FROM DUSK TILL DAWN: The Series
Created by Robert Rodriguez
Following on from my review of the pilot episode, the 10 episode series of the television adaptation of FROM DUSK TILL DAWN takes the 1996 movie and stretches it out beyond imagination in an attempt to make a thrilling, action-packed slice of entertainment. Inserting Mesoamerican mythology of a serpent demigoddess and her vampire-esque subjects, the series builds upon the film’s straightforward plot to turn the road movie cum action story into something much, much more but does it work?
Whilst I enjoyed Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino’s FROM DUSK TILL DAWN, it’s never struck me as a complex movie. If I was going to make a television series out of one of their films I would probably have chosen Pulp Fiction with its many layers and characters perfect to expand upon. In FROM DUSK TILL DAWN, the characters are played so perfectly by all involved that its hard to replicate that and although I’m sure this TV series is meant to be its own version away from the original, its hard not to compare the two particularly when many scenes are ripped off and lines lifted from the movie itself.
There are many issues I have with this television series but one of my major gripes is the cast. Besides Don Johnson and a spirited Jesse Garcia, the latter of whom plays a brand new character never seen in the original movie, the stars struggle to convince completely in their roles. As mentioned from my review of the pilot, Zane Holtz can do unhinged but not in the same way as toe-obsessed Tarantino could as creepy Richie Gecko. The rest of the cast are just too bland to care about although I must say that Robert Patrick makes an excellent Pastor Jacob Fuller, filling in the shoes vacated by Harvey Keitel who now seems to have taken up Direct Line insurance adverts instead. Even the guys replacing “pussy lover”Cheech Marin and bartender Danny Trejo look like poor imitations. One of the major miscasts for me is that of Sex Machine. Goodbye Tom Savini, hello Jake Busey. Nothing against Mr Busey but he just doesn’t fit and although his character has been developed into someone more complex than the original, it just doesn’t sit right which brings me onto my next issue: the script.
I love Tarantino’s work and the main part of that is because of his use of language and damn fine scripts. FROM DUSK TILL DAWN had the right balance of humour and was well written. This TV series, though mimics some of the lines and scenes, just falls flat on so many levels. The script is weak and thus the film and characters suffer greatly for it. Combined with the cast that lack the charisma of George Clooney, Quentin Tarantino, Danny Trejo, Salma Hayek and Juliette Lewis, just to name a few, means that this series feels little more than a homage to something greater than itself, like your local amateur tribute band down the pub: okay to watch but no match for the real thing.
Lacking the much needed attitude and balls and adding in a vague, uninteresting plotline involving an ancient curse, Season One of FROM DUSK TILL DAWN is no match for its superior predecessor and even as a standalone series struggles to keep the viewer’s attention.