“This man is dead! We know he’s dead, don’t we?”
So I suppose you could say that there’s good news, and bad news. The good news is that Dark Shadows hits its all-time ratings peak this week, thanks to the return of TV’s cool ghoul Jonathan Frid, who’s just coming back from a month-long vacation.
Barnabas has been off camera for four weeks now, chained up in a coffin with a stake through his heart. Yesterday, we finally saw him again — but he’s still staked, still chained, not getting much use out of that FitBit we got him for Christmas. And yet, here he is, the deceased Barnabas Collins, lying around in a doctor’s office and getting his pulse taken, like the show-off that he is.
We’re going to spend the next few days trying to figure out if this really is Barnabas, or some unlikely lookalike with the same name and address. Either way, there’s some kind of narrative sleight-of-hand going on, and everybody’s tuning in to see how they’re going to pull it off. The ratings have been going up steadily all year, thanks to Quentin and the 1897 storyline, and this week is the apex of Dark Shadows’ popularity. That’s the good news.
Continue reading Episode 868: A New Man
“When you see his neck, Julia, you will know at once whether or not I am right.”
Julia walks into a haunted house, and finds a vampire sitting in an armchair.
“Barnabas, you look exhausted,” she says, because this television show takes place in a world where people worry that the living dead don’t get enough sleep.
Continue reading Episode 557: A Race of Monsters
“I am prepared to convene a jury of the dead in this room!”
He meant well, is the thing that you have to remember. There’s an evil witch who’s living at Collinwood these days, and she’s making life complicated for everybody, so Professor Stokes thought, hey, we’ve got a witch, why not raise the spirit of a bad-tempered 18th-century witch hunter?
Stokes learned that Reverend Trask was buried alive behind a brick wall in the basement of the Old House, so he figured, let’s wake Trask up, point him in the direction of Angelique, and then just let nature take its course. Stokes is something of a lateral thinker.
So, yeah. It’s not one of the top ten plans. But at least it doesn’t involve terrorizing a young child, so for Dark Shadows, it’s actually not that bad. You have to grade these things on a curve.
Continue reading Episode 512: Everybody Rise
“How odd it is that I should feel this urge on this night.”
I hope everybody’s excited, because today’s the day that we’ve all been waiting for. It’s Experiment Day!
Yes, after weeks of build-up, we’ve finally reached this historic episode — the day that Barnabas regenerates.
Continue reading Episode 485: A Huge Naked Dead Guy
“Be quiet, you fool!”
I know it’s not politically correct to say it, but this is why you can’t trust vampires.
Hysterical governess Victoria Winters is out on the terrace, terribly concerned that her young charge, David, has wandered off into the night. Barnabas stops by, and she pours out all of her fears and anxieties. She begins to sob, and he comforts her, holding her close and making soothing sounds.
And then, apparently, he decides to just go ahead and rip a new hole in her neck. For the last several weeks, he’s been carefully positioning himself as a trusted friend and advisor, setting up the early stages of a long-term seduction plan. This moment is an uncharacteristic lapse, a gentleman jewel thief about to smash a piggy bank.
But what the hell, he must be thinking. You only live once, approximately.
Continue reading Episode 312: Search Party
“Dead people don’t just walk away.”
You know, I complain a lot about the lengthy recap conversations on Dark Shadows, but then I find myself trying to explain the current state of play to a reader who may have just stumbled onto the blog for the first time, and it’s hard to know where to begin.
Here’s where we left things on Friday — young David Collins is playing with his friend Sarah, who he doesn’t realize is a ghost. Sarah wants David to play with her, so she’s brought him to the family crypt where she’s buried, and she’s instructed him to open the panel that leads to the secret room, where her brother Barnabas was chained up in a coffin for 170 years.
And here’s the problem — if you, dear reader, have managed to cram all of those story points into your head simultaneously, then the next question is: Why has Sarah brought David to the secret room, and why is she telling him to open the coffin? And then I have to confess that I don’t really have any idea.
Continue reading Episode 306: Out of Order
“And then, all of a sudden, for no reason, I started to get afraid.”
Today, we begin with a recap of Maggie’s dream sequence from the last episode, which is how you know what a great dream it was. I don’t know if other shows would bother to do a recap of a dream sequence, but on Dark Shadows they sure do.
Continue reading Episode 225/226: Fangs for Nothing