When the first season of From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series reached it’s weird conclusion, I was anticipating that, in the style of the film series (also like American Horror Story or Fargo), the second season would tell a different story, featuring different characters, to expand the same mythology. However, this new episode (titled “Opening Night”) reintroduces most the same people from season one. It’s an interesting twist to have two vampires as protagonists, and splitting up the Gecko brothers into two separate criminal teams create a new dynamic, but the confusing and convoluted plot looks like it’s just getting more complicated.
The first season retold, re-imagined, and expanded the plot of the 1996 movie on which this series is based, and now the second season is taking the saga in a new direction. Previously, we saw the bank robbing “Gecko Brothers” on the run from the law, kidnapping a former pastor and his two children in order to smuggle themselves across the USA/Mexico border. They ended up in the Titty Twister, a dangerous strip joint in Mexico populated by Aztec, snake-like vampires who lure travellers into their clutches to drink their blood and capture their souls.
In season 2, Richie Gecko and vampire seductress Santanico Pandemonium, are trying to bring down the vampire crime syndicate, while Seth Gecko and Kate Fuller (the pastor’s daughter) are robbing their way to new passports and identities, in order to stay as far away as possible from the law and vampires. Some nasty and evil vampires surpass season 1’s villains, and they (as well as Jesse Garcia’s Texas Ranger Freddie Gonzales) promise to be on our heroes’ trail as soon as possible.
This first episode is again directed by Robert Rodriguez, who directed 4 of the 10 season one episodes as well as the first film, and the action sequences are exciting and creative – a Rodriguez trademark. Unfortunately, the lower television-show budget means some of the CG effects aren’t as convincing as they should be. Quite confusingly, though, some effects (specifically, one vampire “burning up” from the inside, Iron Man 3-style) look amazing. Then a few minutes later, an ancient statue coming to life looks like a last-minute, rushed effects job – why the inconsistency?
The show’s tone, just like in the first season, isn’t 100% serious, but takes itself more seriously than the films ever did, and maybe more seriously than it should take itself. As much as I want to like certain design concepts like snake-like vampire teeth, I can’t quite convince myself to fully play along. And in this episode, the vampire sex just didn’t do it for me.
Another point that concerns me is Robert Rodriguez’s love of making large ensemble films, and convoluted, often even confusing plots. Maybe this works better in TV than it does in film, but season one’s constant narrative twists just left me lost in a labyrinth.
On the other hand, this episode did manage to get me excited for what’s coming. An introduction of a new character played by Rodriguez regular Danny Trejo (or is it the reintroduction of an old character?), for example, will guarantee that I tune in to episode 2.
From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series is a supernatural horror/crime series based on the 1996 movie of the same name. The film was made from a screenplay by Quentin Tarantino and directed by Robert Rodriguez, who also created and runs the television series. Season 2’s 10-episode run is currently being broadcast at 23h00 on Tuesdays on M-net Edge. Get the first season on DVD here.