Sunday, February 11, 2007


Tonight at 9 pm EST, 'Masterpiece Theater' will present yet another adaptation of the Bram Stoker horror classic, "Dracula". Marc Warren stars as the vampire with Sophia Myles as Lucy Westenra and David Suchet (Toobworld's Hercule Poirot) as Van Helsing.

It's not because I know Marc Warren better as Danny Blue on 'Hu$tle' that I can't wrap my head around the idea of him playing the infamous bloodsucker. I've always been able to separate the many characters an actor plays from each other - I don't think of Captain Kirk every time I see Bill Shatner in 'Boston Legal'... only when DEK throws in a 'Star Trek' reference.

(Actually, my problem can be in separating the character from the actor, but except for Tom Cruise, I always make the effort.)

No, my main problem with Marc Warren as Dracula is in his look. Have you seen any publicity photos of him in the role? He looks like a demonic Erin Moran, which could be considered a redundancy. (Look at her! She's got them crazy-eyes, man! I still contend that Joanie Cunninngham did away with her older brother Chuck on 'Happy Days'!)

This version of 'Dracula' would have been automatically relegated to some other TV dimension, as it's not the first adaptation of the novel to be broadcast. If I had to chose a version to be part of Earth Prime-Time, the main Toobworld, I'd probably choose the Dan Curtis production from the 1970s starring Jack Palance.

But actually, I'm holding out the hope that one day we'll see Rudolf Martin in an TV adaptation of the novel. Back in 2000, Martin (perhaps better known as Jonathan/Martin in '24'), played the role twice on TV. He was the historical Dracul, the Romanian warlord Vlad Tepesz, Vlad the Impaler in "Dark Prince: The True Story of Dracula". And he faced off against Buffy Summers in her series 'Buffy The Vampire Slayer' (the fifth season opener, "Buffy vs. Dracula").

I'd like to think that within the reality of Toobworld, the Stoker version of the legend exists with Dracula looking like Rufolf Martin; we just haven't seen it yet. But based on those previous two appearances as the Count, I'm willing to accept this actor as the official portrayer of Dracula in Toobworld. Nothing beats an historical recreation intertwined with an established Toobworld "resident".

Any other presentation of the Bram Stoker "Dracula" or - as is the case with Patrick Bergin in the 2002 "Dracula" - of the historical version should be banished to an alternate dimension, any one of the thousands made possible by shows like 'Sliders'. For instance, Joe Flaherty as "Big Dracula" in 'Little Dracula' would end up in the same doofus dimension along with such shows as 'The Secret Files of Desmond Pfeiffer' and 'That's My Bush!'. And Juan Chioran in "Dracula: A Chamber Musical" can probably be found in an all musical TV dimension, from which came Sweet the Demon, perhaps. (Again, 'Buffy The Vampire Slayer' - "Once More With Feeling")

But as for Dracula appearing in other TV shows, interacting with their main characters in entirely new fictional adventures, they can remain in the main Toobworld, even if they are not portrayed by Rudolf Martin.

This is because they are not the actual lord of the vampires, but instead they are other vampires who have been "sired" by Count Dracula. They have taken his name in his honor and to affirm their allegiance in perpetuating his "lineage". This would include Geordie Johnson in 'Dracula: The Series', Michael Nouri in 'The Curse Of Dracula' and Dick Shawn in 'Mr. And Mrs. Dracula'.

Grandpa, as played by Al Lewis on 'The Munsters', falls into this category as well. I've written before of my theory that he was some crackpot inventor from Brooklyn, New York, who transported himself back in time to be sired as a vampire by the real Dracula in order to attain immortality. (It's the only way to really get around the idea of Dracula with that accent!)

One last note about Rudolf Martin as Dracula. A scene from his appearance on 'Buffy' shows up in a Russian TV production entitled "Nochnoy Dozor" from 2004. Not having seen it, (and it's highly unlikely I ever will), for the moment all I can do is surrender up to its Zonkness. I'd have to see it in its context for any other splainin, such as it being some hidden surveillance video footage of their encounter.

If you must watch it, I hope you enjoy tonight's presentation of "Dracula" on 'Masterpiece Theater' and that you'll write to me and let me know what you thought. Me, I'll be taping something else - 'Brothers & Sisters' most likely, or maybe even the first go-round for this week's 'Extras'. (I'm not a Grammy watcher.)

But this version of Dracula is not my cup of blood.....


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