Tag Archives: Network TV

‘Dracula’ Recap And Review: ‘The Blood Is The Life’


Photos: NBC.com

How is it the end of October already?! I swear I just wrote about my anticipation for NBC’s ‘Dracula‘ a few weeks ago and, yet, the premiere has come and gone. And it was pretty damned awesome. First off, hats off to the quality of this production. I felt as if I were actually in the cinema watching a movie as opposed to a television show! Filming, sound, costume, post production, EVERYTHING is top notch. The credit sequence alone is visually lush and satisfying, an excellent complement to the show’s content. ‘Dracula’ is not a half-assed effort by any means.


drac tomb


The pilot opened with what appeared to be a run of the mill grave robbing except one of the culprits has no idea that he was about to be sacrificed for Dracula’s liquid lunch. After all, “The Blood Is The Life” states the man who, for some reason, thinks this resurrection is a good idea. I’m not arguing, mind you, but he (identity unknown) has obvious ulterior motives! Robber #1 slashes the throat of Robber #2 and, as the blood splashes over The Impaler’s face, his flesh regenerates as he’s brought back to “life”. The scene then segue’s to a similar one of Vlad rising…from the bath. HERE’S WHERE WE THANK NBC, OKAY? Oh, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, you’re still the embodiment of “edible” and I’ve missed that scar on your belly more than I can say. *daydreams* *daydreams some more* Ahem. Yes. We’re now about a decade later in fair Londinium where our favorite vampire is now in the guise of one Alexander Grayson, an American industrialist trying to revolutionize the energy business for reasons not yet revealed. Good times.


Dracula - Season 1


So Grayson is throwing a “holla back, London” bash at his home, the lavish Carfax Manor (say it with a British accent). The top tier of society in primary attendance, in walks Jonathan Harker (Oliver Jackson-Cohen) flanked by Mina Murray (Jessica De Gouw) and Lucy Westenra (Katie McGrath looking eerily like Keira Knightly and I’d like them both for Xmas). As Lucy’s guests, they attended mainly out of curiosity. Just who IS Alexander Grayson? It’s the same question even the hoity toity speculate about as they take potshots at how much of a showoff the mysterious Mr. Grayson is, with his expensive champagne glasses and fancy ballroom. How dare he be so American?! The nerve! “How can we properly mock him if we haven’t set eyes on the man?” *eye roll* There’s a palpable air of class discrimination from the get-go, something that becomes even more pervasive as the evening progresses; we’re already being shown who the douches are so that we get an idea how they later earn their individual fates. And fail to mourn them. Oh, well! Then, suddenly, it is time! Renfield, Vlad/Grayson’s majordomo played by the fabulously perfect Nonso Anozie, announces that the host is ready to make his grand entrance. Dun, dun, dunnnnnnnn.


Dracula - Season 1


Alexander (so many ways to address this character, omgaw) hits the stairs and…time sloooooooooowwwwws as him and Mina lock eyes. I shiver just thinking about it, as if someone just whispered “Mufasa” in my ear. There’s a flash of them together from another time and place before he gets it together, formally welcoming his victims guests before instructing Renfield to find out all he can about the “woman in the blue satin, creme chiffon”. Oh, and the man with her as well because know thy competition, eh, Drac? Meanwhile, Mina is busy trying to hide her fit of vapors from Jonathan. QUICK! SOMEONE TELL THIS GIRL THAT THIS IS A JUDGEMENT FREE ZONE. And it looks like Vlad isn’t the only predator in the equation; Lady Jayne Wetherby (Victoria Smurfit) pops out of nowhere to basically be like, “Shorty, can I hit that?” But we soon find out there’s more to this chick than just someone trying to scratch an itch.


drac avec renfield


In doing his rounds, Vlad approaches some of the aforementioned douches. IT DOES NOT GO WELL. They don’t want to hear of his ideas and wouldn’t deign to sell any of their patents to a lowly American! Little do they know that, I suspect, they’re all playing right into his hands. These people are being tested and being found wanting. This serves the dual purpose of allowing Vlad to commiserate with Jonathan though, inadvertently bringing Mina right.to.him. Again, they’re momentarily hypnotized by one another to where Mina comments that she swears they’ve met before. Cliche? Of course. Does it work? Of course! Now the games begin. Alexander demonstrates the science he’s created for the future of energy and ye olde douches start to shit their pants because all their money comes from petroleum. Oops. Whatever Dracula’s plan is, we have the official “how” of it. Cue Lady Jayne hunting up Vlad to offer him an enjoyable opera in her private box. I’M DONE. Never suggest a hook-up when you can just invite someone over to an opera in your box, okay? Okay.


Jonathan, Mina, Lucy


Sir Clive decides to insult his host for being an upstart and vows to never let him succeed. Well, shit, next time hang a dinner bell around your neck! Back at Chez Dracul, Renfield is shaking his head at Vlad making figurative coleslaw out of Clive but here’s where we get our “why” of everything! BECAUSE, REALLY, DOESN’T THE FATHER OF ALL VAMPIRES HAVE SOMETHING BETTER TO DO THAN ALL THIS? Apparently, all Los Douches belong to The Order Of The Dragon, a worldwide organization of evil individuals willing to destroy anyone/anything in order to amass wealth and power. Flashbacks provide that their past actions are what “killed” Vlad and his wife; they went around burning villagers alive in the name of the Church. The Order has all of their money tied up in oil and, if he can take away that money, Vlad can take away the Order’s power and cripple them forever. I guess revenge is sweeter than virgin’s blood?


Dracula fangs


As the episode continues, we see “Alexander” start to weave his web, manipulating everyone with ease. Lady Jayne proves to be as shady as suspected, indeed succeeding in getting Vlad to visit her box. While Van Helsing (Thomas Kretschmann) makes an appearance as Mina’s med school professor, Jonathan dubs Alexander “delusional”, and Vlad does some creepy/sexy stalking of an unsuspecting Mina. There’s even a reference to Jack the Ripper (fuck yeah!) when Sir Clive’s head ends up in a box courtesy of the Order. Just what, what, what?! Such a crazy amount of set up went on in this debut though it didn’t feel overwhelming the way an episode of ‘Game of Thrones’ might be. There were moments that felt a little awkward/slow but they’re ignorable in a pilot for obvious reasons of world building. I’m intrigued to see where they continue to take the classic mythos and whether it can maintain its current sexy, stylish pace. Especially when we only got occasional glimpses of Vlad’s more savage side. More of that, please!


‘Dracula’ airs Fridays at 10pm on NBC.

‘Reign’ Panel And Review From New York Comic Con


I remember hearing a bit about the CW’s new show ‘Reign’ when the fall network TV lineup was first announced. It sounded interesting if heavy for a station like the CW to take on. I soon discovered why they bothered; ‘Reign’, while focusing on the “life” of Mary, Queen of Scots (Adelaide Kane), is mostly a fictional account of events. And not even at that general level a lot of other history based shows are. We’re talking about 85% fiction and I might be underestimating. It’s a fact that’s brought the show plenty of flack from historians as the show seems pointless when the only real aspects that ‘Reign’ has in common with actual events is, primarily, character names. Everything else is the result of the creators throwing in whatever the hell they think will attract viewers. It’s a shame the station didn’t decide to use this perfect opportunity to teach/reinforce history but, well, it is the CW? I’m not sure just how much we can expect from them in that regard.

Reign screening
Reign screening © 2013 Francesca Rodriguez


‘Reign’, debuting tonight, wasn’t high on my “must watch” list for the aforementioned controversial reasons. But I got tricked into watching the first episode this past weekend at the CW’s New York Comic Con panel (I was initially there for ‘Beauty and the Beast’, holla!) and, to be fair, rather enjoyed it. The cast, naturally, is attractive and young, which is par for the course from our friends at WPIX. *Yes, I’m aware that I just dated myself. Move along.*  In their quest to make the story of Queen Mary and Prince Francis (Toby Regbo) all the more hip, the audience is also treated to a stunning wardrobe, relatively modern language, and excellent musical scoring. There’s also a bit of scandalous sexy times and a brewing love triangle, oh, yeah.

Reign "Pilot
Mommy, Daddy, and Mistress makes three!

Beautifully filmed, the visual effect certainly grabs one’s attention, helping to distract more discerning viewers from the occasional moment of ridiculousness. I mean, the first time Queen Catherine (played by my boo, Megan Follows) stalks over to some scruffily hot dude and goes, “Tell me what you’ve seen, Nostradamus”, I about pissed myself; It just sounded so silly and suddenly Nostradamus (Rossif Sutherland of THE Sutherlands) was a guy who could totally get it, if you know what I mean and I think you do.

Mary and Francis
Mary and Francis doing their best ‘Twilight’ impersonation


At the beginning of the series, a teenage Mary Stuart is sent to the French court after residing in a nunnery since childhood. Her intended, Prince Francis, is attracted to her but isn’t sure he wants to put the proverbial ring on it. He’s basically content to continue sleeping with various courtiers until he figures it out. Meanwhile, a forbidden spark is born between Mary and Bash (Torrance Coombs), Francis’ bastard brother. *Listen, if you’re not already eating figurative popcorn at this point, there’s just no hope for you.*

ladies dancing
Mary and co. brought the Scottish realness, apparently.


Mary’s ladies-in-waiting have accompanied her to court, each with their own dramas and scandals as well e.g. hooking up with King Henry II of France (Alan Van Sprang). Yo. It was hot. Seriously. I think I’m gonna need to recreate that for shits ‘n’ giggles. And Queen Catherine gets the requisite court intrigue off to a roaring start by doing certain…THINGS (no spoilers) that are fucked up yet UNDERSTANDABLE. As a friend of mine stated, “It’s history meets ‘Gossip Girl’”. So long as you don’t take ‘Reign’ too seriously and simply enjoy it for what it is i.e. a pretty show with pretty people doing pretty “alternate universe” things, I think any fan of the ‘Tudors’, etc. will potentially dig it.

Reign panel
Toby Regbo, Adelaide Kane, Torrance Coombs, and executive producer Laurie McCarthy (l-r) during the panel © 2013 Francesca Rodriguez


The panel, by the by, was a pleasure. The main cast showed up and enlightened us to the fact that they’re all very good friends, a situation they’re grateful for since they spend more time with each other than the rest of the cast does. This chemistry was evident both in the panel discussion and the premiere episode we were shown; It’s always nice to see a cast interacting off set. Now, I’d heard rumor that Adelaide was something of a bitch but I didn’t get that vibe from her at all. It’s possible that it’s her outspoken and slightly brash persona rubbing some people the wrong way? All it did was make me want to hang with her though.  In fact, she’s officially on my crush list now so…ADELAIDE, I’M SINGLE. Bless her little soul for then deciding to school the panel moderator on the finer points of “shipping” as “ships”, aka favored romantic pairings, are the center of the show.


If you’re in the mood for some fun, eye candy, an extremely diet dose of history, and/or entertaining court intrigue, give the first episode of ‘Reign’ a try. If nothing else, at least there is costume porn!


Give Me All The Fall TV, Please.

Ahh, the scent of Fall in the air! Of course, with the advent of the school year comes the excitement for new network television. Who doesn’t enjoy the chance to get uber into a new show, only to get shafted at the end of the season when it’s not renewed? So, come, let me tell you which ones I’m hoping are not only good, but also manage to stick around long enough to make it through sweeps.


Photo: nbc.com

First up is ‘Ironside’! Starring Blair Underwood, Spencer Grammer, and Kenneth Choi. If it sounds a tad familiar, ‘Ironside’ is a remake of a show from the 60’s/70’s by the same name. The main difference between the two is that the new version takes place in New York City vs. the old San Francisco location. Underwood plays the title role of Robert Ironside, a seasoned NYC detective who plays by his own rules and who’s good enough at what he does to get away with it. So what if he’s confined to a wheelchair?! The fact is that a character driven, police procedural featuring badass cops is frequently a good thing and basically the reason I still lose entire weekends to marathons of ‘Law and Order: SVU’. Speaking of badasses, I have a strong sense that Ironside is going to be the real life embodiment of a “deal with it” gif.  Most comforting though, is how this show’s premise has plenty of potential to avoid the end of season question of whether or not the plot can continue past the Winter thaw; there will always be crime and there will always be the gut reactions of characters to dissect.

Premiere date: October 2nd at 10pm on NBC


At the risk of being somewhat redundant, I felt this list wouldn’t be complete without my mentioning ‘Dracula’. Yes, I’ve gushed about it before, blah blah blah. Clearly, I have good reason. This time we have the father of all vampires (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) as an American outsider in Victorian London, on the hunt to punish those who cursed him to an eternity of night. As it goes, a run in with his reincarnated love throws somewhat of a wrench in things. Jesus, why am I even running this down, people? It’s DRACULA! This is right up there with ‘Beauty and the Beast’: a tale as old as time and all that. One could even argue that they’re different forms of the same tale…both dear to my heart…for probably the same reasons. Omg, I need to go and reevaluate EVERYTHING about my life now, don’t I? Whatever.

It goes without saying that every time the idea is redone, I’m 100% game to see how they pulled it off, even if it ends up a complete shit-show. Plus? Is it EVER a bad idea to have JRM on one’s screen?! Nope. No. Non.

Premiere date: October 25 at 10pm on NBC



Okay, can all my fellow nerds gather ‘round for this, please? After an emotional blow dealt by ‘The Avengers’ i.e. Coulson’s death (do NOT bitch about spoilers unless you’ve lived on Mars since May 2012 or something), the rabid distress of fans was something that Marvel couldn’t avoid responding to. Not to mention that many of us felt we were on the receiving end of a most nefarious gaslamp anyway. I mean, even though “Son of Coul” was not the quintessential superhero, he held a special place in our hearts and we mourned his death accordingly; they couldn’t just get rid of him! Enter Agent Phil Coulson’s (Clark Gregg) illustrious return in ABC’s ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D’! Co-starring Ming-Na Wen, Iain De Caestecker, and Elizabeth Henstridge, the show promises to bring us more of a behind the scenes look at the other agents that make the organization work when there ISN’T a worldwide catastrophe requiring the presence of the Avengers. As something to fill both the entertainment and knowledge gap, between major franchise films, this show makes the utmost sense and I am oh-so looking forward to it!

Premiere date: September 24th at 8pm on ABC



The entertainment industry loves to beat a dead horse, don’t they? In this case, it’s a dead, and headless, HORSEMAN in Fall’s ‘Sleepy Hollow’. And it looks like the beating and updating of the old story may have worked! Here we’re getting a resurrected Ichabod Crane (guess we’ll find out HOW and WHY in the pilot) who’s tasked with, once again, trying to stop the aforementioned Headless Horseman of lore. As a plot point, they were simultaneously brought back since, otherwise, a show about the Washington Irving tale wouldn’t make much sense. Along with trying to adjust to present day Sleepy Hollow and fighting off the impending apocalypse, Ichabod finds himself trying to make sense of the jacked up past he left behind. Starring Tom Mison and Nicole Beharie, this show is slated to be a history-laced Gothic mystery for the masses. And we’ll get to say the name “Ichabod” in everyday conversation. Win-win! Bring on the costume porn!

Premiere date: September 16th at 9pm on FOX



*drumroll* Finally, there’s ‘The Blacklist’. Ohhhhh, man, am I salivating for this one! I mean, outside of it having James Spader as the main protagonist (Raymond “Red” Reddington) sporting the only l’air de douchebag. This go around, he’s playing a top notch criminal who thinks it’s about time he starts HELPING the FBI on his tail, if only to start gunning for fellow criminals on his own personal “blacklist”. Smartly, the FBI takes his offer while still trying to keep him on something of a leash. Elizabeth Keen, played by Megan Boone, is a rookie profiler yet the only person Red will work directly with. Why? No one really knows and Red certainly isn’t revealing his end game. What we CAN fathom, at least from the trailers, is that there’s more to Elizabeth that she’s either not telling or isn’t aware of and Red is fixated on her because of it. Or he could just be fucking with her head because, you know, THAT’S HOW HE ROLLS. Either way, he won’t be entirely “free” in this equation, but he’ll still be holding most of the cards and thinks it’s worth it. Wow. I am SUCH a sucker for this sort of setup! Good job, NBC.

Premiere date: September 23rd at 10pm on NBC