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.)

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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!

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. Jazmin says:

    I really liked it!!.

  2. Rick katze says:

    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.

  3. Lara says:

    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.

  4. Nia says:

    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.

  5. Cat says:

    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. :)

  6. Sue says:

    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!

  7. Erica says:

    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. :(

  8. Mikael says:

    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

  9. Lynne says:

    Loved it!!!

  10. Bob says:

    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.

  11. Will says:

    BORING! The previews looked so good too :(

  12. windy4292 says:

    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..

  13. waterbug says:

    I watching because I love watching Jonathon…yum…

  14. mavbraselton@gmail.com says:

    hi there just finished watching nbc dracula show and liked it alot i hope for more episoids too come

  15. Mickey says:

    i’m pretty biased because I love every inch of Jonathan Rhys Meyers!

  16. Nickjkraft@gmail.com says:

    This show was so confusing. Worst Vampire show EVER. Deleted the 2nd after about 40 min into the 1st show. zzzzzzz

  17. Chanel says:

    Fantastic

  18. 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!

  19. NCB says:

    I cannot get enough id this series, best thing that’s been on TV in a long time. Bring on season two…please!!!!

  20. john beach says:

    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.

  21. ann perrotta says:

    i really liked it,but i am vampire fan, as log as the story is good, and this one isreally interesting.

  22. ashley martin says:

    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

  23. TL Nab says:

    omg dracula (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) is so FINE! omg I love this show.

  24. Ada larsen says:

    I hope to see other seasons of dracula. Sexiest dracula ever.

  25. sarah says:

    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

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