Thursday, May 14, 2020

Moffat, Gatiss and Dr… Acula

I think I'm even later to this party than the Witcher one.  Good thing they’re both excellent parties.

The two minds that brought some of the best of the revamped Doctor Who to the world and followed it up with an extremely cool and popular take on Sherlock have put their own spin on another British fictional icon.  In fact Dracula is the only character portrayed MORE than Sherlock Holmes on screen

2012 counts show it at 272 to 254.

If I had more energy I’d figure out the last eight years. But since Wikipedia hasn’t bothered, why should I?  Probably add another five to ten for each and call it a day.

Like everything else Steven Moffat is involved with, there are multiple plot threads that don’t seem connected, yet turn out to be with a twist that is far different from audience expectations.

This happened at awesome levels of farce in Coupling, with timey-whimey bits in Doctor Who, and with unexpected leads and reveals in Sherlock.

And I think it happened here.  Dracula is a novel I’ve read and reread at least a dozen times. The story is part of me, and I know it in detail. Therefore I'm not sure if the twists are only twists to those of us who are familiar with the source material, and people who have no expectations can see them coming a mile away.

While Sherlock took inspiration from the various cannon stories; Dracula follows the story path of the novel…except where it doesn’t.  But in those cases, it usually does with an interesting variation.

Needless to say, it’s difficult to talk about this show without spoiling things.  There are new characters introduced, that turn out to not be all that new. There are also characters used in different ways than the original story, to allow this version to build in other narrative directions, yet they still remain elements of the book versions of themselves or others.

There were a couple of very cool additions to the vampire mythology. I particularly liked two of the concepts.  

One- that being undead just happens sometimes, and Dracula is as powerful as he is due to being particularly good at it.  

Two- part of the reason for that is vampires can absorb knowledge, mannerisms, and even accents from the blood they ingest.

That is the key to a Dracula's story. Having his opponents be likable, entertaining, and impressive helps…

But this story also succeeded in the most important parts- having Dracula be charming, intelligent, and yet totally evil, ruthless and terrifying.

This is an original portrayal, but befitting a British production, there’s a definite Christopher Lee vibe in some of the scary moments.

Unlike Moffat’s other work, were he could keep weaving the plot threads along, this adaptation is based on a finite story.  Therefore the ending works as a full stopping point. 

However, there are enough bits left lying around for a continuation if the ratings point that way.

I'm hoping that’s the case, as I preferred some of the earlier vampiric explanations to the supposedly accurate final one.

I also don’t want to minimize the other half of the show running duo.  As with anything Mark Gatiss has a hand in, the stories are well constructed, compelling, surprising, and an odd mix of terrifying with silly.  Speaking of odd mix of terrifying with silly, the role he appears in, as always with him, is just that.

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