“It can’t be! That woman is dead!”
The sun sets, the coffin opens, and guess what, there’s more bad news. It’s like every time Barnabas gets up, there’s some depressing new development. He’s got to be wondering why he ever bothered to rise from the dead in the first place.
This is probably the first truly original concept born from this unholy union of monster movie and daytime soap opera — the idea of a vampire waking up and saying, Man, this has been such a crappy week.
Continue reading Episode 435: Next Stop Kansas
“We were just having a little family argument.”
This hasn’t been an easy week so far, either for the Collins family or for the Dark Shadows audience. They’re wrapping up this phase of the Barnabas/Josette storyline, and after all of the build-up, it doesn’t really feel like anything.
This week, we’re seeing two of Dark Shadows‘ less successful attempts at creating a soap opera supercouple — a pairing that endures for years and offers unlimited story potential, as they overcome obstacles and always find their way back to each oher. On Monday, the show officially unveiled Vicki and Peter as the brand new star-crossed, century-hopping romance, and now we’re heading straight for a pivotal moment in the epic story of Barnabas and Josette.
Now, I don’t know how you feel about the situation, but personally I couldn’t care less about those couples. They could jump off a cliff for all I care, and lucky me, guess what happens next.
Continue reading Episode 423: Twisted
“Apparently, that madman is still around.”
Yesterday, Vicki spent the entire episode having feelings about Maggie’s death, and today she’s going to have them all over again. This is exactly how a traditional soap opera is supposed to run — something happens maybe once a week, and the rest of the time is processing everyone’s feelings.
If you don’t watch a lot of soaps, that probably sounds like the most boring possible TV show, but a well-written soap opera makes it work. You just need to build up the stakes, so that a character’s emotional response has an effect on other people.
On Downton Abbey, when Matthew is wounded in the war, they spend weeks exploring how Mary feels, and how Lavinia feels, and how Matthew feels about Lavinia’s feelings, and how Mary feels about Matthew’s feelings, and on and on, and we’re all sitting there with our eyes glued to the TV, because we can’t imagine living another day unless we find out what these make-believe people are going to say to each other.
Continue reading Episode 263: Don’t Say Anything
“I just don’t care. I know that I should… but I just don’t.”
Up to this point, Dark Shadows has been one of the slower-paced soap operas, which is quite an achievement given the pace of the other shows in its weight class. But they’ve started experimenting recently with new storytelling techniques, including “creating interesting characters” and “having things happen”, and so far it’s working out okay.
So this episode plays kind of a mean trick on audience members who missed yesterday’s installment. The entire episode is about characters reacting to the news of Maggie’s death.
Continue reading Episode 262: Feelin’ Gloomy
“I had a dream. I can’t remember what it was.”
So basically Vicki is freaking the hell out, and who can blame her? Maggie’s bedroom is under siege, with a pack of vicious, snarling dogs battering at the French windows, howling for blood. Vicki and Burke are pounding on the door, desperate to save their friend.
Burke tries to break the door down with his shoulder. One! Two! Three! And they bust through the door — and find Maggie, drained, blood flowing from the bite marks on her throat. Outside, in the darkness, a triumphant dog howls with savage pleasure.
I mean, a lot of this is sound effects. But still, it’s pretty cool, yeah?
Continue reading Episode 235: The Waiting Room