Episode 1168: How I Long to Be Wrong

“Whatever they know, I’m afraid it’s a great deal more than we care to imagine.”

You know, people say that Dark Shadows storytelling is slow, but just look at Gerard and Lamar; it was only yesterday that they even thought of looking for secrets in Ben Stokes’ diary, and now here they are, all the way downstairs in someone else’s house, tearing into the architecture.

“It was during the witchcraft trial,” Ben wrote improbably, “that the Reverend Trask made his last trip to the Old House. He made the mistake of finding the secret in the basement.” Upon reading this, Lamar Trask remembered hearing something bumping behind a brick wall a few weeks ago, and less than one minute later, he and Gerard have broken and entered the Old House, stormed to the cellar, and banged on a brick wall with a hammer and chisel, and now — ta-dah! — they’ve uncorked it, the co-star of The Cask of Amontillado.

And here he is, the Reverend Trask in skeleton form, hanging on a hook behind a pile of bricks, just like he was when they unveiled him last time, in spring 1968. I don’t know how many times they’re planning to unimmure the same guy; at a certain point, you ought to just leave him upstairs in a glass case and charge admission.

So this is hardly proof of anything in particular, at least insofar as the 1840 storyline is concerned. Gerard and Lamar are already pretty sure that Barnabas is a vampire even before this sudden spelunking mission; that’s the reason they wanted to read the diary in the first place. What we’re about to see is a string of unfounded conclusions based on perfunctory and anachronistic evidence, each one perfectly correct.

They manage to tear down a large chunk of the scenery before they notice him, by the way; they’ve removed every single brick from the ceiling to the bottom of the skeleton’s bikini area before Lamar gasps, “At last I’ve found my father’s burial place!” which, yeah, you did, probably more than an hour ago. I don’t know what it is about that specific brick that gets the scene started.

“Yes,” Gerard agrees, “if we can only be sure it’s him!” He dips into the skeleton’s pocket — the skeleton’s wearing a cape, obviously, you know how it is with skeletons — and comes up with a folded-up piece of paper.

“So it’s true!” Lamar declares, without looking at the note. “Barnabas Collins killed my father!” Because I guess only Barnabas wrote things on paper? That note could be anything.

But never have there been two people who are so right on the basis of so wrong. Here’s the note.

My dear Reverend Trask,

If you want to know who is responsible for all of the recent attacks, and for the death of Abigail Collins, go to the cellar of the Old House — but only after dusk. Do not let Ben Stokes stop you from seeing the master of the house, for he will be there, and unless you go, he will live forever.

Signed: A.

Which is clearly a forgery; this is probably one of those Russian bots you hear about. Back in 1796, there wasn’t any such thing as this note, and why would there be? Angelique couldn’t have cared less about Reverend Trask. The only time she took any notice of Vicki’s witch trial was the day she turned up dead in court and did the opposite of this note. Besides, she was a ghost at the time, and could have spoken to him spectrally if she wanted to get his attention.

In fact, that’s what Barnabas did, when he lured Trask to the basement all by himself, delivering his message through a series of ghoulish pranks, including blood running down a mirror, a huge disembodied hand floating around, a dead lady on the bed, and finally Abigail herself, directing Trask to get to the Old House and learn the secret of the witch.

Then Barnabas left Trask the following written message:

“The wind will speak his name, and the clock will chime the hour. But ere it strike again, he will know the darkness of the tomb. He will beg for the darkness of death itself. If you would know his name, listen to the wind.”

This didn’t mean anything in particular. Then Barnabas bricked him up behind a wall and forgot all about him.

But if Gerard found that note, it would have done him and the storyline no favors at all; we’d have a whole episode where he was listening to the wind, which would leave us precisely nowhere.

Besides, the only thing anyone remembers is the bricking, not the correspondence. People are very good at remembering visually interesting things, and very bad at pretty much everything else. We saw last week that the people at Gold Key Comics consider this to be pretty much the only story point that they expect us to recognize. The 1991 show did the Trask bricking too, and they didn’t even do Angelique’s curse right.

But let’s cross-reference the pretend note and the make-believe diary, put the episode guide in the wood chipper and see what happens.

“Let me see the date on this,” Trask says, which if there was a date on it, why didn’t he say so when he was reading it. “Yes! The date on this note is the same day as the entry in the diary that Ben tells of the appearance of the witch in the court!”

Which it wasn’t, it was seven episodes later, and this isn’t really a diary, it was a journal that Ben wrote after the fact, and besides, why would it be significant that Trask was killed on the same day that Angelique appeared in court? Are they suggesting that Trask died before the trial was over, and if so, why? What’s going on around here?

“The witch!” Trask muses. “A… Angelique? Angelique was Barnabas’ mother. Or, better still — what if Angelique and the witch are one and the same? Then Angelique wouldn’t be Barnabas’ mother — she would be his wife!” Which also doesn’t follow, because Angelique could have been Barnabas’ wife even if she wasn’t the witch. The key question isn’t whether Angelique was immortal, it’s whether Barnabas was immortal. Is anybody still following me on this?

Gerard has a point of order. “But if she were his wife, why would she betray him to your father?”

“It doesn’t matter!” Trask snarls, and if that’s his attitude, then I don’t know why he brought it up. “Barnabas Collins is a vampire — and he was married to a witch! Oh, it’s so clear to me now!” That makes one of us.

So I don’t know what to make of all that. Plot-wise, the only thing that they needed, down here among the dead men, was to find some confirmation that Barnabas is a vampire, a goal which they have absolutely not achieved in any way.

And then Trask asks if Gerard’s ever seen Barnabas in the daylight, a very good point that he could have made several hours ago, in a nice warm drawing room when they weren’t covered in brick dust.

That’s a long way around the block to not really confirm a piece of information that they already figured out yesterday, so it’s hard to parse this mystifying sequence.

Barnabas has been absent from the show for weeks, finally turning up last Thursday to pretend that he has something to do with Quentin’s witchcraft trial. That lasted for the space of one scene, at which point he got distracted by something else.

Yesterday, from a standing start, Trask suddenly decided that he wished he could get Barnabas beheaded for witchcraft, and then they fast-forwarded through a discussion with Flora, stealing and reading Ben’s diary, the unbricking and now the note, arriving at the unwarranted conclusion that Barnabas is a vampire in less than an episode.

It’s odd, because they had plenty of time to do all this last week, when we were getting bored by Quentin’s trial. They could have stretched this out over a couple of cliffhangers, as Gerard and Trask approach the shocking discovery of Barnabas’ curse in something more like real time. They definitely would have done it that way six months ago, back when there were three people on the writing staff and they had five minutes to think about where the story was going. But it’s just been Sam and Gordon since September, typing furiously and trying to remember what the characters are called. Plus, they weren’t sure when Grayson Hall was coming back.

But that’s the good news, at the top of the stairs and at long last: Julia Hoffman, back on Dark Shadows. Grayson took a plastic vacation three weeks ago, firming up her eyebags and leaving us minus a main character. Now it turns out she’s been sitting through all those trial scenes, too.

“Then there is hope,” Barnabas says, launching into a conversation mid-stream. I’m not sure what he’s supposed to be responding to, because we saw him in the drawing room alone, and now they’re playing the opening-door sound effect, which means Julia just walked in. Maybe she texted him on the way.

“Yes,” Julia agrees. “It’s going to be a long and grueling trial, but there is hope. Oh, there must be!” Well, at least we’re watching the same show.

“And what about Collinwood?” Barnabas asks, and hooray, they’re reviewing the case. I used to hate those scenes back in 1967 where Burke and the Sheriff would sit around and talk about stuff we already knew, but Barnabas and Julia are talking to each other. I’ll take it. “How is everything there, now that Gerard is in charge?”

“Well, Gerard has somehow managed to keep everything going very smoothly,” Julia says, referring to I don’t know what. “Barnabas, maybe we’ve misjudged him. Maybe he won’t become what we expect him to be. Or maybe there’s some kind of overall plan that we’re not aware of, something that we haven’t anticipated.”

She sighs. “I’ve never wished to be wrong about anything before, but oh, how I long to be wrong about Gerard!”

So that’s a fascinating little turn of the screw, which threatens to destabilize this entire storyline. Barnabas and Julia stumbled into the nineteenth century three months ago, specifically to track down Gerard and get him to not become an evil ghost pirate who they are absolutely certain will be responsible for unleashing a plague of zombies and destroying the ABC daytime schedule. Now they appear to be more concerned about Quentin’s witchcraft trial, and Julia’s willing to give Gerard the benefit of the doubt, because of what exactly? Because dinner is served on time?

But they manage to get it together by act 3, where they have a good old-fashioned circular melodrama scene, where they take turns pretending that they’re sure about something.

Barnabas:  But why would they want to see that diary? They must be on to something. But what? And just how incriminating can that diary be?

Julia:  Barnabas, I don’t know, but when you knew that Flora was devoting so much of her time to vampirism in her book, you should have known, Barnabas!

Barnabas:  Not necessarily.

Which is gorgeous. Nobody can do a “But what?” followed by a “Not necessarily” like Jonathan Frid can, with complete conviction on both ends of the seesaw.

Barnabas:  Ben knew the truth about me, but nobody else suspected that, so how could they know to look for it?

Julia:  I don’t know.

Barnabas:  But they did look for it.

And they’re back to starting positions.

Barnabas: Whatever they know, I’m afraid it’s a great deal more than we care to imagine.

Julia:  Oh, Barnabas, what can they find? Oh, they can find things about the trial, of course, and Angelique, and you.

Barnabas:  They will think Barnabas is my father.

Julia:  Yes, of course they will, we hope they will. What else? Oh!

Barnabas:  What is it?

Julia:  Oh, I’ve just had a terrifying thought!

So that’s why we have Barnabas and Julia on the show, because somebody needs to have terrifying thoughts, and these two are the masters of making even the silliest lines sound urgent and dramatic.

Then they do something very dangerous: they block a shot in which Grayson Hall is facing away from the camera. She takes her revenge by completely blowing her line.

Barnabas:  I assure you, Julia, Ben would never betray my secret, no part of it!

Julia:  Oh, Barnabas, I want to believe that. Oh, Barnabas, I do believe it! But listen, Barnabas, suppose — suppose there’s something — some little, innocent — something that will give them a clue to what’s going on!

Things become even more urgent and exciting.

Julia:  Barnabas, please, please go away. There’s no point in waiting here to try to figure out what they might find out. Go away, Barnabas!

Barnabas:  Julia, I’m not going away and you know it!

Julia:  Why not?

Barnabas:  Because we came here to accomplish something! We mustn’t run away until we make it happen… if we can.

Julia:  Barnabas, I won’t be running away. I’ll stay here, until all this passes, and then you can come back, oh, Barnabas, please go!

Barnabas turns, and gives her his earnest scowl.

Barnabas:  Julia, I will never leave you behind. You know that! And you know you won’t come with me, so we will both stay!

Julia pauses, and there’s a moment where the light hits her earrings just right, and we can see that they look like two tiny versions of her old hypno-medallion, still casting its spell.

“All right, Barnabas,” she sighs. “We will stay. And I’ll help you.” Then she looks up. “Help you do what? What will we do?”

“I just don’t know,” Barnabas says, and he looks into the distance as he turns into a clock, and another scene starts somewhere else.

So they both stay, but at a terrible cost. Barnabas Collins and Julia Hoffman will remain on our TV screens for the next six weeks, until the end of the 1840 story, but they’ll have almost no scenes together. They’ve got another thrilling little moment tomorrow, but that’s all; after that, they appear separately. Basically, they switch off being the main character — Julia for three episodes, then Barnabas for three, and then it’s Julia’s turn again, all the way to 1198, when the story draws to a close.

I didn’t realize this was coming, until I saw a note on the Dark Shadows Wiki about tomorrow’s episode, and it’s a real punch in the gut. I’m sorry to everybody who’s following along with the show to deliver that blow myself, but I can’t write about how great these two are, without acknowledging that this is pretty much how it ends.

“Then there is hope,” Barnabas said ten minutes ago, as we cowered in the basement.

“Yes,” Julia replied. “It’s going to be a long and grueling trial, but there is hope. Oh, there must be!”

Tomorrow: This Wonderful Little Gathering.

Dark Shadows bloopers to watch out for:

Gerard says, “Ben worshipped Barnabas, and he would do everything to protect him.” Trask agrees, “Yes, there never was a more diverted – devoted servant.”

Trask reads, “Do not let Ben Stokes stop you from seeing the master of the house.” A minute later, looking directly at the note, Gerard reads, “Do not let Ben Stokes stop you from shhh- going to the master of the house.” Dude can’t even get his lines right when he’s reading them off a piece of paper.

Carrie stumbles on a line: “Did you and Mr. Trask tay my — take my grandfather’s diary?”

Gerard snaps at Carrie, “Now will you stop acting like a little — precautious child!” Later, Carrie complains to Julia that Gerard called her a “precocious child”. It’s not really much of an insult either way.

When the scene shifts from Carrie in the Collinwood drawing room to Barnabas at the Old House, you can hear Julia hurrying over to the Old House set to start the scene.

Julia says, “Barnabas, please, please go away.” Barnabas starts to begin his next line — “Julia–” — but she heads him off. “Yes, yes, there’s no point in waiting here to try to figure out what they might find out. Go away, Barnabas!” Then Barnabas responds with, “Julia, I’m not going away and you know it!”

When Gerard approaches the bookcase, he touches a row of books, which all move as one — obviously fake and all the same piece. Then Barnabas’ entrance comes about three seconds too late, so Gerard has to stand there and stroke the bookcase until Barnabas interrupts him.

Gerard told Trask that he’d go to the Old House first thing in the morning, but when Barnabas shows up, he says it’s two in the afternoon. In tomorrow’s episode, when Julia talks to Gerard in the Collinwood foyer, she’ll refer to this scene taking place in the morning.

And this isn’t a blooper, more a point of order: Trask uncovers his father’s corpse in the Old House basement, and he shows absolutely no interest in recovering the remains and giving it a proper Christian burial. All he cares about is the note. Also, Gerard and Trask’s method of making sure that nobody ever finds about the skeleton is to move a wardrobe in front of the hole.

Tomorrow: This Wonderful Little Gathering.

Dark Shadows episode guide

— Danny Horn

84 thoughts on “Episode 1168: How I Long to Be Wrong

    1. Oh me, too – I love all the Trasks. Jerry Lacey is a guaranteed scene stealer whenever he gets those Trask ‘crazy eyes’ going.

  1. “Oh, how I long to be wrong about Gerard!”

    Wow, that sounds like it should’ve been a hit song in the 1930’s or 1940’s.

  2. Oh how I long to be wrong
    To be wrong to be wrong to be wrong
    To be wrong about Gerard

    It was once writ by the Bard
    That such are the charms of a song
    To soothe even the savage breast
    But at the risk of being a pest
    I have to say, Will, you were wrong
    You were wrong you were wrong you were wrong
    No song is a balm for Gerard

    If I were to look in Webster’s book
    For the definition of kind
    Next to the word the picture I would find
    Would not be would not be would not be
    Would not be of Gerard

    Which brings us back to the hook

    Oh how I long to be wrong
    To be wrong to be wrong to be wrong
    To be wrong about Gerard

    1. I imagine it being sung to a melody by Charles Dawes (who also wrote the melody for “It’s All in the Game” forty years before the lyrics and popular title were written).

  3. Julia wants to be wrong about Gerard cause she’s got the total hots for him. Sure, she wouldn’t dare admit that to Barnabas but, she can’t help it. Gerard is too groovy!

    1. In spite of being straight, I know just what you mean.
      Since it’s 1970, it’s easy to see him as almost a dangerous-looking version of Bobby Sherman!

      1. Yes, a dangerous Bobby Sherman or a more brooding and smoldering Michael Cole (from the Mod Squad). Jim Storm would have been a great Bramwell.

  4. I guess Hall and Russell felt that the bricking up of Trask was surefire stuff, worth raising to give a stalled narrative a jolt. It always struck me as just-one-more-thing (after all, it didn’t change much–the trial went on, Vicki still got convicted)–but then, I always thought the witchcraft trial of Victoria Winters was annoying, ramping up the helplessness of the heroine for pure manipulation’s sake, forced (why would dead Angelique even care?) and obviously predictable. So Trask’s little trip into the Colins cellar for a cask of amontillado never hit me like the real tragedies–Naomi’s suicide, Millicent’s madness, etc. But here it is again.

    Moves the plot along this time though, however illogically. Better than having them find a passage in Ben’s journal reading “I wish Mr. Barnabas wouldn’t drool so much in his sleep; does he know how hard it is to get blood out of coffin upholstery?”

    For me, the refreshing thing in this episode–along with the longed-for reunion of Barnabas and Julia (who IS looking great, by the way)–is the little throwaway romance of Carrie and Jeremy. Just the vision of two young people dreaming of getting the hell away from Collinwood and Collinsport, and the vision of Carrie actually growing up (!)–the chance they apparently couldn’t give to David Collins–gives you just a moment to imagine a positive future, when every other plot thread is, almost by definition, doomed, and Barnabas and Julia haven’t a ghost of a plan or even a clear picture of what’s going on.

    I’d go for a spinoff where Carrie Stokes Grimes and her accountant husband escape to New York and take up with literary circles; invite Flora down to meet that odd Mr Thoreau or that unconventional poet Mr. Whitman or encourage Mr. Melville to write that whaling novel. Get some OTHER great nineteenth-century novels into the mix.

    1. I always assumed the Dead Angelique that came back to persecute Vicki knew that Barnabas was in love with her in 1967 and wanted to eliminate the competition. Meaning she time traveled back as well.

    2. I always assumed that Angelique goes to Vicki’s trial because Ben has gone there to tell the court that Angelique is the actual witch and also that she is dead. I imagine her showing up there to keep her name out of the mud and also to stick it to Vicki out of spite for her ruined marriage and life.

  5. Luv the blog , so glad I found it; I’m at episode 392😁following along as I rewatch on decades tv each nite; first started watching with Nathan Forbes death in 1795, attended several conventions, met Lara😁 and David Selby; bought the series box set from amazon for $600😳😁

  6. I usually feel bad for the characters you AREN’T supposed to, so I’ve always seen Trask behind the wall as being one of the tragedies.
    When Trask’s ghost puts Barnabas himself temporarily behind the wall, I can never help seeing it the way you do when any given vigilante gets caught for killing someone, even someone awful. It’s like the ending of the COLUMBO episode “Try and Catch Me,” in more ways than one.

    1. I feel sorry for poor Reverend Trask behind the wall, too. He was on the right track afterall. There WAS a witch menacing the Collins family. He just went after the wrong person – because the real witch tricked him.
      Reverend Trask’s ghost tried to rectify the situation by destroying Angelique. He must have done a pretty good job of it, too if Nicholas Blair had to be sent out to raise her back up.

      1. On one level, walling up a Trask is an enjoyable bit of narrative. Imagining many other conversations between various characters about what happened to that self-righteous sob can be very amusing.

        However, when I contemplate the sort of death that comes from being bricked up — I can’t wish that for most living things. I guess some people probably should be tied up and walled up, but I’m not sure the first Trask was that bad. If I found out he had tied kids to a tree and they died or he had done anything that led to the death of a child, then I guess I just wouldn’t think about how hard a death he had while bound and suffering from dehydration, his own waste drying in his undergarments, his muscles cramping. (I wonder if tying his arms up wouldn’t produce the same physiological effects as crucifixion.)

        Eh, in terms of I like to cheer the death of the bad guy and not think too much about it. Put a label on a character and follow the stereotype … murderous, elitist vampire = good guy. Sincere, but overbearing, self-proclaimed religious leader = bad guy. (I think the hippies of the era would have agreed with the latter designation.)

        I envy the vigilantes of fiction who share with us that their actions are just and proper. I’ve sat on two juries and real life is so very uncertain in comparison.

    2. I’d like to blame the vampire nature for the deliberate satisfaction Barnabas takes in walling up Trask 1, but I’m pretty sure it’s just Barnabas we are seeing. It’s all good because it’s fiction and Trask is a bad guy, but sometimes I do dwell on the sort of death that is implied. I hope Trask I was able to chew open the veins on an arm rather than just hanging there is increasing pain, marinating in his own filth and panic for the days it took for him to die. However, I think he endured it all … until the dehydration took him out.

      As a plot device, walling up a Trask is great fun. As a thought exercise where I can inhabit the viewpoint of someone wronged by a Trask, it’s a satisfying end to a self-righteous, evil creep.

      However, as a rational adult with over five decades of training myself to act with consideration of how other people feel — walling up a living human being is horrific. It’s not that some people don’t deserve to slowly die of dehydration while experiencing all the pains and despairs that are present before such a demise, it’s just that it takes a terrible frame of mind to do that to another living thing. Oh, how I hate it when my moral compass tries to navigate my fiction intake.

  7. Their ship name is Lamard.

    I’d love to hear Barnabas and Julia’s version of “Who’s on First.”

    1. So true, Joey, but why let a little detail like that mess up the current storyline, right?

      Somehow Prof. Stokes wound up with Ben’s diary in 1968, but maybe that was a different one.

  8. Picky, picky…
    Compare and contrast the Trasks.

    Nicholas Blair finds a much different buncha bones than Lamar and Gerard (Lamard? Geramar?) do. Perhaps, since Lamar was not inclined to remove the remains of the man he’d been searching after for FORTY YEARS, the bones of his OWN FATHER, he only took the reverend’s teeth and coat, after sawing off the top of the skull and putting it back on; then dusted away all those icky cobwebs?

    There also appears to be a fairly large void behind the 1840 remains, while the later tomb is a shallow alcove.

    And (I know, it’s been mentioned) why is there any question about whether Gerard is The Big Bad? This is the guy who destroyed Collinwood and killed everyone he could get his ectoplasmic mitts on! Julia needs to fill up a syringe with whatever cocktail she made for Dave Woodard; or start a harpoon collection. Long to be wrong, indeed! Or why not just have Barnabas flash those fangs and make Gerard a slave? Vampirism would solve everything. And it would be a hell of a lot quicker than this mess of a trial plotline. Or are we still not going in for that guy-on-guy action?

  9. Dark Shadows continuity was always wonky, but by 1840 it had become so unbalanced it had wobbled right off Widows Hill.

    My retcon is that when Barnabas and Julia left Parallel Time they didn’t return to their own time. Instead, they wound up in another parallel time, sufficiently like their own to fool them into thinking they had returned home. However, this little subtle differences keep piling up. The proof that this is another PT is the presence of Roxanne. There are always Roxannes in parallel universes…

    1. Good point, Christine. That idea works for me.

      So, after the Leviathan story was done, the ghosts of Gerard and Daphne never haunted Collinwood. That was all in Parallel Time, as was Hallie’s constant whining, along with vampire Roxanne.

      In regular time the characters all lived happily ever after: “And the dark shadows of Collinwood became only a memory of the distant past.” Cue lightning and thunder. “Or did they?”

  10. When I was studying playwriting, we used to do “beat work” with masterpieces by Ibsen and Chekhov, going through the script line by line and marking the shifts and getting a full picture of the shape of the drama. For a spell there you made me see that Sam Hall–while no Ibsen–understood dramatic beats. And your diagnosis of the beats in this episode show writers with nothing left, listlessly circling a drain. Thank you, I guess. I spent more than half my life thinking Dark Shadows’s cancellation was cruelly premature. Now I see it was a mercy killing.

  11. When I was studying playwriting, we used to do “beat work” with masterpieces by Ibsen and Chekhov, going through the script line by line and marking the shifts and getting a full picture of the shape of the drama. For a spell there you made me see that Sam Hall–while no Ibsen–understood dramatic beats. And your diagnosis of the beats in this episode show writers with nothing left, listlessly circling a drain. Thank you, I guess. I spent more than half my life thinking Dark Shadows’s cancellation was cruelly premature. Now I see it was a mercy killing.

  12. Lamar & Gerard shifted an armoire in front of the hole in the brickwork – what did they do with the huge pile of bricks and mortar they had there on the floor? That might be a giveaway…

    Carrie wants to be happy ‘like she used to be’; she must be going WAY back for that memory, I don’t recall ever seeing Carrie being happy about anything.

    And still another hint of the Collins’ non-24 disorder, Lamar sneaks into Collinwood at 1:30 in the morning and has to ask where everybody is!
    And Gerard says he’s looked at the drawings of the Old House, but only managed to find ONE secret room; he’s NOT looking hard enough!

    And finally – why is Julia sitting at the Old House at two in the afternoon? She isn’t even reading a book. And when Gerard barges in, waving his pistol, it sure seems dark outside. Possibly another of the local dry thunderstorms?
    I will admit to it being a good cliffhanger ending, though. I’m itching to see how Barnabas managed to pull off an afternoon visit!

  13. “What we’re about to see is a string of unfounded conclusions based on perfunctory and anachronistic evidence, each one perfectly correct.” Evidence? We don’t need no stinking evidence!
    The “A” could have stood for “Abigail” rather than “Angelique” – but then, why would the note exist at all, so, never mind.

    1. Amy?

  14. I’ve read about 7 of these blog posts so far, and they are freaking hilarious.

    One of them that really cracked me up – I don’t remember which – is your interpretation of a fading sequence, that Barnabas “turned into a clock”. Hahahaha.

    Hey – if you have a PayPal account, I’ll be happy to contribute, from time to time.

  15. I just read this again and watched the show. (We have a lot of time between installments) and JFrid and Graysie are just rusty. I can’t believe they’re not struggling not to read each other’s lines off the TelePrompTer

  16. I just read this again and watched the show. (We have a lot of time between installments) and JFrid and Graysie are just rusty. I can’t believe they’re not struggling not to read each other’s lines off the TelePrompTer

    1. They were just plain tired. The show was tired by this point. I guess that’s the problem when a paints itself onto the smaller canvas of mainly supernatural/horror stories.

      1. I sometimes wonder why they didn’t try a more even mix of stories — I guess the supernatural is like any addiction. You need more and more to get the same fix until you just burn out.

        But I liked the show best when nonsupernatural elements mixed in. The 1897 reading of Edith’s will was as good as it gets — and not a vampire or witch in sight that evening.

        1. Even with light supernatural elements, such as the murder of Minerva Trask in 1897, the stories worked well. I think the ending of the Leviathan story was the worst, as for bringing in way too much supernatural elements – especially all those zombies! (I suppose that would have worked better these days.)

        2. Here, here! Dark Shadows works best when it’s a soap opera expressed through the supernatural–Angelique’s jealousy becomes a vampire curse, Josette and Barnabas’s incompatibility becomes her fleeing from him off Widow’s Hill, his resurrecting her and her still rejecting him, Quentin’s uncontrolled nature manifesting as lycanthropy; all the supernatural stuff grounded in human passions. The biggest problem with this round of the show is that we don’t care about Judah Zachary and are not sure if Gerard even exists anymore–when you don’t care about or know your villain, you’re in TV-zombie territory, not Dark Shadows!

          1. I know, right?
            Come to think, when’s the last time we saw any ghosts around Collinsport (let alone Collinwood))? They’ve even stashed away The Legendary Head of Judah Zachery – not even a bloomin’ tarot card to be had.
            Where’s the Dream Curse when you need it? Does Daphne’s seeming narcolepsy qualify?
            And Angelique; get hexing, girl! That was really the only thing making the 1795 trial palatable. Of course, there’s no Bradfords about, so perhaps we can just count our blessings and stay tuned.

            I mean how bad can it get? (Yeah I know I’ve been saying that since November 2016… but I’m an optimist at heart. Really.)

          2. Exactly! Both Gerard and Judah have pretty silly reasons to hate the Collins family but when has that stopped anybody in this mad circus? But you need to know the exact reason–either he wants to BE Quentin or he’s lusting for revenge in a mad-warlock kinda way, but mixing both together just makes him muddy and opaque.

  17. We could also send his favorite character, Victoria Winters, to find him. He’d love it, and we all know when Victoria is involved, good things happen.

  18. As mentioned above; The Collinsport Historical Society is reporting that there is talk of another Dark Shadows series in the works.

  19. This blog’s post for episode 816 (“Midsummer”) pretty much explains the unique experience that is the original “Dark Shadows”. The closing paragraphs in particular point out that this is “… a play, a midsummer afternoon’s dream that you’re not supposed to take seriously”. At least, blog entry 816 makes it easier for one to explain how this unusual five-year broadcast experiment came to be, and why there is a continuing special connection between cast, crew, and audience, generation after generation.

    “House Of Dark Shadows” is probably the closest answer to “what if they did have the luxuries to a prime time series, budget, editing, etc.?”. The result is far more polished, but, perhaps, much less fun.

    1. Have you actually experienced the incredibly high quality of genre shows lately?

      Forget the previous “Golden Age” of television. We are in the real one now. …although it’s better to say “in home entertainment” or some such thing as I’m not sure it really is “television”.

      I have hopes for a quality reboot, but I suppose a stray Collinwood curse could ruin things for another decade.
      I don’t care if it is different, I only want it to be good. The face I see in the mirror today is not the one I saw during the original run of DS, but I’ve accepted it despite its shortcomings. I can do the same for a DS reboot.

      1. It would be nice to have a new companion “Dark Shadows” around, one new series to continually compliment the original, and vice versa. It would also be welcome to have the new writing explore the continuing character changes, nuances, depths, as the original series did. The experimental theatrical vibe would be lost, but something else surely could be gained. Don’t know why the exploration of character was lost in the various reboots: these people have pretty much become “family” over the years, there is a wealth of backstory/character development to work with.

          1. Oh, how I long
            How I long to be wrong
            Wrong that they can’t
            reboot Dark Shadows.

            Something that’s just the same,
            yet completely different
            (come on, what would Liz be, like 119 by now?)
            because they can’t pitch out all the Collins family and throw a bunch of newbies at us (though they have to, unless they go with a 1960’s timeframe);
            I think the biggest problem at this point is that they’ve tried a bunch of reboots already, and none have caught on. They’re running out of options for making ‘the same DS’, and don’t want to take the risk of making something too different from the original.

  20. I’d love to see a new series, but I hope if they do it that they resist the urge to reboot the 1966-1971 show. That would be a terrible mistake. That leaves them with many possibilities. My favorites, in order:

    — Collinwood, 1929. Have the show center on the legacy characters of Jameson, Elizabeth and Roger. (And you can add in plenty of other Collinses). The family is doing great in the waning months of the Roaring ’20s — it’s all wealth and gilded life at Collinwood, full of balls and intrigue. Let the October ’29 crash be a big part of the first year’s storyline and as their fortunes decline, the gloom and supernatural emerge from the shadows.

    — Collinwood, current day. Focus on the lives of the descendants of David and Carolyn (and maybe Maggie and Joe, etc.)

    — Collinwood, 1973. Pick back up a couple of years where the series left off. (And just ignore the parts near the end — just treat it like the last major thing that happened was Quentin’s haunting). In this version, you’d still have Barnabas, Julia, Elizabeth, Carolyn, Roger, David, etc., but you’d be free to introduce new characters and take the legacy ones in whatever direction you like.

    I’ve always thought an insane doctor taking over at Windcliff and imprisoning Julia there would make a great storyline. It could be creepy without even being supernatural. The cults and such from the early ’70s could provide lots of cultural backdrop and material.

    1. Oh, man! Now I want to see Grayson Hall doing a full-on “Lady In A Cage” crazy while Jerry Lacy (or Christopher Pennock – maybe Michael Stroka, I just can’t decide) goes psycho and taunts her with his EEEEEEVIL plan!

    2. The 1920’s through the 1940’s … that could be so fun. I have long had a feeling that since Barnabas was locked up for so long that his vampire physiology and the currents of time were forcing him back through all the time he had missed. One way or another he was going to “live” through all the years he had been locked up.

  21. I vote for 1973. They could always do a quick flashback (not time travel) to explain the relationship between Barnabas and Julia. What I liked about the 1991 reboot was they incorporated 1791 story while keeping 1991 going – time wasn’t suspended in that version.

  22. With the passing of Peter Fonda this week at age 79, we should note his significance to Dark Shadows fandom. Fans had speculated inconclusively on Lara Parker’s age until Lara herself revealed that information on the audio commentary for “Race With the Devil.”

    Lara said she was afraid the film’s producers would fire her and replace her with a younger actress if they found out she was three years older than her screen husband Peter Fonda.

    1. My goodness! So now (2021) she’d be 84?! Her voice on the Big Finish audios still sounded the same up to Bloodlust, which was the last I heard. Perhaps she has a magic recording, the equivalent of Quentin’s painting, that keeps her sounding young?

  23. I check in for old time’s sake hungry for a post, yet I know (because I haven’t gotten an automatic email notification) that nothing new will be here. How I long to be wrong.

    1. For some reason my email notifications just keep switching themselves off, so I just check back.

      And counsel patience; Danny and DSED have always been worth the wait.

  24. It’s been two months. I have no doubt that Danny wants to be here–but that other commitments are preventing him, and substantially!

    What would the faithful readers gathered here think if we took the pressure off? What if we tried to have our own conversation about the next few episodes, not competing with Danny’s inimitable insight and wit, but offering our own modest perceptions, adding to each other’s remarks, and waiting for Danny to come and take over when he can? He’s set a high bar for such a conversation, but we’re all inspired by him as well as the show–what do you think?

    Call it a modest proposal–and only intended to keep things alive here where we’ve enjoyed so much together.

  25. I can submit this, though it isn’t much;
    That ring of Quentin’s, the one from the witch doctor. I kept thinking it looked familiar, and it would certainly have been timely for DS – it’s the symbol associated with the Zodiac Killer of the 60s and 70s.

    (I DID say it wasn’t much.)

    1. The CW, eh?

      hmm — what are some of the shows currently on that network —
      The 100
      Supernatural (ending after 15 yrs)

      — they have a stack of superheroes
      Black Lightning
      Legends of Tomorrow
      Batwoman (new)
      Katy Keene (new)

      plus “reboot” mania —
      Roswell NM
      Nancy Drew (new)

      not to be all Debbie Downer, but that list doesn’t exactly give one hope …

      1. Legends of Tomorrow is actually GREAT! In season 2 they decided to go full bats**t crazy and it became an incredibly fun show.

      2. CW did pretty good with the Vampire Diaries and the Originals. Vampire Diaries contained many homages to Dark Shadows although I think you’d have to be a DS fan to actually know what you were seeing. Having said that, both shows were commercial products aimed at a certain audience for which I am not a core member. The actors were mostly good (and very pretty), the writers were solid, and they all took themselves seriously even though some of the story lines were over the top.

        If it’s got to be network tv I guess the CW is as good a place as any.

        I haven’t been watching Legacies although I keep meaning to but I didn’t watch Vampire Diaries until it’s last year either then I played catch up.

        Daniel Gillies would make it good Barnabas. Of course he’s practically played that role in The Originals and a little bit in Vampire Diaries. I doubt he’d want to do it again but as my husband says maybe it just depends on what sort of paycheck he’s looking for.

    2. DS:R – fingers crossed that CW can make it work, but to be honest I don’t see how. Reboots are always a minefield, there’s a contingent that wants something new (but don’t change anything), another that wants the old story retold (but change it so it’s not just the same thing). What ends up happening is they’re trying to please everyone and end up satisfying nobody.
      Personally I’m for a ‘Next Gen’ in our old familiar Collinwood, with as many of the originals as can be persuaded to come aboard. And since most of them have spent time at Windcliff, of course all the young ‘uns think they’re crazy when they start talking about supernatural perils and such nonsense. I mean it’s the twenty-first century, who believes in that stuff?

      1. I like the “next gen” idea, also. I’m wondering how they would reconfigure Collinwood though. The original set layout wouldn’t appeal to current tastes and expectations, but the 90′ reboot set was almost over the top.

    3. Worth a shot. But they have to do better casting than Lysette Anthony and Barbara Steele. Angelique was meant to be both alluring and loving. Julia was meant to be compassionate & loving.

      I never got that vibe from either of them. But I thought Ben Cross was a decent Barnabas.

    4. Interesting news, but I’ve been disappointed before and the CW seems determined to ruin their shows with SJW nonsense.

  26. It’s all about the writers, folks, and, for much of what we once loved, the character writing is the whole question.. The huge disappointment for me in the 1991 reboot was the failure to create or re-create interesting characters; Elizabeth Stoddard was a blank instead of a tone-setting patrician matriarch, Carolyn a waste-of-time oversexed spoiled rich girl with none of the original’s frustrated loneliness, Barnabas a cold cipher whose original story lacked any of the emotional intensity of an over-sentsitive son of a domestic tyrant and a pretty, fading alcoholic who saw his one way out in his love for Josette–somehow the centuries-defying passion for Josette was just a given, the affair with Angelique had no emotional logic, Julia Hoffman was stiff and humorless and Willie an idiot caricature rather than Karlen’s small-time crook helplessly in over his head. The prime-time reboot relied on a bigger budget and hyped-up sex and violence and ultimately felt visually lush but hollow, flailing for effects. Need I mention that the original DS writers included a playwright, an experienced Playhouse-90-style TV dramatist, and a future international-award-winning novelist, and a devotion to reworking great literature of the past?
    I kind of like the CW’s reinventive energy and unashamed soapiness–when DS works, it works as a soap! But the current CW brand is pretty narrow: isn’t it a risk that everyone going to be supermodel-thin, glamorous, shot through flattering filters–and that’s it? Isn’t it likely that extreme stereotyping (bad girl, good girl, rich bad guy, rich bad woman, scruffy onlooker) and endless networks of unwise boinking is going to stand in for character? Sigh. We’ll always have the DVDs . . .

  27. There have been a couple of episodes lately where Jerry Lacy seems to be stifling laughing out loud. I don’t see anything in the scene that would necessarily trigger laughter, but he really seems to be having a hard time keeping the smile down. Am I the only one who has noticed it?

  28. Trask uncovers his father’s corpse in the Old House basement, and he shows absolutely no interest in recovering the remains and giving it a proper Christian burial.

    GOD, THANK YOU. It was bad enough that he forgot he had a father for weeks on end, but when they bring it back up and go through all the trouble of retconning this nonsense, the fact that his father (his father) suffered what has to be one of the worst deaths imaginable matters not one whit. He’s simply thrilled to get the goods on Barnabas.

    Which he HAS NOT DONE. At most, he’s proven his father was walled up in the Old House basement–a scandal to be sure, but it’s going to be blamed on Barnabas Senior, because thinking this is proof that present day Barnabas has done anything at all is beyond insane. Granted, everyone on the show is now beyond insane, but really.

    If there’s anything that unites the Trasks, it’s their ability to be 75% right for all the wrong reasons, and 25% wrong for fatal ones.

  29. I felt like an alien visitor experiencing this episode. The revisionist history, B & J speaking a lot of words but saying nothing…this isn’t the show that I once knew. Their hearts simply aren’t in it anymore.

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