TV Review: Van Helsing


Airs: Fridays 10pm on Syfy

Review: Double episode premiere

Why is the vampire myth so hard for Hollywood? They have no souls. They have hypnotic powers. Sunlight burns them. They can only enter if invited (that whole hypnotic powers thing comes in handy). They only die via wooden steak through the heart or decapitation. I understand that everyone wants to put their own spin on the vampire myth, but vampires aren’t trying to “fit in” to human society, and they sure as hell don’t sparkle in the sunlight. Van Helsing is merely the latest to corrupt the vampire myth. They seem to have mashed zombies and vampires together.

Van Helsing has an interesting basic concept – If a vampire drinks Van(essa) Helsing’s blood they revert back to a human – a nice twist to Dracula’s archenemy. Would she be coveted or reviled by vampires? It is a point that is difficult for Van Helsing to get to because the premiere bounces all over the place. You would think Van Helsing would be the main character, what with the title and all, but the show seems to follow Axel Miller, a low-level army grunt assigned to protect Van Helsing. It bounces around in time, and you know how much I love that. In fact, you could swap episodes one and two with no discernable difference to the storytelling (I might have accidentally done just that). During a flashback it gets more confusing – apparently the Yellowstone super volcano is exploding, a story of itself, but this is somehow linked to the vampire explosion? When another eruption goes off, a bunch of people randomly turn from human to vampire – more similar to zombie lore than vampire mythology. That’s not how this works. That’s not how any of this works.

I am a vampire purist. It seems rather silly to complain that something that is mythical* isn’t right. Van Helsing has a good premise, but is too scattered to be worthwhile. This zombie/vampire mashup is similar to The Strain (another scattered premise). If you are tired of vampires, Van Helsing isn’t the show for you. If you are tired of zombies, Van Helsing isn’t the show for you. If you can’t get enough of vampires and zombies, and love seeing all the ways that the mythology can be perverted, then check it out.

WWYT Rating: 5.0

Nielsen Ratings: 0.21. This is an average rating for the four episodes that have aired. Keep in mind, the first episode drives this rating up a bit though. This rating would be a solid performer for Syfy if this were the average. The last three episodes have been below average for the network. I anticipate that it will be renewed for a second season (60%).

*Or not.


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