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Dracula – Season 1

image To be honest, the Dracula story and vampires in general have just about been done to death to the point where stupid emo teenagers are getting into the act. But I suppose we can always try another take on the idea and for this go round we have Alexander Grayson as a business tycoon who wants to put the oil men out of business and light up the world with his new wireless electric light. An interesting statement about our current oil situation don’t you think? We also have several changes to the allegiances and friendships that we’ve come to know from the story. Renfield isn’t a mindless stooge, Van Helsing and Dracula have a rather different relationship this time around, Johnathan Harker isn’t quite trapped, but his grip on Mina is slipping and his hatred of Grayson is growing. And let’s not forget the legion of hunters that have been called in.

So does this rendition of Dracula have what it takes to keep and audience and generate a couple seasons of TV viewing? Well, it’s not a bad start. This Dracula is quite a bit different than the book. He wants to be a businessman and walk in the light and he’s brought Van Helsing along to help him with those goals. Or has Van Helsing risen Dracula for his own gains? And by gains I mean revenge?

What is the end goal for Grayson? Is it just to push lighting on the world? What are his bigger plans? And now that Harker has sabotaged the entire project and mangled the hell out of a city block, what do we have coming for next season?

The fact I ask so many questions means I’ll tune in for the next season. This take on Dracula isn’t too bad. He has money, he’s building power and he can kick ass when he needs to and beat someone with their own arm.

At times the story feels a little haphazard and it suffers from the same long breaks. Either take a break and play everything together on the other side of Christmas or move the show to a different month. Skipping episodes for weeks on end is a pain in the ass. But overall I was on board with Dracula. I think it will get better for next season once they’re given the chance to develop the story more. I did like all the background info, especially on Renfield. Of course, it looks like he’s a bit of distress as the final episode comes to an end.

So what do you think? How was this Dracula? Lots of vampire shows have come and gone. I think the last one I was on board with was Moonlight, which I felt had a lot of potential, but got canned. Let’s hope this Dracula has more success .

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Sleepy Hollow – Season 1

image For their first season, I think Sleep Hollow came out with an interesting story with nice twists and turns and offered some unusual variations on history.

First, we have the Headless Horseman. Is he just a specter that roams the night looking for head that show off with a cannonball? Oh indeed not. He’s far more than that. He may be one of THE horseman. And his presence could spell certain doom for us all.

Next, we have Ichabod Crane. Clearly not the gangly pedagogue with a veracious appetite for chicken and pies. This Ichabod is much greater Interventional Man of Mystery gifted in solving puzzles and unraveling the riddles that George Washington left behind. Seems Washington was quite a believer in the supernatural and knew the end time would come. He may have even cheated death for a short time to lay out the roadmap to save the world.

And then we have Abbie Mills, the witness. A strong cop who has no choice but to believe in and work with Ichabod even though he’s been dead for nearly 200 years. The old world and the new world collide and they make a pretty good team.

Sleepy Hollow turned out to be a fun blend of fiction and fact, such as events of the Salem Witch Trials. But there are the new takes on history like Washington coming back from the dead, his secret bible and the lost colony of Roanoke just to name a few.

We also have some changed to the Legend of Sleepy Hollow story itself, such as Brom and Ichabod were best friends and it was Katrina that came between them. Katrina and Ichabod do indeed get together, but Katrina has a past and bloodline that Ichabod never knew about.

It all comes across as great fun and comes to a head with a dramatic cliffhanger. The "Soul Eater" takes off his mask and reveals some pretty shocking details about his life. Clearly Ichabod, Katrina and Abbie are in some serious soup. I anxiously await the next season to see how get themselves out of this mess and where the clues will lead them.

The only think I have to complain about were the long breaks. Every time I turned around it seemed the show was on another 2 week break. Come on now, you lose fans that way.

So what did everyone else think? Decent first season? What do you think of the new Ichabod? We know he doesn’t like Skinny Jeans. :)

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Killer Contact – The Butcher of Iquique – S01E06

imageIt’s more tomfoolery as the Killer Contact team heads to Chile to investigate paranormal activities at an abandoned Salt Peter mine. As with so many mines of the time this was a dangerous one with long hours, poor working conditions, low pay and disregard for worker’s right. They also got paid in money that could only be used in the company stores. So in essence they never made money. But, when conditions got really poor they decided to do something about it. Their strike didn’t get them very far and military forces were brought out. Perhaps more than 2000 workers were killed and soon after the town was abandoned and left to rot. As though there is some mystery here the team wants to know why the town was abandoned. Why did people leave their jobs? Was it because of the deaths or the working conditions. Is this really such a hard question to answer? Are they really mystified over this one?

But as the investigation unfolds, I’ll give you two guesses on who sees a shadow. Moving beyond that we have Greg and Hector hearing bangs against a window. Molly and Adam claim to hear voices as they stumble around in the dark.

For the second part of the investigation they head to the Blacksmith Shop to investigate around the heavy machinery. As you might expect with old, metal equipment, there are plenty of bangs and pops. There might be the faint voice of someone saying hello and when Austin asks if someone was killed, Molly sees yet another person appear who she says is sinister. They also feel they get the words, "we did not murder" as an EVP.

In the Engine Room, Greg and Hector tries to cause a stir by getting the citizenry to riot. They try to incite the crowd to action and feel the captured chanting. They ask if the murders drove people away or if it was the working conditions. A $10 gadget points to Humberstone, the mine owner as the cause of their distress. Admist all this "commotion" they feel they get the words, "get out of here, thieves" as an EVP.

So once again we have Molly seeing shadows everywhere. We have bangs and clangs around incredibly old, metal machinery as it cools in the dead of night. We have indistinct recordings. And finally we have a couple of random blips on the Tri Field Meter. Previously the responses on this meter have been pretty interesting, but now not so much. This whole investigation seems pointless. This whole line of questioning is irrelevant. Which is worse, dealing with the death of 2000 co-workers and family members or the horrible working conditions? Who the hell cares? That’s like asking if it’s worse to get run over by a Cadillac or a Ford.

It’s pretty sad that Killer Contact chose to end their season with this lame episode. When they kicked things off with Jack the Ripper I was interested. With each passing episode it’s been fading more and more. This first came across as a new approach to Ghost Hunters International, but it didn’t evolve into anything as intriguing or interesting. They certrainly picked some interesting locales for their investigations but their methods are misguided, trite and hapless. Their "tech guru" straps a camera to an RC car and put a board on an inner tube. These are hardly the work of genius. Molly is scared of her own damn shadow. Greg is ready to throw down and antagonize everyone until he comes across Austin who is purportedly channeling someone who wants to kill Greg, then he tucks tail and runs.

SyFy is desperate to find a paranormal winner. It’s great they’re willing to try new things and give people a chance to showcase their skills. But alas, Killer Contact is riddled with flaws and grating personalities. I don’t think we’ll see a season 2 of this mess. Not a good series. No a fun group of people. But then again. I was wrong about The Dead Files. People seem to enjoy that steamy pile.

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Killer Contact – Mayan Empire – S01E05

imageFor this episode the Scooby Gang heads to Belize to investigate the Maya culture and the antics of Lord Smocking Shell. It’s believed he may be the cause of the downfall of the Mayan Empire. According to legend he sacrificed anyone and everyone including children and through his selfish sacrifices he angered the gods. People report seeing Mayan warriors and the sound of children crying. People believe that Lord Smoking Shell spilled so much blood that the spirits of the area are restless and want to be heard.

The team brings in a Shaman to help commune with the spirits and offer their own blood as a sacrifice. As they investigate they hear plenty of noises and see things moving around. Fact of the matter is, they’re in the middle of a jungle so of course they’re going to hear things moving around. None of that should be considered evidence of the paranormal. That’s evidence that animals are in the jungle.

As they enter a sacrificial chamber they hear chanting. And as you might expect, Molly damn nears soils herself again as she sees a shadow figure moving around. Every single episode she sees the same thing and has the same reaction. Is she ever going to learn? When the Mayan expert analyzes the recordings he says he hears a crowd cheering and the sound of a ball bouncing. He says they need to go to Lamanai, where Lord Smocking Shell played games, a form of soccer we presume) and would kill the victors. So instead of investigating where they already might have evidence they go elsewhere.

In Lamanai they visit The Stela, a sort of shrine where the bodies of 5 children were found, supposedly sacrificed by Lord Smoking Shell in his attempt to ascend to the status of a god. They hear walking around and hear the Rem Pod go off. Austin kneels at the alter and offers up praise to Lord Smoking Shell for everything he’s done for the Mayan people. And admist his praise his finger gets cut and there is a drop of blood. Hmm, cut finger in a cave surrounded with rocks and branches. Clearly more signs of the paranormal.

Again, they need to devise some scheme for role playing so they decide to sacrifice Molly. They pretend to take out her heart and start tossing rocks around as though that will someone fake out the spirits. Now that they have energy in the air they head down to the ball court to see if they can stir up the crowd. They get a ping on their Rem Pod and yet again Molly sees a figure moving. They break out the Tri Field Meter and begin to ask if Lord Smoking Shell is responsible for the decline of the Mayan people. A blip on the dial is all they need for confirmation, case closed.

First of all, Molly sees shadow and movement every couple of seconds. This theory of a crowd chanting is a pretty wild stretch. The prick of blood on Austin’s finger could just be from a rock or who knows what else. And this role playing business is starting to get annoying. I love the idea of their investigation and the location, but their methods leave me cold.

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