Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss, the showrunners behind Sherlock and Doctor Who (clarifier: Gatiss is only a writer on Who), are trading in a detective and a timelord for a vampire. The vampire, really: Dracula.
As a Dracula fan and someone who has certainly consumed a lot of media written and produced by Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss over the years, I thought why not start a conversation here at SYFY WIRE about what might be, what could be, and what absolutely should NOT be.
Based on my familiarity with Moffat and Gatiss’s work on Doctor Who and Sherlock, here be a list of Dos and Don’ts for the next Dracula TV Series…
DO: Let Dracula be a creep
This might seem obvious, but considering how sexy vampires can be, it’s important to remember that Dracula is not a very nice person. Like Sherlock Holmes, Drac is not really meant to be the entry point for a story on account of the fact that he’s not terribly relatable or decent. Dracula has three wives, man, and he doesn’t like ANY of them.
I’m not saying go full 30 Days of Night, but keep in mind that, even in the original book, Dracula, like Sherlock in the beginning of the BBC series, is engaging to some, but still mostly a creepozoid. In the Hammer movies, he mostly turns women into vampires to get revenge on their dads and boyfriends and such! While I’m not sure anyone should go so far as to take all those women’s agencies away, I think Moffat and Gatiss were smart to make Sherlock a real ass#$%!, and I think Dracula should be at least a little worse. I mean, he’s Dracula.
DON’T: Make it all about Dracula
There are a lot of characters to pull from, especially if you’re looking at the full Dracula oeuvre. And if there’s a common complaint about both Doctor Who and Sherlock, it’s that there’s a tendency with both Moffat and Gatiss to make them the most specialist special in all the land and focus on them more so than anyone else. And that, friends, is a huge mistake. You need a world to believe in and care about if you’re going to be impressed by the Doctor or Sherlock or Dracula. If the Doctor can do literally everything (even ride a motorcycle), then what is the point of his companions? And Dr. Watson is supposed to be the entry point with Sherlock Holmes, so if he’s sidelineed, then what’s the point of him? Dracula has a host of characters who who should share as much, if not more, screen time as he does.
There’s Lucy and Mina and Jonathan and Van Helsing and, again THREE WIVES, and a host of others to focus on, which all adds up to: just let Dracula be a part-time player, especially at the beginning when you’re world-building.
DO: Play up Dracula’s wives
So, generally speaking, Dracula often has three wives who he kind of treats badly while seeking out even more women to canoodle with. And I will say this: I think most adaptations do not give the wives their due, especially considering modern storytelling.
I talked about this back when I revisited Hugh Jackman’s Van Helsing because those Dracula wives were pretty solid. Moffat, though, has a somewhat infamous tendency to make what’s called “Moffat women” who are all sexy and snarky, and whose lives are totally tied up with the Doctor’s.
It has occurred to me that at least the first two bullet points there are probably fine (and maybe even good) for a wife of Dracula. I mean… they are probably going to be at least a little sexy and almost certainly they will be manipulative and sly. Really, the only thing I’d hope Moffat and Gatiss would be mindful of is that the wives could very easily exist outside of Dracula’s purview; they can be doing their own thing. More River Song from “Silence in the Library” and less River Song from “The Wedding of River Song,” I guess is what I’m driving at here.
DON’T: Fixate on long-form narrative
I feel like I should be addressing this statement to most showrunners these days, but most certainly both Moffat and Gatiss have really flung themselves overboard with the desire to have every single thing connect with every single other thing. Moriarty doesn’t need to secretly be directly responsible for every crime Sherlock looks into, and Dracula shouldn’t be the only vampire in town, either.
Much like Sherlock Holmes, I think a Dracula series would be better served by being more procedural and episodic rather than being overwhelmingly serialized. Rather than a soap opera, the story could be about Lucky, Mina, Jonathan, and Van Helsing looking into strange cases and otherwise living their lives. This links up with the “Don’t make it all about Dracula” bullet point, in that the more the show is about just Dracula, the more everything weird happening in his world will be primarily tied to him.
DO: Be scary
This is effectively the most obvious thing to say. The Weeping Angels, the Silence, Cybermen coming out of graves… Moffat likes to creep people out. And, yes, absolutely a Dracula TV series should make you jump clean out of your skin, at least on occasion. There will always be an element of the Gothic Romance in a Dracula story, but it should also be incredibly ghoulish at times. I think Renfield as a character, especially, could be one of the scariest characters to come to TV in a long time.
Dracula is, again, kind of a creep. And he’s not always just a creep of the sexual deviant variety, either. Sometimes he’s a psychic creep. And the idea of him invading someone’s mind could also lend itself to some great psychological horror.
DON’T: Mess with the origin
Have y’all seen BBC’s Jekyll? It is very interesting, but it gets more and more ridiculous as time wears on. It is also a Moffat series, and is yet another example of him taking on a well known ficitonal character. Dr. Henry Jekyll, in this case, winds up being created by a secret society and is a clone and also his mother is a Mr. Hyde type and… oy, it just goes on and on and on. It would’ve been enough to have Henry Jekyll make a serum and, in his hubris, release a dangerous side of himself he denied existed. But, instead, it’s conspiracy theory central. And then it got canceled before all the set-up could be explained.
I know that Dracula is a known element, but I think most people would agree that they don’t need conspiracy theories to make him more interesting as a result. Don’t Dark Universe Dracula. Universal is already doing that. Just let Dracula be an especially powerful vampire and leave it there. We don’t need to know that Dracula is part of a secret society that even he doesn’t know about, or some such.
And that’s about it from me! If you have some advice for Mr. Moffat and Mr. Gatiss (I’m sure they’re SYFY WIRE regulars), feel free to post your own thoughts on what you want from them (and what you don’t).
- Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992) - I Never Drink Wine (2/8) | Movieclips - December 1st, 2018
- Whitby Dracula, Connections Between Dracula, Whitby & Bram ... - November 30th, 2018
- Dracula | The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy Wiki ... - November 30th, 2018
- Amazon.com: Watch Bram Stoker's Dracula | Prime Video - November 1st, 2018
- Dracula (Barnes & Noble Collectible Editions) by Bram ... - October 31st, 2018
- Dracula - Milwaukee Ballet - October 31st, 2018
- Dracula - Shmoop - October 31st, 2018
- Netflix & BBC One Board Dracula Series From Sherlock ... - October 17th, 2018
- Dracula TV Series Ordered at Netflix From Steven Moffat ... - October 17th, 2018
- Dracula Series from the Sherlock Team to Launch on BBC ... - October 15th, 2018
- Amazon.com: Dracula: Complete Legacy Collection [Blu-ray ... - September 27th, 2018
- Dracula (9/10) Movie CLIP - Dracula and Van Helsing (1931) HD ... - August 24th, 2018
- Dracula (Barnes & Noble Collectible Editions) by Bram Stoker ... - August 22nd, 2018
- Dracula Powers, Villains, History, & More | Marvel - August 22nd, 2018
- DraculaA Summary | Britannica.com - August 13th, 2018
- Dracula Part 3 | C-S-S-A.com Celebrity Sex Stories Archive - July 22nd, 2018
- Dracula (Signet Classics): Bram Stoker, Leonard Wolf ... - July 6th, 2018
- Dracula | Monster High Wiki | FANDOM powered by Wikia - June 28th, 2018
- Book Summary - Written by Teachers - June 28th, 2018
- Dracula | Marvel's Avengers Assemble Wiki | FANDOM powered ... - June 24th, 2018
- Dracula | Count Dracula | Dracula - scribd.com - October 19th, 2017
- Dracula - Marvel Universe Wiki: The definitive online source ... - September 27th, 2017
- Dracula by Bram Stoker - September 26th, 2017
- Gene Causing Dracula-Like Appearance Points to Vampire Origins ... - Inverse - September 7th, 2017
- Wolfeboro dancers to participate in Northeastern Ballet Theatre's 'Dracula' Sept. 16 - Conway Daily Sun - September 7th, 2017
- Bram Stoker's relative Dacre writes first authorised prequel to ... - The Guardian - September 7th, 2017
- Dracula in Vegas - DVD Talk - September 7th, 2017
- Dracula prequel in development with It director Andy Muschietti - Looper - September 6th, 2017
- Late Night Likens Trump to Dracula, Hitler; Invokes 'White Supremacy' - NewsBusters (press release) (blog) - September 6th, 2017
- Dracula Prequel in Development at Paramount With 'It' Director Andy Muschietti - Variety - September 6th, 2017
- Rakul Preet Singh visits the birthplace of Dracula - BizAsia - September 6th, 2017
- Resurrecting Dracula with a Shake and Stir - The Adelaide Review - September 5th, 2017
- Rakul Preet shoots at the birthplace of Dracula | Tamil Movie News ... - Times of India - September 5th, 2017
- The dark side of books - Isle of Man Today - September 3rd, 2017
- PFAA production of Dracula to begin - Waynesville Daily Guide - September 1st, 2017
- Water handicaps restoration work on 'Dracula' castle ... - Hurriyet Daily News - August 28th, 2017
- Breon Arzell to Star in The Hypocrites' DRACULA at Mercury Theater Chicago - Broadway World - August 26th, 2017
- Dracula Uses One Guitar and Two Voices to Haunt With Intensity - Miami New Times - August 24th, 2017
- Theatre Review: Sink your teeth into shake & stir's bloody brilliant adaption of Dracula (At Brisbane's QPAC to ... - the AU review (blog) - August 24th, 2017
- Holland theater group performs musical version of Dracula - HollandSentinel.com - August 19th, 2017
- Strand Theatre to have Dracula in October - MDJOnline.com - August 19th, 2017
- Imagine Dracula in Charge of the Blood Bank - Daily Mirror - August 17th, 2017
- Report of Body Leads CA Firefighters to Dracula - Firehouse.com (press release) (registration) (blog) - August 14th, 2017
- Rescuers discover body in Modesto creek is Dracula - SFGate - August 14th, 2017
- Gaslighters set 'Dracula, the Musical?' tryouts - TheReporter.Com - August 13th, 2017
- Firefighters responded to report of possible body in creek. They found Dracula. - Modesto Bee - August 11th, 2017
- A trip to Dracula's birthplace won't bleed you dry | Spectator Life - Spectator.co.uk - August 10th, 2017
- Dracula - A Century of Film - Yorkton This Week - August 10th, 2017
- Dracula to appear at blood donor clinic in Peterborough on Sept. 9 - Peterborough Examiner - August 9th, 2017
- Peterborough Theatre Guild New Play Dracula Upcoming, Invites You To Visit Canadian Blood Services - PTBOCanada (press release) (blog) - August 8th, 2017
- Artist Uses Dracula To Make A Point About The NYC Immigrant Experience - Newsy - August 5th, 2017
- Marvel Unearthing The Tomb of Dracula - Dread Central - August 3rd, 2017
- Dracula entertains, but seems focused on playing into own hype: review - Toronto Star - August 3rd, 2017
- Win a double pass to Dracula in Brisbane - Daily Review - July 31st, 2017
- Netflix's Castlevania takes aim at religion - Polygon - July 30th, 2017
- The Dracula process - Maryville Daily Forum - July 30th, 2017
- Eiko Ishioka: Google Doodle salutes Oscar winner who conquered both 'Dracula' and male-dominated advertising - Washington Post - July 12th, 2017
- Netflix's 'Castlevania' Is 'Beauty and the Beast' If Belle Died - Inverse - July 11th, 2017
- Religion is just as dangerous as Dracula in Netflix's promising Castlevania - A.V. Club - July 11th, 2017
- Netflix's Castlevania isn't a perfect video game adaptation, but it's on the right track - The Verge - July 8th, 2017
- Coming to a Small Screen Near You (Maybe) - Variety - July 6th, 2017
- Land of wonders, home of Dracula - Coast Reporter - July 6th, 2017
- Throwback Thursday: Dracula Resurrection DVS Gaming - DVS Gaming (registration) (blog) - July 6th, 2017
- The Shaw Festival to Sink Its Teeth Into Liz Lochhead's Seductive Adaptation of DRACULA - Broadway World - July 6th, 2017
- In Retrospect: Dracula (1931) - The Egalitarian - July 6th, 2017
- Gothic classic Dracula descends on Mount Isa - The North West Star - July 5th, 2017
- Netflix's Castlevania Cast Includes Preacher's Saint of Killers as Dracula! - Bloody Disgusting - July 1st, 2017
- BBC 'Sherlock' Writers Drop The Detective Series For 'Dracula ... - moviepilot.com - June 29th, 2017
- Netflix Castlevania series reveals voice cast - Polygon - Polygon - June 29th, 2017
- A budget road trip through Dracula country - Telegraph.co.uk - June 29th, 2017
- Ever Wanted Frankenstein, War of the Worlds, or Dracula on Your ... - Dread Central - June 29th, 2017
- Will Universal Bring Back Luke Evans's Dracula In The Dark ... - moviepilot.com - June 27th, 2017
- No, the new Dracula series from Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss is NOT "Dracula solves crimes" - DigitalSpy.com - June 26th, 2017
- Sherlock Team to Reunite for a Dracula TV Series - TownandCountrymag.com (blog) - June 26th, 2017
- Dracula TV Series On The Way From Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat ... - Box Office Buz (press release) (blog) - June 26th, 2017
- Sherlock's Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat to write Dracula TV show - The Guardian - June 24th, 2017
- Rendezvous with Dracula promises laughs, screams - The West Australian - June 23rd, 2017
- Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss to give Dracula the Sherlock treatment - SYFY WIRE (blog) - June 22nd, 2017
- Sherlock team reuniting for new Dracula series - The Hindu - June 22nd, 2017
- Sherlock team reuniting for new Dracula series - The Hindu - The Hindu - June 22nd, 2017
Reviewed and Recommended by Erik Baquero