All posts by Danny Horn

About Danny Horn

Product Manager at the Wikimedia Foundation. I write a daily blog, Dark Shadows Every Day, about the 1960s vampire soap opera. Founder of Muppet Wiki and Tough Pigs, a Muppet fansite.

Episode 1212: Once in Every Generation

“Really, my good man, there is more to life than one monster’s power over another’s.”

In today’s episode of ABC-TV’s Dark Shadows, the utterly haunted Collins family of 1841 Parallel Time actually goes ahead and holds the lottery that they’ve been talking about for weeks and weeks, with a dramatic reveal and an off-screen high-speed chase, which should probably be attended to at some point. But the great thing about 1971 Dark Shadows is that even if I take the day off today to talk about something else, they’ll still be there tomorrow, doing more or less the same stuff. That has not always been the case on this show, but is definitely the case now.

So you won’t mind if I allow Gabriel to slip quietly out the door for the day, while I tackle another task that has been personally haunting me for months: the second installment of the Parkerverse continuity.

Continue reading Episode 1212: Once in Every Generation

Episode 1211: Plague, Die, Plague, Die, Plague, Die, Plague

“Tell me, why do you insist on being a bad historian?”

Quentin Collins is broadcasting on all frequencies, into the unknown. “We seek the spirit of our dear, departed ancestor,” he candle-calls, “who remains so very close to all of us!” That’s a bit of a stretch. Quentin is currently organizing this let-your-fingers-do-the-walking seance slumber party in order to find out why that dear, departed ancestor left him and his family with a hundred and sixty-one years’ worth of tedious curse, and Brutus isn’t even going to pick up the phone.

Instead, Melanie shuts her eyes, moans and arches her back, which is the seance version of clearing your throat. “Lottery!” she chokes. “Now!” Quentin and Flora look on, in horror. “Lottery!” she repeats. “Now! Or — all — will — DIE!”

She begins to scream. “PLAGUE!” she chants. “DIE! PLAGUE! DIE! PLAGUE! DIE!

So obviously Quentin’s wondering, ummm, is it possible there’s someone else there that we could talk to?

Continue reading Episode 1211: Plague, Die, Plague, Die, Plague, Die, Plague

Episode 1210: The Night We Met

“How I mourn for my lost love Josette. I couldn’t help but remember how beautiful she was the night we met.”

Time is running out for the Collins family of 1841, if you believe in the letter that Brutus Collins wrote, and if you don’t, then take a look at the Nielsen ratings and get back to me. With only seven weeks left for me to write down everything I ever want to say about Dark Shadows, I’m going to take a day off from this parallel time, and circle back to The World of Dark Shadows, the unparalleled fanzine that reigned supreme for the first twenty-five years of DS fandom.

Continue reading Episode 1210: The Night We Met

Episode 1209: Birdland

“We’re innocent — yet, terribly guilty!”

You know, sometimes you find yourself in the woods, in the middle of the night, standing over a perfectly rectangular hole that you’ve dug, dressed up like an angry leprechaun and surrounded by plastic trees. You gaze down at the disaster you’ve uncovered — the busted body of your sister Stella, recently killed and inadequately inhumed — and you ask yourself, what the hell kind of soap opera am I living in, anyway?

Continue reading Episode 1209: Birdland

Episode 1207/1208: A Duel’s House

“Are you aware that you’re looking in the direction of the Old House?”

You know, I hate to be that guy, but if you can’t even do a duel properly, then I don’t know why you’re on television.

I mean, I remember the days when a Dark Shadows character could walk ten paces, turn and choose not to fire because they were being noble and heroic, and in return they would be shot in the face and die, like a man. And then they would come back as a revenant with an eyeball hanging out of their face and a different voice and they would say I WANT IN DEATH WHAT YOU WOULD NOT GIVE ME IN LIFE and people would be afraid of them and run away, and it would be crazy-looking and fun to watch. That’s what I expect out of a duel, some spectacle and excitement, and most importantly, an actual plot point that facilitates story progression.

But this? Bramwell stands there and lets Morgan shoot him in, I don’t know, the shoulder or something, and now he’s just saying sullen Bramwell stuff while he’s horizontal instead of vertical.

This is not romantic and noble. It’s not even story progression. This is just lying down and moping.

Continue reading Episode 1207/1208: A Duel’s House

Time Travel, part 15: Dark Shadows Without Dark Shadows

“He left the sanitarium with no memory of the circumstances which had caused him to lose his mind.”

And in another band of time, running parallel to our own, ABC-Television makes some different choices, and Dark Shadows stays on the air.

Here’s how it wouldn’t have gone.

Continue reading Time Travel, part 15: Dark Shadows Without Dark Shadows

Episode 1206: The Eyes of Children

“The fire which will burn Collinwood cannot destroy a figure of four!”

So what, you may ask, of the young set? It’s been a while since we’ve checked in with the middle schoolers, who used to be one of the driving forces of the show’s popularity.

They got on board with Dark Shadows in early ’68, as the show took a hard swerve toward Halloweentown, with a vampire, a witch and a Frankenstein monster all featured at the same time. The young set is here for the skeletons, the dream sequences, and the disturbed graves. A magic mirror that lets you peek into a basement full of mad science equipment. A werewolf, crashing through a plate glass window. A woman screaming, trapped inside a ring of fire. A devilish man, calling to the dark creatures of nature as he passes his hands over the body of an unconscious babysitter. These discerning viewers demand playground games, and if Dark Shadows doesn’t provide them, then there’s a risk that they’ll drift over to Scooby-Doo, and stay there.

And now, it seems like that’s a demographic that the show is no longer interested in serving. This 1841 PT storyline is just people talking all the time, and occasionally pulling knives on each other. Nobody’s casting any spells, or bringing anything to life. They just put people’s names into a vase, and then take them out again and throw them away. There’s nothing here to stir the soul of a ten year old, and give them ideas for interesting things they could do with a curtain tie.

Continue reading Episode 1206: The Eyes of Children

Episode 1205: The Bad Behavior of Bramwell, or Romance and Rape and Why Nobody Seems to Do Anything About It

“You are a demon — and the demons in me are in league with you!”

There is something about him that stirs you.

All it took was one look, and he knew. He can see that you’re lonely and unhappy, and he knows what you really want. He knows who you really are. He understands you better than you know yourself.

That moment you had together… it meant something. You can’t deny it, and wish it away. He felt it, too. And he remembers.

You try to fight it, but you can’t. You are drawn to him. It doesn’t matter what you say; you don’t have a choice. In the end, he will have you.

And then you have him arrested, I guess, or he gets shot in a duel. That’s usually how those stories end up.

Continue reading Episode 1205: The Bad Behavior of Bramwell, or Romance and Rape and Why Nobody Seems to Do Anything About It