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Series: Dracula

A British-American horror drama television series that premiered on NBC on 25 October 2013. Created by Cole Haddon and starring Jonathan Rhys Meyers as Dracula. Daniel Knauf, of Carnivŕle renown, serves as its showrunner.

Also starring Oliver Jackson-Cohen as Jonathan Harker, Jessica De Gouw as Mina Murray, Katie McGrath as Lucy Westenra and Thomas Kretschmann as Abraham Van Helsing.

It's 1896, and the mysterious Dracula has arrived in London, posing as an American entrepreneur who wants to bring modern science to Victorian society. He's especially interested in the new technology of electricity, which promises to brighten the night - useful for someone who avoids the sun. But he has another reason for his travels: he hopes to take revenge on those who cursed him with immortality centuries earlier. Everything seems to be going according to plan... until he becomes infatuated with a woman who appears to be a reincarnation of his dead wife.

The first trailer can be watched here and the second one here. A short animated prequel can be watched here.

Alas, after virtually no news on the show since it's season finale. NBC finally revealed on May 10th 2014 that the show was not picked up for a second season due to low ratings, leaving the series on a cliffhanger.

Not to be confused with the syndicated 90's show, Dracula The Series.

Tropes

  • Adaptational Attractiveness: By this point, many people are unaware that the original Dracula was actually a hideous monster, not a handsome young man that looks like Jonathan Rhys Meyers. Likewise, van Helsing has been aged down and looks significantly Hotter and Sexier.
  • Adaptational Badass: Renfield, Dracula's (unwilling in the original novel) Sycophantic Servant is transformed here into a right-hand man (i.e. The Lancer / The Dragon) on an equal footing. Jonathan Harker is an investigative reporter, and Mina is a medical student — both rather less passive than their novel counterparts.
    • They've apparently decided to do this with everyone. Van Helsing beats the two seer's skulls in with his medical hammer.
  • Adaptational Intelligence: Mina Harker is upgraded from a reasonably smart school teacher to a brilliant, ahead of time medical student, and as noted above this trope could fit Renfield too.
  • Adaptational Sexuality: Lucy is straight in the novel (and previous adaptations). Here she is love with Mina and dialogue implies she has never been attracted to men in a romantic/sexual way.
  • All Love Is Unrequited: All over the place. Lucy is in love with Mina who is engaged to Jonathan whilst Lady Jane fancies Grayson who is pining for Mina, the look-alike of his deceased wife.
  • Alliterative Name: Mina Murray and Daniel Davenport.
  • Aluminum Christmas Trees: Viewers didn't waste any time in complaining about the historical inaccuracy of a black man in Victorian London. Simple research into the era will demonstrate that there were plenty.
  • Amoral Attorney: Technically Renfield, given his allegiance to Dracula, though he also serves as a Morality Chain.
  • Anachronism Stew: Lady Jayne (Victoria Smurfit) and Lucy (Katie McGrath), in the first episode, are dressed in strapless gowns, which first appeared in the early 1930's.
    • In addition, Lady Jayne, Mina and Lucy constantly wear their hair loose and hanging about their shoulders, in a distinctly 1940's-esque style. (Victoria Smurfit described Jayne's hairstyle in one episode as being similar to that of 1940's actress Veronica Lake.) Keep in mind that the series is set in a time when any respectable - and indeed fashionable - woman over the age of about thirteen would almost always have worn her hair up in a bun out of doors.
  • Ancient Conspiracy: The Order of the Dragon, a group of aristocrats that has been pulling the strings of Western civilization since at least the Dark Ages.
  • Bad Bad Acting: Grayson's hilarious "THERE WAS A MAN!" when he stages an attack on Lady Jane.
  • Big Bad: Lord Browning is the Dragon's Head, the current leader of the Order.
  • Burn the Witch!: Ilona, Dracula's first wife, as well as Van Helsing's wife. Apparently it is a technique that the Order of the Dragon often employs.
  • Bury Your Gays: A gay couple is introduced in the second episode, they're both dead by the end of the third.
  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday: When Van Helsing finally confronts Browning.
    Van Helsing: Don't you recognize me?
    Browning: Should I?
    Van Helsing: Abraham Van Helsing. You slaughtered my family.
    Browning: Well, that hardly narrows it down, does it?
  • Canon Foreigner: Victoria Smurfit as Lady Jayne Wetherby.
  • Casting Gag: Casting Thomas Kretschmann, who played Nosferatu-esque Big Bad Damaskinos in Blade 2, as well as Dracula himself in Dario Argento's recent film adaptation, as Van Helsing? It had to be intentional.
  • Chekhov's Gun: A literal and textbook example in "Come To Die". Near the beginning of the episode, Harker confesses to a friend that he fears he's in danger, due to his part in Grayson's schemes. The friend responds by giving him a revolver, which by the end of the episode, Harker uses to kill Lord Davenport.
  • Cherry Blossoms: There is/was a cherry blossom tree outside Vlad Dracul's castle home. As per the trope, it's a symbol of life and death given that Vlad dies in front of it.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Mina's father goes abruptly missing half-way through the series. Especially odd considering he's nowhere to be seen after she's brutally attacked.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: Renfield is tortured by Davenport's agents to try and find out whom Grayson loves most, so that Davenport can get revenge on him. He holds out long enough for Dracula to rescue him.
    • Lady Jane starts torturing vampires for information on Dracula, but they refuse to cooperate.
  • Corrupt Cop: The Order pays off members of Scotland Yard to do its bidding occasionally, such as shutting down Grayson's power company on false charges.
  • Cycle of Revenge: A Central Theme. Almost everyone is motivated by revenge at some point.
  • Dance of Romance: Grayson is given the first dance with Mina at her engagement party. It gets intense.
  • Defector from Decadence: Dracula was once a member of the Order of the Dragon, but abandoned them. It was for this that his wife was killed and he was transformed.
  • The Dragon: Lady Jane, to Lord Browning.
    • Hackett to Lord Davenport.
    • Renfield is either this or The Lancer to Dracula, depending on how you interpret them.
  • Dramatic Irony: Lady Jane says that the Order should be focusing on London's vampire infestation, rather than Grayson... oblivious to the fact that he's the master vampire whose presence is attracting the others.
  • Driven to Suicide: Young Davenport, after his lover is executed at the hands of the Order.
    • One of Dracula's vampire minions blows her head off when captured by Lady Jane rather than give up information on her master.
  • Enemy Mine: Seems Dracula and Van Helsing have teamed up to take down the Order of the Dragon.
  • Erotic Dream: Mina has one about Grayson that leaves her rather disturbed.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: No matter which side you see as the villains, both the members of the Order of the Dragon and Dracula are shown capable of caring for others deeply.
  • Evil Versus Evil: Depending on how evil you interpret Dracula as really being. Or how evil the Order of the Dragon is.
    • Dracula is a monster who feeds on innocent people… who also wants to give the world free clean energy, is accepting of homosexuality, and believes that women are just as good as men.
    • The Order of the Dragon turned Vlad into a vampire in the first place; they want to keep the world hooked on fossil fuels and they burned Van Helsing’s family alive. They’re also the ones keeping London safe from vampires and freely employ female agents to do their bidding.
  • Face-Heel Turn:
    • Harker joins the Order of the Dragon in the penultimate episode and helps have Dracula's power generator sabotaged so it blows up during a public demonstration, killing dozens of people.
    • In the same episode, Dracula turns Lucy into a vampire.
    • Van Helsing kidnaps Lord Browning's children, turns them into vampires, feeds Browning to his own vampirized children, and burns them all alive.
  • Fake American: In-Universe: Dracula poses as an American called Alexander Grayson. He adopts a fake-sounding American accent, justified since the show is set in nineteenth century London and the character is originally from Romania.
  • Finger in the Mail: A straightforward example when Van Helsing sends the finger of Browning's kidnapped son to the family.
  • First Episode Spoiler: It's revealed at the end of the pilot that Dracula and Van Helsing are working together against the Order of the Dragon.
  • Funny Background Event: In the second episode, when Jonathan and Mina kiss in the cafe, a mother sitting at a table behind them shields the eyes of her child and glares at them.
  • The Gambling Addict: Sir Clyde had massive gambling debts and Grayson bought out all the markers. After Clyde's death his widow sold Grayson the stocks he wanted in exchange for him cancelling the debts and not causing a scandal for the family.
  • Genre Savvy: Harker notes that something's off with the deal with Grayson and even notices that the latter never appeared in any records before 7 years ago. Later, Mina becomes suspicious of the fact that Grayson has so quickly made himself such an integral part of her and Johnathan's relationship, almost "as if he were a part of it."
  • Gorn: In episode 5, the Devil's Waltz, we see two displays of Dracula's strength and bloodlust, both times protecting Renfield. In a flashback, we have POV shots of Renfield watching as Dracula kills men who had just attacked him, at one point Dracula goes walking past him holding a severed head. In the main plot of the episode, Dracula tears a man's arm off, and this time its in full view of the camera.
    • We see this again in "Come To Die", when he kills the men Lord Davenport sent after Mina.
  • Gorgeous Period Dress: A running constant throughout the first two episodes, though not always accurate (see Anachronism Stew above).
  • Grey and Gray Morality: Neither side has clean hands. Even Van Helsing is morally questionable, having been responsible for bringing Dracula back to life in the first place by killing his tomb-raiding partner and letting his blood drip down on the dead vampire's dessicated face.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Lucy calls Jonathan this almost immediately after seeing Grayson's effect on Mina. And when Mina and Johnathan reconcile and get engaged, it's Lucy's turn to get green eyes.
  • Held Gaze: Between Mina and Dracula/Grayson at the first ball he hosts.
  • I Kiss Your Hand: Dracula to almost every woman he meets.
  • The Informant: Grayson uses Harker as one. Harker knows the dirty secrets of the London elite and Grayson offers him a lucrative position in his company in exchange for sharing that knowledge.
  • In Love with the Mark: Jayne falls for Grayson/Dracula, unaware that he is the vampire she has sworn to kill.
  • In Name Only: As an adaptation of Dracula, many of the characters have only the loosest of similarities to the original canon. Van Helsing and Renfield are the biggest examples.
  • I Owe You My Life: The reason for Renfield's loyalty to Dracula.
  • Jack the Ripper: As it turns out, he's a myth. The Order of the Dragon created him to cover up the murders committed by a vampire who'd been stalking the streets of London. They were the ones who sent the letters to the press and even mutilated the corpses so that no one could tell they'd been fed on.
  • Just a Stupid Accent: The hissing speech Dracula uses when not playing Grayson. It doesn't sound Romanian, doesn't sound English, doesn't sound definably from anywhere.
  • Knight Templar: The Order justify their self-interested actions as being in God's name.
  • Katanas Are Just Better: Yeah, anyone wanna tell us why a Romanian vampire who was a knight is carrying a katana in the Victorian age? And not just any katana: it's quite familiar.
  • Large Ham: Jonathan Rhys Meyers as Dracula. Were you expecting anything else?
  • Mythology Gag: Lady Jayne uses a pair of Gurkha Kukri, the weapon Dracula was killed with in the original novel.
    • During the engagement party in episode 5, Harker introduces Grayson to some people, including Lord Godalming, a character from the novel.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Lucy's reaction when she realizes that Lady Jane's been manipulating her as part of a petty scheme to hurt Grayson through Mina.
  • No Sell: It might have been a relic from the Vatican armoury, but the dagger Lady Jayne stabs Dracula with in the finale barely slows him down. He even snarks that he's grown immune to all their toys.
  • Not His Sled: Van Helsing, Dracula's traditional Arch-Enemy, is now working with him against the Order.
  • Nouveau Riche: The various British lords consider Grayson to be an American upstart who made his fortune recently and is now showing off to his British betters. In actuality, Dracula is royalty and his family have been princes since the 14th century.
  • Occult Blue Eyes: Scaverra, the Vatican seer, has an impressive pair under his Cool Shades.
  • Of Corsets Sexy: Worn by Victoria Smurfit in episode 2, and the actresses all wear corsets to fit their period gowns better. Smurfit discusses the show's corsetry in this interview.
  • Opera Gloves: Worn by all three lead actresses in the first episode.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: How Dracula wants to punish the Order.
  • Race Lift: Nonso Anozie plays Renfield.
  • Recycled Set: The castle courtyard with the blossom tree where Dracula died was used extensively in Robin Hood, with both shows being filmed in Ma Film Studios in Budapest.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Lucy and Mina, demonstrated by their choices in wardrobe colours.
    • Also, the interaction between Dracula and Van Helsing.
  • Reincarnation Romance: Dracula and Mina
  • Revenge by Proxy: Lord Davenport blames his son's suicide on Grayson, but rather than have him killed, he wants to find and destroy what he holds dearest in life.
    • Lord Browning killed Van Helsing's family. Van Helsing responds by kidnapping Browning's children.
  • Reverse Polarity: When a member of the Order sabotages Grayson's generator, he tells Harker that he has "inversed polarity."
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: For both Dracula and Van Helsing, against the Order.
  • Servile Snarker: Renfield.
  • Shout-Out: Renfield invites Jonathan (a reporter) to an interview...with a vampire.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Dracula and Van Helsing's alliance is strenuous from the beginning, and only gets worse the closer things get to the season's climax.
  • Their First Time: Jonathan and Mina consummate their relationship in the sixth episode, pre-marriage vows. Since it was a spur of the moment decision, it goes smoothly.
  • Torture Technician: Janina Kleiberson
  • Try to Fit That on a Business Card:
    “And you are Vlad the Third, prince of Wallachia, second son of the House of Basarab, also known as Vlad Tepes, Vlad the ImpalerDracula.”
  • Undying Loyalty: Renfield is utterly loyal to Dracula. Likewise with his vampiric minions, though that seems more compulsive than voluntary.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Harker to Dracula. All the time. And then to the Order as well.
    • Lucy is this to Lady Jane's efforts to hurt Grayson through Mina.
  • Vampires Are Sex Gods: The trailers definitely indicate the series is going in this direction, with a big dose of Adaptational Attractiveness.
  • Victorian London / The Gay Nineties
  • Villain Protagonist: Dracula
  • War for Fun and Profit: The Order of the Dragon, via its agents, is trying to start a war with the Ottoman Empire for control of their oil fields.
  • Wham Episode: "Come To Die" sees the various tensions built up over the first season come to a head: Lord Davenport tries to get Revenge by Proxy on Grayson for his son's death by having Mina attacked. Grayson retaliates by manipulating Harker into killing Davenport; stricken by guilt and the knowledge of how much Grayson has been using him, Harker sleeps with Lucy. Meanwhile, Lady Jane breaks off her affair with Grayson to focus on hunting down Dracula, who the Order of the Dragon now knows for a fact is in London. And as the cherry on top, Van Helsing finally takes steps to avenge his family's murder by kidnapping Lord Browning's children.
    • "Four Roses" builds on the events of the previous episode, and sets things up for the finale: Dracula declares open war on the Order, even as Harker joins their ranks and they prepare to sabotage Grayson's resonator to fail catastrophically. Van Helsing prepares his own endgame against Browning, while his alliance with Dracula teeters on collapse. Mina and Harker's relationship ends, due to her feelings for Grayson, and his affair with Lucy; when Dracula learns of the latter, he turns Lucy into a vampire as punishment.
    • And of course, the Season Finale. The public demonstration of Dracula's technology is a catastrophe, killing a lot of people. Dracula knows that Harker betrayed him. Van Helsing turns Browning's children into vampires that feast on their own father. Renfield is stabbed by Van Helsing when the former learns that he destroyed the machine allowing Grayson to walk in the light. Lucy is turned to a vampire and bites her mother. Jayne confronts Dracula but dies in the process. Van Helsing, having found his revenge now sets his sights on Dracula and has recruited Harker for the cause. And lastly, Dracula and Mina finally have sex.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Almost literal example. Mina injects a rat with Dracula's blood and then — seeing nothing happen — stashes it back in the closet with the other dissections. As soon as she's gone it begins to twitch its paw, but having established this, it never turns up again.
  • You Are What You Hate/He Who Fights Monsters: Dracula and Van Helsing are out to punish the Order of the Dragon, the sect that are responsible for killing their innocent families. In their quest for vengeance, they're wracking up quite a high body count of totally innocent people.

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