Tag Archives: accidental depth

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Episode 882: The Don’t Sleepover

“You drift away, love, you’ll drift back sadly changed.”

And then sometimes everything comes together, and they make all the right choices, and I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it lately but Dark Shadows is my favorite television show.

Continue reading Episode 882: The Don’t Sleepover

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Episode 820: The Hand Shakedown

“This is a little more grisly than your usual request.”

There was a storm kicking up that night, one of those dry storms you get this time of year that are heavy on sound effects and light on moisture. The boss had a plan, or at least he said he did.

The gypsies were in town, he said. Black-robed, silent, faceless gypsies with curved scimitars and impenetrable cloaks, who could melt into the shadows and then appear over your shoulder, ready to chop something off and keep it as a souvenir. Some kind of unstoppable Persian ninja gypsy with a prop-closet sword, who needs an extra hand in a big hurry.

The boss said he saw them in somebody else’s dream, which figured. It’s just the kind of thing an android vengeance gypsy would do, show up in some hallucination next door just to let you know they’re en route. Everything’s got to be a legend with gypsies; they’re theater people with a bad case of mythology. But the boss had a plan.

Come on, he said. Let’s go out back and see what we can dig up.

Continue reading Episode 820: The Hand Shakedown

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Episode 811: Deadbeat Dad

“There can be no happiness for anyone at Collinwood!”

I think Quentin Collins must be running for president, that’s the only way to explain it. When we met him five months ago, he was a heartless scoundrel working his way through a list of every pretty woman in Collinsport, including the married ones, and especially including the married ones who were married to his brother. He’s also currently threatening a young woman’s life, saying that he will murder her if she tells anyone that he’s a monster who murders young women, and by “currently” I mean literally two scenes ago.

And yet here he is, worried sick about the health of his infant daughter, who he didn’t even know existed until he murdered her mother, and who he’s expressed precisely zero interest in ever seeing. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you: Father of the Year.

Continue reading Episode 811: Deadbeat Dad

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Episode 733: Pretty People are the Devil’s Playthings

“It would break his heart, just as it would break your neck!”

Rachel Drummond, girl governess and Nancy Drew cosplay enthusiast, has had just about enough of this nonsense. She’d just managed to put her difficult past behind her and move on with her life, when who should walk in but her difficult past, and his wife.

Rachel is an orphan, as all governesses are, and she was raised at Worthington Hall, an oppressive work camp run by the odious Reverend Trask. After years of confinement, she managed to sneak past the barbed wire and light out for the territory, and now, by some grotesque mischance, the gendarmes have found her at Collinwood, and they want to drag her back to the Hall.

But Rachel has no patience for this. She has no intention of going anywhere with these people, and she’s ready for a fight. So it turns out that Rachel has a personality after all; it must have been stuck in baggage claim when she first arrived.

Continue reading Episode 733: Pretty People are the Devil’s Playthings

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Episode 713: The Staff Meeting

“Perhaps I have an innate fondness for gypsies who’ve fallen by hard times.”

Frankly, it’s dawn; it was dawn four scenes ago. But Barnabas saunters downstairs to the basement, where Magda is tapping her foot and shooting meaningful glances at her wristwatch. Then he takes the time to give her a full briefing before he gets into his coffin, because apparently today is casual day in the crypt.

Continue reading Episode 713: The Staff Meeting

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Episode 702: The Vampire Strikes Back

“Don’t touch me! Your grandmother knows how easily I bruise.”

It always starts with a box.

The malicious spirit of Quentin Collins has taken over present-day Collinwood, and he’s in the process of slowly murdering young David. Desperate to save the boy and unable to think of anything else, Barnabas turns to the I Ching, an ancient Chinese secret that has transported his soul back to the late 19th century. There, his astral body meets up with his physical body, which is trapped in a chained-up coffin.

And like any travel experience, it takes forever, there’s hardly any leg room, there’s nothing to eat, and he doesn’t even know where he’s landed. This is why you should never try to check yourself in as luggage.

Continue reading Episode 702: The Vampire Strikes Back

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Episode 655: Accidentally Yours

“If she realizes that her feelings were right about Amy, what about her feelings about herself?”

Weekly To-Do list, from the Desk of Barnabas Collins (deceased):

Tell Elizabeth that she’s not going to die. Take her upstairs, and put her to bed. Take a phone message for Julia. Consult with Julia about Liz’s condition. Blame Cassandra for everything.

Lose track of where Elizabeth is. Lose track of where Amy is. Find Elizabeth and Amy at the mausoleum. Bring them home.

Put Elizabeth back to bed. Tell her that she’s not going to die. Offer a sedative. Tell her that it’s all in her mind. Discuss hiring plans for a new governess. Scold Amy for going outside without permission.

Brief Maggie and Joe on the recent disturbances. Bring Maggie upstairs for her job interview. Go through the onboarding checklist with her. Make sure she has a keycard.

Drive to Maggie’s house to see if Joe’s okay. Scoop up the remains, and drive it back to Collinwood. Deposit blood-stained trauma victim on the drawing room couch.

Insist that Joe stay the night. Prepare a bedroom for him. If you get a chance: ask him what it’s like to have a real storyline.

Continue reading Episode 655: Accidentally Yours

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Episode 336: Talk Show

“Some people see pink elephants. He saw Sarah Collins.”

Young David has been running around for the last couple of weeks telling everyone some inconvenient truths, like for example that his cousin Barnabas is dead and sleeps in a coffin in his basement. This has not been the rocket sled to popularity that you might expect. Eyebrows have been raised.

But David has an adult ally, at last — Dr. Dave Woodard, who’s finally realized that something weird is going on. Unfortunately, the actor who plays Woodard just left the show unexpectedly, and the part has been recast in a hurry. Let’s see how it goes.

Continue reading Episode 336: Talk Show

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Episode 315: Between Sentiment and Survival

“The only possible explanation for David’s disappearance is that he vanished.”

It’s now going on five days since David got locked in a box, and doesn’t it feel like forever? This is something that people miss if they don’t watch one episode every day, the way that the original audience did. And by “people”, obviously, I mean everybody in the world except me.

After all, you’re free to skip around and watch any episode you want. And here I am, committed to this one-episode-a-day format, trapped with David in a secret room of my own making.

Continue reading Episode 315: Between Sentiment and Survival

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Episode 305: Paranormal Activity

“Is it necessary to continue to threaten me? I know the status of our relationship.”

Today’s episode opens with a shot of David walking through the woods, with a sunny meadow behind him. This is the show’s first use of chromakey, a new special effects technique that they’ll come to rely on for all sorts of supernatural malarkey. This shot only lasts about ten seconds, but it’s an incredibly important moment in the development of the show. Also, it looks awful.

Chromakey is very familiar to modern viewers; it’s also called “bluescreen” or “greenscreen”. You film the actors in front of a colored screen, and then you replace that color with the input from a different camera. It’s used for TV weather maps, and for the news correspondents on The Daily Show reporting “live” from unlikely locations.

If the lighting is set up properly, and if the actor isn’t accidentally wearing something blue, then you can create the not-very-compelling illusion that the actor is standing in front of something. And if the lighting isn’t set up properly, then it looks like this.

Continue reading Episode 305: Paranormal Activity