Tag Archives: bat by bil baird

Episode 948: War Games

“It wasn’t an ordinary dream, it took place at the antique shop.”

You can always tell when a new actor feels comfortable on Dark Shadows, because all of a sudden there’s a lot more noise coming from that direction. Chris Pennock has been on the show for a few weeks now, and he’s getting one of those full-court-press episode streaks that they sometimes do for new villains when they’re just getting started. Overgrown teen tyrant Jeb Hawkes appears in 18 out of 20 episodes in his first four weeks, and in the ones where he doesn’t appear, they spend the whole time talking about him anyway.

And it’s here, in his thirteenth episode, that they’ve managed to convince him to stop worrying about his sense memory and animal work. You’re a villain on Dark Shadows. Just start shouting.

Continue reading Episode 948: War Games

Time Travel, part 9: Frequent Flyers

“I feel as if something is trying to get inside of me!”

And another thing…

It’s my own fault, I recognize that. I was the one who wanted to write about Dark Shadows in the first place, and I was the one who decided that on pre-emption days, I would watch an episode of the 1991 revival. I did not open the mysterious box; I did not read the forbidden book; I did not receive instructions in my dreams. This is on me.

But here I am, in November 1969, when the show was pre-empted twice in the same week — for the Apollo 12 splashdown on Monday, and then for Thanksgiving on Thursday. So now I have to write about two 1991 episodes, which is straining endurance.

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Episode 405: Ever After

“You will never rest, Barnabas… and you will never be able to love anyone… for whoever loves you will die!”

Angelique’s eyes flash, and she says, “You have made a great mistake, Barnabas!” and then the world turns upside down.

Because today is Curse Day! We’ve been on this uncertain and frightening journey into the past for two months, and it’s all been leading up to this. Which is weird, because Dark Shadows is a soap opera, and soap operas aren’t supposed to have “leading up to” moments.

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Episode 403: But I Loved You, and Other Excuses

“I will hate you until I end your life, and I will end it.”

Man, did you ever have one of those days where nothing goes right? Meet Barnabas Collins. He’s experiencing an epic, unbroken string of days like that, which is a real shame, because he doesn’t have a whole lot of days left. As the saying goes: Life sucks, and then you die. And then things start to go seriously downhill from there.

Continue reading Episode 403: But I Loved You, and Other Excuses

Episode 331: Bat’s Entertainment

“Cousin Barnabas hates me. He sent the bat because he wants me to die.”

So here’s a quick rundown of Barnabas Collins’ known vampire abilities. To start with, we know that he’s very strong, because he smashed through the window of Dr. Woodard’s office and trashed the place, and he can appear in upper story bedrooms without using the stairs. There’s the ever-present threatening dognoise, and he’s also got extra-strength dognoise, which he uses when he really wants to make an impression.  He can make people hear a pounding heartbeat, he can make his portrait’s eyes flash, and he may also have some scattered weather-related effects.

And then Friday’s episode added a couple more tricks to his resume. Barnabas needs to discredit young David, who’s telling everyone that his cousin has a coffin in his basement. So now there’s a huge bat flying into David’s room, and acting like it owns the place.

Now, to be precise about this, it’s not clear whether Barnabas turned himself into a bat, or if he has access to some freelance bats who are available to terrorize children on a contract basis.

Continue reading Episode 331: Bat’s Entertainment

Episode 330: Twenty-two Minutes

“They aren’t ideas, and I’m not imagining things.”

Well, it’s Friday, so we might as well talk about cliffhangers.

Over the next couple of months, the Dark Shadows writers are finally going to get the hang of how the show is supposed to work, and a crucial part of that is learning how to create episode endings that get people to come back for the next episode. That’s especially important on Fridays, when the cliffhanger needs to last us all the way to Monday.

High-quality cliffhanger construction is a very specific skill, and as the writers develop it, a cynical observer might start to wonder if the structure of the entire narrative is being twisted in order to service the audience’s bottomless hunger for bigger and bolder thrills.

In other words: Does this entire twenty-two minute slice of television exist only to set up a surprise twist in the last sixty seconds?

There are two answers to that question, which are as follows: a) Yes, it does, and b) Which is awesome.

Continue reading Episode 330: Twenty-two Minutes