of the episode b/c the story just didn’t make sense and the pilot was all over the place. It was very difficult to follow & I’ve had to read multiple articles to figure out what was going on. I will give it one more chance but do not have high hopes which is quite disappointing b/c this could have been a great show if it was written better.

  46. Pierce says:

    I really hope people realize that Meyers was not speaking with a 21st century American accent, it is a show set in the 19th Century, accents were different back then.

    • Lisacly says:

      I’m sorry to disagree. I think an earlier comment was right about Rhys-Meyers’ accent being a cross between a northern and southern accent. I would have preferred if the actor imitated a New England accent like the one Gillian Anderson used in The House of Mirth.

  47. rk535 says:

    Liked it, but didn’t love it. I think I’m spoiled with what a surprise Sleepy Hollow turned out to be. Hope Dracula ups its games in the next episodes.

  48. mrsdp says:

    Tried. Hated it. Turned it off.

    To be honest, though, I’ve yet to find a vampire laced program, book, or film that grabbed me by the throat (groan. Sorry. Couldn’t resist the awful pun.) It’s not my usual genre. I did try though. Truly. Got through about 20 minutes of full-attention before multitasking began. Turned it off after about 40 minutes. Won’t be trying it again.

  49. C- I don’t know if I’ll watch again.

  50. Lisacly says:

    This review cleared up the story for me. I watched the entire episode, but forgot most of it probably because i was confused throughout most of the show. Also I laughed when Dracula was introduced as Grayson and his home was Carfax Manor (I read the novel a long time ago, so It took me a while to realize that Carfax was in the book.) Although I found the pilot boring and crammed with too much information, I did like the cinematography. This does have potential as far as the actors and direction, only the writing needs to be cleaned up. I will watch a few episodes to see if it improves.

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