Syndicated 'Dracula' Has Bite to It
BYLINE: Tom Hopkins
DATE: May 27, 1991
PUBLICATION: Dayton Daily News (OH) EDITION: CITY
SECTION: TELEVISION PAGE: 6B
COLUMN: TOM HOPKINS
All in all, it's been a bloody good season for vampires.
Between NBC's new Dark Shadows and the syndicated Dracula: The Series, we've had bats coming out of our belfry. Fox is preparing an animated miniseries called Little Dracula, based on the popular British children's book series.
Also in a lighter, er, vein, the Fox movie Blood Ties tonight is a trial balloon for a weekly series about felonious necking in suburbia.
It's about a modern-day community of vampires - their lives, their struggles," says Fox Entertainment boss Peter Chernin. "It's a little bit Godfather-esque in some ways."
Leave it to a vampire to make you an offer you can't refuse.
Producers of Blood Ties aren't chopped liver, either: They're Richard and Esther Shapiro, who created that other show about bloodsuckers, Dynasty.
I've been keeping a jaundiced eye on Dracula: The Series. I like the way it avoids the graphic gore so common these days and, instead, combines humor with old-fashioned psychological terror.
You can almost spot Bela Lugosi, that ol' graduate of Drain U, lurking in the shadows. What an overbite.
Channel 45 has been using Drac merely as a filler, but after some friendly prodding by a certain TV critic with bizarre TV tastes, WRGT has installed the show at midnight Sundays through June.
Channel 9 gets creepy Friday nights at 12:30 a.m. "Actually the thing does a pretty good number for us," program director Jack Cahalan said. "We're gonna run it until it drops."
Heroes are Max and Chris (Jacob Tierney and Joe Roncetti), teenage American brothers who are visiting Europe with their mother.
They team up with their courageous Uncle Gustav (Bernard Behrens) to fight the fanged one. He's played by Canadian actor Geordie Johnson.
This time, the evil count has been reincarnated as Lucard (spell it backward), a suave CEO for a European corporation. Yep, it's another example of TV portraying businessmen as villains, but at least they aren't filming at Trump Palace.
In my favorite episode so far, a 1920s horror actor popped up on a local stage, thirsting for blood. As it turned out, back in the '20s he had been a wimp who couldn't stand the sight of blood. He had been scammed by a vampire who promised to make him a movie star.
Somebody forgot to tell the poor loser that his movie career was preordained to be short-lived. As we all know (wink wink), vampires can't be photographed.
In another show, a buffoonish "scientist" stopped Max on the street and claimed to be "the leading authority on the emerging science of vampirology in the world today." He unveiled an anti-vampire gun and a sonar frequency detector that (he claimed) could find vampire bats.
You had to be there.
In most of these made-in-Transylvania shows, you can't even trust your best friend. In one episode, Dracula: The Series went a step further: Mother herself turned out to be a vampire.
Uncle Gustav was bitten on the neck himself, but he sprinkled holy water on the wound and healed it. In this show, a little dab won't do ya.
Copyright, 1991, Cox Ohio Publishing. All rights reserved.