NBC aims to put a new spin on classic ‘Dracula’

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






The original night stalker is back on TV this fall in NBC’s “Dracula,” created by the producers of “Downtown Abbey,” starring Jonathon Rhys Meyers as the brooding vampire out for blood. The series will take place around the same timeline as when the original novel by Bram Stoker was written, attempting to put a new spin on the classic fanged bad-boy.

Bram Stoker wrote the horror novel in 1897 during the Victorian Era, capturing the fears of the Western and European societies at that time.

“The original novel has to do with fears of the foreign Other” Cary Elza, a professor at DePaul who teaches a class dedicated to the study of vampires in the media, said. “Worries about the foreign Other or the immigrant is somehow going to come in and infect us and ruin white Angelo-Saxon Protestant culture.”

The original Dracula was no sex symbol, as vampires are often depicted today in films such as “Twilight” or “Fright Night.” Stoker’s Dracula resembled a rat, with pointy teeth, pale skin and slicked-back black hair. But that all changed in the 1931 film version of the novel starring Bela Lugosi.

“Bela Lugosi then comes in, and he’s a scary Other,” Elza said. “But he’s also sexy.”

After the film, later retellings began painting vampires as seductive creatures, wooing their prey with a mix of undeniable charm and good looks. Audiences are drawn into these supernatural characters, according to Paul Booth, a media professor at DePaul who claims the supernatural themes played out in vampire and other monster fiction will always be popular with viewers.

“Audiences are kind of fascinated by things that are a little bit out of the realm of their experiences,” Booth said. “Supernatural elements and supernatural shows appeal to the idea that these are things we don’t encounter in our everyday lives.”

NBC’s version takes place in 19th century London, playing up the innovations of the time in technology with the invention of electricity, but also the societal changes during that time.

“That time period has all sort of exciting things going on,” Elza said. “You have film, electricity, and all sorts of interesting things. They’re really going to tie all the changes in society, technology, and culture, with the original Dracula standing for these different changes.”

Though based on the unsexy Stoker version of Dracula, the new classic Dracula will be “a twisted, sophisticated and sexy take on Bram Stoker’s classic novel” according to NBC’s description of the show.

The show does have quite a bit of supernatural competition with shows such as ABC’s “Once Upon a Time,” the CW’s “Vampire Diaries” and FOX’s “Sleepy Hollow” on the airwaves. But Chad Morgan, a senior at DePaul and an amateur entertainment critic, is hopeful for this modern remake.

“Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight brought the vampire into the modern age. Immediately after this small novel became a global sensation, the dark monstrous vampire became cool again and by nature, all of Universal’s old monsters also want a piece of the cash pie,” said Morgan. “A show like ‘Dracula’ exists because the market is tired of shiny teen prudish vampires but the monster genre is still cash cowing. Where’s the happy medium? Revive the daddy of them all.”

“Dracula” sank its fangs into NBC’s Friday nights last week, but there’s still time to catch up with the second episode airing November 1 at 9 p.m.