by Alicia Glass, contributing writer
From Dusk till Dawn: The Series is a major expansion of the original Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino film of the same name, involving the infamous Gecko brothers, demonic vampires, and haunted Texas Rangers!
The original movie is a total classic, and one I proudly own on DVD. Very little beats George Clooney and Quentin Tarantino as wise-cracking, gun-toting bad guys who end up fighting off scary-ass monster vampires in a bar out in the middle of nowhere! It doesn’t appear as though the show is trying to overcome the movie’s success per se, but rather, to expand sideways on every single plot point the film eagerly left open. Many things I wanted to know about appear to be openly explored in the show, such as Seth’s estranged wife showing up, and the disturbing visions Richie endures.
The most recent episode explored an entire block of skipped time from the film, where Seth and Richie are holed up with a bank teller hostage in some fleabag motel, Seth goes out to get food, and comes back to a horrific scene and a … let’s say missing … bank teller. The show expanded the plot in the missing time block to include Seth’s wife, background on the bank job they pulled, and it delved into Richie’s demonic visions all at the same time. It was awesome.
So we all know the general plot: the Gecko brothers are a pair of bank-robbing desperadoes, one known for his ability to talk his way into (or out of) quite a lot, that’s Seth (D.J. Controna); and his brother Richie (Zane Holtz), known for well, being rather disturbing and quite capable of slaughter with a design only he understands. Richie busted his brother out of prison and the two of them are being hunted all over Texas for robberies and homicide. That’s where we begin the show, just as it was in the movie, at a liquor store that turns into Richie’s first major abbatoir.
See, Richie suffers from these visions of some crazy, seductive lady-monster-vampires, and it causes him to do all sorts of nasty, murderous things, especially when it comes to women. Seth just wants everyone to be cool. Unfortunately, this rarely ever happens when Richie is involved, and after Texas Ranger Earl McGraw (Don Johnson) bites it in the liquor store shootout, his deputy protégé Freddie Gonzalez (Jesse Garcia) vows vengeance.
Soon enough the show is joined by the Fuller family and their RV, Father Jacob (Robert Patrick) mourning the loss of his beloved wife and running away from reality with his daughter Kate (Madison Davenport) and adopted son Scott (Brandon Soo Hoo). Even introducing Eiza Gonzalez as Santanico Pandemonium, vampire goddess extraordinaire, pales in comparison. Because let’s face it – the Gecko brothers always were, and always will be, the stars of the show!
The same grindhouse-style Tarantino and gritty bandito ways of Rodriguez are evident everywhere in the show, and with good reason, since both are quite involved in the making of the show itself. The audience is transported to the steaming Texas backways, where crazy ancient Deities and serpent vampires are worshipped, and life is cheap, so always carry extra ammo.
D.J. Controna does a truly amazing job as Seth Gecko, he has Clooney’s mannerisms down, and even manages to sound just like the character from the movie, continually, in every single episode, including the parts where there’s brand new expanded dialogue. Zane Holtz is pretty damned terrific as Richie, too. I felt for him trying to fill such huge shoes in this role, but he really feels like Richie from the movie. We’re only just now starting to get into the Fuller family drama and I’m sure it will be grand, though I do miss Juliette Lewis a bit as the daughter; I just like her brand of crazy a bit better.
And yes, right now the show is only on the El Rey network, an English language American TV channel purportedly targeting Latino audiences, launched by Robert Rodriguez himself last year in 2013. Hopefully, for those of you out there in TV-land who might not get that channel, this new expansion of the From Dusk till Dawn universe will come to Netflix as soon as possible!