Review: From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series Season 2 Blu-Ray Is A Bloody Good Time
From Dusk Till Dawn:The Series Season Two
Format: Dolby, NTSC, Widescreen
Number of discs: 3
Rated: NR (Not Rated)
Studio: Entertainment One
DVD Release Date: February 2, 2016
Run Time: 448 minutes
The first season of From Dusk Till Dawn is a show that I feel not enough people had heard of. I found out about it via various forms of social media and was pleased to find out that not only was the entire first season on Netflix but the show had been renewed for a second season. As someone who has a limited cable package (I didn’t have the El Rey network) I was very pleased when a studio head got in touch with me to review the Blu-ray of season two.
While Season One was more or less an expanded re-telling of the original 1996 movie, the second season is able to branch out and really explore the new world. This leads to a dynamic that is the opposite of the previous season as Seth (D.J. Cotrona) and Richie Gecko (Zane Holtz) have gone their separate ways instead of sticking together. Richie has joined Santánico (Eiza González) on a blood fueled revenge path. Seth has teamed up with Kate Fuller (Madison Davenport) as a small time thief that is spinning out of control. Ranger Gonzalez (Jesse Garcia) is not the same man that went down to Mexico three months earlier and has turned his house into a fortress as he struggles to protect his family from the demons that he knows are out there. Along the way there are betrayals, new team ups, break ups and various plans going sideways in different ways.
One of the things that I really liked about the last season was the various ways it changed the vampire mythology that we are so used to. In this season they focus much more on Mesopotamian culture and mythology to a degree that surprised me. In one of the “behind the scene” featurettes that are on disc three we’re told that pretty much the entire plot is built around an ancient myth. The vampire genre has been deconstructed and rebuilt so many times now that audiences are craving different angles. We have shows like this one and The Strain and it’s refreshing to see that one of the most classic monsters can be reinvented again.
The thing that makes From Dusk Till Dawn right up my ally is the relationship between the Gecko brothers. I love family dynamics and the banter between the two of them is the perfect blend of love and animosity that happens between siblings. Cotrona and Holtz both seem like they are having a ball in their respective roles, but it’s the women that get a chance to shine this time. González gives Santánico a great arc that shows a woman that we were looking at as an antagonist the previous season and now see she is a victim. Davenport must also be given credit for taking the saintly Kate and giving her real depth as she tries to help her brother Scott (Brandon Soo Hoo). Our primary antagonist is Lord Amancio Malvado (Esai Morales) whom we’re introduced to when he peels someone’s face off. He’s extremely creepy but he also gets The Regulator (Danny Trejo) as a henchman in a memorable role.
There are a few people that aren’t quite given the credit they deserve when it comes to attention to their plotlines. Scott’s plot once again falls to the wayside toward the end and doesn’t really have much of an ending. Sonja (Briana Evigan), a woman that helps Seth and Kate in Mexico, is in over half the season and we don’t know that much about her or her motivations. While I can’t judge the show as a week to week show that I’ve binged watched twice now, I feel like it would work better with the Netflix schedule of releasing everything at once. The episodes in the middle of the season feel like they drag a little and that probably would have been worse on a week to week thing.
Robert Rodriguez obviously has a lot of love for this series as it is the main original programming on his network. The man is known for moving very quickly and as Garcia says in a featurette “nobody knows when he sleeps.” Rodriguez has a very specific vision for his work and it’s refreshing to see a passion project well received. The audio commentary gives us a look into the mind behind this show and the featurettes go into everything from the costuming to the special effects. The gore is a callback to the pulp fiction and grindhouse origins that Rodriguez and Tarantino love to draw on. It’s on par with an R rated movie, and while there are some moments that are quite gory it wasn’t anything worse than you would have seen in the original movie.
From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series has been renewed for a third season set to premiere this year. While I want to say that the second season isn’t quite as consistent as the first it is far from the “sophomore slump” that so many shows fall into. I’m interested to see how they continue to expand on their mythology and the character dynamics I’ve grown fond off.
From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series Season 1 and 2 is available on amazon and for stream on Netflix.