A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
There is clear religious symbolism about good versus evil. Faith, loyalty, and strength are all central to the story. There is a deep love between Harker and Mina.
Positive Role Models
Sister Agatha Van Helsing is brave, strong, smart, and fearless in the face of evil. Harker stayed at Dracula's castle, knowing he was in grave danger, because he believed there were other victims there he could save.
Violence & Scariness
Graphic, disturbing violence. Wolves attack and kill a group of women. Heads are cut off, necks are bitten into, stakes are driven into hearts. Dracula is a manifestation of evil and is often covered in blood. Corpses rise from coffins and give chase, decaying and disjointed bodies flail around, humans and animals are imprisoned and presumably feasted upon (including a vampire baby). Flesh is ripped from faces and animal hides. A man jumps hundreds of feet from a castle wall. Overall, the violence is extremely disturbing but any scenes of torture or bloodsucking are mostly off screen.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Dracula is a very seductive, sexual character. A man has a few brief daydreams about his fiancee atop him in the throes of passions, but she is fully clothed. A man appears fully nude, but the shot is very dark and he's covered in blood so you can't see anything other than a quick shot of his bare buttocks. There are questions of whether or not Dracula performed any sexual acts on his victims, but nothing is seen or proven.
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Products & Purchases
Dracula is one of the most enduring characters of all time and there's a lot of merchandise associated with the legend.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
A man drinks wine (presumably laced with a sedative). A vampire's thirst for blood is likened to that of a drug addict.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Dracula is a TV adaptation of Bram Stoker's classic 1897 gothic horror novel. Created by Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat, the duo behind the Sherlock and Doctor Who television reboots, the 3-episode series is set in Transylvania and Budapest at the end of the 19th century and tells the story of a British lawyer John Harker who is imprisoned by Count Dracula in his labyrinthian castle. Harker escapes and ends up in a Hungarian convent, tended to a nun named Sister Agatha Van Helsing, and relives his days of terror. There's a lot of violent imagery and action in this classic vampire story; corpses rise from wooden coffins, a woman is decapitated, there are stakes driven into hearts, a group of women are torn apart by wolves. There is ripping flesh, gaping open wounds, oozing blood -- but much of the violence happens offscreen. It's more philosophically and psychologically terrifying for its religious, good verses evil, symbolism. Both Sister Agatha and Harker are strong, compelling characters who act with courage and selflessness. There are a few fleeting shots of a fully-clothed sexual act between an engaged couple, interrogations about whether or not Dracula preyed on Harker sexually, and a scene in which Dracula emerges naked from the skin of a wolf, although there is only a dimly lit shot of his buttocks. Horror fans will likely enjoy this well-done interpretation of a classic tale, but the violent imagery and mature themes makes this best for teens and up.
Is It Any Good?
This series brings to light one of the most enduring horror stories of all time and delivers it in a fresh, albeit gruesome, way. It's reminiscent of classic horror films with eerie monochromatic lighting, richly designed sets, and the charismatic horror villain quality of Claes Bang. Bang's Dracula is oozing with seduction and makes a very striking villain, and the gender-swap spin of the Van Helsing role (based on Professor Abraham Van Helsing, the original vampire hunter) is refreshing and makes a perfect adversary to the devil himself.
The graphic, obvious sensationalism -- shots of Dracula's mouth dripping in thick, dark blood; a group of nuns facing down a literally naked devil; the painfully overt metaphor of Sister Agatha and Dracula's chess game -- feels like a campy homage to the horror genre's history rather than a heavy-handed misstep. There's a lot of satisfying bits to unpack here for horror and classic literature fans, and Dracula ultimately does a fine job of honoring both Bram Stocker's original story and the horror genre as a whole.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.