Louisiana, the home of HBO's "True Blood," is a long way from Transylvania. So is Washington state, the setting of the “Twilight” movies and books.
But the specter of Dracula has never been far from the popular culture since he first swooped into the mass consciousness via Bram Stoker's chilling 1897 book. Dracula's influence has proved strong in recent years, even if he's been overshadowed by a bevy of other vampires.
Dracula plunges his fangs back in the entertainment game with an NBC series, debuting Friday, that promises to introduce the original bloodsucker to a generation raised on, well, pale imitations.
The new show offers a twist on the legend: Dracula lands in Victorian London in the guise of an American inventor wanting to bring electric lights to town – convenient for a guy who works by night. He’s haunted by a lost love and the enemies who cursed him with immortality and an unquenchable thirst for plasma.
But there’s always been far more to Dracula than sex appeal: He's a tragic figure of sorts – tormented and a misunderstood tormentor. He’s damned by fate, and damns others.
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The power and enduring allure of the character can seen in a century's worth of mass media depictions – including comic versions, from Al Lewis' Borscht Belt shtick in "The Munsters" to George Hamilton's nightlife lover in "Love at First Bite" to Leslie Nielsen’s goofy turn in Mel Brooks' bloody romp, "Dracula: Dead and Loving it."
Now Dracula has new life, and NBC is betting that after years of knockoffs, we 'll be loving the real thing once again. Check out a clip below of what’s shaping up as a stylish return for the ultimate wingman from Transylvania, just in time for the Halloween season:
Hester is founding director of the award-winning, multi-media NYCity News Service at the City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism. He is also the author of "Raising a Beatle Baby: How John, Paul, George and Ringo Helped us Come Together as a Family." Follow him on Twitter.