Episode 1245: Sunset at Collinwood

“You’ve had too many victims! It’s over for you!”

Morgan Collins, the self-proclaimed god-emperor of the great estate at Collinwood, has learned that his emotionally explosive wife, who he had always feared was cheating on him with his cousin, was actually cheating on him with his cousin, to the extent that she is currently pregnant with her lover’s child.

Driven mad by this betrayal, in addition to the general background madness of being a Collins in the first place, Morgan has locked up Barnabas and Angelique in the cursed room that plagues this parallel hell. Everyone who spends a night in that room either dies or goes insane, at the pleasure of an angry ancestor who’s determined to spoil everyone’s fun. So far, the trapped lovers have been alternately possessed and throttled, but the evil wizard running the no-escape room hasn’t gone in for the kill.

As dawn approaches, Morgan strides down the hall towards the sealed portal, with a six-shooter in his hand. When he opens the door, if he finds that the couple has managed to survive the night, then he’s just going to shoot them, and take his revenge the old-fashioned way.

So I’ve got some hard news for Morgan this morning: opening that door is not going to benefit you in any way. Letting Barnabas out of a box is what got us into this mess in the first place.

At least, that was the start of this story for me, as a sixth grader on a spring afternoon in 1982. This was the image that caught my attention in TV Guide, this silly-but-haunting picture of a man unleashing something on the world that we didn’t expect, and had never seen before.

The image is black and white and grainy, because this is a screenshot, rather than a publicity photo like all the other ads in TV Guide. The Dark Shadows production team didn’t take a special photo of this moment, because at the time, they didn’t know how important it was. So to my sixth-grade eyes, this ad felt like something that was set apart from regular television, a glimpse into another world.

The ad copy had something of a mixed message. It makes the show sound scary — Barnabas “preys upon the innocent victims of Collinsport” in “the eerie world of Dark Shadows“, featuring “Gothic suspense and intrigue.”

But it also makes it clear that the show is funny, calling it “biting satire in a different vein,” and that’s probably what caught my eye at the time. By sixth grade, I’d been watching The Muppet Show for years and I’d recently started watching Monty Python, so I knew that “satire” was something that I loved. But that’s not a great description of the show, and looking back at it, it feels like this ad was specifically tuned to what I needed to hear.

Young Danny, give this a try, WNBC said, beckoning to me. It’s slow and weird, and you’re not going to understand what the characters are talking about for the first few weeks — nobody told me that this was actually ten months into the show — but at some point, this is going to be funny, and you’re going to love it. And it was, and I did.

And here we are, more than a thousand episodes later, and the show still beckons successfully. They’re calling me back for one last afternoon together, and if they’re not planning to provide the biting satire today, then I suppose it’s up to me.

Today is Friday, April 2nd, 2021 — exactly 50 years since ABC broadcast the final episode of Dark Shadows — and now it’s my job to wrap all this up in a box and file it away in the secret records room, with all of my secret records. But mystery boxes don’t close easily; that’s one of the main things about them. You open up a mystery box, and those consequences are yours to keep.

That’s why we’re here on the last day of Dark Shadows, ending the series in a dank underground mausoleum, with eccentric millionaire Barnabas Collins locked in a romantic clinch with his ex-wife, the evil sorceress and soap vixen Angelique, flanked by two carcasses from the seventeenth century, rather than what this should have been, according to the original plan: governess Victoria Winters and her faithful husband Burke, finally unlocking the mystery of where she came from, and who she has become. Opening a mystery box is funny that way.

And yes, obviously, this is Barnabas and Angelique; we didn’t buy that “Bramwell and Catherine” charade for a second. They didn’t drag us all the way down here to the secret records room to celebrate the happiness of a pair of hypothetical parallel descendants. If these characters were played by any other actors than Jonathan Frid and Lara Parker, it would be the most disappointing series finale of all time, rather than what it is, which is maybe the fourth most disappointing.

Dark Shadows began with Barnabas’ hand reaching up out of that coffin to grab our throats and get our attention — at least, it started that way for me, and for most of the people who have ever watched the show — so it has to end here, with Barnabas eagerly embracing the woman who has caused the most suffering to his family and community.

One thing that we ought to get straight is that this is not the optimal outcome, for anyone. Barnabas and Angelique are the most self-centered, reckless and fundamentally toxic people that this fictional world has ever seen. By my calculations,* Barnabas and Angelique have murdered at least 36 people, including each other. If they’re united now, that means that their destructive tendencies will be directed outward, towards everyone else. Barnabas and Angelique ending up together isn’t a happy ending, it’s a crisis.

So this is the way the world ends: not with a bang, but a rooster. Barnabas and Angelique can tell that it’s nearly dawn somehow, down here among the dead men, in a secret basement crypt that nobody at Collinwood even knew was here until a couple weeks ago. The unresting spirit of Brutus Collins has apparently been tormenting these two sporadically throughout the evening, although they don’t mention if it got any more interesting than the weak-sauce torments that we witnessed in the previous episode.

What we saw yesterday was Angelique suddenly saying that she’s Amanda and trying to stab herself, and then Barnabas staggering around pretending that he’s choking, and in each case, the antidote was for the other person to say, No, [insert name]! You must fight him! Fight him! and then the sufferer would fight him, and the feeling would pass. That’s going to happen again over the next few minutes, with the same results, which makes me wonder how Brutus ever managed to murder any of the previous contestants. Did it not occur to any of them to fight him? That would have been the first thing I tried.

But Barnabas is convinced that they’ve managed to survive against the most desperate odds, because their love is so strong that it can defeat momentary lapses in concentration. I agree that they’re into each other, and they certainly love themselves more than anybody else does, but this has hardly been the epic battle that they’re currently congratulating themselves over. There wasn’t even a spelling test. Brutus Collins has had a hundred and sixty years to come up with immunity challenges, and it appears that he came up with two and then got distracted.

Gazing adoringly into his beloved’s eyes, Barnabas says, “I have money now. We will leave here. We will not harm anyone by doing that. It would be far worse for Morgan, if you were to stay here and play out the mockery of your marriage.”

The spectral laughter of their chromakey adversary echoes through the chamber. “Plans!” Brutus chuckles. “Plans!” So yeah, that tracks. For Brutus, “I’m rich now, let’s go somewhere and be rich people” is a carefully constructed roadmap. This is a guy who took the corpses of the two people that he hated most, injected them with some kind of occult cryogenic juice concentrate, and left them lying out in the open in the middle of his secret lair, so that he could spend eternity glaring at them and thinking about what jerks they were. How different life would be for these people, if he’d known that going somewhere and coasting on privilege was an option.

And then the saddest thing in the world happens.

“Amanda…” Brutus pleads, “Come to me! Forgive me! That is all I want, your forgiveness!”

Momentarily carried away with the cosplay, Angelique smiles and says, “You still love me, Brutus?”

“I have never stopped loving you!” Brutus declares. “Come to me! We shall share eternity…”

So I don’t know what to do with that level of mess. Is that actually what this has been about, all this time? It appears that Brutus wants to share eternity with the woman who’s lying on a slab literally three steps from where he’s standing, because he installed her there, for eternity. That’s why he’s been tormenting his own descendants for a century and a half. Honestly, sometimes I think I will never understand white people.

There’s another moment of half-hearted choking from Barnabas, and then they hear the triumphant crow of Convenient Rooster, broadcasting all the way underground to this windowless chamber that is not specifically close to a farm.

“I will never come to you, Brutus!” cries Angelique. “We will bury these bodies in holy ground, and Amanda will at last have peace. Now go, Brutus, before someone drops a house on you too!”

“You’ve won!” Brutus wails, as he melts away. “What a world, what a world! Who would have thought a good little girl like you could destroy my beautiful wickedness…”

Relieved, the happy couple embrace, although now they have to go and find some holy ground and bury those dusty mannequins. It serves her right, for shooting her mouth off like that.

Speaking of shooting, Morgan’s upstairs at the entrance portal, just waiting for these two to emerge. This means six more weeks of winter.

“So you have ended the curse, Bramwell,” says the gun-wielding goon, “and I guess you want some sort of gratitude from everyone. Well, you’re not going to get it — or her!”

Without further delay, Morgan pulls the trigger and nails Barnabas in the left shoulder, in the same place that he shot him a month ago, in their duel. Melanie and Kendrick were recently wounded in the shoulder, too; it’s been a bad month for shoulders.

After that, everybody still acts like Morgan has another round in the chamber, although with that kind of gun you’d need to reload the primer and gunpowder before taking another shot, and by that time, everyone else could run and get their own murder weapons from the community chest. Still, it’s drama, I suppose, and you can’t deflate two villains in a row just by shutting your eyes and hoping.

So Morgan was the curse, after all, just as we suspected. On the whole, soap operas are supposed to be interloper-friendly environments, because they’re designed to run forever, and if you’ve got a strong love triangle situation, then you try to keep that going for as long as you can keep the audience’s attention. But Morgan has interloped at just the wrong time, when inspiration failed, and everyone on the show was sick of figuring out new things to do.

The day is saved by Julia Hoffman and Willie Loomis, who come running with the rest of their woodland friends, but who are they saving it for? We didn’t ask for an ending like this, so far removed from the show as we loved it. There’s a few more minutes of shouting and secret panels, but the thing that we really want — to go back somehow, to the afternoons that we loved — that isn’t an option anymore.

They say that every ending is a new beginning, but you know how I feel about “They“, and their advice. Sometimes an ending is just an ending. You run home from school, and the thing you’re running home for isn’t there anymore. Now you’re just running.

So I have a theory about time.

When we lose someone or something that we love, it feels like they’re gone forever, like everything that you had and did can crumble into ash, leaving nothing behind.

But time is kind. Time seals up your happiest moments, and protects them. It’s all there, somewhere, preserved by time, and kept safe forever.

It happened. The beautiful and unlikely things that you did, that brought you joy and purpose — as long as it happened once, then it will always have happened. Even if someone wanted to take it away from you, even if they tried, they can’t touch it. This is now a universe where that happened, and there’s nothing that anyone can do about it. It can’t be destroyed. It just needs to happen once.

People think that time is their enemy, that each tick of the clock takes them closer to defeat and grief and the heat death of the universe. It’s not true. Time is the kindest thing that we know.

“Everything will be different,” Melanie says, cured of her madness and heading toward the door. “You’ll see.” And she’s right. Everything is always different, especially on this show.

“Yes,” Flora allows. “But it’ll never be the same. Without Justin… without Gabriel… with Morgan as he is. And I will go on remembering, for the rest of my life, and wishing things were different. Brutus Collins had his curious revenge.”

“Tell me, mother,” Melanie urges. “Tell me everything that has happened.”

Well, it’s hard to imagine telling Melanie everything; it’s six hundred hours long, plus the fanzines and audio dramas. We can go back and play it all again, and remember how it felt, but it’s not the same. It was all about surprise, about opening the mystery box and not knowing what kind of crazy would emerge. It belongs to other people, now.

So we find ourselves here, up on the roof, dangling over the precipice for the final time, concluding the high-wire act that we volunteered for, so many years ago. The curse is broken, and everything is different, and pretty soon we won’t have to look at Morgan anymore.

“If we have turned you into the person that you are now, I’m sorry,” Barnabas shouts into the wind. “We’ve all made many mistakes, we cannot make any more! Let us go in peace!”

And yes, of course they turned us into the person that we are now. At least, they did for me, and there is no need to apologize.

For the first and last time, Dark Shadows will indulge in the sentimental, ending the show with the villain vanquished and two couples united. They hint for a moment that the horror show will go on, with the last-minute twist of an unexpected vampire bite, but then they back off, with an unconvincing logical explanation and a promise that all will be well.

That’s not the real ending, of course. Yes, the mystery box is sealed up once more, but that’s just so that we can hand it on to the next person, like the sixth-grader in 1982 who has no idea what’s going to happen next.

Barnabas Collins steps out of ABC Studio 16 and into the future, as he does in this picture: triumphant, unapologetic, and eager, as always, to scare more children.

The end.

Thank you so much for reading this blog. I can’t tell you how much it means to me that you have accompanied me on this insane journey, and allowed me to accompany you on your own journey through Dark Shadows.

I’m going to save some final words for the Zoom party tonight, and then I’ll post more here for everyone who can’t make it.

But I want to tell everyone that yes, I’m done writing about Dark Shadows, but I’m not done with writing by a long shot. There will be a next big project that I’ve been thinking about for the last couple of years, and I’m really excited to get started on it.

The new project won’t be related to Dark Shadows at all, but if you like this blog, then you will like the next one. It’s about the history of another slice of popular culture — how it started, how it evolved, and where it went, traveling forwards through time with lots of side trips and surprises. It’ll be a similar structure and feel to this blog; I’ll be taking all of the things that I’ve learned here, and that’s the starting point for the new project, with a story that’s bigger and more ambitious.

Here’s the video for our finale Zoom party:

You can also check out the other videos on my channel, where I’ve got four talks on Superman, the Mickey Mouse watch, dangerous toys and flying saucers. I also did a shorter but better version of the dangerous toys talk for Nerd Nite. If you want more Danny talking, there’s a list of the Muppet podcasts that I’ve been on in the episode 1190 post, and I’ve also been on an episode of the Doctor Who Target Book Club.

I’m already working on my next project, which I expect I’ll start publishing in fall 2021. It’ll be a brand new topic, nothing to do with Dark Shadows, but if you like Dark Shadows Every Day (and the above talks) then you’re going to like the new blog; it’s going to be really fun. When the new blog starts, I’ll post here on DSED, as well as the Facebook and Twitter feeds, so stay subscribed, or just check back here in the fall.

Thanks to everyone who has supported this crazy adventure. This has been an incredible experience, and I’m excited to bring you all along on the next one. See you soon!

Dark Shadows bloopers to watch out for:

Morgan shouts “Brutus!” before the ghost appears.

Bramwell shouts at Brutus, “No, you’ve destroyed too often!”

When Brutus’ ghost disappears for the last time, there’s a movement on the right side of the screen — the stagehand giving Bramwell and Catherine their cue to react.

When Kendrick embraces Melanie, some of her hair sticks to his lips. He turns it into a cute moment, touching and kissing the lock of hair.

On the roof, Morgan goes to the door to shout for Bramwell. When Catherine rushes over, the wall shakes.

When Morgan goes over the balcony, a studio light is visible at the top of the screen.

Julia tells Flora that she should be grateful to Bramwell and Catherine: “If they hadn’t — if they hadn’t broken the curse, none of this would have happened.” What?

In act 4, panning down from the foyer clock, the boom mic makes one last unscheduled appearance.

As the camera focuses on Barnabas’ portrait for the final narration, you can hear footsteps in the studio.


This is my calculation of the number of people that Barnabas and Angelique have killed on the show, including the Parallel Time Angelique.

Barnabas: Jason McGuire, Dave Woodard, Jeremiah Collins, Angelique Collins, Ruby Tate, Suki Forbes, Maude Browning, Abigail Collins, Reverend Trask, Nathan Forbes, Crystal Cabot, Dirk Wilkins, Sophie Baker, Carl Collins, Istvan, Audrey, Megan Todd, Sky Rumson, Cyrus Longworth, 1995 sheriff, Unnamed woman in 1840, Lamar Trask.

Angelique: Barnabas Collins, Sarah Collins, Naomi Collins, Josette DuPres, Bathia Mapes, Dr. Eric Lang, Tom Jennings, Roxanne Drew, Charles Dawson.

PT Angelique: Alexis Collins, Fred Block, Larry Chase, Will Loomis, Roger Collins.

Dark Shadows episode guide

— Danny Horn

116 thoughts on “Episode 1245: Sunset at Collinwood

  1. Danny, thank you SO much for bringing back the joys of DS to the fans who grew up with it. And for turning new fans on to this awesome show. It’s been a pleasure sharing this blog with you and the gang. We love you!

  2. It’s been an pleasure reading all your posts and thoughts about this wacky show that we know and love. Thank you so much.

    Looking forward to your next endeavor!

  3. Thanks, Danny, your stuff was hilarious and informative although I haven’t read all of it, I might read your blog from beginning to end, like a great odyssey. I think I know what show you are planning to do next, I can only think of one show that you described. Something about a time traveling doctor with different faces, I suppose.

  4. It’s the morning after the farewell party, and I’m already feeling the loss! Even during Danny’s long hiatus mid-blog, there was always the first-thing-in-the-morning check-in and the hope; now it’s all come to a satisfying end and I’m grateful (the party was the perfect way to go) and–sweetly sad. Good morning, everyone, We’ll always have–if not Paris–Fridspeak, kaijus, and the Sproatnap.

  5. Thanks, Danny, you’ve blogged the show into another kind of immortality with your wit, novel points of view, and wildly interesting vocabulary. Here’s hoping this blog stands for at least a generation, and that you future endeavors are met with success! It’s been a great 7 1/2 years.

  6. Congrats on reaching the end of your strange and terrifying journey, and thank you for creating this epic blog!

    PS – One more body for the pile – Barnabas also killed Nelle Gunston during the Leviathan storyline..

  7. Danny, thanks so much for this fantastic blog. Unfortunately, I missed the Zoom last night, but wanted to express how much I’ve enjoyed reading along as I slowly fill in the thousand plus episodes I missed during the initial run.

    I was one of those rush-home-from-school kids, but only for about a month. Previous to that, my parents hadn’t allowed me to watch the show, because it was too scary for a ten-year-old. Funny, that, since I watched horror movies regularly, practically from the cradle. Finally, after I saw the House of Dark Shadows movie, my parents relented and said my brother and I could watch the TV version. We were so excited, since the summaries we heard from classmates suggested we’d get a daily dose of vampires and witches and werewolves. Then, after a few weeks, we watched this episode, 1245, having no idea it was the last one. Not the only disappointment of my childhood, but a pretty memorable one! Caught some b&w airings on PBS years later, but hadn’t revisited until this year, and discovered your blog at the same time. Up to episode 508 currently, and glad your blog (and the great comments section!) will accompany me to the end!

    All best, and looking forward to your future projects!

  8. Danny – I was so glad I was able to make most of the Zoom call last night (Fri 4/2/21). I was the guy who was being ardently kissed by my dog Max toward the end. I missed part of the discussion while I took Max for a walk around the block. The discussion was still going strong when I got back.
    I am wondering – was the Zoom call recorded? If so, will it be posted on YouTube? If so, can you provide the link?
    With DS in its original run, I was too spooked by the music and would usually just turn the channel as soon as I heard the music.
    In terms of watching DS in its original run, I only saw one full episode (I think) #308 (aired 8/30/67) when I was 6 years old – this is the one where everyone was looking for Sarah and all they (Sam and Joe) found was her empty, squeaky swing. (That’s what I remember most about that episode). I wrote a comment and even a poem about that ep in Danny’s comment section.
    The other two original-run memories are just scenes – episode #761 (aired 5/26/69). I was at Grandma’s house in the living room, Grandma was in the kitchen, my sister and I were watching Evan Handley perform a spell to summon Satan! (I didn’t really know, at the time, who Evan was trying to summon – maybe I was not sure who Satan was?) I remember the thunder-lightning, the french doors flying open, and it looked like a mummy was standing there – at least that’s what my memory. (Only recently did I learn that it wasn’t Satan, it was Rev. Trask.) Grandma came out from the kitchen to see what was going on and just laughed.
    The next scene was episode #1071, and it was just the scene where Julia and Barnabus (after returning from 1995) asks Hallie Stokes what year is it. Hallie replies, “1970.” I was over at a friend’s house, and I remember everyone watching just thought that was funny.
    When I first thought DS was actually really cool was in spring 1976, and our local Iowa ABC affiliate, started airing the start of the DS vampire story after school. I remember watching at least up to Maggie being held prisoner in the Old House basement.
    It wasn’t until the late 90’s when I was finally able to see many DS episodes on the Sci Fi (later syfy) channel. I got through most of the vampire story and parts of 1795, the Frankenstein, werewolf, parts of 1897. I even remember being at a military training (I was in the National Guard), but was still able to catch the Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde parallel time. I was never able to watch each episode every day, but enjoyed it very much whenever I was able to drop in.
    And now, with this 50th anniversary coming up, I did watch Eps 1232-1245 on Amazon Prime just this past week without reading your blog comments first. Although I knew it was a mash-up of Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery” and “Wuthering Heights,” I did not exactly know how it was going to unfold. I also wanted to go back far enough so I could at least see the great Kate Jackson (even though all she had was near-death or dying scenes) and get a sense of the actors. I was amazed at how much Grayson Hall carried the show, pretty much appearing every day for those last 2 weeks! As Julia Collins, sister of Justin (former patriarch of the family in this 1841 PT time), she seemed to really be mistress of Collinwood. It took me a while to just “get” the different family relationships. There were only 2 actors who I thought were a bit wooden – Morgan/Keith Prentice and the older Josette (Bramwell’s mother). For me, even though DS was not at its best or its prime, I was still wondering what would happen next and not knowing made it all the more fun for me. Now, I am curious, Danny, to re-read your blog to get your take on these eps.
    I find I enjoy the show when I just watch it on my own first and then read your blog second. I still have many gaps and maybe some day I will watch the whole thing, an episode a day. I am curious to watch the show from the beginning-beginning.
    Danny, thank you again for your great blog! I also really appreciated your talk on “Flying Saucers and the Truth That Isn’t Out There” at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B1hSz86SJqE . Please let me know about your next projects and any more presentations! All my best to you and everyone, now and always!

  9. Thank you so much for all your hard work and dedication to DSED. It cannot have been easy to find something to write about every episode. I admire your sticking it out to the very end, even with 1841 PT. I am so sad it needed to end, but I have learned and laughed all the way with it since I began my journey. It has been so much fun accompanying you and everybody on this blog. That Zoom party was so much fun because we could all really share our favorite DS memories whether from the show, fan conventions, or how we got into watching it. I had never done anything like this and I thank you and everybody so much for making it a fun, memorable evening. Good luck with any future projects and just keep being you. You are truly awesome, Danny! A million times, THANK YOU!

  10. Danny, I had so much fun in the Zoom meeting on Monday! That was a great idea and a perfect way to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the end of Dark Shadows! I’m still in 1897 so I’ve got a ways to go yet and I know I will have your wonderful blog posts to guide me through.

    Not sure if this link will work but, if it won’t just Google “zoom meetings are just modern seances” and you see it!

  11. Thank you so much for all that you do, Danny! The blog has been amazing and I have laughed and learned all the way even though I was a silent reader until recently. I can honestly say that I am a DS and Dan Curtus fan in general. I had so much fun at the Zoom party getting to see everyone and hear their stories. I was the “unicorn” for starting out with the Johnny Depp version and liking it LOL. I know you all have some less than nice opinions on it, which is totally fine. But I think that is how the original DS was introduced to my generation. However we all found the show, what matters is that we all ended up in the same place together: Loving the universe that is Dark Shadows. Good luck with your next Project Danny and thanks again for all the insights and laughter.

  12. Dear Ubiquitous,
    I got very excited reading your comment where you wondered if Danny might write Wild, Wild West or Star Trek Everyday. Both would be great fun.

  13. Hey Danny,
    Long time reader, first time caller. I just want to say that your blog has helped me get through some rough stuff, awkward teenage and college years and other turmoil. Your writing is damn hilarious, insightful and thorough that it literally turned any horrific day into something so much brighter.
    You brought a lot of fans together too, I’ve got some great pals now on discord and we’ve all at one point said ‘HANG ON LETS CHECK DSED’ or ‘I swear Danny wrote sometHING on this’ or gone to this blog for great pictures or fact checks.
    Your opinions were always well thought-out, even when I disagreed with you, I still adored reading what you had to say.
    You’re probably the only Dan I respect when it comes to DS stuff. (Sorry Mr. Curtis)
    Thank you for all the years of hard work, dedication, time and love you put into this thing. I know it had to end sometime, but I’m still sad to see it go.
    Much love from myself and a bunch of other twenty-somethings who respect and admire you.
    Excited to see what the future holds.

  14. Yes, thank you so much for this blog. Its been a wonderful ride, and I’m really looking forward for your next project.

    Meanwhile, I might go back and re-read this one again from the beginning!

  15. Thank you so much for everything, Danny! It has been an absolute joy learning and laughing along with you. The Zoom party was the perfect ending to the perfect blog on Dark Shadows. I was the”Unicorn” because I started with the Johnny Depp version and liked it before watching the original series. With my generation, I think that is how we found Dark Shadows. I know a lot of people have mixed feelings about it, but we all end up at the same place together: Our love of anything Dark Shadows.

    In regards to this post, I thought the best moment came at the end with Melanie being bitten on the neck and Stokes raising the question of a vampire and the camera panning to Barnabas. Good inside joke. The fairytale narration was different and unique for Dark Shadows. Judging from past comments and posts, I am sure I am not the only person who was happy to see Morgan Colllins go because he was just awful. The final shot on Barnabas’s portrait was the best one they could have chosen. Once Barnabas came on the show, it pretty much became his show so it makes sense to focus the final scene on the portrait.

    Thank you for letting me be part of the ride, everybody! It was a real pleasure! Danny, good luck with all future projects! I know they will be awesome because you are awesome!

  16. Congrats again, Danny! I am time traveling from the distant past (episode 430) to say thanks for the blog, which I’ll be enjoying for years to come as I finish the series. And thanks for the Zoom on Friday, too. If anyone had ideas for keeping this blog’s community going, please do include me! (I’ll check back here, or I am happy to have my info from the Zoom registration shared).

    1. Hi Tony, the Zoom party was great, wasn’t it? I was surprised we went 3 hours! There are quite a few people who would be interested in keeping this community going. I am open to helping facilitate that.

  17. Danny, thanks so much for your hilarious and inventive writing, which has enhanced my viewing of nearly every episode since the beginning, holding usually to 50 years after their original broadcast. Ending at the same time as your blog was a pleasant surprise after being far behind until fairly recently. Looking forward to your next project this fall!

  18. Danny, Im a younger fan in my early 20s. Didnt grow up with the show in any capacity. Thank you so much for the blog, the insights, the jokes, and the adventure through this crazy spook show we love. Im far from having read every post on here but the fact its done is so strange. Im a little bummed that I missed the Zoom party but ah well- its not like you know me. I look forward to reading whatever you do next. But seriously, thank you for helping me explore this crazy wonderous piece of television. I will reread your posts often moving forward.

  19. Danny im a younger fan in his early 20s who didnt grow up with the show. Thank you so much for all of this. Im far from having read every post and Im sure theres still lots for me to explore. Theres much of the show I havent watched as well. Thank you for helping to introduce me to this crazy, wonderous special bit of television which has become close to my heart and a part of my annual Halloween tradition. I cant wait to see what you write next, and there is so much in the blog to still explore. Im weirdly bummed I missed the Zoom party despite not actually knowing you or commenting on the blog much.

    To reiterate once again, thank you. Its weird to think its over. And this final post was beautiful

  20. One last  time we tread the halls of Collinwood, in search of a plot. I hoped for some acknowledgement of ‘our’ Collins family, but we must content ourselves with knowing that they were alright when we saw them last.

    Brutus must have just given up in disgust because NONE of this 1841 bunch would play by the rules! Nobody who was chosen actually spent the night in the haunted room. Or perhaps his eeeeeee-veeill was defeated because he wasn’t used to haunting more than one person at a time?
    The bit about Amanda and his undying love for her is hard to buy; didn’t Melanie, whilst possessed by Amanda, indicate that she was his willing partner now? And just how is the relationship meant to progress, since possessed Catherine wouldn’t be able to touch Brutus? Do Amanda and James also have the ability to ChromaKey? So far they’ve only been able to possess others. (I’ll even give a pass on Amanda’s possessing Melanie and Catherine; Melanie is asleep so Amanda could nip down and take over Catherine.)

    Why are they down in the records room anyway?  I mean I know they need to be someplace else so Morgan can sneak in upstairs, but it just doesn’t seem like the kind of place to spend time in, along with the cobwebbed corpses.

    Next comes Morgan, who I really expected better from. Better than bug eye crazy – – that was Gabriel’s shtick! Morgan is literally at point blank range and still can’t manage a decent shot. Must be the worst marksman in Parallel Maine. Last time Bramwell spent a week in bed recovering and required Daphne to nurse him; this time, he’s fine in a minute or two? I won’t even go into why everyone treats the empty pistol as dangerous. Guns may work differently in that plane of existence.
    And finally, Morgan goes over the cliff on Widows Hill (well, off the roof anyhow; let’s not split hairs) – – it seems Kendrick should have brought a gun with him THIS time, but whatever. And I would think that with the protection of Morgan’s hair helmet and all the padding in his jacket, he’d have just bounced back up to the observation deck. But down he goes, the final death of Dark Shadows.

    So there’s happy endings all round, except for Quentin, who’s in Boston polishing his skis. A little tease of another story… but no, it was just an opossum nibbling Melanie’s neck, I guess. She didn’t even get rabies.

    Not a very good ending, just an ending. Yes, the fans deserved better than this half baked PT tale, but cancellation is rough. We should feel lucky that we got any closure at all, as we entered a world without our favorite spook show. But really, was this last bit any more DS than the pre-Barnabas episodes were? It did seem like the show was headed back in that direction. No Barnabas, no Julia (and I’m sure Jonathan Frid felt as tired as Bramwell looked by this point), no monsters, not even a last dance and drinks down at the Blue Whale or an evening with straitjackets and sedation at Windcliff.

    There was the tease of the upcoming feature film to keep hope alive – – if that had been handled right, we could have revisited the Shadows for longer. But NoDS missed the mark and it seems Dan Curtis decided to let it slip away.

    1. “…was this last bit any more DS than the pre-Barnabas episodes were?”
      I would say the Laura the Phoenix story was more DS than this was. It at least had the characters we cared about and a better supernatural villain.
      I have a question I’ve been thinking about since the Zoom party. We should have done a poll. Was Dark Shadows a soap opera? At first, yes. At the end, probably. But in the middle? I’m not sure. I guess it depends on your definition of a soap opera. Once the blackmail story was over, the family relationships became largely inconsequential. Though it continued to have elements of other soaps, domesticity was gone with the dining room set. All of the romances had some twisted element to them. It was a serialized narrative, but their storylines were brief in comparison to other soaps and ended mostly simultaneously. I don’t know what I would call it, but at least, as a soap, it was an outlier.

  21. Darn, just found out today that the blog has ended and that there was a Zoom party to celebrate! Bummed that I missed it, but sounds like everyone had a great time at it and that’s great.

    I had begun watching the series from episode 1 and then re-starting Danny’s blog with ep. 210. It’s been great to re-read everything as well as the comments people have added since I read it last year.

    Congrats and many thanks, Danny, and I definitely want to be part of your plans for the fall of 2021!

  22. To help me get through the pandemic, I decided to watch Dark Shadows from the beginning. I had never seen the earliest episodes — I started to watch in 1967 when my friends told me about this really cool ghost Josette who sometimes appeared. Nor had I watched the late episodes — as a 13 year old, I stopped watching at the time of the Leviathans (apparently, like many others). But in between I was obsessed. My classmates and I put on a Dark Shadows play at school in the 5th grade (I played Barnabas). I had seen some of the shows at various times in my life, but still hadn’t seen the earliest and last episodes. So I committed to watch straight through.

    Just before the pandemic, I discovered Danny Horn’s amazing blog. Danny, you made me laugh — a lot. You really GOT the show and its wonderful (and sometimes terrible) qualities. You comprehended that magic that was Dr. Julia Hoffman, obviously the main and pivotal character of the show. Somehow, as a 11 year old gayling, I intuitively knew that, too. I read your blog as I watched the shows, never thinking that I would finish within a month of the blog’s end. It was a strange and mysterious journey that connected my past with my present.

    Danny, I thank you for sharing your wit, insight, humor, talent, and passion with us. You have singularly made my pandemic year so much better.

    Now I feel a huge sense of loss. I feel like I’m losing Dark Shadows, Danny, and many of you all at once. I’m replacing my nightly viewing of Dark Shadows with The Avengers, starting from the earliest episodes with Cathy Gale, straight through Emma Peel, and on to Tara King. At least until the pandemic ends.

    Danny, thank you, thank you, thank you. You are a genius.

  23. I just finished the blog today…having read it all on and off the past few years– truly a magnum opus in TV history and pop culture history as well…BRAVO

  24. re: the Zoom call meeting

    OMG…do I really sound like that? And LOOK like that?! No doubt about it, I need a ring light! A shame my nice new laptop froze up and I had to use my smartphone instead.
    But all in all it was lots of fun, and I thank everyone who joined in!

  25. Okay. Can you take a little rest and give us the first year of episodes? Well – it never hurts to ask.

  26. Watching Episode 1 tonight. The initial scene in Collinwood, prior to the opening theme, bodes well. Hopefully it holds up until Barnabas arrives on the scene. Joan Bennett is stunningly beautiful in the opener. No small wonder she was such a big star in her earlier years.

  27. Re June 17 comment:

    Oh all right. If you discover a glitch in the quantum field that enables you to hold forums on topics related to DS – or just stay in touch, you will make many of your fans happy.

  28. Congratulations on writing an article for every Dark Shadows episode from Barnabas’ first appearance until the very end.

    I started watching the show (from episode 209) in September 2015 and I am currently at episode 859. At that time, you were I. The 730s. At this rate (I’m watching 1-2 episodes per week on average), it will take me another 4 years to make it to the end and another 2 years to having watched all of the pre-Barnabas episodes.

    I’m this site is a great resource. I hope it stays on the web for many years to come.

    1. Hello John E. Comelately –
      Oh, I am SO glad you let Danny and the DS community here know about the great new documentary “Beyond Dark Shadows: The Jonathan Frid Story.” I just today stumbled on an interview with Mary O’Leary (Frid’s business partner post-DS) and Marie Wallace on Alan Locher’s YouTube interview show, “The Locher Room.” Here’s the link for the interview: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hm4niPPSoYU
      The “Beyond DS” documentary is available for rent on Amazon Prime! I can’t wait to check it out.
      All my best to all in the Dark Shadows world,

  29. How nice of Julia to change from her mourning dress into the fruitstripe gum dress on the way upstairs! 🤣

  30. On 2/7/22, a little over 10 months since the 50th anniversary took place, I finally caught up. I have to say that the actual last episode ended much better than I thought it would. I thought it wouldn’t feel like a last episode, and for our 1971 Collins family, it wasn’t…but for the 1841 PT they did a pretty good job of wrapping it up.

    It was satisfying seeing Morgan killed. And it was satisfying seeing Melanie and Kendrick and Bramwell and Catherine happy. Julia wasn’t irritating and it was nice that Flora was included in this last outing.

    I really wish when Ben had said he thought that Melanie had been attacked by a vampire and the camera was on Frid, that he would’ve winked.

    Anyway, again I thank you Danny for the wonderful insights and history into this weird show. This was my first time through it. Not sure if I’ll do another run through, but one never knows.

    I wish I had joined the zoom party last year because watching it now it was nice to put faces to names.

    1. I felt the same way mostly, about the ending I mean, with the thrilling struggle on the balcony, Kendrick coming to the rescue (which surprised me because I had little to no recollection of these final episodes, which I hadn’t seen since the 90’s), and of course, Morgan falling to his death–the same manner of death he had just been gleefully describing to Catherine as he threatened throw her off that very same balcony–but I hated the voice over narration at the end, telling us the ultimate fates of these people I couldn’t care less about while simultaneously showing us the foyer of the real Collinwood we never got to return to.

  31. It’s now April of 2022 and I’ve finally made it through every minute of every episode and every word of your blog, Danny. I can’t tell you how appreciative I am and how awed by your dedication and writing skills. And now, I guess it’s turkey-lurkey time.

  32. And now I have officially watched every single episode from 1 to 1245. I had fun

    P.S., Kendrick & Melanie were the real relationship goals in this show’s final hours and Morgan’s one good moment of acting of the entire season was his final minute and death fall.

    Bye Everyone!

  33. I’ve finally come to the end of my re-watch, a lot later than I’d originally planned, and re-reading this post now that I’ve actually watched the episode after all these years actually brought a tear to my eye. I plan to re-watch the Zoom party as well, even though I unfortunately wasn’t able to participate. But since a few months ago I started watching Dark Shadows from episode 1, and have finally seen all the episodes I’d never seen before (namely 2 through 189 or thereabouts), I will soon be taking that old stairway through time back to the beginning of this blog so I can enjoy all those posts I haven’t read yet, because I’m currently on episode 202 and that means that in less than a week (I usually watch 2 eps a day if not more), Willie Loomis will once again open the box and everything will start over again. I can’t wait!

  34. Danny, I just want to say thank you for your fabulous blog. I am late to this party. Around a year ago, for a reason I no longer remember (!) I decided to re-watch all of Dark Shadows from 1-1245. At some point early on I discovered your blog, and honestly, I think reading the blog posts has been as much fun as watching the show! I have been happily reading and lurking for months now. I learned a ton of trivia from you & the other posters. I particularly appreciated how you situated the show in and of its time. I have a renewed appreciation for the Ralston-Purina lamp, and Violet Welles, among so many other things. Today I’m in DS withdrawal and will have to get on with real life. (If only someone had curated all the early OLTL shows – it was my second-favorite soap, and now thanks to learning about the migration of writers and actors from DS, I have an idea why!) So I will no longer be a daily visitor here, but I did not want to leave without saying a great big thank you.

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