“You broke into my room to tell me about a dream?”
Here’s the kind of thing that Dark Shadows had to deal with: They moved the taping schedule around to accommodate Jonathan Frid’s insane ten-city publicity tour a couple weeks ago, and as it shook out, there were three episodes this week that taped the day before they aired.
It’s actually hard to get your mind around how close to the edge that is. If anything went wrong with the taping, then there’s nothing to show tomorrow; it’s dead air. And this is Dark Shadows; of course something’s going to go wrong. Things go wrong, like, all the time.
So if this was a show produced by sane people, they’d probably want to throw together a couple episodes where everybody sits around in the living room and talks over the events of the day. That’s what every other daily soap opera ever made does all the time anyway. But, no — it’s Dark Shadows, which means we need three cops and a Frankenstein monster and a seance and a dream sequence and a skeleton and a brick wall falling apart and a root cellar.
Continue reading Episode 506: After the Fall
“Strange… It never occurred to me that being human would make me become the man I was.”
Man, talk about a senior moment. For the last three months, Julia’s been working on a revolutionary new medical treatment to cure Barnabas, and make him human again. It turns out he should have asked her to be more specific.
Continue reading Episode 349: Secret Aging Man
“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
“Every time something happens around here, there’s always a dog hanging around!”
Previously, on Dark Shadows: Huge awesome surprise cliffhanger, with the kidnapped and mostly-hypnotized Maggie sneaking out of the Old House, and showing up right outside her father’s window.
Today, the still-surprising but mostly-confusing resolution: All of a sudden, Maggie is wandering around in the Eagle Hill cemetery. Which means they’re really just making this up as they go along, just like Lost and The Hunger Games.
Continue reading Episode 248: Damsel in This Dress
“Vicki thinks it might be her imagination. But somehow, she connects the two… and they add up to Willie.”
Maggie’s disappeared from the hospital! Last week, the nurse thought that Maggie had died, and ran to get the doctor. When they came back into the room a moment later, the window was open and Maggie was gone.
So there are a lot of mysteries going on, and we’ll get some answers by the end of the day. But at the moment, the most pressing questions are: Why is there a camera in the hallway, and why does everybody keep touching Sam?
Continue reading Episode 236: Extreme Makeover