Monthly Archives: April 2015

Episode 627: Bad Moon Rising

“What kind of life do you lead, Mr. Jennings?”

Two weeks ago, Dark Shadows entered a period that I’m calling The Great 1968 Wrap-Up, a long overdue narrative house-cleaning. Soap opera storylines are always a bit of a tangled web, but if you’re not careful, the structure becomes so dense that it collapses in on itself, and becomes a dangerous gravitational singularity.

For example:

  • Barnabas Collins isn’t a vampire anymore, because his life force is shared with
  • Adam, a Frankenstein monster who’s trying to start a family with
  • Eve, a female monster who’s animated by the life force of
  • Danielle, a French Revolution-era murderess, who’s madly in love with
  • Peter, the 18th-century lawyer who’s traveled through time to follow
  • Vicki, the Collins family governess, who was just left at the altar by
  • Jeff, who’s discovered that he’s actually a reincarnation of
  • Peter, and he’s not very happy about it.

Obviously, that’s a complex set of facts and relationships for the audience to keep in mind, especially because the one thing that absolutely everybody knows about Dark Shadows is that it’s the story of Barnabas Collins, who yes he is a vampire, what are you even talking about that he’s not a vampire anymore?

So that’s the level of mess that we’re dealing with here. We’re currently two weeks into this massive clean-up project, and we’ve now reached the stage where they’re just strangling cast members and leaving them in the closet.

Continue reading Episode 627: Bad Moon Rising

Episode 626: The Amazing New Phenomenon

“You want to keep track of me? The amazing new phenomenon? The ghost who breathes?”

As the black-robed executioner opened the door to Vicki’s cell, her lover looked into her eyes, and promised her every last thing he could think of.

I love you, Vicki, he said. That’s all that matters.

The hangman grabbed her shoulder, and pushed.

Somehow you managed to travel through time, and find me. Somehow, I’ll find you. No matter what happens, I will find you.

She was led from her cell, down a dark corridor, to the gallows.

Our love will transcend time, her lover cried, shouting desperately over the squeal of the waiting crowd. We are stronger than time! We are stronger than death!

The hood was placed over her head.

Remember me!

It was a promise, and a prayer.

I will find you!

It was the only thing she could hear, as the rope tightened around her throat.

I will find you, through the centuries, and we will be together again! Our love will never die!

And as it turns out, that is exactly what happened, so I don’t know what the hell he’s complaining about now. That’s a three-pointer if I ever saw one. That was nothing but net.

Continue reading Episode 626: The Amazing New Phenomenon

Episode 624: Lost and Foundling

“I have no control over human emotions.”

A year and a half ago, I wrote an entry called “The Last Normal Day“, about the end of the final non-supernatural storyline. Liz and Carolyn talked about how Jason had been blackmailing Liz, and they agreed to never let anything come between them again. And then Jason went off and got killed by a vampire, which pretty much put a period at the end of that sentence, and since then it’s been wall-to-wall crazy.

But here we are again, with Liz and another daughter (kind of), pretending that they’re having a normal soap opera wedding.

Continue reading Episode 624: Lost and Foundling

Episode 623: This Is Happening

“All we know is, she was hanged. But whether she died or not is something everyone in Collinsport is still wondering about.”

Gosh. So much to cover, and I can’t explain any of it. The Great 1968 Wrap-Up is in full swing, and I don’t have the energy to take care of bystanders today. If you aren’t completely up to date on the ins and outs of the spine-tingling nonsense they’re passing off as a storyline these days, then there is honestly very little that I can say that would help.

If you’re super brand new to the blog, then you might be better off reading yesterday’s post. Wait, sorry — yesterday’s was even goofier than today’s. I don’t know, there’s a lot of posts to read. Pick a number between 210 and 623. Okay, now put it back in the deck. Was it 497? Damn it! I suck at card tricks.

Continue reading Episode 623: This Is Happening

Episode 620: Sets and Violence

“Every day, he becomes more like a mortal man… and no mortal man can spoil my plans.”

Barnabas Collins, drained of blood and low on get-up-and-go, has fallen to the earth. His ex-wife Angelique has been all up in his neck recently, and he’s got to get away before she turns him into the living dead for like the third time in a row. So we’re in the middle of a tense low-speed chase through the woods, as he tries to drag himself to safety before the sun sets.

Girl governess Victoria Winters finds him, because they suddenly have some kind of deep mental bond, and why not? Vicki’s standard emergency protocol kicks in, which means that she parks herself eight inches away from the patient and hollers reassuringly at him.

“I have to get you to Collinwood, and then we’ll find Julia!” she cries, but he insists that won’t help.

He moans, “I want you to take me someplace where no one will find me,” and guess where that turns out to be.

She says, “There’s a secret door to the west wing of Collinwood, which no one’s used for years!” And, for Pete’s sake, didn’t he just say that they shouldn’t go to Collinwood? This television show may need to invest in a few more locations. You can’t keep treating the west wing of Collinwood like it’s Mexico.

Continue reading Episode 620: Sets and Violence

Episode 619: The Gunslinger

“No matter how dangerous it is, I’ve got to have a showdown with Nicholas Blair.”

Really, the thing that everybody wants to know is: why can’t the Stormtroopers shoot straight in Star Wars? It turns out there are three simple answers.

#1. Stormtroopers shooting laser bolts are more interesting to look at than Stormtroopers who stand around complaining.

#2. Shooting Luke Skywalker in the head halfway through the first movie is going to leave a rather obvious gap in the trilogy.

#3. “Strong Guy Kills Weak Guy” is not headline news.

This ends the lit-crit theory portion of today’s post; we will now spend the rest of our time watching Dr. Julia Hoffman act like an unbelievable badass.

Continue reading Episode 619: The Gunslinger

Episode 618: Stop Trying

“I hope I disappoint you, and die before dawn.”

Barnabas Collins looks around, and tries to focus.

“Where have you brought me?” he moans. “What is this place?”

His wife, Angelique, drifts to his side.

“You’re near the sea,” she says. “Far away from anyone who may want to find you.”

Unimpressed, he surveys the room, clearly thinking: Near the sea? Dude, we live in Maine. Everything here is near the sea.

Continue reading Episode 618: Stop Trying