Monthly Archives: August 2014

Episode 460: Eats, Shoots and Leaves

“I don’t know what lies beyond the grave… but I hope you will have some kind of peace.”

When we last left our undead psychopath hero, Barnabas Collins, he was walking into the Collinwood study, intent on murdering his old friend, Nathan Forbes. I forget exactly what brought this on, but it’s not like it matters. Sometimes you just decide to kill a guy.

But Nathan makes a plan of his own, grabbing a crossbow off the wall and shooting Barnabas as he enters the room. This is probably why you don’t see a lot of people hanging up decorative crossbows anymore.

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Episode 459: Nathan Forbes Must Die

“I cannot die… because I am already dead.”

It’s another gloomy evening in the great house at Collinwood. Naomi has died from poison and plot points, and they’re going to have to reset the “3 days since last accident” sign again. It’s a good thing we’re leaving the 18th century soon; we’re pretty much down to the minimum viable family.

Continue reading Episode 459: Nathan Forbes Must Die

Episode 458: Don’t Love Me

“There was so very little meaning to our lives before tonight — and now there’s none. We exist, that’s all.”

Naomi runs into the house, and flies into Joshua’s arms. “I saw him,” she gasps. “He’s like an animal!”

She’s just come from the garden, where she saw her dead son bite his cousin Millicent on the neck. “Barnabas…” she cries. “Why didn’t you tell me? Why?”

Now, here’s the thing that she doesn’t say: “Help! Millicent is being attacked. Let’s all run outside and help her.” She doesn’t even mention Millicent until sentence five, at which point Joshua says, “Millicent — My God!” and rushes out to find her.

I mean, I get that Naomi’s upset — who wouldn’t be, under the circumstances — but she’s burying the lead here, to the detriment of grievously wounded family members. Can somebody remind me why we like her again?

Continue reading Episode 458: Don’t Love Me

Episode 457: Misdirection

“I must go somewhere — find someone — no matter what the consequence!”

Well, we’ve stunned Joan Bennett, if that helps. You can check that off your bucket list.

But never mind that — the big story today is happening on the other side of the camera. Apparently, this is Take Your Executive Producer to Work Day, as we begin a week of episodes directed by a certain Mr. Dan Curtis.

Dan was the creator of Dark Shadows, and the primary creative force behind the show. He’s an interesting guy — a bold thinker, driven, aggressive, and one of television’s true eccentrics.

My favorite Dan story comes from Leonard Goldberg, an ABC executive who was interviewed for a DVD bonus feature. Before Dark Shadows, Dan was a golf show producer, but one day, he called Goldberg and said, “I have to tell you — last night, I dreamt a daytime show.”

He said, “There’s this girl, and she gets on a train, and she’s very nice and very pretty, but very fragile, and she’s going up into New England somewhere. And she’s going to be the governess for a man, who’s a very scary kind of guy, who lives on this big, lonely –“

I said, “Dan, Dan, Dan — let me stop you for a second. You’re telling me the story of Jane Eyre.” And he said, “What’s Jane Eyre?”

I said, “Well, it’s a very famous story.” He said, “Is anybody doing it for daytime television?” I said “No,” and he said, “So, let me finish.”

That’s the guy who can create Dark Shadows. I was about to say, “who can create a show like Dark Shadows,” but that’s the point — there is no other show like Dark Shadows. That’s who Dan Curtis is.

Continue reading Episode 457: Misdirection

Episode 456: An Illogical Explanation

“Unless they are hiding him. They hide people here, you know.”

Daniel comes in through the window. That’s the thing I don’t understand.

Victoria Winters, time-displaced girl governess, is currently on the run after shooting herself in the shoulder, breaking out of prison and killing a guy, in that order. Fleeing the scene of her latest felony, she’s teamed up with ten-year-old Daniel Collins, who’s brought her back to Collinwood to hide.

Daniel enters the house by climbing in through the drawing room window. He looks around in the foyer, makes sure that nobody’s there, and then he opens the front door and motions for Vicki to come in.

Now, there are lots of reasons why this sequence has baffled the finest minds of our generation. For one thing, hiding Vicki in Collinwood is a ridiculous plan. The one person that they’re all afraid of right now is Lt. Nathan Forbes, who lives there. On top of that, Daniel stows Vicki in the study, which is a place that Nathan knows where it is. They have an enormous mansion full of rooms to choose from, and Daniel stashes Vicki behind one of the four doors that you can see from the foyer.

But the thing that gets me is: why doesn’t Daniel just walk in through the front door? All he’s doing is checking that the coast is clear. The only thing that climbing in the window accomplishes is taking the risk that someone will ask him why he’s climbing in the window.

So that’s where we are, as we begin our final week in 1795. We’ve moved beyond characters being stupid, into a whole new realm of nonsensical behavior. There’s got to be an illogical explanation for all of this.

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Episode 455: Food and Medicine and a Plan

“You bungling fool!”

Yup. Still doing this.

We’re now at day four of this “Vicki on the lam” sequence, with no end in sight. Vicki is still hiding in the secret room in the Collins family mausoleum, with a bullet hole in her shoulder and a price on her head. She’s acquired a ten-year-old, Daniel, who’s also on the run, because Nathan is paying Noah to kill Daniel so that Nathan can get his hands on Millicent’s money, and so on. It’s all fairly dreary, and there isn’t a vampire in sight.

The good news is that Noah, the speed bump who walks like a man, is going to be shot and killed today. The bad news is it takes about twenty minutes to get there, and there’s nothing we can do but wait.

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Episode 454: Mission: Impossible

“I haven’t got time to think of reasons!”

Here’s Victoria Winters, girl governess — lost in time, on the run, and fast asleep. In her dream, young Daniel Collins is strangled by his new brother-in-law, Nathan, and she wakes up in a panic, absolutely convinced that means Nathan is planning to kill Daniel.

As it happens, Nathan actually is planning to kill Daniel, so that’s just cheating. Maybe Vicki really is a witch after all.

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Episode 452: The Great Escape

“I don’t believe any further explanation is necessary!”

Oh, great! More of this.

It’s been three weeks since we last saw time-traveling governess Victoria Winters, currently languishing in prison. Those were three good weeks. People seemed to laugh more, then. There were concerts in the park…

And now: Vicki and Peter. Pretty much nonstop for the next five episodes.

Continue reading Episode 452: The Great Escape