Saturday, November 07, 2015

From Dusk till Dawn: The Series – season 2 – review


Director: various

First aired: 2015

Contains spoilers

It came as no surprise when this series received a second season. Beyond the heavy involvement of Robert Rodriguez in both the channel and the series/story was the fact that Season 1 was thoroughly enjoyable TV. Ok, it didn’t come to the standard of the actual movie but that certainly was a hard act to follow.

Kate and Freddie
Season 1 actually followed the movie story pretty tightly but added in new characters and also changed the fate of several characters. Santánico Pandemonium (Eiza González) became a central character and thus couldn’t die and neither, of course, could Richie Gecko (Zane Holtz, Vampires Suck). As season 2 moves forward we also discover that Sex Machine (Jake Busey, Frost: Portrait of a Vampire) had been turned rather than died as it appeared.

the Twister
This is going to be an ongoing problem within the series as it has invested into certain characters and is reluctant to let them go. The coda rebirth of one of the primary characters at the end of this season is not something I’ll spoil but underlines the issue. There is also the question mark over the vampire nature of the “creatures” – called culebras, they are snake creatures. However humans can be turned, they drink blood (and eat the soul of the victim), they can change shape (and take on the appearance of their victims for a short while), and they are destroyed by the sun and by destruction of the heart at which point they dust. The nine Lords (God like progenitors) have a snake within them (as does Santánico) but if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks… well…

Carlos' new fangs
The series has Santánico, freed from the Titty Twister, with Richie. They are being hunted by one of the nine Lords, Malvado (Esai Morales), who sees her as his property and are on a mission to destroy him themselves (Satanico wants him dead, Richie wants his crime empire – these are not necessarily compatible desires). Carlos (Wilmer Valderrama) escapes from the mystical labyrinth beneath the Twister and restarts his machinations (and forges fangs from silver as he had to rip out his fangs to escape the labyrinth) and Ranger Gonzales (Jesse Garcia) is trying to rebuild his family life. Meanwhile Kate (Madison Davenport) is being initiated into a criminal life by Seth (D.J. Cotrona). I felt the Seth and Kate storylines were probably the weakest – Kate's motivations just didn’t seem to ring true (she has been painted so good in series that some of her in-season choices didn’t gel) and Seth’s descent into drug addiction and subsequent speedy recover just seemed badly thought through.

Jess Fahey as Uncle Eddie
New characters included Seth and Richie’s Uncle Eddie, which was a welcome but sadly short performance by Jeff Fahey, and an underused, in my opinion, but welcome return to the FDtD family for Danny Trejo not as his movie character (who had been played by another actor in season 1) but as the Regulator, a mystical almost indestructible warrior sent to hunt down and retrieve Santánico. The story itself becomes, beyond the Santánico and Malvado grudge, a search for the Well – a mystical source of ultra-powerful blood. The bonds that Richie and Seth stole at the head of season 1 hide a map to it – a concept that was perhaps a little hokey but has to be accepted to make the series hang together.

Danny Trejo as the Regulator
If I had one gripe for season 1 it was the toned down language, which jarred in places especially as the film script was written by auteur Quinten Tarantino. As this has fully diverged from the film and gone into uncharted waters, and thus is not reimagining scenes, I didn’t have the same frustration. However I felt (as indicated above) that some of the story and character motivations were a tad hard to swallow and thus I don’t think this quite matches up to the first season. That isn’t to say it was bad – it was still enjoyable TV – but the writers need to be braver with the main characters in the confirmed season 3.

6.5 out of 10

The imdb page is here.

5 comments:

Scott Harper said...

I have to admit I fast forwarded through a lot of the season so I may have missed the answer to my question but I was curious as to the nature of the snakes. Santanico has one as do the Nine Lords...do all culebras have snakes inside them or just the old ones? It appeared that if the snake was removed from the body and/or destroyed the culebra was destroyed as well. In Satanico's origin in the first season a snake crawls into her mouth and converts her, as opposed to the usual venom bite of another culebra. Does this method of transformation make her more powerful than an average culebra? I seem to recall Santanico giving Richie a snake in the first season. Also, are the Nine Lords the first culebras i.e. the original vampires? I missed that little piece of lore.

Taliesin_ttlg said...

Hi Scott - the lore is confused on this one certainly. The 9 Lords apparently all have snakes and the snake has to be destroyed to destroy them (it would appear) thus the snake is the Lord. Santanico also has a snake, and I think that does make her more powerful (though that isn't confirmed)...

the other Culebra are converted by venom but Richie is an odd one, converted by venom and yet seems to have a snake - though it was mystical in nature rather than physical and seems to be tied in to his power to make a third eye appear on his hand and control other culebra. Also Carlos was turned with venom but enhanced by the Labyrinth in some sort of mystical way

I think the 9 Lords are the original culebra who came to our realm - certainly Malvado is trying to leave our realm and return (?) to El Ray

LoBo said...

Too bad you didn't enjoy it as much as the first season. I liked this series so i wll purchase season 2.

Taliesin_ttlg said...

Lobo - don't get me wrong. I'll still be bying the DVD set :)

LoBo said...

I'm watching it now. I agree. The first season was best. Too bad.