NBC’s “Dracula”

Dracula cast

Back in 2013, NBC dabbled in Steampunk, but if you blinked you might have missed it because the amazing show, Dracula, only ran for only ten episodes. In my humble opinion, the award for “Most Steampunk Television Show” has to go to this one because of the combination of punking a piece of classic literature from the steam era, the fabulous costumes and incredible sets.

Fur coatIn Bram Stoker’s book, we meet the title character in Transylvania when Jonathan Harker is sent to make arrangements for his estate and impending trip to London. In the show, Dracula has already come to England in the guise of an American inventor and businessman named Alexander Grayson, and Harker is a journalist who is doing a story on him. Mina Murray (Jessica de Gouw), Harker’s betrothed, is training to be a medical doctor under the tutelage of Abraham Van Helsing. In the novel, Van Helsing doesn’t show up until much later and is the expert brought in to take the vampire down, but in the show their relationship is far more complicated and interesting. Dracula (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) and Van Helsing (Thomas Kretschmann) are both victims of the same secret society, the Order of the Dragon. These wealthy men control everything, but especially business and commerce, and will use any means necessary to keep their power.

Dracula - Season 1The show’s creators make some very interesting decisions when it comes to the side characters as well as changing the central conflict. Renfield, who is the deranged bug-eater in the novel, is Dracula’s totally capable confidante. They met in America and Dracula feels a deep bond with him because they have both been ostracized for who they are (Renfield is African American), and Renfield is his only friend. After Dracula takes some vampiric revenge on a member of the Order, they hire a fabulous female vampire hunter (Victoria Smurfit) to take him down. Lucy Westenra (Katie McGrath) is also given a more interesting part to play, but I hate spoilers so you’ll just have to check it out for yourself.

In the novel, Dracula’s obsession with Mina Murray is never really explained, but in almost every adaptation of the book the reason seems to always be that she is some sort of reincarnation of his dead wife. This show keeps in that vein (pun intended), and the intrigue surrounding their almost magnetic draw to one another drives much of the plot. Van Helsing views her as a distraction at best, until she stumbles onto his research on the healing properties of vampire blood and becomes a liability.

This is an absolute must-see for Steampunk fans. You won’t be disappointed.

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