Review: BBC Dracula

Written by TV, TV Reviews

Dracula using an iPhone. Need I say more? Spoilers ahead…

Worryingly, this probably isn’t the weirdest moment from the BBC’s new adaptation of Dracula. The adaptation takes starts in the 1800s, but ultimately jumps to modern day London.

This was an unexpected twist, although it perhaps shouldn’t have been, when one considers that the show was written by Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat, the duo that brought Sherlock Holmes into the 21st century.

Personally, I thought the plot twist was both extremely entertaining, and well executed. It was woven into the story well, and fit well with the idea of Dracula as the ultimate eternal nemesis. He may be down for a while, but he’s never truly beaten. At the end of the second episode, Dracula appeared to have been vanquished, only to awaken in the 21st century at the start of the third episode.

The show really comes into its own as we see the vampire adjusting to modern life

Dracula ultimately docks in an England that is very different to the one he expected to encounter, and the show is all the better for it. One always gets the sense that 21st century London is the setting where Moffat and Gatiss feel most at ease, and things are no different in Dracula. The show really comes into its own as we see the vampire adjusting to modern life. The fact he acquires knowledge by drinking blood adds another unique element to this darkly amusing adaptation.

To me, the final episode of the three is by far the best. Episodes one and two serve as a solid introduction to the dark world of Count Dracula, but there is little to set them apart from any other slightly grisly adaption of Bram Stoker’s gothic novel. Episode three, however, is something new entirely.

Anyone who’s read the original book will be aware of Lucy, a young girl who falls for Dracula’s charms, and ultimately pays with her life. I felt that Moffat and Gatiss did a particularly good job of Lucy’s characterisation. They turned her into a young woman of the 21st century- extremely concerned about her appearance, obsessed with keeping her social media followers up to date, and fuelled by a desire to lead a more exciting life than her friends. It was easy to see why she might feel enticed by the dark glamour of a life with Dracula.

I also enjoyed the continuous game of ‘cat and mouse’ between Dracula and first Sister Agatha Van Helsing, and then her descendent, Zoe. In the end, I liked the idea that no-one won, as both enjoyed toying with the other so much, that the only way to die was together. My one disappointment is that the ending of episode three means we are unlikely to see Dracula return to battle with any future generations of Van Helsings.

Overall, Dracula does a stellar job of transforming a classic novel into a format that entertains the 21st century viewer. Its lead actors do an excellent job of conveying Moffat and Gatiss’s dark, and sometimes odd, sense of humour to their audience.

Last modified: 13th January 2020

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