Have you been hoping to see an example of old-school vampire myths on your screen, instead of the sparkling vampire variety? Look no further than NBC's Dracula
Tonight, NBC's new drama Dracula
premiered, and it wasted no time in getting to the gore. In the very first scene, two men drop down into a grave with an ornate coffin inside and break into it. Within minutes, one of the men slits the throat of the other and allows the blood to drip into the mouth of the body that resides within the coffin. If you wanted to be eased into this sort of scene on Dracula
, you're out of luck.
The body came to life following this bizarre ritual, and as it rises, viewers are transported to Victorian-era London, as Alexander Grayson, played by Jonathan Rhys Meyers and the star of the show, rises from the water in his bath tub.
It's clear from the get-go that Dracula is depending on Rhys Meyers' sex appeal to draw in at least some of their viewers. And let me tell you, it sure worked on me! (Sidenote: I am a long-time fan of Rhys Meyers, having been a diehard Velvet Goldmine viewer back in the day). He is preparing for a party at his home, and he is advised by another man that he must adopt an American accent for it. Which is unfortunate, as I do so love Rhys Meyers' Irish brogue.
Grayson's Great Feat
At the party, those with old money and new money alike are in attendance, and we meet several of the main characters of the series. Mina Murray, a medical student and the daughter of a prominent doctor, in particular catches Alexander's eye.
Grayson flashes back to a scene of the two of them in bed, and we learn later that she was his wife once upon a time. Surely this will be an interesting relationship to watch, thanks to that reason alone.
Also in attendance are Jonathan Harker, a journalist who arrived with Murray, Lucy Westenra, a friend of hers, Lady Jayne Wetherby, who has her eye on Grayson, and several businessman.
The businessmen being there is an important aspect; at the event, Grayson shows off his "latest technical marvel," free wireless power. Thanks to men rushing about in a control room creating power for "the magnetosphere," all the lightbulbs Grayson gives to guests to hold are able to light up without wires. This is of great concern to the businessmen in the room who work in the oil industry!
After the event, Lady Jayne invites Grayson to her opera box, obviously interested in spending some quality alone time with the mysterious man (I don't blame her). He declines, but towards the end of the episode, he does join her there. But as they're getting physical, Grayson watches Mina, across the audience in another box, instead of Lady Jayne. It's clear who he wants to be with, and it isn't the Lady Wetherby!
The Order of the Dragon
At the end of the party, one businessman in particular insulted Grayson, and he doesn't forget it. Grayson kills him, and when he explains his reasons to his staff member from earlier in the episode, Renfield, he reveals to the audience that the man was a member of the Order of the Dragon, a ruthless group of men who once used "cross and sword" to gain power and to slaughter those who stood in their way, and in this new time use business, politics, and oil.
We find out that Grayson has a very good reason for his vendetta against the group, one that he shares with Van Helsing, who is in fact the man who resurrected him, as well as Mina's professor in medical school and Grayson's partner in ruining the order.
The Order killed both his wife and Van Helsing's family, and their goal is to exact revenge by taking away the men's wealth and power. Grayson just got impatient and killed one of them in the meantime, that's all!
After the man is killed, his head is cut off and brought to Lady Jayne. She and her colleague appear to be watching the activity of the Order as well. Are they also vampires, or perhaps some other supernatural species?
Harker is given the opportunity at one point to interview Grayson, and when he arrives for the occasion, he holds out his hand for Grayson to shake in the sunlight. Grayson is hesitant, but does so anyway, and his hand gets a slight burn. Score one for vampire myth!
He and Mina attend the Opera together, and she talks a bit about all the things Grayson has (wealth and, if you ask me to describe him, his devilish good looks, for starters). But she also reassures Harker that he has one thing that Grayson never will: her.
It was made clear earlier in the episode that Harker wants to ask Mina Murray to marry him, but as a journalist, he doesn't have the standing in society he thinks necessary to ask. But it doesn't seem like she minds all that much!
Grayson's True Identity
In a later scene, Grayson watches what is probably another member of the Order from a rooftop, and while there, he is attacked. He and the assailant fight on the rooftops of London for a bit before Grayson slits his throat, and reveals to the hunter in his final moments that he is in fact Dracula. Mystery solved!
Is that Buffy?
One other character was introduced this episode who I believe will be important later on. A young blonde woman is seen practicing her fighting skills in a room with a caged vampire, and she appears to be Dracula's answer to having a Buffy the Vampire Slayer-esque character on the show. Time will tell what she'll get to do on the show.
Sexy...but is it Sensational?
It's interesting to me that the way Grayson introduces himself to London society is by introducing a new innovation to dazzle and delight them, when I don't personally feel NBC's Dracula really had anything we haven't seen done before in similar vampire-themed media.
Sure, Rhys Meyers is sexy, and sex is pretty inherent in vampire myth in general. And yes, the actors do try their best with the material. The setting is lovely, and the idea behind the show seems like a good one. But I wasn't surprised by anything that happened in the episode, and there wasn't really anything to make it stand-out from the other vampire contenders television has to offer right now.
Hopefully, Dracula steps up its game in the next few episodes. Something different and daring like wireless lightbulbs would be a welcome addition to the overall arc of the series.