NBC's Dracula: Fangtastic or Bloody Awful?

Get More: Premieres, Recaps

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.)

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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!

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Comments (117)

  • I really liked it!!.

    Comment by Jazmin – October 26, 2013 11:31 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I rated it average because, while I will give it a chance, they were just too many issues opened up without very much background or structure to them.

    They do need to focus if the show is to succeed.

    And, yes, as others have commented, your brief description of what happened does clear things up a little.

    However I don’t think “Bluebloods” has anything to fear.

    Comment by Rick katze – October 27, 2013 12:29 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Was I the only one that was irritated with the music from the ballroom being so loud that I couldn’t hear the dialogue between the characters?
    I like that it’s not yet another Vampire show, the twist with having Dracula and Van Helsing fighting against the Order of the dragon.

    Comment by Lara – October 27, 2013 05:46 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • The wireless energy concept had me laughing. It was so stupid and I don’t know what the creatives were thinking when they decided to green light such a wrong scientific concept. Ignoring that, the rest was strictly average. I might tune in the next for the sake of curiosity, nothing else.

    Comment by Nia – October 27, 2013 06:58 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Overall, I enjoyed it and was entertained by it (now isn’t that really the point?). Yet, some of the dresses looked too modern for me, especially the one worn by Lucy (the red and white dress..didn’t know that there was a sweetheart neckline back then?). Also the whole oil is a bad thing is a bit modern, but I will get over that as I will get over the costuming. Will watch it next week as it’s already programmed into my DVR. A complete side comment on this would be that Jonathan Rhys Meyers is very attractive…very. :)

    Comment by Cat – October 27, 2013 08:30 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Very disappointed. Agree with what a lot of other watchers are saying…boring, pacing was off and it was confusing. I’m all for a fresh story, but you can’t change the character of Dracula too much. There is too much associated with that name. For me, I didn’t get a sense that he a monster, THE monster. If anything, he was just an average vamp out for revenge. Now, the revenge part is what truly confused me. Why does Dracula need to bring down the oil industry with wireless electricity? Can’t he just rip their heads off….? I’m at a loss as to why he would even care about humanity, be a man of science, talk of Darwin, and need to make other men feel inferior to him. Just eat them already! I wanted this show to be darker…I’ll tune in for another episode to see if it gets a bit better. Really a let down so far!

    Comment by Sue – October 27, 2013 01:53 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I *really* tried to like this. This show seems really cheesy.

    The guy playing Dracula really isnt a good actor at all. His acting seems so forced. :/

    I wish they would’ve cast someone that could act well, and wasn’t so cheesy.

    With all due respect, the lead actor seems very fruity. I dont see how other women find him sexy, he’s not sexy, just very cheesy and fruity.

    Oh well. :(

    Comment by Erica – October 27, 2013 01:58 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I like that they’ve turned Dracula into a sort of antihero. I found that there was a lot of info to take in, but I think the show will breathe better in coming episodes. I also found Mina’s acting much better than when she was on Arrow. Maybe because she didn’t have to attempt an American accent this time? I didn’t have any issue with JRM’s accent. I think we take for granted that it’s hard to pull off. Even other Americans can’t do a Boston accent correctly and the same with doing a Southern accent. I’ll definitely be watching the rest of the season

    Comment by Mikael – October 27, 2013 03:14 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Loved it!!!

    Comment by Lynne – October 27, 2013 06:53 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • It’s not “Must See TV” by any stretch of the imagination, but I’ll watch it at some point over each weekend for a few episodes to see if it gets better. Pilot episodes are difficult to judge because shows are often not firing on all cylinders, yet.

    Comment by Bob – October 28, 2013 10:14 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • BORING! The previews looked so good too :(

    Comment by Will – October 28, 2013 12:59 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • sorry but was bored and turned it off..acting, writing, pacing, and I’m sorry to all JRM fans but he didn’t impress me one bit as Dracula..and girl from Arrow, couldn’t stand her horrible acting on Arrow or here..

    Comment by windy4292 – October 29, 2013 07:23 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I watching because I love watching Jonathon…yum…

    Comment by waterbug – October 30, 2013 07:14 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • hi there just finished watching nbc dracula show and liked it alot i hope for more episoids too come

    Comment by mavbraselton@gmail.com – November 1, 2013 08:29 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • i’m pretty biased because I love every inch of Jonathan Rhys Meyers!

    Comment by Mickey – November 3, 2013 06:50 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • This show was so confusing. Worst Vampire show EVER. Deleted the 2nd after about 40 min into the 1st show. zzzzzzz

    Comment by Nickjkraft@gmail.com – November 4, 2013 03:32 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Fantastic

    Comment by Chanel – November 12, 2013 08:13 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I am confused…why would the order of the Dragon create these vampire things and then turn around and kill them? The Dragon order cursed him because???? Why did they think making him immortal would be a good Idea? I think just killing him would have rid the world or order of him being a problem and then just be done with it but the confusion in making a being that could do more harm than when he was a human …a human they wanted rid of…??? Im sooooo confused!

    Comment by Ann M George-Belanich – November 17, 2013 01:26 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I do love the show I watched it in one day not realizing it was a series..on demand…I cant wait for the next one but again why not until the 29th? confusion…

      Comment by Ann M George-Belanich – November 17, 2013 01:29 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I cannot get enough id this series, best thing that’s been on TV in a long time. Bring on season two…please!!!!

    Comment by NCB – November 25, 2013 12:08 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Hello fellow Dracula fans,
    Allow me to introduce myself My friend and I are known as two counts. Nice to chat with you. I think that Dracula is a very good thought out show and my friend is of the same opinion. I have to say just leave Katie Mcgrath alone. The character she played on Merlin and the character she plays on Dracula is two entirely different characters. And even thought I prefer her with dark hair you cant expect her to look exactly like she did on Merlin. I enjoy her on Dracula and I hope to see her in a lot more episode and in a stronger role. Well done Katie Mcgrath! For those who don’t have the stomach for Dracula all I can say Is don’t watch it. You should know just by the name Dracula that it was going to be gruesome and at times unforgiving. Whoever compared Dracula to Reign needs to have your head examine because it is two entirely different shows with two entirely different stories. In fact I would adventure to say that Dracula is a hundred times better than Reign …check the ratings. I put it right up their with the cw Arrow. You people got me started now don’t be surprise if you hear from me again. Especially if you make negative comments for example you don’t like Katie Mcgrath because she has blonde hair. You have waken a sleeping giant and this is going to be fun. Lastly but certainly not least for the few of you that say that Dracula is not up to par I say give it a chance its only the first season.

    Comment by john beach – December 3, 2013 06:23 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • i really liked it,but i am vampire fan, as log as the story is good, and this one isreally interesting.

    Comment by ann perrotta – December 13, 2013 08:42 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • omg im only 16 but im sorry to say but dracula is hott and i think he should be with the girl(i forgot her name) and also the people who are tring to kill dracula, i want them to be dystoried by some thing epic but cruel

    Comment by ashley martin – December 19, 2013 11:48 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • omg dracula (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) is so FINE! omg I love this show.

    Comment by TL Nab – December 21, 2013 09:29 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I hope to see other seasons of dracula. Sexiest dracula ever.

    Comment by Ada larsen – February 5, 2014 07:58 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Massive fan off the show…..was wondering if and hopefully when there will be a season 2 aired in the uk?? Need my JRM fix lol

    Comment by sarah – February 23, 2014 03:16 PM PDT  Reply To This Post

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