“Counselor, I do not need you to tell me the laws of this state that I am honor-bound to withhold!”
A death, a dream, a Trask yelling witchcraft — yep, just another episode of Dark Shadows.
Today, Trask finds Quentin kneeling over a dead body, just like he did in episode 1156, a little over a week ago. Then Gerard casts a spell that sends Daphne a sexy dream, just like episodes 1146, 1151 and 1158. And Desmond says that the evidence against Quentin is circumstantial, just like he did yesterday and the day before, and for all I know he’s going to say it again tomorrow, and every day for the rest of our lives.
Man, I wish something would happen today that we haven’t seen recently, and I’m sure I will never regret making that wish.
Continue reading Episode 1162: The Tribulations
“I don’t believe that she’s not worried about Philip, either.”
Things look bleak for the global Leviathan conspiracy. The ancient book of prophecy has been stolen. The child is sick. The boss is spending all his time punishing the Chosen Ones. It’s only been two weeks, and the organization is falling to pieces.
We need a firm hand at the wheel, a steady leader in an unsteady world. We need a thirteen year old.
Continue reading Episode 896: Help Wanted
“The time is over when no one would listen to you. The time is over when you were alone.”
“Angelique!” he gasps.
The wicked witch smiles. “Hello, Quentin.”
“How did you escape from Petofi?”
She looks away. “I just did,” she shrugs.
Okay. Well, screw you too, I guess.
Continue reading Episode 871: Give Me Back My Talent
“I was just having one of my moments of inexplicable hysteria.”
Here’s what the world sounds like before Roger shows up:
“I don’t understand you, Jeff, really I don’t!” says girl governess Victoria Winters, starting off the episode inexplicably petulant.
Jeff flashes a casual grin. “Well, I don’t know what could be plainer. I think we should get married next month, at the latest.”
“You know what I mean,” she frowns, and he doesn’t, and neither do I.
How exactly could you get yourself into this particular conversational logjam? Jeff comes bounding in, all smiles, and she’s just staring daggers at him. Jeff says, Hello, Vicki! So happy to see you. He gives her a kiss. She glowers at him. He says, Guess what I’ve been thinking about. She sighs and frowns. He persists: I think we should get married next month, what do you say?
And that, apparently, is where we came in. I can’t really picture it. It’s possible that I’m over-thinking this.
Continue reading Episode 617: Roger to the Rescue
“Now I understand why I have the urge to kill Adam.”
So here’s the latest: Eve, the Bride of Frankenstein monster who used to be a French psychopath named Danielle Roget, is in love with Jeff Clark, the amnesiac who used to be an 18th-century lawyer named Peter Bradford, and she killed her lover to be with him, only to have him reject her and fall in love with a time traveling governess who’s on trial for witchcraft.
Now, I adore the absurdity of this plot point, but it’s only been around for three episodes so far, and already I’m checking the episode guide to see how often I’m going to have to explain it. The answer, fortunately, is not very often, so I’m not sure why I’m even bringing it up.
Because it’s not exactly one of the great romances of our time, is it? It’s soap opera mate-matching at its most cynical — just taking two random characters and saying, “This one is desperately in love with that one,” even though they have nothing in common and it doesn’t seem like it’s in character.
Continue reading Episode 611: The Love Object
“Did you see his face?”
It’s a Ron Sproat episode today, which means that nothing really happens, and the dialogue is functional rather than decorative. Plus, it’s Thursday, so they’re really just setting up for the Friday cliffhanger.
I have now watched this episode three times, trying my hardest to find something worthwhile to say about it, and it simply can’t be done. The first act is the same thing that happened yesterday, the third act is the same thing that’s going to happen tomorrow, and the second act is an entirely inert substance.
It’s the kind of episode that you can recognize as being an example of the thing that it is, but it’s so ordinary that it ceases to exist as soon as the credits roll. In other words, this is the Jeremy Renner of Dark Shadows episodes.
So you know how some days I manage to scrape together a blog post that’s a beautiful little slice of postmodern lit-crit poetry, with funny observations and random 1960s trivia and it leads up to a stunning insight that makes you look at the show in a new and surprising way? Well, this is going to be the other kind.
Continue reading Episode 589: In the Fewest Words Possible
“I wish I understood why this table is the way it is.”
Okay. Gosh. Lots to do today, and I’m not really sure how it’s all going to come together. I’m gonna start with Jeff’s surprise face, and then see how it goes from there.
Continue reading Episode 582: The Can’t Let Me Know What Scene
“Julia! Why am I leaving the room, Julia?”
So it’s been a rough ride, this returning to the present day. Deciding to do a lengthy 18th-century time travel story was a leap into the unknown, but once they’d started, they had a general outline to work from. They needed to turn Barnabas into a vampire, get Josette to jump off a cliff, kill pretty much everybody else in the cast, and hang Vicki as a witch. That was a plan that they could execute, if you’ll pardon the expression.
But returning to 1968, the writers face another weird challenge. They’ve decided to pretty much reboot every ongoing storyline that they had — hastily wrapping up, reversing or straight-up ignoring all of the old story threads.
This is a very unusual move for a soap opera. These last five weeks have basically been the equivalent of a season premiere, a narrative structure that even night-time shows weren’t doing in the late 60s. Dark Shadows has changed some core relationships, introduced new characters, and brought back Angelique as this season’s Big Bad. Structurally, this is Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but thirty years early and from the monsters’ point of view.
Continue reading Episode 484: Chekhov’s Gun
“I should go to Collinwood, and drag her from the house, and BURN her!”
So, what do you do with a guy who just refuses to understand what kind of story he’s in?
I’m not talking about a Mulder-Scully dynamic, where the tension between belief and skepticism is the whole point of the series. I’m talking about a guy who’s standing smack in the middle of a spook show, and he can’t get his mind around the fact that there’s a witch who’s trying to kill him, even though she’s already openly attacked him using her magic powers. I’m talking about a guy who needs to have the situation explained to him over and over, plus he’s obnoxious and a terrible actor and he shouts all the time.
All right, it’s Lang. I’m talking about Dr. Eric Lang. He’s driving me crazy, and he’s got to be stopped.
Continue reading Episode 482: Witches Be Crazy
“Some people see pink elephants. He saw Sarah Collins.”
Young David has been running around for the last couple of weeks telling everyone some inconvenient truths, like for example that his cousin Barnabas is dead and sleeps in a coffin in his basement. This has not been the rocket sled to popularity that you might expect. Eyebrows have been raised.
But David has an adult ally, at last — Dr. Dave Woodard, who’s finally realized that something weird is going on. Unfortunately, the actor who plays Woodard just left the show unexpectedly, and the part has been recast in a hurry. Let’s see how it goes.
Continue reading Episode 336: Talk Show