6 Reasons There’s Room On TV For Sky Living’s Dracula
There’s a new vampire on the scene; the NBC/BSkyB co-production Dracula, starring Jonathan Rhys Meyers, will be hitting our TV screens on Thursday 31 October at 9pm on Sky Living.
Vampires have been sucking blood in the collective conscious forever, and these days there’s an abundance of programmes featuring our favourite creatures of the night. British TV’s last vampire was 117-year-old John Mitchell in BBC’s Being Human, and since then the small screen’s become a crowded place for bloodsuckers.
Shows like True Blood and The Vampire Diaries command large audiences and devout followers, but Flicks And The City thinks there’s still space for another vampire in our lounges. And here are 6 reasons why:
1. Jonathan Rhys Meyers
He plays three characters in this series: the fabled Vladimir (Vlad), Dracula and his creation Alexander Grayson, a rich American and cover for the two aforementioned characters and the darker arts at hand. If the fanfare on social media is anything to go by, Rhys Meyers is still TV’s heartthrob du jour. And, really, are you surprised? With his intense stare, brooding and dangerous demeanour, he does Machiavellian like no other. His Dracula is sensual, seductive, rich, intelligent and dangerous. This, paired with impeccable tailoring and superpowers, means men and women will want to be or be with this version of Dracula.
In Bram Stoker’s Dracula, which the series is loosely based on, it was a time of conservatism and sex was taboo, so biting and sucking blood was the modus operandi and you don’t have to be Freud to get the innuendo there. But this version of Vlad is very 21st century – he delights in not just sinking his fangs into your jugular, but he fulfils his most carnal needs too. To illustrate this, Rhys Meyers said Vlad is happy to kill men but he “only bites women… he reserves his teeth for the women.” Further proof that fangs are the new tool of seduction. But it’s not just on the hunt for blood that things get hot and heavy; there’s a particularly steamy scene where Vlad and Lady Jane mark the “opening” of the opera “season” in a private box…
The opening scenes show the phenomenal special effects of the series as Dracula is brought back to life; and with any vampire foray, there is blood, gore and hunting aplenty too. There are also the vampire hunters, and in episode one we see a wonderful fight sequence where Rhys Meyers is embroiled in a battle of swords and blades for survival atop a Victorian terrace. And the women can fight too, Lady Jane’s impressive knife combat skills being an example. All this action unfolds as Dracula seeks revenge for wrongs inflicted upon him centuries earlier.
Rhys Meyers’ third character Grayson is all a smokescreen for Dracula’s plans to ruin the Order of The Dragon, a sinister group that rules the world and its wealth. This smacks of fantasy-socialism but also good old-fashioned revenge because centuries before, the Order burned Vlad’s wife alive and are responsible for his curse. Historical mysteries are utilised too; at one point Lady Jane laments the last vampire they had in London and the horrible mutilations they had to carry out to hide the vampire marks, giving us a supernatural new take on the Jack The Ripper murders.
Have you ever seen a poorly dressed vampire? Here you have something of a period drama on steroids, the rule book has been thrown out of the window and the cast are spectacularly turned out by costume designer Annie Symons. Elaborate gowns, bright colours, impeccable suits and peacock feathers give it a Victorian dress meets Steampunk feel. Lady Jane has the best transformations, going from socialite in elegant dresses to vampire hunter in jodhpurs and boots, whilst Rhys Myers has something of the The Great Gatsby about him. At the preview screening, cast members were unanimous that Nonso Anozie, as Dracula’s fiercely loyal confidante RM Renfield, is the epitome of style and was best dressed in the series; his monogrammed pajamas being a case in point. (You’ll remember Anozie as Xaro Xhoan Daxos in Game of Thrones.)
Jessica De Gouw plays the lead heroine, Mina Murray, who is the only thing standing in the way of Dracula’s plan for revenge. Mina is the mirror image of Vlad’s wife, who was burned alive by the sinister Order of the Dragon centuries before.
She is an intelligent women trying to become a doctor and is the vampire’s love interest, but she is ‘with’ Jonathan Harker (Oliver Jackson-Cohen), who makes a very good-looking point of the central love triangle. But it’s Victoria Smurfit’s sexy vampire hunter and society belle Lady Jane who delivers both cunning and camp in the series. Part of the sinister Order of The Dragon, she is sexy, sophisticated and could easily chop you into pieces!
Dracula premieres on Sky Living on Thursday 31 October at 9pm.