Dracula, currently airing on NBC is one of those exceptions. It's not an adaptation and it goes above and beyond a reimagining - Vlad Tepes arrives in London under the guise of Alexander Grayson, in league with Abraham Van Helsing and assisted by the brilliant Black Renfield in a grand revenge plot against the Ordo Dracul.
|And he has a katana. Because katanas.|
This is the stuff of steampunk paperbacks but it works surprisingly well here, thanks mainly to casting. Jon Rhys Meyers looks every part the superior vampire lord and, as anyone who's seen The Tudors should know, can work up a head of crazy so good - and hammy - that you forget he's usually the smallest person in the room. Especially alongside Nonso Anozie as Renfield, Dracula-Grayson's stoic and stubbornly loyal dogsbody, who carry's himself with a stern and silent dignity no matter how much Anglo racism is thrown his way.
|Because he's smarter than all of 'em put together. And has better teeth.|
|The female mantis, after copulation, removes the male's head...|
Aside from vampires and character names, this Dracula has damn near nothing to do with theoriginal novel. And that's a good thing. Stoker's Dracula, while a seminal work of gothic adventure fiction, has been adapted to screen and television and comic book more than any other intellectual property. It's reached the point where people who've never even read the novel can recognize the characters, the plot, even the odd line or two like the one concerning children of the night. Dracula (2013) is a welcome change from all that, even when it can get a tad silly at times.