Like The Historian Without the Historical Accuracy: Starz Making "Dracula" Television Series
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Like The Historian Without the Historical Accuracy: Starz Making "Dracula" Television Series

By Steven Lloyd Wilson | Trade News | July 12, 2012 | Comments ()


I wasn't going to care about this series. But then they brought history into the picture and got me all riled up. Starz, having mastered the art of destroying "Torchwood" and airing softcore porn set in ancient Rome, has decided to move on to the father of all vampire legends. Here's the official summary:

The project is a unique spin of the classic tale, blending the historical facts of the 15th century Prince of Wallachia, with the fictional Dracula whose story is known around the world and continues to fascinate audiences. "Vlad Dracula" traces his evolution from a revered ruler to the world's most feared vampire, and his slow downfall as he struggles desperately to hang on to his humanity, his wife and his kingdom.

Revered! His nickname was "The Impaler" and it wasn't because of his gentlemanly pursuits. I don't think "revered" is a description of particular historical accuracy in this case.

I would very much like to be able to only see the good in the project, and emphasize the potential for a tale that walks the tightrope between the monster that a character is forced to be by necessity and the monster he becomes by coming to enjoy the darkness. Or to see the potential for a story that combines flashbacks to history with the character of today, delving into the madness that was necessary in a prince defending Eastern Europe from the Turkish advance of those dark years when the West could almost have been snuffed out before it detonated outward and created the modern world.

But I don't see those things. I just see a network with a "z" where an "s" should be and the vague anger that "Children of Earth" was followed by such a disappointing effort.

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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not

  • hapl0

    I for one am ready for soft porn from another era so bring this on!

  • Guest

    My profound and shameless love for "Spartacus" leaves me no choice but to anticipate this with anticip


  • Maguita NYC

    I not so shamelessly second that.

    Was expecting this past season to suck after the passing of the lovely A. Whitfield. But it sure picked up beautifully by the 5th episode, with a fantastic Greek-esque tragedy of bloody-sex profuseness to it.
    I inappropriately loved it.

  • Guest

    Exactly what you said, from low expectation to building triumph to inappropriate response.

  • Fredo

    There's an intriguing medieval story to be made out of Vlad Tepes' life. Violence, intrigue, war, corruption, the chaos of invasion and the pressures of the Church. None of it has to touch upon the vampire (a word that didn't exist until much, much later).

    But since you're saying "Dracula", might as well make it as over the top as possible. As I asked Dustin on Twitter, any chance they could cast Eva Green's boobs in this show too? The three of them are perfect for this kind of project.

  • tatertot

    Eva Green as Countess Elizabet Bathory! Make it so, Starz!

  • Guest

    I adore Eva, and would love to see her in the role, but the definitive Bathory has already been portrayed by Delphine Seyrig.

  • tatertot

    Well....that's the definitive Bathory the way Bela Lugosi is the definitive Dracula. Daughters of Darkness isn't exactly the pseudo-historical treatment of the Blood Countess persona that Starz seems to be shooting for with Vlad. Unless I'm mistaken and Bathory was a 1970's Belgian countess who spent the her summers at the shore?

  • Guest

    I'm not taking story, here--it's all about presence, character, attitude, etc. It's about Seyrig herself.

  • tatertot

    I get that. Hence, my comparison to Lugosi.

  • Guest

    Well, not sure we're on the same wavelength, 'cause Lugosi as a character or presence or physical interpretation (story aside) hasn't really hit the nail on any heads for many purists (YMMV). Agree to disagree, because we obviously have different, subjective expectations based on our reading.

    I still look forward to Eva doing her thing, if and when.

  • BWeaves

    I thought Vlad was pretty well revered by his countrymen. He was the ultimate Machiavellian prince, what with all the impaling and all. They really could do a fantastic story with Vlad, if they just stuck to the facts (aka HISTORY) and left out the vampire bits. But no, that would be too easy.

  • inshallah

    Oh, for crissakes ... the entire "evolution
    from a revered ruler to the world’s most feared vampire" can be summed up in a single sentence: Bram Stoker found the name in a history book and he thought it sounded cool. End of story.

    That said, I would enjoy watching a show based on the nasty exploits of Vlad the Impaler, but only if Dracula had nothing to do with it.

  • bogo_lode

    He actually was (and still is) revered by the peasantry, because he brought limits to the nobility and punished crime and defended them against the Turks.

    Yes, people also hated and feared him, but he remains a national hero for a reason.

  • Maguita NYC

    Sort of a Robin Hood in fangs?

  • Samantha Klein

    The Historian was freaking awesome. The end.

  • Maguita NYC

    Well, after @facebook-1409325539:disqus 's fantastic history lesson, I'm gonna have to finally read that book.
    As @KV says, I found the first few pages quite long-winded and... unappealing, so I quit it. Will have to give this another shot.

  • KV

    I'm sorry, but I found The Historian terrible and long-winded.

  • Mrcreosote

    Look, as long as he doesn't sparkle and mope he won't be the worst vamp out there. And you say softcore Roman porn like that's a bad thing.

  • Vivianne ValdeMar

    Revered! His nickname was “The Impaler” and it wasn’t because of his
    gentlemanly pursuits. I don’t think “revered” is a description of
    particular historical accuracy in this case.

    Depends who you're asking, Mr. Wilson. Ask any Westerner who's studied history, and they'll tell you that he was probably a monster. Ask any Romanian worth his salt, we'll tell you that he was a man whose love for his country, hatred of the Ottoman empire, personal ambitions and daddy issues steeled him into doing any- and everything necessary in order to keep the the Principalities of Wallachia and Moldavia from becoming Mehmed II's playground. In doing so, he also kept a lot of Western arses safe.

    The moniker "Impaler" was attributed to him posthumously, so as to further disgrace him. Also, the name he himself used, Dragwlya, later translated as Dracul, meant "Dragon", for he was a member of the Order of the Dragon, intended to protect Christianity, especially from the Ottoman Empire. Later on, "Dracul" took on the darker meaning of "devil", which added another blemish to his reputation, again posthumously.

  • CandaceApril

    You just saved me a heck of a lot of typing.

  • BierceAmbrose

    Nice. Adding only that standards for behavior, especially in wartime & toward enemies were a bit different then vs. now.

  • Guest

    Hurray for details! I teach this stuff in my Fiction of Horror course--the (probably) real vs. legendary stuff surrounding the Sadistic Aristo archetype that's inspired so much literature (Dracul, Bathory, Comor/Conomor, Gilles de Rais, etc.), and it's kind of a big deal to me to keep everything as straight as possible. Mainly because the history IMO is 1000X more interesting than the Hollywood reductions.

    This is probably why I'm amped for this new Starz treatment. It's like SLW says--they probably won't get into all the awesome complications, but wouldn't it be great if they did? I can't help HOPING.

  • dewdney

    I wanna take your class!

  • zeke_the_pig

    'The moniker "Impaler" was attributed to him posthumously, so as to further disgrace him'
    I never understood that tactic. It's an awesome nickname. If I were Vlad, post-death, and I heard that nickname - especially considering how much I loved impaling- I'd be loving it.
    They could've done better in smearing him. Something demeaning. Vlad The Dickhead would've been better.

  • tatertot

    Nah....there's a certain kind of dickhead that embraces the name with pride. What about "Vlad the Kitten-Tickler"?

  • zeke_the_pig

    Vlad the Glee-Watcher?

  • Dragonchild

    To add to that, the people that defiled his name posthumously were (IIRC) nobles of the region that betrayed him and their country. Whether you believe Vlad was a monster or the fiercest patriot in history depends on whether you believe a corrupt aristocracy or Romanian commoners. If Vlad was a character in "Song of Ice and Fire" GRRM would've killed him off out of disbelief that a mortal could do so much with so little to work with.

  • Vivianne ValdeMar

    I <3 the "Song of Ice and Fire" reference thingamajig so much.

  • TherecanbeonlyoneAdmin

    BAM! Historied.

  • Vivianne ValdeMar

    Aww, shucks, @TherecanbeonlyoneAdmin:disqus! I'd blush, 'cept I haven't fed yet (o,..,o)

  • I'll never forgive, nor acknowledge that Torchwood abomination.

  • Classic

    That was awful. They should have just let that series go. I watched and wept. Stupid Starz.

  • kyleconrad

    But... but... Party Down? (That's the best I've got.)

  • ed newman

    And Boss! Don't forget Boss.

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