If there’s some kind of drug treatment for people who like cheesy vampire stories, than I surely need it, because yesterday while I was working I went through an entire disc of Dracula: The Series on DVD. Now, an entire disc may not sound bad to those of you accustomed to getting four hours of Buffy the Vampire Slayer on a disc, but you will understand why a disc of Drac is bad when I tell you that, because it’s a half-hour show, one disc = eleven episodes.
Now do you sense the wrongness?
Back in the very very early 1990’s, there was a channel in the NJ/NY area known as “Universal 9” – I’m not sure if it was some precursor to UPN or not, but among the funky syndicated shows they ran were this one, and another called She-Wolf of London that was about an American university student who is bitten by a werewolf while she’s visiting England. Adventure and romance ensue.
Dracula however, is at least partly a sit-com. It features extremely tall Canadian actor Geordie Johnson as “Alexander Lucard” – who lives in a modern castle and conquers the world by conglomerating it. Pitted against him is Bernard Behrens as “Gustav Helsing” – Uncle Gustav to the two American (who are really Canadian) kids who are sent to live with him in Belgium (except it’s really Luxembourg) while their mother wanders around Europe in her job for a bank. The boys are Max (10) and Chris (16), and they are cheerfully geeky in that “still have eighties hair” sort of way. Also staying with Gustav is Sophie Metternich (played by The L Word‘s Mia Kirschner), and of course she and Chris end up flirting with each other, a lot, while Max and Uncle G run off to try and kill Dracula.
There is a lot of wielding of crosses and splashing of holy water, big swirly capes, and near-vaudevillian gesturing, especially when Drac is about to sink his ridiculously long fangs into the neck of the week.
Guest stars are campy in a “If I wasn’t Canadian and it wasn’t thirty years too late I’d be on Gilligan’s Island” sort of way, and most of the 41 Canadian actors who showed up in EVERY US/CAN joint production of the era show up here as well, including, in a recurring role as Klaus “I’m a psychotic giggling loon with fangs” Helsing, Gustav’s son, turned Dracula’s minion, Geraint Wyn Davies. Followers of Vamp TV know that Geraint Wyn Davies would show up wearing fangs (and a better hair style) a few years later as the lead in the “Crime time after prime time” show, Forever Knight.
If I’m mocking this show so much, you may wonder why I bought the discs. Well, for one thing, the entire first season of 21 episodes (there was no second season, which is too bad, because had they chosen to tone down the cheese some interesting plot points were coming out) was a whopping $8.49 at a certain online megabookstore.
Also, sometimes, you just need to laugh.