Anyone that has yet to watch Friday night’s episode of Dracula, entitled ‘A Whiff of Sulfur’, here’s the only point where I will suggest you do that before reading ahead. As always, this is not a spoiler free blog. THIS REVIEW MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS! You’ve been warned.
Not a great second episode, not bad, but it was a little tedious and boring at points. It almost feels like there is too much set up to be had with, that there really isn’t enough story to depend on. This is a series about Dracula, a vampire that has had many variations of his story told. Certainly there must be a more interesting way of writing him into Victorian England that is better than what they are doing. Yes, this is the beginning of this tale, but too much beginning can alienate an audience.
One of the things that I have note that I did like this episode was the way the fight scenes are filmed. I quite enjoyed the slowed down cinematography to accentuate how visceral violence can be. Still, this technique may eventually become boring if it is the only way fighting scenes are filmed. But for the second episode, I do still enjoy it. The rest of the cinematography on the other hand was far too English for my liking. I don’t know what it is about English television, but I’ve never been able to enjoy its low quality filming style, and this series appears to be adapting that. For now I can get passed it, but I’m not sure for how long that will last.
Jonathan Rhys Meyers I also have to commend for being the best part of this series. He is a phenomenal actor, and quite perfect for this role. While I’m still not a fan of his need to use an American accent and how annoying it is compared to the British one he adapts while in the company of Renfield, I do seem to be able to get passed it. The way he is able to play this character is just splendid. And might I add how fantastic he looked in the flashback scenes where he has longer hair and blood distorting his face. I also find it quite intriguing, and almost despairing, to see that he imagines Mina – or her likeness at least – in the woman he was sleeping with’s place. Dracula really did love his wife.
While I am happy to see that Mina isn’t a proper English woman, and wishes to strive for something more, I do think that the character needs to be developed more. At this moment, she seems rather flimsy and almost dull, with a personality that doesn’t appear to come out quite clearly. I do hold out hope for her, but I’m worried that it may be the actress, and not the character herself.
Of the other characters, Harker is the only one that strikes me as half as interesting as the two aforementioned characters. While it disappoints me that in his drunken stupor he thought he could stagnate Mina’s dreams once a ring fit on her finger, I hope that this is resolved somewhat in the long run. I do hope Dracula himself and Mina end up together eventually, but now would be too soon if this series hopes to hold together for many seasons. But again about Harker, I am happy to follow him in his curiousity of this seemingly American character. It’s nice to be able to wonder along with a character that seeks the answers the audience duly seeks. I just hope he’s not as misogynistic as he came off in this episode, although it may have had something to do with his yearning to be able to take care of Mina while he couldn’t pay for anything in this episode until he got the new job.
All in all, this isn’t the worst thing out there, but it does lack a certain appeal. I hope to find it more interesting, and that the villains of the piece gain more personality than the blandness they’ve so far appeared to have. They’re kind of boring, and that’s not a great thing to have in a series you want to last. I was happy to see that there were opening credits, although rapid in their introduction. I’m always more interested in watching a series like the good old days where opening credits were the norm, as compared with today where an opening title is what’s usual. I will continue to give this series a few more episodes, but intrigue is a necessity for the long run.
My rating: 6 out of 10.
“To lose her twice would be more than I could bear.” – Grayson (aka Dracula) explains to Renfield his reasoning behind keeping Mina in his life.
“Even you, you miserable git.” – Harker says to one of his co-workers.
Okay, I’m off to write up my review for Haven now. After that I’ll be writing reviews of Once Upon A Time and Revenge. Then I’m all caught up. If you have yet to read my apology and reason behind the lateness of this review, please check out the end of my latest Revolution review. Stay tuned.