Castlevania is a new Netflix original series that is based off the Castlevania games, which I happen to know after a little research has a lot of lore, but seeing as I know absolutely none of that lore, I’m simply going to review this as a television show.
Does it qualify as a TV show, though? I don’t usually watch content along this genre, but seeing as there were only four twenty-five minute episodes in this season (why didn’t they just make it a Netflix movie?), I decided to watch it all at a stretch.
Castlevania’s first episode is excellent. It wastes absolutely no time in introducing the story. Set in 1455 at the beginning, a woman named Lisa finds her way to Dracula’s palace to learn medicine, to heal her village people when ailment strikes, who currently only rely on the religious medicine that would exist at the time. They fall in love and get married. It cuts forward twenty years, and the Church burns Lisa alive, labeling her a witch because of her medicinal practice and the fact that she ‘married Satan’. Then Satan basically decides to destroy humanity and we are introduced to the main character, Trevor Belmont.
Let me start with that I liked. The animation is top class. Speaking of animation, the amount of gore indicates that this is definitely not a show for children, but I’m glad the creators didn’t hold back on the gore.
This is a generally entertaining show. Even though I knew every episode was twenty-five minutes long, they still felt shorter than they should have, because I was never bored at any point.
The voice acting is also good, but at the same time, I had to watch the show with subtitles (as a person that really doesn’t like subtitles) because some of the sound mixing, especially in the first episode from Dracula, made the dialogue really hard to understand at points.
Having said all that, I was a little let down by this show. It’s good. But that’s about it. Everything that happens in the plot synopsis basically happens in about ten minutes, and we never see anything about the relationship Dracula had with his wife, and that can make a viewer not really care about anything that’s happening. The narrative does jump around a bit, really, and it feels a little bit choppy. Furthermore, this is a largely inconsequential season. It basically sets up the second season (which has been confirmed), and that’s sort of infuriating because it was becoming interesting towards the end, and then it just stopped. I can understand that this was a risk-free way of investing in a second season, but they could have just told a whole story in this season, making it longer. They could have used test audiences before launching it to test the reception. Anything to make it a longer, actual complete story. And if that worked, then work on another story for the next season.
I actually like shorter series because I don’t have to commit to the series that much, and also they’re very compact in their storytelling. Four episodes isn’t even particularly small. Sherlock had three episodes a season, but I never finished it feeling unsatisfied. Sure, I wanted more, but that was only because the show was so brilliant. Not because I was forced to want more.
To close out this review, I would like to say that this show is not for religious people. I mean, it really isn’t. The Church is a definitive antagonist in this story, and Dracula’s motives are clear to the point of viewer sympathy (which I really liked), so if you’re against the idea of God being almost a villain, this is not the show for you.
On a scale where M is the lowest and R is the highest possible rating, with the highlighted letter being the rating:
Castlevania (season 1): MIHIR