When I first saw this title pop up in my Netflix queue, I was a little dubious, how could a genre-bending Rodriguez/Tarantino film that ran shorter than two hours be expanded out into a 10 episode series, and would it be a stand alone season, or the beginning of all new adventures for the Gecko Brothers…
I found myself pleasantly surprised. Having liked the original film, I was more than willing to settle in for at least the first episode to see what Robert Rodriguez as the show runner and original director did with it. I chain-watched the entire 10 episode season over the course of a week (work tends to get in the way) and walked away highly satisfied with what I’d seen.
D.J. Cotrona and Zane Holtz take over the roles of Seth and Richie Gecko from George Clooney and Quentin Tarantino respectively, and while the series follows the events on the film, it also opens up the world, interweaving story threads into a more complex and complete world.
From the off, the series is different, as we learn that Richie’s visions, something that merely tended to have a sexual tilt in the film, are more horrifically influenced, and perhaps guided. He sees demons and monsters everywhere, and is in contact with the sultry Santanico Pandemonium (Eiza Gonzalez taking over for Salma Hayek).
The brothers relationship is developed nicely, including flashbacks featuring their father, played by James Remar, even as they are pursued by a relentless Ranger, Freddie Gonzalez (Jesse Garcia) for the murder of his mentor, played by Don Johnson.
Believing that the murders Richie has been committing are part of a blood cult, Freddie consults with Professor Aiden Tanner (Jake Busey), who reveals some of the dark history that is at play in the mythology of the series.
Like in the film, the Geckos meet up with the Fuller family, who have a dark family secret, the disillusioned priest Jacob (Robert Patrick in the Harvey Keitel role), daughter Kate (Madison Davenport) and adopted son Scott (Brandon Soo Hoo), and use them to get across the Mexican border to the meet-up at the infamous Titty Twister.
The relationships between all these characters are developed and augmented nicely, as we get glimpses into their past, and see the changes from the film to the series.
One of the big additions to the series is the character of Carlos (Wilmer Valderrama), who has orchestrated the whole deal with the Geckos, and proves himself to be vicious and cruel.
I love the expansion of the vampire mythology as well, marrying it with snakes instead of bats, and the way their teeth snap down.
Wha Rodriguez and his crew have done is taken a fairly enjoyable film, and played it out as a 10 episode horror/thriller series, and it works incredibly well. As long as you know what you’re getting into from the start, you’ll like it, if you know the film you’ll know where the story is going, and hopefully, like me, revel in the differences and expansions.
A couple of episodes in, I no longer related the roles to the original cast, for me, these characters were now completely portrayed by those in the series.
I was pleasantly surprised… what did you think of it?