Tag Archives: doctor who

Episode 821: The Big Switch

“We borrowed a good citizen’s hand. His spirit is understandably restless and disturbed.”

I know, I’ve been hammering on this forever, but including a major subplot about gypsies in a television show based in Maine is a source of constant amusement to me, and I refuse to grow up and get over it.

Several months ago, free spirit Magda Rakosi liberated a rare and valuable magical talisman from her tribe, and the gypsies have had enough. I don’t think she’s been doing her weekly three hours of mandatory tambourine-shaking, either. The gypsy community is a lot more law-and-order than people think.

Now, Johnny Romana — King of the Gypsies! — has swung by in person, to take the suspect into custody. Magda asks what’s going to happen, and King Johnny announces, “We’re going to go — back to Boston!” Magda looks terrified, but I bet she’s also wondering if they could swing by Filene’s Basement on the way to the tribunal.

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Episode 785: We Interrupt This Program

“This hand, it is not my servant. I tell it what to do, yes, but it has powers that I do not possess.”

If you think about it, it’s almost like this is a real soap opera. For months, the odious Reverend Gregory Trask has been slowly building a relationship with Judith Collins, the current mistress of Collinwood. He admires her virtue, her generosity of spirit, her strength of character, and (most of all) her enormous family fortune. If you admire somebody at close range like that for long enough, it’s going to make an impression.

Then a couple weeks ago, he arranged for his wife Minerva to be killed, and after a barely suitable mourning period, he laid his heart, such as it is, at Judith’s feet.

Now, looking at the structure of the other current storylines, it’s obvious that they’re just being made up from day to day — all this King Johnny Romano nonsense, and everybody suddenly knowing about the legendary hand of Count Petofi. Last week, Magda said that Julianka was dead, but she’s going to show up two weeks from now, alive and temporarily healthy. Barnabas’ fake “engagement” to Angelique, Edward becoming a vampire hunter, Jamison’s dream that had clues about Quentin’s death — remember that one?

All of those supernatural stories are just drifting onscreen and then off again, bumping into each other with no rational plan. But underneath, the writers have been carefully crafting this Trask/Judith seduction story, one story beat after another. There’s been an actual soap opera storyline just sitting there all this time, hiding in plain sight.

Continue reading Episode 785: We Interrupt This Program

Episode 765: Rabbit Season

“I already know how and where. What I want to know most of all is when.”

That — creature! I’ve never seen anything like it. It’s a vicious animal — but it wears clothes, like a man! It also runs like a man, wears shoes like a man, and uses doorknobs like a man. Somebody get me a man, so I can double-check. Get one for yourself too, if you want one. I mean, as long as you’re out.

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Episode 764: Straight Outta Collinsport

“The sensible option isn’t always the most interesting.”

When you get right down to it, what is a Dark Shadows story, anyway?

A couple months ago, I passed the blog’s halfway point, which means there’s now more Dark Shadows behind me than there is ahead. I mean, we’ve stll got plenty of time — it’s only 1969, and what does time really mean anyway — but it makes me start to wonder about what happens when there’s no more Dark Shadows.

One thing that I know for sure is that trying to retell the story over again is a bad idea. They’ve tried three times — the failed 1991 show, the failed 2004 pilot, and the failed 2012 movie — and there’s just no point to it. This is a story that can only be told once, and it’s not like it even made that much sense the first time.

But there’s another path for post-Dark-Shadows Dark Shadows which is marginally more sensible, and that’s the road taken by the Big Finish audio dramas, the Lara Parker novels and the Dynamite comics.

Instead of trying to squeeze the original story into a new shape, they say: Okay, it’s April 3rd, 1971. Now what?

Continue reading Episode 764: Straight Outta Collinsport

Episode 758: Give Me the Strength to Crush My Enemy

“It’s the ceremony I don’t like. It comes too close to the angry ancient gods for comfort.”

Amun-Ra, Prince of Light and Radiance! Creator of things that came into being when the earth took form in the beginning! Master of the bounds of eternity! Shining one! Dweller in light! Accept this sacrifice to thee!

That’s not me saying that, by the way. That’s Quentin, from TV’s Dark Shadows. He seems to think it’s an acceptable way to begin a television show, so I thought I’d give it a shot.

Continue reading Episode 758: Give Me the Strength to Crush My Enemy

Episode 730: How I Met Your Mother

“I’m their mother; they’re as much a part of me and everything I feel as they are of you.”

Nora is absolutely thrilled to see her mother, which makes one of us.

“I knew I would find you here!” she says, hugging Laura.

“You had a dream,” Laura nods, and when Nora asks how she knew, her mother chirps, “I had the very same dream!”

Nora says,”That’s so strange!” And Laura just smiles, and says, “I know,” and that’s the end of that particular topic of conversation.

As you know, there are no secrets between us, so I’m just going to put this right out on Front Street: in my life, Laura Murdoch Stockbridge Radcliffe Collins means precisely nothing. I don’t like her, I don’t care about her, and as far as I’m concerned, she’s the Cybermen.

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Episode 507: The Spirit of St. George

“According to my calculations, only one more person must have the dream.”

I knew this was going to be hard. When I started this uncertain and frightening journey through Dark Shadows, I knew that the Dream Curse storyline was waiting for me, and it was going to test my endurance more than anything else on the show. But here I am, six weeks into the story, and I just looked at my episode guide, and I’m only halfway through. We’re currently at the beginning of June 1968, and the Dream Curse ends in mid-July.

I know I keep saying “Here’s the problem with the Dream Curse,” but here’s the problem with the Dream Curse: characters just saunter in and out of the storyline, and it doesn’t seem to matter. The allegedly terrifying chain-letter dream sequence moves from one character to another, and once they’ve passed the baton on to the next person, they drop out of the storyline.

Remember when it was a big deal that Mrs. Johnson needed to go to Boston, so she wouldn’t pass the dream on to Jeff? Or was that David? Or Julia. I’m pretty sure it was either Julia or River Song. No, wait, that’s Doctor Who. I’ve got this written down somewhere.

Continue reading Episode 507: The Spirit of St. George

Episode 462: No Place Like Home

“I think I expected a haircut to make me feel all new. It doesn’t.”

Victoria Winters is back from her trip to the 18th century — and like all young people coming back from break, she has a bullet wound in her shoulder, a barely coherent memory of what happened, and a new boyfriend who she doesn’t know how to contact.

Now, Julia Hoffman — who has just revealed that she’s a doctor — is providing some unorthodox therapy, spinning a medallion in Vicki’s face and interrogating her under hypnosis. Let the healing begin.

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Episode 417: Too Soon

“What if last night happens all over again?”

Today’s episode begins with a reprise of yesterday’s strange anti-cliffhanger, where the psychotic monster who’s been terrorizing the people of Collinsport for the last nine months talks his best friend into driving a stake through his heart.

“No matter what you are, no matter what you done,” Ben tells the vampire, “you’ve been my friend.”

“Think of it this way, Ben,” Barnabas says. “You’ll be performing an act of friendship. My destruction will be the only way to save me, my only salvation.”

Barnabas also tells Ben to make sure he helps Vicki escape from jail. After that, Ben should take some money and start a new life, somewhere far away from here.

Ben says he’ll never forget Barnabas, and Barnabas adds, “If you do remember me — remember what was good about me, as I hope others will.”

And oh my god, can you stop micromanaging this whole experience? I’ve never seen someone backseat driving their own suicide like this.

Continue reading Episode 417: Too Soon

Episode 348: Mission Accomplished

“I just wanted to make sure that you weren’t dead.”

Dawn has not yet come to Collinwood. You can tell, because they’ve got the establishing shot up, and it’s dark blue. They’re playing the sub-theme music cue, and somewhere in the studio, fading film star Joan Bennett is standing in front of a microphone.

“Dawn has not yet come to Collinwood,” Joan says, in a world-weary tone which indicates that she’s one sentence into a three-sentence introduction, and it’s not going to get a lot better from here. “The earth hovers between night and day, as though terrified to bring into being the days and nights that lie ahead.”

And it’s amazing, watching it now, to think that there was a time when it was okay to open a television show like this. They don’t take practice swings like this anymore. When your show starts, you start the show.

“But time is indifferent to terror,” says Joan, and you have to admit she has a point. “And the earth obeys the primal command creating nights and days, creating the moment when fear no longer stalks… but stops to strike.”

In other words: it’s October 1967, and you don’t have a remote control. If the earth obeying primal commands isn’t a stop-the-presses level event for you, then you’re going to have to get up, walk across the room and do something about it.

Continue reading Episode 348: Mission Accomplished