“You don’t understand the enormities of your problems!”
It’s not really about the future, of course. If it was, they wouldn’t be doing Turn of the Screw II: The Returning.
Dark Shadows has a future, of sorts, in reboots and reruns and spinoffs, but right now, they’re running out of energy and ideas. They spent the spring making House of Dark Shadows, a feature film that explicitly rejects the idea that Dark Shadows is a continuing story, and kills off every character that you could possibly be interested in, just to make sure that there won’t be a sequel. (They make a sequel anyway.) Now they’re back to making a daily TV show, and they’re finding it increasingly difficult to imagine a future that runs as far as the next six months.
But for two weeks, at least, they’ve managed to put together a tight, emotionally engaging mini-storyline set in 1995, which focuses on exactly the right characters and manages to turn the familiar sets into an alienating nightmare landscape. Today’s episode is essentially the season finale, with Barnabas directly challenging the Big Bad, and daytime soaps don’t even do season finales. My argument, based on this episode, is that they should.
Continue reading Episode 1070: Gangsta’s Paradise
“If we’re never to find that out, we may never know.”
“Julia!” he exclaims. “Somewhere, in a room upstairs, someone, or some thing, is playing that music. Now, it can’t be very dangerous, because music is seldom used to frighten.”
Continue reading Episode 1063: Wonderwall
“The mark has something to do with the way we feel!”
Well, the first thing that you need to know about the way we feel is that we can’t help it. We absolutely can not help it. I have tried, and failed, to help it. It is unhelpable. That is the most important thing about the way we feel.
Continue reading Episode 956: The Way We Feel
“Surely, you must have realized that neither of us has any chance for a normal life.”
There’s a spooky spellcasting music cue on the turntable, and newly-minted vampire Barnabas Collins stands on the terrace outside the great estate of Collinwood, speaking to people without moving his lips.
“I’m waiting for you, Maggie!” he vents. “You must respond! You must come to me! Now!”
And then she does; she just walks right out onto the terrace and starts responding. This is why Barnabas doesn’t need a phone.
Now, I was under the impression that Barnabas could only pull stunts like this because he’s psychically connected to his blood-slaves. But Maggie isn’t under Barnabas’ sway these days, so I don’t know how he gets this direct line to her nighttime terrace decisions. Maybe everybody’s had Bluetooth this whole time, and they just didn’t mention it.
Continue reading Episode 955: Once Again
“You drift away, love, you’ll drift back sadly changed.”
And then sometimes everything comes together, and they make all the right choices, and I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it lately but Dark Shadows is my favorite television show.
Continue reading Episode 882: The Don’t Sleepover
“It’s all right. You’re here with us, in the past.”
Good news, everyone! Eccentric millionaire Barnabas Collins has pulled off another daring rescue mission, reaching all the way back into the late 19th century, to prevent angry ancestor Quentin from turning into a broken telephone. This heroic customer service call lasted six months, with time out to pick fights with grandmothers and fire demons and lawyers and crazy ex-girlfriends. Naturally, it all came down to a miraculous last-second save, which Barnabas had nothing to do with and doesn’t even know about yet.
Quentin has passed through the ill-fated tenth of September and come out the other side, releasing the Collins family of 1969 from his terrible vengeance. Today is the first day of the rest of his life, which means we can all go home and celebrate by moving back into Collinwood, and finding a new monster to tangle with.
Except we’re not going to, because the 1897 storyline is so much fun that we’re going to stick around for weeks. So now we have to face the question that always haunts long-running serialized narrative, namely: What happens to a story, when the story is over?
Continue reading Episode 839: The Gods Laugh Sometimes
“Now, I want you to try to keep making some sense out of this.”
Okay, so here’s a weird story:
A race against time at Collinwood, for night has come, and with it, a new threat — the rising of a new vampire. One man has risked his life, and his reputation, to end the vampire’s career before it can start.
Usually, I don’t pay much attention to the opening voiceover, but today’s is practically surreal. He risked his reputation? What does that mean? And since when do vampires have careers?
Continue reading Episode 565: Weird Science
“He will not be a monster then — unless, of course, you consider me one. I’m sure you do.”
Julia Hoffman has seen too much.
Yesterday, Julia went into Dr. Lang’s secret murder lab without permission, and found the monster that he’s been assembling out of corpses and bits of string. She knows that the monster still needs a head, which means one more person has to die to finish the project. This is dangerous knowledge. Julia must be stopped.
Now she’s locked herself in Lang’s parlor, and she’s calling the police. She’s also screaming and sobbing quite a bit. Barnabas and Lang are banging on the door, desperate to stop her. Lang has pulled his gun — he’ll kill to protect his experiment, if he has to.
In a last desperate bid to halt this disastrous chain of consequences, Barnabas shouts through the locked door to his hysterical friend.
“Julia, remember!” he cries. “Remember someone!”
Continue reading Episode 481: Remember Someone
“I was just noticing your harpoon collection.”
“I’m sorry, Sheriff,” Julia says, in a spot of unhurried telephone acting, “but Mrs. Stoddard is resting. I’ll be glad to give her a message.” Then her face darkens. “I see. Yes, I’ll tell her — and, please, call the minute you hear something else.”
Then Barnabas just walks into the room. Nobody let him in, which means that Julia must have given him a key, and therefore they’re dating and they’re totally in love with each other.
Continue reading Episode 472: Lethal Weapon
“Live! What a mockery I make of that word.”
Okay, let’s get this over with. As we begin today’s episode, Barnabas’ little sister Sarah is currently alive. Stay tuned for more updates on this developing situation.
Continue reading Episode 415: Closing the Loop