I never drink wine. I prefer whiskey.

Yeah, I’m watching Dracula. I cheerfully refuse to apologize, and totally understand that many people have better things to do with their time. Spoilers follow.

The first episode is pretty awful. The story follows Incidental Steampunk Dracula, who is going to make electrical power beamed through the air a reality (go Tesla!) in order to make oil much less valuable and thereby undermine the financial stability of the evil/rich/secret Order of the Dragon. He has a horrible American accent, which might help excuse some of his radical ideas like “employing people who aren’t white” and “believing in evolution”. There are a lot of snooty British people. The writing is heavy-handed, the writing is heavy-handed, and did I mention the writing is heavy-handed? Also, Johnathan Harker is a poor journalist, and Mina Murray is studying to be a doctor under Van Helsing. Van Helsing, in this story, is the guy who released Dracula from his imprisonment–they both hate the evil Order of the Dragon and want to take it down. (Oh, and Mina Murray is identical to Dracula’s long-dead wife. It happens like that sometimes. Usually with mummies, or the original Fright Night.)

Moving on, the second episode was a lot better. More scenes without that awful accent (due to more scenes either in flashback or with either only Van Helsing or Renfield), less heavy-handedness (at one point they’re saying there hasn’t been a vampire able to hide from seers since Lucretia Borgia, and one character snappishly interrupts about not needing a history lesson).

They are… managing to round out the characters a bit, I guess? Johnathan Harker is smart enough to know nearly everything about what’s going on, and evokes some sympathy for being steadily broke; at the same time, he fully expects Mina will give up her foolish “studying to be a doctor” once they’re married. Lady Weatherby (the blonde vampire killer whose name I couldn’t remember) is an aristocratic conniving bitch, but I will give some points to anyone who knows there’s a vampire more powerful than they’ve ever seen in their lifetime on the streets of London and still runs into the dark alley with a knife.  Dracula… well, he kills people, and is entirely willing to blackmail one of the people whose shares in the coolant company he wants, but at least we can buy that he’s not a sexist homophobic ass, and while his interest in Mina is not remarkable in terms of “predatory monster who’s smitten with a woman that he is sure is meant for him even if he can’t just treat her like anyone else because that wouldn’t be right, and he wants to be able to pass as a more normal person at least partly for her sake”, there’s a reason that’s a moderately common trope.

Lucy’s thoughtless, but at least she’s not selfish. Mina is still heavy on the “plucky brunette love interest daring to defy convention in ways totally acceptable to the modern viewer”, but that’s not horrible.

(I am beginning to buy the “passing as an American” thing more, too.  It provides an excuse plausible to Victorian England for why there’s no history of who “Alexander Grayson” is, what with the state of record-keeping on the American frontier in the 1880s; you could claim an old European lineage, of course, but the Order of the Dragon might expect something like that. It also allows for some misdirection–of course he’s weird and quirky and not like us, he’s American. I still hate the accent, though.)

Also, the newspaper Johnathan Harker works for is called the Inquisitor. I snickered.

It’s still cheesy as hell, but for me it’s approaching a Grimm or possibly Lost Girl level of cheesy, rather than a “fuck you I’m not watching this anymore” cheesy.  Next episode is apparently a flashback set back 400 years ago, which is a bit of a downer because I’m starting to like the regular setting and characters (maybe they’ll use the same actors?), but at least there won’t be an accent…!

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