Dracula: The Series ~ My Fond Memories
I saw Dracula: The Series for the first time on cable TV in rerun after it's initial run. I immediately loved Geordie Johnson as Dracula.
At the time, I was a fan of Forever Knight, so it was a huge delight to see Geraint Wyn Davies (Nick on Forever Knight) as Gustav's son, Klaus. Over the years Dracula: The Series stuck with me as something near and near to my heart for its fun, for its camp, and for its surprising homages to the novel ~ and even acknowledging that he was Vlad The Impaler.
As soon as Dracula: The Series was on DVD a few years ago, I bought both volumes (I hadn't been made aware that at any point you could buy the whole series together). It's a shame it's out of print now.
On IMVU (the 3 instant messaging/chat site), I created a role playing game character persona on the account DoctorVanHelsing. The character was named Derek Van Helsing, and the character was a cross between Anthony Hopkins slightly hyper and potentially over-caffeinated Abraham and Gustav Helsing (from Dracula: The Series), the more fatherly schnitzel-obsessed Van Helsing. So you see it really stuck with me. Even the 3D role-playing game rooms I created (Vintage Village and Not So Vintage Village) were partly inspired by Whitby and the town used for Dracula: The Series.
I'm a huge Dracula fan of most incarnations. I loved that Alexander Lucard (which is one of my favorite Dracula aliases, by the way) could turn into bats and a wolf, and could enthrall people's minds. I liked that the writers remembered wild roses could trap vampires in their grave, and that Dracula could even grow out clawed nails (which you only saw a few brief times). I like that they remembered details like that.
I liked that there were subtle hints of humanity in Dracula and then it would be gone like the snap of fingers. I also liked his budding fondness for Max, whom I think he wanted as an apprentice by the end of the series. He seemed genuinely fond of the boy.
The new NBC show doesn't even let him shapeshift and goes the whining, brooding, white-washed, making-him-like-every-other-pop-culture-vampire-out-there-right-now route. The new NBC Dracula even has Abraham Van Helsing as the villain. It's just. Not. The. Same. There's too much polarization in modern vampires. They go to the extremes of being broody, whining pretty boys who barely look like they're out of their teens, or they are portrayed as nearly mindless killing machines. Vampires need balance. Dracula in Dracula: The Series was that balance. And NBC, with their new show, just doesn't understand that.
Seeing Geordie Johnson in BBC America's Copper as a corrupt nineteenth century business man made me miss him as Dracula, so I recently re-watched the entire series.
My favorite episodes are 1) When Dracula nearly dies from an apparent disease, and 2) The episode where Gustav goes to the old movie theatre and actually befriends the awkward vampire that doesn't want to kill. I often wondered what would have happened if Gustav managed to win over a vampire aly.
My mind even came up with fan fiction ideas partly borrowed from the anime Hellsing in which I thought, "What would happen if Gustav captured Dracula instead of killed him and found some magical means of forcing him to obey? Would he use him and his resources and powers to fight other evils?"
My favorite Dracula incarnations are as follows:
1. The original Dracula novel by Bram Stoker. (Obviously).
2. Fred Saberhagen's The New Dracula books AKA The Dracula Sequence. It's a book series that began in 1976 and ended in 2002, all told from Dracula's point of view. And they are a lot of fun. The first book is called The Dracula Tape and it has Dracula justify his actions in the original Dracula novel and some of it is hilarious and/or obvious lies. Sadly, most of these books are out of physical print (I run a fan page with the blessing of the late Fred Saberhagen's widow), but all the books can be found in digital format or audio book. Amusingly enough, the audio books are read by a Robin Bloodworth. Now doesn't that just sound like an alias Dracula would use?
3. Frank Langella as Dracula in 1979. It doesn't follow the book very well, but his behavior, which was both charismatic and sometimes sympathetic while also being cunning and predatory, was just right, and he had all the traditional powers. We saw him take bat form, mist form, and wolf form. The wolf form is the one most forgotten now. And I loved that it was Lucy (actually the Mina character, but they swapped the names) that charmed Dracula. I always liked to believe he secretly faked his death in that one, much like when he did in Fred Saberhagen's The Dracula Tape.
4. Frank Wildhorn's Dracula: The Musical. Though clearly more based on the 1992 Gary Oldman film than on Stoker's novel, I have a soft spot for this novel and the dynamic between Dracula and Van Helsing.
5. Bram Stoker's Dracula, the 1992 film. The last great cinematic effort for Dracula.
6. Dracula: The Dark Prince. This made-for-TV movie works as a prequel for most versions of Dracula. It tells the real history of Vlad The Impaler while heavily hinting that he becomes the vampire at the end. Rudolf Martin, who plays Dracula in this later version, went on to play Dracula in Buffy The Vampire: The Series episode 1 of season 5, Buffy vs. Dracula.
7. And finally, and fondly, Dracula: The Series, where Dracula became the charming David Xanatos-esque business man with sinister intentions and a wry sense of humor.
—Submitted by Amanda Pike
October 10, 2013