Viewer ratings for Dracula have improved drastically over the last few days as UK audiences catch up on the series on Netflix and BBC iPlayer.
Like Dracula himself, the new brain-child of Sherlock creators Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss has been reinvigorated with the introduction of new blood. Dracula originally premiered on the BBC in the UK on New Year’s Day and aired over three consecutive days. With the addition of the series to Netflix on January 4 and it’s availability on BBC iPlayer in the UK, viewer ratings for the first episode have nearly doubled Dracula’s overnight audience of 3.6 million. That means that 7 million new viewers have watched Dracula in its first week of availability online in the UK.
Moffat and Gatiss’s Dracula is a reimagining of the classic gothic horror tale of the ancient vampire Count Dracula and the desperate fight to destroy him before he can infect England with his evil. The series began more or less faithfully to the Bram Stoker novel and reveled in it’s gothic origins to delicious effect. The first episode was luscious and sexy, grotesque and frightening, truly benefiting from the punched-up dialogue and the liberties taken with plot and character.
Reviews of further episodes have been mixed, with some applauding the twist at the end of episode two and others not so happy. Viewer numbers on BBC iPlayer reflect the divide, with numbers steadily falling off from 2.4 million for episode one, to 1.8 million for episode two, and 1.3 million for episode three.
I will say that if you’re expecting the tightly plotted, action packed battle against evil that often accompanies an adaptation of Dracula, you will definitely be disappointed by episode three. But that’s been done, and done to death a million times before. Whatever you may think of the direction that Moffat and Gatiss took with the series, they took a risk and did something different. And in a world filled with tiresome reboots and remakes, creative risk is a refreshing quality indeed.