NBC Universal and Sky Living have announced they’ll be co-producing a new TV series, Dracul‘ starring Jonathan Rhys Meyers. Superficially, the only surprising move is exactly how long it’s taken for everyone other than HBO and The CW to realize that vampires are sparkly TV gold right now, and the use of the word ‘provocative’ in that press release certainly implies we’ll be riding the train to Victorian Sexy Town whether we want to or not.
This doesn’t really interest me, because, well, it’s all been done. Repeatedly. What got my attention though, was this:
The 10-episode series introduces Dracula as he arrives in London, posing as an American entrepreneur who maintains that he wants to bring modern science to Victorian society. In reality, he hopes to wreak revenge on the people who ruined his life centuries earlier.
The run time interests me, because it could really go either way in terms of pacing. A lot of half-season shows have flown along, with early Dexter and Chuck seasons both doing great work in limited space. However, it could also be five episodes of plot stretched across ten episodes of posing, sex and costumes, which, having watched Torchwood: Miracle Day, is not an experience I’m especially eager to repeat.
Then there’s the American entrepreneur line and ‘bring modern science to Victorian society.’ That has the potential to be really interesting, especially if, on some level, Dracula’s genuine. The idea of someone who is immortal using their accrued experience for the common good, even if it’s the common good of what amounts to their herd animals, is a great, morally ambiguous concept. The Blade movies toyed with this but never used it as anything more than window dressing and there’s real potential here. Dracula running Victorian England blood farms is as interesting as Dracula kicking off the industrial revolution and either way, steampunk vampires should be great fun. Also, the revenge aspect is a good one, and it’ll be interesting to see who they cast as the characters from the original novel, especially Van Helsing, as they all have to hold the screen at the same time as not overshadowing Rhys Meyers. I vote Brian Cox for Van Helsing but then again I vote Brian Cox for most things.
And then we get to this:
There’s only one circumstance that can potentially thwart his plan: Dracula falls hopelessly in love with a woman who seems to be a reincarnation of his dead wife.
Oh dear. Still, it could be interesting and there’s enough of a bow wrapped around this particular doomed romance that it’s got my attention. Rhys Meyers does good work and has no problem with dark material so provided he’s not just required to stride around being Victorian undead mancandy (Or at least not just Victorian undead mancandy) this should be fun. Plus, let’s face it, brass embossed rotary stake guns or something similar are almost bound to show up.
Regardless, Sky Living are continuing to produce original drama and that’s to be applauded. More information as we get it.