Anyhoo, this new series stars Claes Bang as the Count, and is set in 1897, where English lawyer Jonathan Harker (John Heffernan) travels to Transylvania to meet a new client, Count Dracula.
However, when we first meet Harker, he’s been holed up in the Count’s castle for a month, and looking rather worse for wear.
At the time he arrives at the castle, though, it’s the turn of Dracula, himself, to not look fantastic, as he seems very reminiscent of Connor McLeod in Highlander II: The Quickening when he’s a very old man… but anyone with a brain can tell that both their fortunes will be reversed once Drac gets his way.
This first episode is mostly told in flashback, as Harker recounts his meeting, spilling the beans Sister Agatha (Dolly Wells), who’s sitting alongside another nun who’s mostly silent.
But… before long, there’s a weird man climbing out of a box in a weird way, showing where some of the budget had been spent. In fact, clearly, a good few quid has been splashed out on this, but it’s purely on basic jump-scares and men in silly masks, rather than any sort of coherent and cohesive storyline.
On the plus side, I quite like Claes Bang in the lead role, talking in a general matter-of-fact way about what he gets up to – including his line, “I’m undead, I’m not unreasonable”, instead of putting on a dodgy Translyvanian accent. However, it is largely a very dull story being told, and took forever to get anywhere. I know it’s the series opener, but come on, toss us a few bones! (not blood-soaked, thanks)
For a better bet, check out the 1979 comedy Love At First Bite, starring George Hamilton and Susan Saint James. That was ace!
And finally, here’s two pieces that were revealed – one around two thirds of the way through, and another towards the end, but in both for cases I’ll put them behind a spoiler header, because some people will read this before watching it on catch-up…
As Harker told his tale to the nuns, he was dead… yes, Drac had already killed him. Okay, so as Agatha tells him, he’s “undead”, adding that you have to hold on to SOME good news from time to time(!)
It was also shown that Sister Agatha’s surname is… Van Helsing.
Each episode will also be available on the BBC iPlayer after broadcast.
Episode 1 Score: 2/10
Series Directors: Jonny Campbell, Paul McGuigan, Damon Thomas
Series Producers: Ben Irving, Larry Tanz, Sue Vertue
Series Writers: Mark Gatiss, Steven Moffat
Novel: Bram Stoker
Music: David Arnold, Michael Price
Dracula: Claes Bang
Sister Agatha: Dolly Wells
Jonathan Harker: John Heffernan
Mother Superior: Joanna Scanlan
Mina: Morfydd Clark
Captain Sokolov: Jonathan Aris
Olgaren: Youssef Kerkour
Adisa: Nathan Stewart-Jarrett
Grand Duchess Valeria: Catherine Schell
Bloxham: Lyndsey Marshal
Frank: Mark Gatiss
Krasnaya Rubashka: Tim Ingall
Amanda: Corrina Wilson
Elena: Lujza Richter
Dr Sharma: Sacha Dhawan
Valentin: Clive Russell
Jack: Matthew Beard
Katherine: Chanel Cresswell
Bloofer Lady: Lydia West
Quincey: Phil Dunster
Lord Ruthven: Patrick Walshe McBride
Piotr: Samuel Blenkin
Portmann: Anthony Flanagan
Abramoff: Alec Utgoff
Nun: Dilyana Bouklieva
Commander Irving: Paul Brennen
Father Stepashin: Andrew Byron
Lady Dorabella Ruthven: Lily Dodsworth-Evans
Lorraine: Katherine Jakeways
Beth: Cat White
Alice: Millicent Wong
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.