Daily Read (5/17/16)

Exciting news for Charlaine Harris fans: NBC has picked up the series adaptation Midnight, Texas. (As I mentioned, we’ll have a roundup of the new adaptations coming to network TV later this week, once the dust settles.)

Jonathan Rhys Meyers will star in World War II drama The 12th Man, which I started writing about because Variety says it’s based on a book, but not . . . the title or author. Helpful. I’m going to guess it’s this one.

Nicholas Gonzalez has been cast in Pretty Little Liars.

Ridley Scott and Drew Goddard are adapting S. Craig Zahler’s novel Wraiths of the Broken Land.

NBC Cancels Dracula

DraculaOne more bit of TV news from a weekend packed with it: NBC has confirmed that their adaptation of Dracula, starring Jonathan Rhys Meyers, will not return for a second season. Will you miss it? I kind of will, actually – it had its problems, but it was also pretty fascinating at times, and the whole alternative energy plotline was so delightful zany that I was hoping to see more of it.

Dracula Thoughts & Open Thread: Let There Be Light

Dracula[SPOILERS BELOW FOR THE SEASON FINALE OF DRACULA]

Dracula came to an end (at least for now) last Friday, and to be completely honest, I’m still not sure how I felt about it. I think most of what I said last week about it not being good enough to love or bad enough to just enjoy snarking at it, though the finale was nicely dramatic and brought a lot of things together in a way I wasn’t sure it would manage. I love finales that burn everything down, metaphorically, and this one did it literally as well. Some things I particularly liked:

  • I’m honestly not sure how the blood of Christ somehow got involved in this (I might have missed something), but that was a delightfully crazy addition.
  • Van Helsing dancing/conducting/smashing things in his lab to “In the Hall of the Mountain King” was an amazing scene.
  • I am choosing to believe that Renfield is fine until we have definite evidence to the contrary. Shh, leave me alone in my denial.
  • The vampire kids!
  • I loved that the electricity stuff stayed so important as a plot and that in the end Grayson’s machine itself was turned against him as a weapon.
  • Aww, Grayson killing Jayne instead of turning her. That’s quite a gift, from him, at that point, though I guess he doesn’t want her as a vampire enemy, either.
  • And Lucy killing her mother!!
  • I’m glad the show went through with the payoff of Mina and Grayson finally getting together, even if I have issues with the historicity of basically all the romantic subplots in this show. (I know, I know, a vampire show and this is what I complain about being unrealistic?)
  • And I love the idea of Harker and Van Helsing teaming up to bring down Grayson. That right there makes me want a second season.

Who else stuck with the show to the end? What did you think of the season as a whole? If it comes back, will you be watching?

Dracula Unearthed: Let There Be Light

DraculaDracula is over for the season (and possibly forever? No official word on that yet) but the cast and crew have one last episode of Dracula Unearthed for you, in which they discuss the finale. The video features Cole Haddon, Daniel Knauf, Victoria Smurfit, Tony Krantz, and Thomas Kretschmann.

Dracula Thoughts & Open Thread: Four Roses

[SPOILERS BELOW FOR LAST FRIDAY’S EPISODE OF DRACULA]

I just . . . I don’t know, you guys. The penultimate episode of the season seems as good a time as any to take stock and admit that this show just hasn’t quite grabbed me – or at least produced discussion fodder – the way I’d hoped and expected. I’m not sure exactly why, as it certainly has a ton going on, and almost all of it is elements I like conceptually, but somehow it has never quite gelled for me. Maybe I needed it to be either really genuinely good or so bad I could just snark about it, and it’s somewhere in between. And I think the show sounds crazier on paper than it actually feels while watching, which is a weird place to be. Sometimes there’s just too much going on to eke all the amazing insanity out of any one element – for example, “Dracula tries to take over the world via alternative energy” is a concept I loved but the show never had enough time to spend with that to really give me much to say about it most weeks. (And then there’s the love triangle, but I talked about that last week, so I’ll just revisit it after the finale, in case anything is resolved.)

If the show comes back for a second season – no decision has been announced either way as yet – I’m sure I’ll watch, as I do like it that much, but I’m not sure I’ll try to write about it every week again. Or I’ll do something else with it, like “5 Ridiculous Things That Dracula Somehow Made Work This Week.” Hmm. Thoughts/ideas? Has anyone else stuck with this all season?

Anyway, some things that jumped out at me this episode:

  • “Surely you can’t still believe that Grayson is a vampire!” Oh, honey.
  • When Lucy’s talking to her mother, she seems awfully convinced that her mother will have enlightened views on sexuality, especially for, you know, Victorian England.
  • “You must forget about Jonathan.” “What?” “Please don’t ask me any questions.” Sure, sounds legit.
  • Okay, this is the sort of thing I do love about this show: someone actually, seriously pasted together a ransom note from letters cut from the newspaper.
  • “I hate hospitals.” “You know that’s going to be a problem when you become a doctor.” Heh.
  • Mina has dreamed about Ilona since she was a little girl?? Well, that’s fascinating, and I’m sad we only have one more episode to unravel that.
  • As I wrote in my notes at the end, “Oh my God, Lucy!” And oh, Dracula, I’m not sure the punishment quite fits the crime here.

Dracula Thoughts & Open Thread: Come to Die

Dracula[SPOILERS BELOW FOR LAST WEEK’S EPISODE OF DRACULA]

Things are amping up a bit on Dracula as we head toward the end of the season, but I still found this episode to be pretty uneven. I find the machinations of the Order and the way they tie in to finance and industry to be really interesting, but I feel like they don’t spend enough time on them to allow the audience to really understand what’s going on, so I’m left saying “Wait, what?” a lot of the time. And sometimes I can’t tell whether things are being left deliberately mysterious or whether I’m just not getting it. I did like that they finally started talking about Dracula, by name, this week, so that’s something, and the show managed to make both Harker’s confrontation with Davenport and the scene where the missing children are discovered to be genuinely tense, if not quite frightening.

I think my main issue is that the episode focused so much on Mina’s feelings, and at this point I kind of just don’t get them. Other than the show wanting to have yearning and pining and a love triangle, why is she still with Harker, exactly? We know what Grayson actually is, but Mina doesn’t, so why wouldn’t she go for the adoring rich guy who encourages her career and to whom she is clearly very attracted? Especially when she’s been having so much conflict with Harker, and been so disappointed by him? I’m just not buying it. I’m also not quite clear on why Grayson says he must stay away from her for her own safety: safety from his enemies, or safety from him? Because if it’s safety from his enemies, obviously she’s in danger anyway. If he’s afraid that he himself won’t be able to resist biting her, at least that’s a bit more coherent.

Other favorite lines and points of interest:

  • One of the best parts of historical scenes on many shows: flashback hair!
  • Mina’s father is awfully enlightened for his time and social position.
  • “Who do I kill?” “Perhaps may I suggest no one, sir. Maybe just this once.”
  • “You make me want more than I could possibly have. You make me want to walk in the sun. I belong to you and you belong to me.” I may not be quite buying this whole situation, but that’s a heck of a declaration, I’ll give him that.
  • “Mr. Harker worked out just as you planned.” Well, that’s exciting. I wonder exactly what Grayson’s plan was and when it started.

Dracula Thoughts & Open Thread: Servant to Two Masters

Dracula[SPOILERS BELOW FOR THE MOST RECENT EPISODE OF DRACULA]

I’m finding I don’t necessarily have a ton to say about this show week to week: I’m still enjoying it well enough while finding it ridiculous and vaguely baffling. Unlike a lot of other viewers, I actually really like the energy stuff, which had a big role again this week. I like it partially because it seems so weird and random, but at the same time makes total sense: Of course someone who couldn’t go in the sun would be heavily invested in the quest for artificial light. And I enjoy the way it pulls in actual issues of the time. Of course, now Grayson can go in the sun, at least for short amounts of time, and the way it has only increased his yearning to be human is fascinating. He tries not to feed, only to be overcome during a dance with Mina and have to run away from her, and he somehow blames Van Helsing for it all: “You’re more of a monster than I am, and some day, I will kill you for it.” And while Mina seems to be starting to acknowledge her connection and attraction to Grayson, Harker is starting to see through him, but realizes that Grayson has made him do his dirty work and so can blackmail him into keeping secrets. By the end of the episode, Harker has gotten himself mixed up with the Order of the Dragon, and I’m very curious to see how this all shakes out – and how long Harker and Mina’s engagement can actually last before Harker rebels against the third person in their relationship.