“You seem to have a terrible effect on everyone but me.”
It always starts with a box.
In the red corner, breaking the chains that bind him and emerging once again from his family’s secret mausoleum to feast upon the juices of the living, we have returning champion Barnabas Collins.
And in the blue corner, with the purple satin drape over his glass cage, we have challenger Judah Zachery, a severed head who’d have a king-sized chip on his shoulder if he still had a shoulder.
This will be the final engagement that determines the ultimate fate of the Collins family — a mixed martial dark-arts battle royale between good and evil, or more accurately between somewhat evil and entirely evil.
It always starts with a box. Sometimes two boxes. It depends on how many boxes you have.
Continue reading Episode 1118: Getting Ahead
“That bust was there in the future because you placed it there now!”
“We should be grateful that nothing has happened for the last two days!” says Hallie.
“That’s what’s bugging me most,” David moans. “Why hasn’t anything happened?”
The answer, I suppose, is because Barnabas is out of town, telling Women’s Wear Daily what he thinks about his new movie. Also, the writers may be running out of ideas.
Continue reading Episode 1089: Standing on Graves
“A shadow, yes — a shadow that fell over all of our lives!”
Barnabas and Julia have been thrust into the far-off space year of 1995, which means they’ve already missed three seasons of Melrose Place and they’re not going to understand what anybody at the office is talking about. They’d better stay away from watercoolers altogether; you can’t be too careful.
But the time-tossed twosome have other things on their minds, like for example that their house got destroyed twenty-five years ago, killing most of their friends and driving the survivors out of their everloving minds. So Barnabas and Julia are snooping around, trying to find out what caused the catastrophe. I’d suggest taking a close look at Dr. Kimberley Shaw, who’s recently developed an interest in detonating apartment complexes, but they wouldn’t have any idea what I mean. You see what happens when you don’t watch Melrose Place? Let this be a lesson.
Continue reading Episode 1064: Here Comes the Hotstepper
“I’ve just been thinking about the things that have been happening around here — not just to me, but to everyone!”
The audience applauds, as Kermit the Frog takes the stage. “Tonight, we’ve got a real treat for you,” he promises, “because our very special guest stars are that world-famous knife-throwing act, Lesley and Warren!”
Then a woman walks onstage to correct him, and the penny drops.
“Wait a minute,” says the frog, “you’re not Lesley and Warren, you’re Lesley Ann Warren — the actor, the dancer, the singer!”
She smiles. “Yes, thank you.”
“So, how come you’re doing a dumb knife-throwing act?”
Lesley shakes her head. “You know, Kermit, I thought you were the one person on this show who wasn’t crazy.”
“Me, not crazy?” asks Kermit. “I hired the others!”
Continue reading Episode 1037: The Things That Have Been Happening
“Cyrus must have been terrified at his own duality.”
“That weapon won’t do you any good,” Barnabas snarls, “so you might as well just put it away.”
And, dude, if John Yaeger had any capacity for that, he wouldn’t be in this mess to begin with. Putting things away is not his area of expertise.
Continue reading Episode 1035: Elegy for the Truly Two
“How I wish I could confess to you what you’re implying.”
The scary thing — and this is a show about spooks and monsters, so presumably we’re interested in the subject — the really scary thing, if it’s June 1970 and you’re a thrill-seeking housewife and/or teenager, is that they’ll decide to stay in Parallel Time forever, and this is what the show is like now.
Continue reading Episode 1029: There Is a Spirit Here That Means to Harm Your Wife
“Do you think that what’s happened in this house has deranged my mind so much that I’ll accept your outrageous lies?”
You are asleep, said the voice in the portentous dream. But you hear me. Follow my voice. Follow… Follow… Follow… Follow… Follow…
To be honest, Maggie was already following just fine after “Follow” #3, but voices in portentous dreams usually have a script they need to stick to; a lot of this is automated.
Come in, Maggie, said the voice, as Maggie approached a door. Come into this room, and learn the secret. So Maggie came in.
The table holds the secret, the voice continued. Underneath, beside the ornament. Push the button. Maggie reached the table and found the button, which opened a small oblong compartment.
There before you lies the secret, said the voice in the portentous dream. If your secret is complete, you may wake up now. If you would like another secret, you may select from the following options. Please listen carefully, as our menu has recently changed.
Continue reading Episode 1024: The End of Love
“Nothing must disturb the sleep or sully the name of that other Barnabas Collins who died in this time.”
Trapped in a false dimension and freshly liberated from a chained coffin not specifically his own, the strange and brutal Barnabas Collins, fugitive vampire in a world he never made, is onboarding a new employee.
“Please let me go,” Will pleads, “and I won’t tell anyone anything about you.”
Barnabas gives the trainee a lopsided grin. “Go, if you want to go.”
Will concentrates. “I can’t get away!” he grimaces. “You know I can’t.” He stares helplessly into a future he doesn’t care for. “What are you going to do with me?”
It’s a close-up so we can’t know for sure, but the smart money says Barnabas is steepling his fingers. “Surely you’ve learned enough from our conversations recently to realize the position that you’re in.”
“I must do your bidding?” Will gulps.
“Precisely. Your agonizer!”
Will takes a step backwards. “No. Wait!”
Barnabas is firm. “Your agonizer, please!”
Continue reading Episode 1012: Trapped in a World (Not Mine Own)
“I implore you to remember the dead!”
Dark Shadows is currently engaged in a murder mystery storyline with no detectives, suspects, corpses or clues. Every few days, the characters forget that they’re doing a mystery story, and the only person who brings it up is the deceased.
Angelique was killed six months ago, during a seance in the Collinwood drawing room. At the time of death, her husband Quentin had his hands around her throat. A ghost said that she was cheating on him, which he already knew, and he decided to choke her to death, only to discover at the next-to-last moment that she’d already been killed by someone — or something! — else.
The doctor said it was a stroke. Angelique, who isn’t dead, insists it was an invisible hatpin, poked into her brain while her husband was innocently strangling her. It’s likely that the real murderer, if there is one, was one of the people at the seance, except I can’t remember which ones they were, or if any of them had a motive for killing Angelique, other than her husband, who has an airtight alibi. He couldn’t have killed her, you see, because he was standing right there at the time that she died, murdering her.
So I don’t know, maybe we ought to bring in another investigator, like Sherlock Hemlock or Inspector Gadget or somebody. We need a fresh pair of eyes, or at least a fresh pair of eyeglasses. But all we’ve got is another seance.
Continue reading Episode 1009: The Great Train Robbery
“There is a evil here!”
It started with radio, of course, this war of the words, with Painted Dreams and Just Plain Bill and The Romance of Helen Trent. All those listening women needed something to listen to, and radio soaps offered fifteen minutes of pure uncut conversation. But there comes a time when even soap opera characters need to admit that they don’t know what they’re talking about, and pipe the hell down.
Take the parallel Sabrina Stuart, spouting nonsense at one of those pop-up seances which they construct on the fly in high-traffic areas on the Collinwood estate. “She’s dying, she’s dying!” Sabrina cried, pointing at someone who wasn’t dying. “Murder! Murder! MURD-ERRRR!” It wasn’t clear whether she was pro or con. It probably doesn’t matter, one way or the other.
Continue reading Episode 991: Parsing Sabrina