“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
“It’s different here. I don’t have to imagine things.”
Elizabeth Collins Stoddard is perturbed, and for good reason. Her houseguests vanished into a dimensional fissure they discovered in a closed-off wing of the house, and when they returned, months later, limping and gasping and covered in space dust, they issued dire portents of calamities to come.
The house of Collins will fall, they say, collapsing into each other’s arms and weeping deliriously, and when you ask them for details, they fall to pieces. We don’t know, they say, keening. Nobody would tell us anything. The future is super cliquey.
Continue reading Episode 1073: Steer the Stars
“Are you still a zombie, Quentin?”
Against all odds, it’s still the summer of 1969, and Dark Shadows has never been more popular. Eccentric millionaire Barnabas Collins has transported himself back in time to 1897, where he discovers that today’s teen dream Quentin C. is a restless, shambling zombie.
Young Jamison is possessed by the spirit of Quentin, or possibly the other way around; it’s difficult to tell. To save the family, Reverend Trask tries to perform an exorcism, and then a gypsy tells Quentin’s fortune. Meanwhile, Mad Jenny finds a set of keys, while somewhere a werewolf must hurry, for darkness means death. And that about brings us up to date.
Continue reading Episode 822: A Giant Evil Force
“Anyone who believes in voodoo must believe in me!”
Let’s talk for a moment about the tremendous advantages of having a gypsy on your television show.
Number one, obviously, ethnic, which means there’s all kinds of comic value just sitting there for the taking.
Number two, ethnic, which means you can always kickstart a plot point by showing her something that she wants to steal.
And number three, ethnic, which means that if you can’t think of an exciting way to end an episode, then she can just run into the room, point at a cast member, and scream The MARK! The mark of DEATH! Soon! SOON! You will DIE! and then you superimpose a Chromakey skull over the guy’s face.
And yet I can’t think of a single other show that has a gypsy. I swear, it’s like people don’t even want to make good television.
Continue reading Episode 719: Haunt You
“Life was more exciting, when I was around.”
So, the lesson, I suppose, is that you shouldn’t lock up your relatives, build paneling over the door, and pretend that they went to France.
I mean, I understand the impulse. Quentin is selfish and mean, and practices dark sorcery. You’ve tried to kick him out of the house, but he just laughs, and keeps on drinking other people’s brandy. And then there’s a sale at Home Depot, and you think, This could be so easy…
The downside, of course, is that then your descendants come along and unseal the tomb, because they’re young and curious, and you forgot to write “Dangerous ancestor, do not open” on the entrance portal. Although they probably wouldn’t have paid attention anyway; descendants are dumb like that.
Continue reading Episode 701: The Most Important Thing About Quentin
“Chicken Little was right!”
David’s spending the day in his room again, I can’t remember why. Liz sent him to his room because he was mean to Amy, and then I think Maggie sent him to his room because he wouldn’t admit that he went to the west wing. It’s possible that we’re now in an endless “resisting arrest” cycle, where he’s being sent to his room because of his conduct the last time he was sent to his room.
Still, while we’re here, we ought to take a second to look around. It’s not like we’ve got anything else going on.
Continue reading Episode 680: The Room
“A patient’s fears are always real, because they’re rooted in the only ultimate subjectivity.”
Today’s episode opens with David in his bedroom, looking into his crystal ball and calling for Sarah. And since nothing interesting is going to happen for at least the next four minutes, I might as well tell you about the strike.
Continue reading Episode 335: The Shadow He Casts
“I think I see something… A shape! And I know what it means!”
Willie’s up on a ladder, cleaning the chandelier in the Old House drawing room, when he suddenly sees someone standing at the window. He rushes to the window, shouting, “Hey! Hey, you!”
Then he bolts outside, calling, “Where are ya?”
Roused by the clamor, Barnabas follows him outside.
Barnabas: Willie, who are you shouting at?
Willie: Her! Sarah! She was standing right here, at the window.
Barnabas: Well, she’s not here now.
Willie: I know! When I shouted at her, she disappeared!
Willie: Yeah, she disappeared — right into thin air!
That gets a little “surprise” dramatic sting, which leads into the opening titles. Except how much of a surprise could it be, when everyone in the scene already knows that Sarah is a ghost? Of course she disappeared. Did you think you’d find her crouching behind a tree? That’s not how ghosts work.
Continue reading Episode 310: Ghostbusted