“How did you happen to come by these wounds in your throat?”
Maggie’s not feeling very well after her trip to the graveyard last week, and by not feeling well I mean she’s unconscious and somebody’s perforated her jugular vein. Sam and Joe hover around her bed, fretting and recapping. A dog howls, and Maggie starts moaning restlessly.
For a minute, it looks like the entire episode is going to be Sam and Joe standing around looking at Maggie. (Spoiler alert: That kind of is the entire episode.)
Continue reading Episode 231: Bedside Manners
“I’m in a graveyard. How did I get in a graveyard?”
It’s been four weeks since we opened the mystery box and let the vampire out, not that anyone’s actually saying the word “vampire” yet. The show is actually strangely coy about it — nobody says the V-word out loud for nine months. They finally break it out in episode 410, and by then it’s not the craziest thing on the show anymore.
But who needs labels when you have howling dogs? Over the last month, we’ve seen hypnosis, nightmares, fangs and unexplained blood loss — and this is the episode where it all comes together. This is the first big Friday cliffhanger, and exciting things are finally happening.
Continue reading Episode 230: The Transylvania Twist
“Things are getting deeper and deeper, and people are saying and doing things for no reason at all!”
Maggie’s overslept again; she’s been out all night consorting with demons. It’s actually not clear what Barnabas and Maggie have been getting up to. We don’t see much on screen — for all we know, they could be going to nightclubs and working their way through the Kama Sutra.
However. At a certain point we’re just watching a girl sleep.
Continue reading Episode 229: Thirst World Problems
“Well, you can all be as exasperated as you like. It won’t do you any good.”
Full disclosure for the hardcore vampire enthusiasts: This is another Jason/Liz blackmail episode. Roger has some funny lines, and Carolyn is always worth watching, but if you’re only interested in vampires, then you can skip this one.
Actually, does it help if I tell you that Liz murdered her husband and buried him in the basement? That’s what the whole blackmail thing is about. Okay, maybe not. Come back tomorrow, vampire fans. Maggie gets abducted and everything.
Continue reading Episode 228: Those Things in That Room
“That sea air is the most unhealthy thing in the world to breathe.”
Here’s another strange thing about 1960s daytime TV: Videotape was so expensive that when they reprise yesterday’s cliffhanger at the top of the episode, they don’t use a clip — the actors just go ahead and do the scene over again.
This is so different from modern television that it’s hard to even think about it. Imagine if every episode of a show started with “Previously, on Mad Men” — and then the actors performed all the clips live, including costume changes and running around to different sets.
Now that I think about it, that would be kind of amazing.
Continue reading Episode 227: Sick Day
“And then, all of a sudden, for no reason, I started to get afraid.”
Today, we begin with a recap of Maggie’s dream sequence from the last episode, which is how you know what a great dream it was. I don’t know if other shows would bother to do a recap of a dream sequence, but on Dark Shadows they sure do.
Continue reading Episode 225/226: Fangs for Nothing
“Willie and I have an understanding.”
Yesterday, we left David at the Old House, hearing snarling dogs and banging on the front doors. There’s not as much turning of the doorknob as you might expect, just banging and yelling.
Then the dognoise suddenly stops and everything is fine, which says a lot about how seriously they’re treating cliffhangers in this period of the show.
Continue reading Episode 224: The Late Shift
“Barnabas Collins knows how to handle a man like Willie.”
It’s a new day at Collinwood, and darn it if Vicki and Liz aren’t playing another round of Where’s Willie. They’ve got to get more organized about this, maybe put out a newsletter or something.
The fun new twist is that now it sounds like they’re saying that Barnabas and Willie are dating. Liz says, “Barnabas Collins knows how to handle a man like Willie.” And Vicki replies, “No, that’s just it! Willie is staying there — living there! He’s moved into the Old House with him!”
Continue reading Episode 223: The Me/You Fun Gap
“Hello, Miss Evans. The expression on your face is one of surprise.”
It’s evening at the Evans’ house, and it’s time for more acting. We hear running feet, and then Maggie comes through the front door, panting. She locks the door behind her, and then looks around the room. She takes a few careful steps forward, breathing heavily, and turns on a lamp. Then she looks back over her shoulder at the locked door.
Now, I’ve seen people acting before, and in my opinion, what Maggie is trying to express is that she’s afraid of something outside.
Continue reading Episode 222: Whom It Was
“But then uniqueness is not always a good thing. It sets you apart from other men.”
Okay, I know, these first couple weeks with Barnabas are kind of a hard road. Most of the action’s been off-screen, and cow-related. Barnabas has been acting more like a kindly uncle than a demonic horror from the past.
Come on, the audience cries, enough with the slow build already. Bring on the scares!
Continue reading Episode 221: Mystery Date