Scott D. Pierce: ‘Dracula’ up there with TV’s best vampires

By Scott D. Pierce

The Salt Lake Tribune

Published: October 18, 2013 06:54PM
Updated: February 14, 2014 11:36PM
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Thomas Kretschmann as Abraham van Helsing in "Dracula." Courtesy photo

NBC’s “Dracula” goes where many shows have gone before — into the world of the undead.

And in this new series (Friday,, Oct. 25, 9 p.m., Channel 5) Dracula (Jonathan Rhys Meyer he’s the good guy. More or less.

The character is the classic Vlad the Impaler, but he was a victim of an evil cabal, the Order of the Dragon. They turned him into a vampire, burned his wife alive as he watched; and entombed him for centuries.

He reappears in Victorian London in the guise of American industrialist Alexander Grayson. And he’s out for revenge.

Yeah, it’s more than a little bit crazy. But you just have to go with it.

This Dracula is a mix of the familiar — a beauty who may be the reincarnation of his late wife; medical experiments aimed at making him able to withstand sunlight — and some decidedly unusual twists.

I won’t give away too much, but after seeing five episods, I’m looking forward to seeing more.

“Dracula” has the makings of one of TV’s better vampire shows, and may end up high on this list of the 10 best:

10. “Moonlight” (2007-08) • This is pretty much the same premise as “Forever Knight” (below), but this vampire detective pined for a mortal woman.

9. “Forever Knight” (1989, 1992-96) • How better for a vampire to atone for his sins than to join the police force — on the night shift, of course.

8. “The Munsters” (1964-66) • Hey, Lily and Grampa were both vampires. And this show remains a camp classic.

7. “Dark Shadows” (1991) • This prime-time remake of the 1966-71 daytime soap was pretty good. (And Joseph Gordon-Levitt co-starred as young David.)

6. “The Vampire Diaries” (2009-) • It’s hard to judge a show that’s still in production, but this one has already declined from moderately entertaining to weak soap opera.

5. “True Blood” (2008-) • The first couple seasons were great, but more recently it’s descended into a blood-soaked mess.

4. “Kindred: The Embraced” (1996) • This was sort of “The Godfather” with vampires — an intriguing series about vampire clans that Fox pulled the plug on after only eight episodes.

3. “Being Human” (2009-13) • It sounds like the opening of a bad joke — a vampire a werewolf and a ghost share a house — but this British series was really good. And the 38 episodes give us a beginning, a middle and an end.

The American/Canadian version of the show (2011-) is also good, but the original was better.

2. “Angel” (1999-2004) • This “Buffy” spinoff is the best show with a vampire as the central character. Too bad The WB staked it without giving us a real conclusion.

1. “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” (1997-2003) • This was, hands down, the coolest show on TV.

Scott D. Pierce covers television for The Salt Lake Tribune. Email him at spierce@sltrib.com; follow him on Twitter @ScottDPierce.