From Dusk till Dawn is back! Robert Rodriguez, who directed the original 1996 film (with screenplay by Quentin Tarantino), has revived the story over ten episodes for his El Rey television network. Outside of the US the series will be shown on Netflix.
So far it has garnered mostly favourable reviews (the seasonal coleslaw-loving Guardian being a notable exception). Those familiar with the film will know roughly where it’s all going, but with the extra element of flashback scenes giving insight into each character’s back story it makes for an interesting ride. There are some new characters too, including a Texas Ranger (Freddie Gonzalez, played by Jesse Garcia) who promises his dying partner (Sheriff Earl McGraw, played wonderfully by Don Johnson) he’ll do whatever it takes to bring the violent Gecko brothers (Seth and Richie, played by D.J. Cotrona and Zane Holtz respectively) down (“Even if you have to follow them to the gates of hell,” says McGraw). Mesoamerican mythology is also more prominently explored, and Richie is plagued by visions as the duo make their way to Mexico to meet the mysterious Carlos (That ’70s Show‘s Wilmer Valderrama) and cash in on $30million in stolen bearer bonds.
The acting and production values vary (the creatures Richie sees in the pilot look particularly cheap, although things do improve quickly), but it’s off to a good start with the sequences that made the film such a delight intact and built upon. Benny’s World of Liquor (“Still here” says a sign out front – a nice touch!) is where it all begins as McGraw stops to use the restroom, not knowing that the Gecko brothers are already inside and holding two women hostage. A bloody shoot-out inevitably ensues, during which Richie gets shot through the hand, which doesn’t bode well for meeting the vampires later.
The pace is slow but all the Rodriguez hallmarks are present so far – great dialogue, humour and direction – so things are looking good. It all depends on how you feel about the original, but if you like it, and the Rodriguez brand of storytelling, you should find From Dusk till Dawn: The Series to be an enjoyable adventure.