Amanda Cade

Worth It! (Things to try, read, watch, hear, and discuss)

Screenshot 2020-01-05 at 10.55.39 AM

Yesterday, the Netflix/BBC adaption of Bram Stoker’s Dracula became available here in the United States. I’m a big fan of the Dracula mythos, have read the novel multiple times, read many other books featuring the character, and have seen too many film adaptions to count. Basically, if there’s a new Dracula movie, I watch it. So of course, yesterday I dropped everything to watch the three part miniseries, which runs about 4.5 hours.

Was it time well spent? Well…yes and no. Let’s take it one episode at a time. I’ll be including a few plot details, but no serious spoilers. We kick things off with…

Episode One: The Rules of the Beast

Dracula 1 The first episode gives a nod to the epistolary format of the novel by framing the narrative as a conversation between Jonathan Harker and Sister Agatha, who struggles with her faith but has made a serious study of vampires and the occult. The introduction of this character let me know right away that the show wasn’t planning on strict adherence to the source material, but that wasn’t really surprising. There are a lot of elements from the original story here, and the show’s take on Harker’s time in Dracula’s castle is creepy, visually engaging, and generally felt like a worthy adaption. I really enjoyed Claes Bang’s portrayal of Dracula as he used Harker’s blood (the show relies heavily on the idea that drinking blood allows the vampire to absorb knowledge, memories, etc.) to transform himself from an octogenarian, old-world aristocrat to a young, modern gentleman who would fit in well once he journeyed to London.

As Harker’s story came to a close, the show included some reveals that further distinguished it from the novel. I won’t get into specifics because of spoilers, but I will say that overall I didn’t mind the changes, because they were interesting and made me wonder where the show was headed. The climax of the episode was a confrontation with Dracula that showcased both his powers and his limitations. The situation surrounding this event was completely new, and while it felt a little forced, and went on a little too long, on the whole I thought it came together pretty well.

Overall, I enjoyed the first episode and happily went straight into…

Episode Two: Blood Vessel

Dracula 2 Here, Dracula shifts firmly into the role of protagonist. Once again, a large chunk of the episode is framed by storytelling, but this time it’s Dracula himself narrating. Again, we have an important section of the novel adapted and re-imagined. This time, it’s Dracula’s voyage on the Demeter. In the book, Dracula is only glimpsed as he slowly picks off the ship’s crew. The show greatly expanded the story of this trip, adding a collection of passengers, including Dracula himself. As the death toll mounts, the count actually participates in the attempts to find the murderer. I would have liked to see a little more exploration of a few things (specifically, several of the passengers and their connections), but you can’t have everything. Unlike the Demeter’s doomed voyage in the novel, in the show a group of survivors discovers Dracula’s nature and we have another confrontation.

I liked the second episode as much as the first, especially because of the flavor of a mystery story, a genre I really enjoy. I was looking forward to seeing how everything played out in…

Episode Three: The Dark Compass

Dracula 3 …when, in my opinion, the whole thing falls apart. After the events on the Demeter, Dracula wakes up in the modern world, and it turns out that he has been expected. I was dubious about this turn of events from the start, but was willing to give it a go. What I was expecting was a new interpretation of the London events of the novel, with a spin on Lucy Westenra’s turning and the subsequent final confrontation with Dracula. Was I got was…not that. Honestly, this episode simply couldn’t decide what it wanted to be about, and became a strange collection of shallow characters, poorly developed conflicts, and plot holes. It was completely lacking in tension, and the resolution was as bland as it was unsatisfying. Stories can be changed, adapted, reinvented, etc…but any story needs to be good.

This version of Dracula ended up being 2/3 pretty good, and 1/3 hot mess. I’d say it’s worth three hours…but not four and a half.

vampire

Seen it? Want to see it? Other thoughts? Let’s chat.

21 thoughts on “So is the new Dracula Worth Watching?

  1. The Eclectic Contrarian says:

    I’ve been to his castle!

    Liked by 2 people

      1. The Eclectic Contrarian says:

        Awesome!! I was there with a bunch of youngins who had the attention of span of a second and an interest that was much less, but I thoroughly enjoyed what I remember of it..

        Liked by 3 people

      2. Katherine says:

        I was there in a group as well, but it seemed a little bit crowded.
        The rooms of the castle are so small but interesting and nicely decorated.

        Liked by 2 people

      3. The Eclectic Contrarian says:

        Oh yeah! That big place gets tiny real quick with all the people…. it rained that day and didn’t hurt attendance any at all.

        Liked by 1 person

      1. The Eclectic Contrarian says:

        It was super intelligent! Just wish I could go back with people more like myself… interested and glad to be there…

        And know that I can just walk in the torture room…

        Liked by 1 person

      2. The Eclectic Contrarian says:

        Super “interesting!”

        Liked by 1 person

  2. shellteacup says:

    I like you am a fan of the books and most of the films and I really enjoyed this miniseries. I thought the portrayal of Dracula as a charming, magnetic character was done really well, the casting was brilliant and although the final part was unconventional I thought it contrasted well with the darkness of the first two. It had a bit more humour and only fell really flat right at the end. Overall it wasn’t a complete failure. X

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Katherine says:

    Hey, Amanda. I am actually a big fan of vampires, though I cannot say that they really exist. I am always keeping myself informed reading the literature of vampires and demons, watching movies and so on.
    In my 24 years of existence I never encountered one, and I am from Romania. I am well aware of the history of Vlad the Impeller and been to the castle.

    So, maybe it is all just a big fantasy raised for money and fame. I will not know until I meet a real one in person.

    But hey, looking forward to see the new Dracula series! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Amanda Cade says:

      I would love to visit the castle. I bet it’s an amazing experience.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Katherine says:

        Yes, a little bit crowded but its interesting.
        Make sure you visit the small hut at the exit, its really scary and fun,

        🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I loved the first two episodes, I thought that they were brilliant…then I saw episode three.😂 I’m not too sure what to think of it to be honest. I applaud them for doing something different and I thought that it was clever but, at the same time I just wanted the gothic horror setting and vibe of the first two books and couldn’t help wishing that it was set back then.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Books, I meant episodes, damn typing error, sorry.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I had the exact same reaction. I watched the first 3 episode and finished with a meh. I can’t seem to find anything on Netflix or Prime that keeps my interest. The good news is that I’m doing a lot more reading!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Amanda Cade says:

      I spend a lot more time reading than watching TV; it’s usually easier to find a good book than to find a good show or movie.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Sam R says:

    I’m leary about checking this show out….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Amanda Cade says:

      It definitely has its pros and cons…I doubt I’ll ever watch it again, and I don’t think I’d watch a second season, if there is one.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Anna Aurora says:

    I haven’t seen it , didn’t know of it’s worth watching. Thank you for an honest review 💕❤️

    Liked by 1 person

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