A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Dracula takes heavy liberties with the plot and characters of the classic novel that inspired it, dialing up the violence and sexual content for modern audiences. That means you'll see plenty of bloody acts (like throat-slitting and flesh-eating), but cutaway shots keep most scenes from getting too gory. You'll also see characters engaged in sexual activity that, while simulated, is strongly suggestive. Characters drink socially, too, and some use hallucinatory drugs, although language is comparatively tame (such as "damn" and "hell").
What's the story?
Centuries after his beloved wife was murdered at the hands of an exclusive secret organization, DRACULA (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) reappears in Victorian London to get revenge on those who've wronged him with assistance from an unlikely ally: Abraham Van Helsing (Thomas Kretschmann). All the while, the famed vampire courts a striking medical student (Jessica De Gouw) who looks strangely like the lover he lost.
Is it any good?
It feels like vampires have been "the thing" since, well, forever ago. And that's partly why this lavishly styled revamp of Bram Stoker's time-honored tale feels so frustratingly late to the party, even in spite of major change-ups like the rebranding of Dracula and his adversary, Van Helsing, into Victorian-era partners in crime. So pardon the pun...but hasn't this vampire thing already been done to death?
Tired themes of the undead aside, there's still a lot this British-American drama does well (although the convoluted story line involving the count bringing electricity to the masses isn't one of them) -- from knockout sets and costumes to a credibly cast ensemble. Also, in spite of an American accent that sounds a bit like Christian Slater gone cowboy, Rhys Meyers delivers the goods when it comes to animal magnetism, reminiscent of his turn in The Tudors but dialed down for a network audience.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how this version of Dracula compares to the classic Bram Stoker novel that inspired it, particularly when it comes to violence and sexual content. What types of changes were made to the plot and characters, and why? (More importantly, do they work?)
How does Dracula compare to other popular television series about vampires and creatures of the night? Does it try to do anything differently? How does it rank among the competition?
What's behind the media trend toward the supernatural? What is it about vampires, werewolves, witches, and the like that we find so fascinating?
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