Vampires are so five minutes ago. Twilight rose and fell, and then became 50 Shades of Grey. Even The Vampire Diaires begat the next best thing: original vampires with a list of powers to match any difficult situation. At this point, if I’m going to waste my time on a show about vampires, it’s gotta be a game-changer. So when a little show called Dracula comes on, you don’t even bother glancing at the gif sets on tumblr. After all, it couldn’t possibly be cool. Dracula was pretty much the first entry into pop culture vampirism, right? The chances of it bringing anything new and tasty to the plate are admittedly slim, not to mention the show has its share of adversity: vampire ennui, being on NBC, airing at 10 PM on a Friday on NBC. BUT! Don’t let the scant possibility of it succeeding get you down. The first episode was pretty damn fabulous, and here are six reasons why:
1. Jonathan Rhys-Meyers
Um. Enough said.
Actually, not enough said. JRM is by definition, as hot as those candles, but he’s also a great actor. He brought such a passionate hunger to his role as Henry VIII on Tudors and he’s doing this same thing with his juicy role on Dracula. Yes, he’s also wet. And naked. A little tidbit worth mentioning again. And like I said, this show airs on a Friday night at 10 PM. This ain’t your parents’ Dracula, kids. Blood + sex + JRM = spontaneous combusting.
You thought he actually lit those candles?
2. It’s not the Dracula you expected.
Technically, the show is called Dracula, otherwise historically known as Vlad Tepes. But in the 1880s, Dracula goes by the moniker Alexander Grayson, and he’s posing as an American industrialist in London to ferret out a bunch of bad peeps called (yeah, I know), the Order of the Dragon.
Apparently they can’t go around burning people at the stake anymore, so they’ve gotten all legitimate and involved in the Industrial Revolution. Dracula is there to beat them not by singlehandedly draining them all of blood in the goriest, most gruesome way possible, but by using free technology to dry up their oil income.
It’s steampunk meets 21st century eco-terrorism meets paranormal mystery. Oh, and Van Helsing is involved too, and he’s not only Mina Murray’s biology professor, he’s Dracula’s partner. In fact, he’s the guy who dug him up in the first place. And the plot thickens…
3. The Clothes
Unlike Reign, the show isn’t going the Anthropologie-meets-fantasy-French-Court theme. The fashion is clearly modernized, but at least we’re seeing shades of what people wore in the late 1800s. Just peep Lucy Westenra’s crazy fabulous feathers — I’d like to steal that perky hat.
Also, COLOR! The Industrial Revolution brought about chemical dyes and it was finally considered socially permissable to wear such bright, saturated colors.
Sidenote: we get additional eye candy courtesy some intricately decorated sets — maybe not totally authentic, but still beautiful to look at. And that’s really what matters, right?
The entire pilot episode had this opulent brooding glamour vibe going on. Hopefully the production values stay high. Is Fri/10pm/NBC a coveted advertiser spot? I hope so.
4. Reincarnation is really freaking cool
Reincarnation is my Achilles’ heel. I’ll watch or read anything that uses reincarnation as a plot line. In Dracula, Mina Murray is hinted to be Dracula’s dead wife/lover who died tragically, burned at the stake by the Order of the Dragon.
Remember when I mentioned what a great actor Jonathan Rhys-Meyers is? Case in point: the moment he sees Mina for the first time = FLAWLESS.
His expression guts me. The entire opening party scene was brilliant for its sheer grand opulence, but the character moments are what made it memorable. Of course, the lovely Mina is already on another man’s arm, but we know just how long that will last, right?
Let the Vampire Diaries have their doppelgangers. Reincarnation is where it’s at, baby.
We even got a flashblack of the lovers in bed. Guys, I love flashbacks even more than I love reincarnation. We’d better get flashblacks every episode, a la Arrow.
AND! In the pilot, the flashblack even included a shirtless JRM! You’d think I had the producers on speed dial.
5. This. Lady.
Lady Jayne is a freaking bad ass. She waltzes around complaining that she could be in a warm bath instead of at a wonderful party, dressed to the nines, flirting with Alexander Grayson.
And in her spare time, she also happens to be a ninja.
Listen, I can’t even make this shit up.
Totally a ninja.
She’s also got this take-no-prisoners corset and necklace combination, which she wears to the opera, and seduces Dracula without a single word.
Lady Jayne doesn’t need words — she’s got epic cleave and emeralds the size of walnuts.
5. Dracula’s Sword
Not a euphanism (a girl can dream, though).
Dracula accepts Lady Jayne’s challenge and raises her one ancient sword with carved bone handle and a fierce fur coat.
It’s probably a draw this week, but there’s always next episode. Will Alexander Grayson bring free electricity to the masses? Will he defeat the Order of the Dragon? Will he let Mina go in order to shag Lady Jayne? To answer these burning questions and more, cancel your Friday night plans and tune in at 10/9c. Dracula’s just getting started.