Transylvania (The CW) pilot preview: The beauty & the monsters

TRANSYLVANIA

Created and executive produced by Hugh Sterbakov (Robot Chicken). Directed by Jason Ensler (Franklin & Bash, Hart of Dixie Red Band Society). Also executive produced by Jeff Pinkner (Zoo, Fringe, Lost, Alias), Scott RosenbergJosh Appelbaum, Andre Nemec (Zoo, Life On Mars US, Fastlane, Alias). For The CW, CBS Television Studios & Midnight Radio. 60 pages.

Description: In 1880, Victoria, a headstrong young woman in search of her missing father ventures from NYC to Transylvania where she teams up with Godfrey, a wrongfully disgraced Scotland Yard Detective, and together they witness the births of the most famous monsters and villains in history, from Frankenstein to Dracula…

With Laura Brent (Anzac Girls), Luke Allen-Gale (Dominion, Monroe), Sofia Pernas (The Young and the Restless), Evan Stern

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In case FOX cancels Sleepy Hollow –which is a real possibility, it only scored 2,6 million viewers, 0.7 last friday– fans could get their weekly dose of supernatural investigations next year thanks to Transylvania on The CW. I’m not sure both are needed at the same time though. Transylvania doesn’t offer anything that we haven’t been served before. One more variation on the same theme. I really dislike Showtime’s Penny Dreadful, but it makes Transylvania look like a walk in the park. It’s the infantalized version, with a cast that seems to be bland, but I haven’t seen any one of them act before. Hopefully, I’m mistaken. I’d say The CW is fine without it and probably has better and more original projects to bet on (with very few slots available next year). But let’s delve into this dark, dark world for a minute.

On paper, the country of Transylvania and more specifically the town of Tatrov are described with a great attention to detail. You really feel like you’re in the middle of it. To the point when you don’t really believe The CW can transcribe it faithfully with a normal budget. And as far as I know, they weren’t given a special treatment. But I remember I felt the same thing when reading The 100 pilot and the resultat was quite convicing. As long as it doesn’ look like Once Upon A Time, they’re fine. If they can’t set up the right dark, dangerous, frightening atmosphere, then the whole thing is doomed to fail. And there are so many different settings… In fact, the whole pilot is about our heroine moving from one place to another. From New York, where she comes from –for an opening scene where she’s established as a know-it-all smart ass… duh– to the Lugosi hotel, the bar appropriately called “The Slaughtered Lamb”, so many streets, fields, the constable’s office, a farmhouse, a windmill, an antiquities shop, the old city filled with extras, the Scholomance school, the cemetery, London through flashbacks, the Castle Dracula… well, it never ends. The whole pilot works as a long addition of places and characters. It’s exhausting. And not very rewarding for the audience.

Oh and there are two parallel investigations we don’t really care about. Victoria is looking for her father –spoiler alert : he’s not dead after all, against all odds. And she also wants to help the townspeople when she realizes they are gruesomely decimated by a Wolf Man. Is it a real monster? Or a cruel human in disguise? At some point, Victoria thinks the wolf man might be her own father. Which doesn’t make any sense, even if it would have been fun. They tell us she’s sooo smart, and suddenly it feels like she’s not at all. Anyway. Along the way, she meets the one who will become her partner: detective Godfrey. They seem to hate each other, but of course there’s a spark. Think Elementary. They are in a believer/non believer dynamics we’re fed up with. Then she meets Jekylll. The famous one. And there’s a spark. A future love triangle? If only. Because aftet that, she meets a Marcus. And he really likes her. She might like him too. Oh and let’s not forget Frankenstein. Okay, he’s a bit crazy. But sexy too. Another spark! And it goes on and on… And they all talk the same! It’s the beauty and the monsters. She’s not even flirtatious for now. She’s just there. She’s like Sookie in True Blood. Everybody wants to fuck her. And you don’t really understand why. By the way, voice-over lovers: there’s one! Victoria reads a letter she’s writing to a certain someone. Someone you know. I won’t tell. That’s one of the two pretty efficient cliffhangers. At least, there’s that.

There’s certainly an audience for Transylvania, on The CW or somewhere else. It’s not a good pilot in my opinion, but it doesn’t mean it can’t become a good show. Too much exposure, not enough twists and surprises. The pilot is all about setting the stage, justifying the heroine’s presence over there and it forgets to entertain in the process. It lacks subtlety, uniqueness, eccentricity. It’s just something we have already seen. The trip is just not worth it.

 

6 comments

  1. Eve says:

    LMAO this is the stupidest review I’ve ever read. You’re lucky the public doesn’t have access to this script or you’d be laughed at. No mention of the dialogue banter that’s better than just about any other pilot this year? Or the fact that the “know it all hero” keeps getting showed up because she’s overconfident and that’s the biggest trait of her character? And there’s nothing to say about Coriander at all, and that she’s torn about her family? Are you kidding? Also, would you rather the strong hero on a mission to find her family just fell into the arms of one of the men? Why do you have a problem with her going on her own?

    There’s a matter of taste and there is just totally misrepresenting what’s on the page. Good luck with this review still being posted when the pilot airs lol

  2. Kayell says:

    There are some shows I love that I can understand why people may tune out of. I don’t see how anyone can “really dislike” Penny Dreadful. Maybe, it’s not for you, but to “really dislike it” shows a lack of taste and ability to critique a script. I stopped reading after that.
    I mean, I’ve reviewed shows that weren’t for me, but I gotta give kudos where kudos is deserved if the writing is top notch. Penny Dreadful is one of the best written shows on television whether it’s for you or not, as a reviewer you have to have an open mind. All credibility is lost on me.
    I’m sure Transylvania is amazing

    • Lulla says:

      You’re going way too far! I just said that “I really dislike” Penny Dreadful and didn’t explain why since it’s not the subject of the preview. I haven’t said the show was a big shit. I even said Penny Dreadful is obviously way better than Transylvania, whatever my opinion is on the show. It just not my cup of tea, so I dislike it yeah and I’m entitled to say so. But thanks, I have an open mind and I read many scripts for shows that are not for me. If they’re good, I say it. But sorry, Transylvania is not a good script for reasons I have explained in the preview you don’t wanna read. And of course, it’s just my opinion. Maybe YOU should keep an open mind!

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