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Dracula - BBC One - 1, 2, & 3 Jan.

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Let's just say almost everything Moffatt makes eventually ends up being about a morally dubious lonely genius engaged in a patronising relationship with an extremely-powerful British secret agency whose gadget-laden secret mission links the protagonist's apparently small adventures with every important event throughout the past and indeed the future.

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Nearly fell off my chair laughing at the impossibly athletic leap near the end.

 

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2 hours ago, Alex W. said:

Let's just say almost everything Moffatt makes eventually ends up being about a morally dubious lonely genius engaged in a patronising relationship with an extremely-powerful British secret agency whose gadget-laden secret mission links the protagonist's apparently small adventures with every important event throughout the past and indeed the future.

yes post-ecclestone Dr Who was a bit formulaic in the way they strung together every tiny thing into being about him (the shouty scots one - the english young one was better ish) - that's why I stopped watching it.

 

Didnt watch Sherlock as I have alwyas found the character faintly annoying.

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1 hour ago, Purin said:

Nearly fell off my chair laughing at the impossibly athletic leap near the end.

 


It’s a clear reference to Horror of Dracula. Especially given Gatis’ love of Hammer:

 

 

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Oh that leap is what he meant ( i was wracking my brains to work out which one he meant as I'd assumed it was dracula leaping up/onto something) . Cushing (or his stuntman) nails it better but it isn't impossibly athletic - the new version is a nice homage.

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8 hours ago, Clipper said:

Oh that leap is what he meant ( i was wracking my brains to work out which one he meant as I'd assumed it was dracula leaping up/onto something) . Cushing (or his stuntman) nails it better but it isn't impossibly athletic - the new version is a nice homage.

Cushing was surprisingly athletic from what I can gather. He was still  doing his own stunts when he was in his 60's apparently.  And knowing film production in those days probably at even greater risk to himself than an actor would nowadays. 

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I was referring to the Olympic athlete style leap by the woman at death's door.

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32 minutes ago, Purin said:

I was referring to the Olympic athlete style leap by the woman at death's door.

Yes which is referencing Cushings leap at the end of 1958 Dracula. Keep up :P

 

That's a joke btw the keep up bit. 

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2 minutes ago, cassidy said:

Yes which is referencing Cushings leap at the end of 1958 Dracula. Keep up :P

 

That's a joke btw the keep up bit. 

 

Thank you for explaining it to me :P

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On 07/01/2020 at 14:12, Clipper said:

My exposure to Moffat is mostly Joking Apart and Coupling along with the odd early Dr Who episode (the angels one when Ecclestone was the Doctor and I think another when the shouty scottish man was Dr Who) so I don't have the recent history to compare to.

 

I was just saying that adapting Dracula isn't straightforward unless you want to make a run of the mill paint by numbers job.


I know what you mean - to me, they’d done enough in the first two episodes to diverge from the original story without resorting to the timeshift and secret organisation in the last one. The differences in Episode 1 were surprising, purely because I was expecting a more faithful adaptation - but they’d definitely made it interesting. But by removing imo the best dynamics of the first two episodes - the period settings, Dracula and Van Helsing’s dialogue (both apart and together), and their subsequent relationship - I thought the last episode was diminished. The modern characters were largely forgettable by comparison to Van Helsing and the crew and passengers on the Demeter, and I would have been much happier for them to have continued in the original timeline and kept loose ties with Stoker’s framework for the final episode. Maybe they thought they’d get criticised for not making it different enough.

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58 minutes ago, Jammy said:


I know what you mean - to me, they’d done enough in the first two episodes to diverge from the original story without resorting to the timeshift and secret organisation in the last one. The differences in Episode 1 were surprising, purely because I was expecting a more faithful adaptation - but they’d definitely made it interesting. But by removing imo the best dynamics of the first two episodes - the period settings, Dracula and Van Helsing’s dialogue (both apart and together), and their subsequent relationship - I thought the last episode was diminished. The modern characters were largely forgettable by comparison to Van Helsing and the crew and passengers on the Demeter, and I would have been much happier for them to have continued in the original timeline and kept loose ties with Stoker’s framework for the final episode. Maybe they thought they’d get criticised for not making it different enough.

To me the first part isn't enough of a departure - it is well done, very well done indeed but still the story beats were all there (albeit with twists). The 2nd part did interest me as it took the sea journey and did alot with it - the book and the films skate over it so it was gratifying to see it given prominence. And then there is the third part where they take us in a different direction again.

 

For me the issue with the last part is the characters and situation don't get the breathing room and exposition they need, not saying that extending it would help just that the decision to pack such a big twist into the last part would always make it feel compressed.


What they did do in altering Lucy, Quincy and Seward with a  modern twist etc was interesting (even if Lucy had the same flaws she has in most adaptations) but it felt superficial because they just weren't given the same room as the other characters. They made a Harker/Dracula/Van Helsing centric story for two parts and then in the last third they tried to introduce the other half of the book AND a big twist. it was always going to be a struggle. if you want a Dracula/Van Helsing centric story(which has its merits - see Dracula '58) you have to sacrifice alot of other stuff but they seemed to want to keep it all.

 

As I say more time probably wouldn't have fixed it but you can see the time constraints affecting the characters and third part setup.

 

As it is, and as a fan of Dracula adaptations I thought this one was interesting, certainly in the upper half and not an also-ran.

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By comparison (I supppse to both this and Sherlock) what did people think of Moffat's Jekyll? Unlike Dracula it's not a book I'm as familiar with but I really enjoyed it, hammy Patterson Joseph and all. I suppose on reflection it does contain all the Moffat drama tropes, including the shady government agency.

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I don't think I bothered with that one. I would've skipped this if I'd known Moffatt was involved beforehand TBH.

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On 05/01/2020 at 19:23, grindmouse said:

Watch the first two, but switch it off 90 seconds from the end of part two, or after the line 'my friends call me...'. and you'll have a highly enjoyable Dracula two-parter.

 

I mentioned this to my wife and we almost stuck to the advice, but we continued and it didn't seem so bad really and then YOU WHAT?! WTF?! Literally incredible. Should have stuck to it. I'd even read your "Dracula texting" comment prior but my mind didn't really process it as it made no sense, but that's clearly actually to come, isn't it. Jesus. 

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I watched the first episode last night and so far it's exceeded my expectations.  It's the only adaptation I've seen that made me feel the real undercurrent of creeping horror that I got from the book.

 

There were places where I felt sick in my stomach with dread and I don't get that with most horror films or shows.  I really felt Harker's unease as he realises that his situation is never within his control.  The turn from fear to hope and then ruin was really well done imo.

 

Reading the comments I might just watch episode 2 and leave it there.

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So reading a bit about this, I have to admire what I think they were trying to achieve. 3 episodes at 90 minutes, each with a different director (the second was directed by Damon Thomas who directed Killing Eve and some of Penny Dreadful, the third was directed by Paul McGuigan who directed the early Sherlock Holmes), and each episode being different in feel, I think they were trying to emulate the Hammer Dracula films. 

 

Those were typically around 90 minutes or under and could jump from a horror Dracula film set in the time of the original Dracula to a camp horror/comedy set in modern times of 1972, with Dracula (and usually) Van Hellsing (or one of his descendants) being played by the same actors. It would at least explain the different tones to the episodes and the bizarre setting of the final episode. 

 

But having this over three consecutive nights and being promoted as a standard TV "series" was a mistake if it was the Hammer thing they wanted to achieve. It would have been better played out over a few months (or at least weeks apart) and maybe then the audience could expect something different from each episode. 

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I haven't watched this - I will - but when I was looking at it a little ago there was discussion about whether to show it at christmas or over easter and I think BBC should have waited.

 

I don't know whether there's still a desire to 'win' christmas over ITV behind the decision to show it at Christmas - that feels a little old hat now - but it would at least have given Doctor Who more attention and I think the new series of that is really really really good and not getting the most amazing ratings. How's this done rating-wise?

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We watched this over the last three nights after having read all the impressions here and getting similar feedback from friends in the pub saying “don’t bother with episode three.”

 

Well I’m glad we didn’t listen to them. I thought that was great! I spent the entire third episode wondering when it was going to suddenly turn into this stinker everyone was complaining about, but it never did. It might be that my expectations were sufficiently lowered that it merely seemed good in comparison, but I don’t think so. I liked what they did with it, I liked the explanations for why things were the way they were, and I loved the revelations at the end. The stuff about all the “rules” merely being habits that became fetishes until they became so deeply ingrained that he couldn’t bear to break them was brilliant. And his one true fear was inspired.

 

I am a fan of Moffat and Gatiss generally, but not uncritically. Both Doctor Who and Sherlock fell off massively towards the end of his/their runs, but I don’t think this did at all. It certainly deviated from expectations, but a story about an immortal is the perfect opportunity to span centuries within one tale, and I think they pulled it off.

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I had no issue with episode 3 either.  

 

On the whole I thoroughly enjoyed this take on the Dracula story, with 3 very different  stories anchored by the characters of Dracula and Van Helsing.  Episode 2 being the standout for me.

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On 10/01/2020 at 00:44, Darren said:

We watched this over the last three nights after having read all the impressions here and getting similar feedback from friends in the pub saying “don’t bother with episode three.”

 

Well I’m glad we didn’t listen to them. I thought that was great! I spent the entire third episode wondering when it was going to suddenly turn into this stinker everyone was complaining about, but it never did. It might be that my expectations were sufficiently lowered that it merely seemed good in comparison, but I don’t think so. I liked what they did with it, I liked the explanations for why things were the way they were, and I loved the revelations at the end. The stuff about all the “rules” merely being habits that became fetishes until they became so deeply ingrained that he couldn’t bear to break them was brilliant. And his one true fear was inspired.

 

I am a fan of Moffat and Gatiss generally, but not uncritically. Both Doctor Who and Sherlock fell off massively towards the end of his/their runs, but I don’t think this did at all. It certainly deviated from expectations, but a story about an immortal is the perfect opportunity to span centuries within one tale, and I think they pulled it off.

This, apart from being a fan of Moffat and Gatiss (I don't get on with Doctor Who at all, and Gatiss needs to stop acting - he's rubbish). But yeah, I thought all three were great. Like Darren says, they pulled it off.

 

After all the doom and gloom in this thread about the final episode, I was very pleasantly surprised. :)

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2 hours ago, Thor said:

Gatiss needs to stop acting

 

The bingo-caller scene in the last series of League of Gentlemen disproves that. 

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One thing I forgot to mention earlier in the thread, and I don’t think anyone else did either - I did appreciate the nod to Shearsmith and Pemberton in ep2, with the mystery passenger being in room number 9.

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