After this series premiere of NBC’s new stab at the Draculean legend, I might now as well cast my verdict as to ‘Good Awful or Bad Awful?’. Going by this pilot, I’m afraid we’re heading distinctly towards Bad Awful.
This is a preview — you can find the actual episode reviews in the Dracula Season 1 tag.
You know the feeling. News about a new show comes out and you get all excited because it’s a character or genre or concept you like and you think, ‘Ooh, can’t wait until it airs!’
And then the trailers roll in, and the promo pics and videos, and the previews and the first looks; until you feel a little nauseated and suspiciously like you’re going to have a terrible case of déjà-vu when it actually airs. Most of the time, that’s not a bad thing. Sure, sometimes you spot something that you have an inkling you might find problematic, but you hope for the best. Sometimes, you like what you’re seeing even more. But then, sometimes, the more you learn about a show before it airs, the more your reason for a prospective viewing is to figure out if it’ll be too awful for you to keep watching after the pilot.
NBC’s new — and very inventive — retelling of the Dracula myth is such a case for me. I was enthusiastic about it when I first heard about it in May, and I put it on the voting list for the 2013/14 review season because I was looking forward to dealing with it here on the blog. But now it’s looking like, for me, Sleepy Hollow stole a lot of Dracula’s thunder in the Gothic/Horror genre. Sleepy Hollow is a show that doesn’t take itself too seriously, and I enjoy that about it. While the characterisations are well done — and I blogged just earlier about the diversity on the show — they’re allowing themselves to have fun with tropes of the genre and with themselves. Dracula, I’m afraid, will take itself dreadfully seriously while exploiting every single cliché the construct of the literary vampire has to offer.
Pilot & Blood Moon
Based on the 1820 short story The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving, this is a modern re-telling of the tale, featuring a 280-year-old Oxford professor, a badass woman of colour police lieutenant, and a headless asshole on a horse, also known as DEATH.
I already really liked the pilot, but as with every pilot, and as with every comically styled Gothic horror story, things can go both ways even after a cracking premiere episode. So I waited for the second ep to make my choice, and, well, here we all are. Follow me to Pocantico Grove under the cut.
Before CBS’ new original series finally premiered on telly last night, there was a lot of talk, a lot of controversy, a lot of debate, and, let’s face it, a lot of butthurt. Moffat was annoyed, Benedict Cumberbatch was graceful—basically, everything as it always is. After the resounding success of the BBC’s Sherlock, of course there was going to be a lot of commentary coming from all sides. Whether the conception of this show was born out of opportunism, or by coincidence, does not take away from the fact that it deserves to be assessed on its own merits. Some of the main worries I had about certain changes the production team made to the characters are detailed here, so I won’t bore you by repeating myself more than is absolutely necessary, except to comment on those concerns now that I have seen the finished product.
The BBC have published a DVD with all three episodes of Sherlock that have been transmitted so far, and said DVD contains the unaired pilot episode for the series: A Study in Pink, roughly 55 minutes long, directed by Coky Giedroyc. This review is made of spoilers for both episodes, so unless you’ve been living on Pluto for the last few weeks and haven’t seen the actually transmitted version, or if you still want to see the unaired pilot without having any idea, you might want to avoid reading this. If you don’t care either way, follow me!
Definitions: When I say pilot, I mean, well, the pilot; when I say episode, I mean the one that actually aired, the 90-minute one. Just to help any confusion that might arise due to incessant rambling and very long sentences.
A Study in Pink, the first of three episodes of BBC One’s Sherlock aired yesterday evening, and I’m bloody sold. What Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss have thought up on long, dreary train rides to and fro between London and Doctor Who-Cardiff is amazing, gripping, clever, quick-witted, imaginative, insightful, great handiwork, wonderfully cast, … blahblah. I could go on kissing arse for hours. And I will; but first, the obligatory warning:
Spoilers! If you haven’t seen the episode yet, do it, and come back later. Or just read it anyway, you’re old enough.