You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

TV Review: ‘From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series,’ Season 2

D.J. Cotrona, Zane Holtz, Eiza Gonzalez, Jesse Garcia, Madison Davenport, Brandon Soo Hoo, Jake Busey, Wilmer Valderrama, Esai Morales, Danny Trejo

If the maiden season of “From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series” served a clear purpose – giving a signature, recognizable franchise to the fledgling El Rey Network – it’s hard to make much of a case for an encore. Yes, the show continues with a mix of characters old and new, but whatever novelty there was has worn off, leaving little worth digesting for all but true genre connoisseurs and diehard fans of director Robert Rodriguez and/or the cultish original. Some fresh star power (Esai Morales, Danny Trejo) can’t escape the sense this show has been kept alive past its expiration date.

Granted, there was room for skepticism in certain quarters (including this one) whether the 1996 movie, a staple on latenight cable, cried out to be adapted and expanded into series form in the first place, cashing in on the equity in a title that had already spawned cheapo sequels. But doubling down on the exercise is more a tribute to the needs of the network (in which Rodriguez is a partner) than to the lingering value of the story.

As it stands, this second season advances on twin, parallel tracks that must inevitably intersect in a grand family reunion. The criminal Gecko brothers Richie (Zane Holtz) and Seth (D.J. Cotrona) were scarred in different ways by their adventure at that supernatural, south-of-the-border strip club, and have gone on the lam – with Santanico Pandemonium (Eiza Gonzalez), the club’s resident Mayan goddess; and Kate (Madison Davenport), respectively.

Of course, dark powers, embodied by Morales, want to bring Santanico back into the fold of culebras, the snake-like creatures that subsist on human blood. That throws some major and macabre obstacles into the characters’ paths, even as Santanico plots revenge.

Rodriguez and company certainly know their way around the genre, and there’s plenty of colorful violence with blood spurting in every direction. Mostly, though, this second season feels like a caper series, with the brothers separately plotting heists of one kind or another, and Seth handicapped by Kate’s relative lack of experience in that regard.

The actors appear to be having a good time – unfettered as they are to chew on the scenery as well as some of their peers, the latter presented with lusty abandon thanks to “The Walking Dead” makeup ace Greg Nicotero.

The problem is that aside from a narrow fan base, there’s scant reason to care about them, and from the performances to the relatively modest scale, the cocktail feels too diluted. With the benefit of hindsight, a complete reboot might have been in order – something like the syndicated “Friday the 13th” series – but that’s water under the bridge (or blood under the fangs).

Granted, beyond pairing George Clooney on the cusp of stardom with Quentin Tarantino – not to mention Salma Hayek and that snake – the original movie was most notable as a mash-up of genres, at least until all hell broke loose. Yet while the series can charitably be viewed as a savvy commercial move seizing on ’80s and ’90s nostalgia, creatively speaking, this is one of those ideas – much like the show’s vampires – that doesn’t fare quite as well when exposed to the bright light of day.

TV Review: 'From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series,' Season 2

(Series; El Rey, Tues. Aug. 25, 9 p.m.)

Production: Filmed in Texas by Filmed in Texas by Sugarcane Entertainment, Rodriguez Intl. Pictures and FactoryMade Ventures, and distributed by Miramax.

Crew: Executive producers, Robert Rodriguez, Carlos Coto, Cristina Patwa, John Fogelman, Zanne Devine, Daniel Pipski, Diego Gutierrez; supervising producer, Luisa Leschin; producers, Mark McNair, Nigel Sinclair, Ron Schmidt; director, Rodriguez; writer, Coto; based on the film directed by Rodriguez, written by Quentin Tarantino, story by Robert Kurtzman; camera, Jimmy Lindsey; production designers, Steve Joyner, Caylah Eddleblute; makeup effects, Greg Nicotero. 60 MIN.

Cast: D.J. Cotrona, Zane Holtz, Eiza Gonzalez, Jesse Garcia, Madison Davenport, Brandon Soo Hoo, Jake Busey, Wilmer Valderrama, Esai Morales, Danny Trejo

More TV

  • Robert Mueller Report

    TV News Scrambles Schedules in Wake of Mueller Report

    The “Mueller Report” has prompted a bevy of new reports from the nation’s big TV-news outlets. CBS News plotted a Monday primetime special to cover the disclosure of a summary of the report prepared by Special Counsel Robert Mueller that had examined Russian influence on the 2016 U.S. presidential election and probed whether President Donald [...]

  • Noah CentineoNickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards, Show,

    Kids’ Choice Awards 2019: JoJo Siwa, Noah Centineo Take on Bullying

    This year’s Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards was full of positivity and encouragement to be yourself. DJ Khaled, known for his upbeat mantras, hosted the 32nd annual awards ceremony alongside JoJo Siwa at USC’s Galen center. Siwa accepted the award for favorite social music star. Siwa said in her acceptance speech, “I get hated on every [...]

  • Bette Midler, Judith Light Join Netflix's

    Bette Midler and Judith Light Join Ryan Murphy's 'The Politician' on Netflix

    Bette Midler and Judith Light will guest star on “The Politician,” the first series Ryan Murphy will launch on Netflix after he inked a deal with the streamer last year. Murphy made the announcement at the end of Saturday’s PaleyFest panel for his FX series “Pose,” and noted that Midler and Light will both appear [...]

  • Mj Rodriguez, Billy Porter, Indya MooreFX's

    Patti LuPone Joins FX's 'Pose' as Season 2 Jumps to 1990

    “Pose” co-creator Ryan Murphy revealed that Broadway legend Patti LuPone will guest star on the upcoming second season of the FX drama, and that the series will jump ahead to 1990. Murphy made the announcement while moderating the “Pose” panel at PaleyFest on Saturday, telling lead actress MJ Rodriguez that she will share many scenes [...]

  • The Good Doctor

    Series Mania: Freddie Highmore Talks ‘The Good Doctor,’ Arsenal, Norman Bates

    LILLE, France —  God, Freddie Highmore’s good at crying. There’s a scene in “Neverland,” screened at his Series Mania masterclass, where he’s acting opposite Johnny Depp. His mother has just died. Highmore sits on a park bench, clutching a notebook, which she helped as tears well in his eyes, and he tries to keep in [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content