Universal Monsters Universe is ringing in the new year by starting a new weekend series called “Five Reasons…” Our series debut features Syfy’s Van Helsing.
I. Kelly Overton is One Bad Mama Jama!
Kelly Overton plays Vanessa, a descendant of the legendary Van Helsing. Her daughter is lost when a volcano takes out the Pacific coast and turns its many residents into vampires. Vanessa has the power to turn the infected back to humans, can heal faster than normal humans and knows how to dispatch of vampires like it’s no one’s business all while looking for her daughter. Underneath that tough exterior, she is a good friend and is always there for those who need her. She becomes especially close with Axel (Jonathan Scarfe) and Susan (Hilary Jardine) then later on Mohamed (Trezzo Mahoro) and Sam (Christopher Heyerdahl).
II. Girls Just Want To Have Fun…and Kick Butt!
Even though Vanessa is the leading lady, she is not the only female who can hold her own. There’s Doc (Rukiya Bernard), who was a human, became a vampire and was turned back by Vanessa. She is the team medic and has not let her time as a vampire get to her. Nicole (Alison Wandzura) is only on for half of season one but she makes her presence known. She did not trust Vanessa at first and let Axel hear about it. Susan, like Doc, has been through a lot. She was Vanessa’s apartment neighbor before the rising who is re-discovered by Vanessa as a vampire in an underground fight club. Vanessa turns her and she becomes a valuable asset to the team. She even gives them shelter in her old family farm.
III. These Are Not Your Grandfather’s Vampires
Dmitri (Paul Johansson), Rebecca (Laura Mennell) and Julius (Aleks Paunovic) are not your slicked-back hair, cape-wearing vampires of old. They wear leather, have a social hierarchy and will stop at nothing to take over the world. Dmitri is the cunning leader while Julius is the muscle man who has tried to usurp power from Dmitri. The vampires that Vanessa and the gang run into on the streets are known as “ferals.” The only instinct they have is to find a victim, suck their blood and survive another day. In reason two, we mentioned girls who kick butt. Rebecca is the vampire version of one of those girls. She is quite the femme fatale who uses the power of seduction to get her way but can handle herself well against the men.
IV. The Relationship Between Sam and Mohamed
Sam (Christopher Heyerdahl) has a hearing impairment which affects his speech so he uses sign language. Mohamed is the only one in the group who knows sign language to communicate with Sam. The bond between the two adds something special to the show and takes it back from the horror and gore aspect of it. It sends a message of friendship and hope in a world of hopelessness and despair. The relationship comes to an unfortunate end which is quite the misty-eyed moment.
V. Neil LaBute
Neil LaBute is one of the brilliant minds behind Van Helsing. He has a long and established resume as a writer and director. He has been behind such titles as The Wicker Man and Hell On Wheels. LaBute is doing a great job with Van Helsing. It is a mix of genres and emotions which means it has something for everyone to enjoy. He developed the characters and the storyline very well and at just the right speed. It was not too slow but not too fast either. It will be interesting to see what he will be putting together for season two.
Van Helsing is currently available on Netflix international and is available on demand and through Syfy’s website. It is an exciting show and brings something completely new to both the apocalypse and vampire genres. The cast is talented and well-rounded. They work great together on-screen and make the show flow. There is an even mix of horror and adventure with some humor thrown in every once in a while. Season two is filming as we speak and should be a great follow-up to a hit debut season! Be sure to follow Universal Monsters Universe for all things Van Helsing!
(Joe Grodensky – @JoeGrodensky)