TV Show Review: Castlevania
Castlevania is Netflix’s newest original series based off the Castlevania video game series, specifically Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse. The series currently consists of 4 episodes directed by Sam Deats, written by Warren Ellis, and features the incredible voice talents of Richard Armitage (Trevor Belmont), Graham McTavish (Dracula), Alejandro Reynoso (Sypha), and Matt Frewer (The Bishop).
Castlevania takes place in the fictional town of Wallachia, a place that is clearly centered around the teachings of the Christian church and, as a result, very fearful of witchcraft. The show opens with a scientist, Lisa Tepes, meeting and falling in love with Dracula, a reclusive Vampire who is extremely knowledgeable and scientifically advanced. Just as he was taking a liking to a human, Lisa is accused of witchcraft and burned at the stake by local priests. As a result, Dracula gives humanity one year before he unleashes an army of demons to kill them all. Trevor Belmont, heir to a family of demon hunters, and currently a down on his luck drunk, now needs to fight these demons as well as the wrongdoings caused by the clergy.
To start, I had no idea this show existed until I saw the immense number of critics reviewing it, and raving about it. I have never played a Castlevania game before (just started the first), so I don’t have an bias or nostalgia involved in my thoughts, and I won’t be able to compare this story to the original material.
I was pretty blown away by this show, short as it is. The animation is very good, with an anime style that just works so well. The backgrounds and settings were so gorgeously drawn that pausing the show at any time made the screen look like a painting befitting a frame on your wall. The only time I noticed an obvious flaw in the animation was a scene where Trevor Belmont pulled a torch off the wall. The torch was brighter and less detailed than other torches on the wall, making it obvious that the torch was separately animated, it just looked strange for that small moment. The voice acting is spot on, especially Dracula, who is both terrifying and depressing.
The story is just fascinating, I love this action, horror aspect, and the TV-MA rating allows for gory, dark, and often pretty disturbing visuals. There were times where I wanted to look away, such as when Trevor first looks at the town and sees little demons and one running with a dead baby in its mouth.
Now, this show is only four episodes long so far, so the story is essentially just beginning. Without spoiling, this show ends setting up a team and a plot that I expect to be both intriguing and exciting.
This is both a compliment and a complaint, but I just wish it wasn’t only four episodes. I hear the next season is set for 2018, so I know I’ll forget about this show by the time season two drops. It’s unfortunate, because now I’m all in for Castlevania, I even bought the first game on my Nintendo 3DS. I’m loving what I got, but I need more than this, and I need it sooner than a year from now. I just hope we get a really riveting trailer around December.
Also, as a toy collector, I would love some merchandise for the show such as figures and t-shirts, that would be a great way to keep the show relevant despite its shortness.
In the end, Castlevania is another home run for Netflix, and I cannot wait for more from this fascinating world. I’m glad this show got me into the franchise, because I’m also loving the Castlevania game and I’m interested in seeing how the show fits into the game universe. I highly recommend checking this out if you subscribe to Netflix, especially since it is only 4 episodes and easy to get through quickly. If you like it, please support the show and spread the word so more episodes can be made! I am very enthusiastic about this series and I hope it grows and becomes even better!
(My score is based off the current 4 episodes as if it were one long pilot and assuming the series will continue. Should the show end at these 4, my score will change negatively)