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TV review: From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series

March 27, 2014
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From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series stars D. J. Cotrona and Zane Holtz as the Gecko brothers.

This month saw the premier of two TV series based on cult Robert Rodriguez movies set in Mexico: From Dusk Till Dawn and El Mariachi.

The former, an adaptation of the 1996 vampire flick written by Quentin Tarantino, was developed by Rodriguez himself for his El Rey network, in collaboration with Netflix. The latter, a Spanish-language series based on Rodriguez’s “tortilla western” trilogy, El Mariachi (1992), Desperado (1995) and Once Upon A Time in Mexico (2003), was produced for the Latin American market by Sony and Teleset (the same networks will also be making Metastasis,a Spanish-language version of Breaking Bad set in Colombia) without Rodriguez’s involvement.

I’ve yet to catch any of El Mariachi, but three episodes in, From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series has already proven more engaging and entertaining than the two mediocre sequels that the original film spawned.

As is often the case in such series, the first episode was a bit slow. Inevitably, there were fewer memorable lines than in Tarantino’s snappy screenplay, and it was essentially just a drawn-out version of the opening to the movie – only with less charismatic actors than the original, which starred George Clooney, Harvey Keitel, Juliette Lewis, Salma Hayek and Tarantino himself.

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Salma Hayek starred as a sexy vampire demigodess in the original movie From Dusk Till Dawn.

But in the second and third episodes Rodriguez introduced new characters and more back-story, including a Mexican drug cartel angle and a Satanic Mayan cult headed by serpent-loving demigoddess who makes La Santa Muerte look like the Virgin of Guadalupe.

The series has drawn positive reviews so far and today it was announced that it will be renewed in a second season of 13 episodes. While unlikely to reach the heights of Breaking Bad or Netflix’s House of Cards, it is a trashy and entertaining show that remains faithful to the spirit of the movie.

It is also a far cry from teen guff like Twilight or the The Vampire Diaries. Rodriguez’s show, like his vampires, has real bite to it.

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